Tag Archives: argument

When to Know if Conflict Is Toxic

gloves

By Doug Noll

Unless you are living in an isolated cave, social conflict is inevitable. Our needs, interests, and desires collide with each other, getting in the way of our happiness. Conflict is not inherently bad, however. We need conflict to teach us, entertain us, and help us grow. We can probably do without Jerry Springer’s craziness, but a certain amount of conflict is healthy. On the other hand, we have also experience unhealthy conflict. When the conflict becomes chronic and repetitive, it is toxic.

Worse, emerging research shows that toxic conflict kills just as surely as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. Recent studies reveal that frequent arguments with partners, relatives, friends or neighbors are associated with a doubling to tripling in the risk of death from any cause. We are social beings and toxic conflict apparently creates stressors that shorten our lives.

Knowing the difference between healthy, good conflict and unhealthy, toxic conflict is important information.

Here are some signs that indicate toxic conflict: Continue reading

How I Do My Research: Is “Despite” Actually “Because?”

5000710747_39c62f3242_zPeople often ask me, “How do you do your research?”

I’m a kind of street scientist. I don’t have a lab full of undergrads eating marshmallows to study; I rely on my own observations.

Really, I feel more like Samuel Johnson or William Hazlitt or George Orwell, in the way that I analyze human nature. I love reading the science, and I think about the science all the time, but in the end, I pay the most attention to what I see around me. And what I read — not just science, but memoirs, biographies, novels.

I tell people this, and they say, “But how do you draw any conclusions?”

I can never think of a good answer. I just read a lot, talk to people a lot, take gigantic amounts of notes, and ponder. I look for patterns. Certain actions or remarks strike my attention, often for reasons that take me months to identify.

But it did occur to me that I’ve hit on one very useful analytic technique, without quite realizing it.

If I’m stumped by something I see, I substitute “because” for “despite,” and see if a proposition makes sense. Continue reading

It’s Time For A Revolution – Science and Mysticism

It’s time for a revolution!

Science does not need mysticism and mysticism does not need science; but man needs both” 

-Fritof Capra

god-and-scienceDo we need both? Sometimes I feel like those two camps are as diametrically opposed as the Democrats and the Republicans. Is it time for a revolution?

As I travel the country doing book signings and talks people seem pretty pleased to hear me say it’s time for a revolution in science and the new age/self help paradigm.

When I hear a new ager or a scientist say, “I wish they’d wake up” I usually say right back, “You know what, they are saying the same thing about you!”

As if any of us are really awake, and who gets to decide who’s awake and who isn’t? I’m beginning to think this whole “awake” thing is really a perspective and it ultimately depends on who’s doing the talking.  What is awake? What does it mean to “be conscious?” Everybody seems to have an opinion on this, and often they think theirs is the “right” one.

One of my favorite sentences is when someone says to me, “I am going to give you MY TRUTH” Oh boy, hold on folks, duck if you can because here comes a whole bunch of opinion and projections flying at your face like shit hitting a fan. I admit I’ve said it, recently in fact, which is why I am now thinking about this whole concept of truth, right and wrong, knowing, awake or asleep, conscious or unconscious.

Because the truth (ha!) is, I for one am bored with the old paradigm. The one where we all act like we know anything, we utter words like “unconditional love” and talk endlessly about the light being the place to be, and my favorite “It’s all an illusion.” Yea, explain that to my five-year-old when he’s got a scrape the size of Texas across his bum from skidding off his skateboard. That is no illusion, at least not to him; that shit burns, like for real.

This whole idea that life is an illusion is a fraud, I tell you, a fraud. While scientists are arguing about where consciousness lies, and while the new agers are meditating on their crystal imbedded cushions having out of body experiences, I am living this illusion and so are a lot of people.

And from what I am hearing (and I freely admit this may just be me creating my reality in which everyone agrees with me…hell, who isn’t?) is that people are pretty tired of being fed the old party line that everything is an illusion, or a series of ones and zeros that there is an us and a them (awake and asleep).

People want real, people want to know how to live in this life and not the next one.

People are over science, at least materialistic science; you know the one that says everything can be predicted with a math equation? Statistics show most humans are very much aware that something greater is afoot and they really don’t need science to tell them that.  And at the same time, they are pretty much over all the new age propaganda that a strategically placed crystal will solve all of your problems. At this point, most of us have pretty much figured out that there is no guy in the sky ready to blast us to burn in hell for all eternity for whatever wrongs we did in our 20’s (because seriously, who didn’t sin in their 20’s?). And one of my biggest pet peeves is that guru on the stage who smiles like a Cheshire cat and extols the wisdom of love and light after just having berated there assistant for not having their organic, fair trade whatever hot or cold enough. In short, we are tired of the hypocrisy, both living it and hearing it.

It’s time to get real, like really, authentic, the sometimes messy, sometimes ugly, real in this reality, real. It’s time to get conscious of what we are doing and being in the here and now.  And most of us, I for one, did not know how to do that. I did not understand how my body and my brain worked. Consciousness was just a fancy word I used to sound like I was, conscious that is, when in fact I wasn’t. It was much more fun to meditate and leave my body and float about in the void (Or more likely just taka a nap). It was much easier to slap a crystal on it or make a vision board and it was a whole lot easier to just blame it all on the whacky world of quantum physics.

And to me, all of those are just excuses to escape. There is this tendency to make the body bad, to make the mind bad. We spend an awful lot of time making the human experience out to be the bad guy, something to run from, when maybe what we ought to be doing is figuring it out.

And to do that I think the first step is to become integrated to our whole selves.  To truly become conscious. To be conscious means to be aware, and to me, to be present in the moment. How can I become conscious of alternate realities if I am not truly conscious of the one I’m in?

So I am having my own revolution of mind, body and spirit. Instead of fighting each other, I’m bringing them together.  Instead of breeding separation between  mysticism and science, I’m co-mingling them into my own scientific experiment about the mystical experience called life.

A little disclaimer: I am all for whatever works for you, whether it be meditation, yoga, angel cards and crystals. But I just want you to remember it’s you who’s doing the doing: it’s you who’s creating the meaning, not the other way around. Remember where your power lies and become conscious of that you.

Design the truth.

truth-design

 

“You know, I really don’t like convincing people that I’m right,” I told my friend the other day.

He and another friend of ours had an exchange of truths. One spoke the truth, the other refused to accept it no matter how reasonable, logical and all-together truthful the truth was.

“I prefer my own truth” he said “I hear what you are saying and I understand, and I choose to believe what I believe”.

It was an interesting dance to observe. Frustrating, yes, for the truth in question seemed truthful to me too, and the refusal to acknowledge it grated on my … what exactly? What was it grating on? My rightness? My … no, I don’t know what was pulled, what was pushed, what was triggered, but something was. It made me feel uncomfortable yet, at the same time, I admired the choice my friend made: to hold on to his truth.

And I realized then, it was then that I formulated this awareness in words: I do not like convincing people that I am right.

Yes, it feels good at first, whatever gets triggered, pushed, pulled by opposition becomes satisfied when my opponent acknowledges my rightness at last, yet that momentary pleasure leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Because I feel like I squashed someone. I do not feel like I contributed to him – I feel like I took something away. I feel I took away from his originality, from his uniqueness.

I feel, when I persuade someone to my way of seeing the world, that I know her less. That, while looking into her eyes, all I see is a reflection of myself.

And I do not like it.

So you see, in the end, if my sticks are ever to make a difference in anyone’s world it will not be because they have managed to make another’s world more like my own, but because they inspired others to have a world of their own. To have a truth of their own.

To design it. To own it. To live it.

Find Out What You Want – Step #7

dont-lie

 “God damn me!” I thought to myself today.

We had such a splendid fight today, Chris and I, and I was so right! Oh, I was so sure of it, too, sitting in my studio, mulling over what he said and what his problem was and how he screwed up and how he really needs to grow up!

Oh I was angry. That should have been a tip, it should have been a sign. But it was not. Because I was right.

I was right when we were having dinner, too. Not angry anymore, but still full of confidence in my judgements and assertions and, as we talked, Chris and I, the anger begun to creep back in and … and this time I noticed. I noticed that something was off. This time, when Chris asked: “why are you getting so angry?” I stopped.

I stopped. The anger rolled in my belly. It hurt. It hurt and I wanted to throw it out, to scream it, to act it. Held, contained, it clawed at my stomach, it pounded at my head, inside. But I held it, I contained it.

I did not want to, oh God I did not want to! It would have been so much easier, so infinitely easier to shield myself with righteousness, with denial, with blame and accusations.

But I held it. I contained it. And I looked.

I looked to see where it came from, why it happened, what it was.

Why? Why did I go through this pain, why did I deny myself the relief of unconsciousness? The bliss of ignorance? Honestly I don’t know.

There is no “why”. I simply must see. I simply must be aware. What is in me, what arises must be seen clearly. It must be acknowledged for what it is. It cannot be hidden. It cannot be pushed aside. It cannot be left unattended.

Why?

Because this is what I am.

Presence.

How to Move from Anger to Forgiveness

Why forgive? How can we move from anger and hatred to compassion, clarity, and awareness?

I made this video to share with you how I came to understand forgiveness:

Through a practice of powerful expressive meditation techniques I healed my heart and became more aware of my choices. I could put my energy into anger and resentment, OR focus on loving myself, and enjoying my life. How I came to choose the latter is explained in the video.

If  this message resonates with you, please share! The world needs more forgiveness.

Let me know your thoughts on this topic in the comments below.

Join my Laughing Buddhas Network – it’s FREE!

 

Related Articles:

What the Sleepy Dog Taught Me About Compassion

The “F”Word: 5 Steps to Practice Forgiveness

Forgive and Forget? Sometimes – but not always

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