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September 2011: “Practice Being a Peacemaker”

This practice is one that I received from a teacher of mine and one that works particularly well helping us become peaceful with our most challenging of partners. He said: “In life, when you find yourself in the company of someone who really pushes your buttons, instead of moving away from this person, go sit right next to them and get curious. Ask the question: ‘How is this person my teacher?’ If you can become peaceful with them, you can become peaceful with another segment of the world’s population.” The truth is that we will encounter this type of person over and over again in the various domains of our lives. Wouldn’t be nice to be able to make peace with these characters and to learn on a deeper level how these relationships help us grow?

In the next month, spend time getting close and curious about your adversaries. Pay attention to what it is in their presence that rubs you the wrong way and see this as another way of being that’s important in the world. What does this person care deeply about? Practice being compassionate for this person for they, too, are a learner and are doing the best they can with the tools they have. Notice how this shift in perspective shifts your view of this person and your ability to be with and/or work with them. Does this relationship improve as a result?