Transforming Relations (part-9)

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Transforming Relations (part-9)

A Journey from Autumn to Spring – The Secrets of Blissful Living

ਡਾਪੁਸ਼ਪਿੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ (ਲੁਧਿਆਣਾ੦੯੮੧੪੧੧੭੧੮੦

6th Chapter – Understanding Relationships –2nd Part

Emotional Intelligence

Each one of us has experienced a variety of emotions and feelings: happy, sad, angry, nervous, confusion, worry, fear, love, shame, surprise, disgust and many more. We all express them in our own unique way. Understanding our feelings is the first step in learning how to have more control over them. We all need to understand that it is normal to have strong feelings and that no feeling is “bad.” Cultural norms, family upbringing and gender are some of the factors that affect the expression of feelings. Feelings, if viewed as “bad” or “wrong,” can be bottled up and suppressed. The result is that we are unable to channel these emotions appropriately. These emotions of stress, sadness and grief need to be expressed if a life path towards positive living is to be reached.

Feelings That Hurt

Feelings that hurt are part of our feeling “bad.” Such feelings are normal, but one needs to learn to express them in ways that do not harm but instead lead to positive behavior. Denying such feelings does not help. Keeping them bottled up also will affect a person in ways that appear seemingly unconnected and may create emotional and physical problems. Some feelings like anger can motivate us to constructive action. Many cultures feel that it is important to “bottle up” emotions because their expression is not socially acceptable, such as indicating likes and dislikes or saying a blunt “no.”

Blow Up the Balloon

We tend to keep many feelings that hurt locked away inside us. When the accumulated load of hurts become too much to manage, they burst out like a pressure cooker. By then we have no control over them. But if we are more aware of our feelings, we can express them in ways that are safe and do not harm others or us. We do not allow them to build up. Take a balloon and blow it up, imagining the balloons as some of the feelings one have. They have not been expressed and they are getting bigger and bigger inside. Some of the feelings are those of sadness, anger or fear. What would happen if one continued to blow up the balloon (it would burst). Say, one is upset but now angry (blow up the balloon more), now really mad (blow more), one feels like hitting someone or something and shouting (blow up more, the balloon may burst). Now, blow up another balloon. Imagine a situation where one of us was upset with her/his friend because s/he did not come yesterday as promised and made one wait for hours. The next day you talked to friend about how upset you were and felt better. Symbolize this by not blowing the balloon any further, but letting it stay the size it was. As one realized that s/he had to rush to the hospital because his/her younger sibling was hurt badly. The anger goes away. So let the air out of the balloon slowly. Use an example for sadness or fear as well.

Close Your Eyes and Imagine the Balloon

It is filled with feelings of sadness, intense anger and fear. These feelings are getting bigger and bigger. But then one finds someone to talk to, or tell yourself you are good. Take a deep breath & relax.

The balloon starts getting smaller because air is slowly going out of it. When we relax and talk, we feel good. All the feelings that hurt are becoming smaller. Eventually they become so small that the balloon becomes limp and is blown away by the wind. Feel the balloon blowing away. Feel light as if a weight has been lifted. Relax and open your eyes. One feels so much better.

  • What sorts of balloons do one have, full ones ready to burst or soft ones?
  • Can negative feelings go away if you want them to?
  • How do one help oneself, how can others help you?
  • Keep a diary for recording how one worked with feelings:

How many times did the feeling “balloon” burst?

What helped one to ‘deflate’ it? How did others help?

  • It’s not the situation that is overwhelming, but our reaction to it. A reactive mind inflates the problem, blowing things out of proportion. A slight change in perspective can help tremendously. It is only through study, reflection and self-effort that one can transform a weak mind into a strong mind.
  • It is very important to be aware of one’s feelings. Once you can identify your emotions, you can find ways to express them in a healthy way. This is called Emotional Intelligence. This way, you don’t allow your negative emotions to take control of you, or display any undesirable behavior. It allows us to find constructive solutions and make balanced decisions, even in moments of sorrow or trouble.” Emotions are transient. They rise and pass and like a wave in the sea.
  • So there’s no need to hold on to them and let them trouble you. Understand that you are experiencing the emotion, but you are not the emotion.” When we become aware of our feelings and use our head and heart in balance, we can easily identify our own emotions and that of others as well.
  • Do you know the difference between responding and reacting? When we react, we act on our immediate emotions but when we respond, we pause for a moment and think the best way to express our emotions. When we react, we are like a bottle of soda that has just been shaken and is flowing uncontrollably. But when we respond, we are like a bottle of water which gets a little bit affected when shaken, but then quickly settles down. ‘Having control over our emotions puts us in a better position to respond correctly and act sensibly rather than being carried away by a gust of emotion. Now, which kind of a person will be better-liked and trusted-the fizzy soda type or the cool, water type?” The world to us is how it occurs to our mind. All our relationships, achievements” aspirations, emotions, likes and dislikes are a product of this game of the mind. Mind management is the ability to be in command of your mind and channelize it to effectively achieve empowerment. It is a process of constant awareness, self-effort and initiative and then it gradually becomes an innate way of being.
  • Mastering the skill of mind management is of utmost importance to achieve our potential and experience fulfillment, as our best friend and worst enemy is our own mind.

A wonderful exercise you can do to develop calmness within you. Sit quietly in a comfortable position away from the noisy humdrum of daily life. Close your eyes and Start watching your breath. Watch the inhalation and exhalation. Do not consciously modify your breathing. Just be aware of your breathing. As time passes by, you will see that your attention drifts to your thoughts and the chain of thoughts distract you. As soon as you realize that, focus your attention back on your breathing.

  • We respond to the situation: Not necessarily to an objective review of the facts. Our perceptions are influenced by our life experiences, culture, values, and beliefs.
  • We see things not the way they are, but the way we are: There is a legend about a wise man who was sitting outside his village. A traveler came up and asked him, “What kind of people live in this village, because I am looking to move from my present one?” The wise man asked, “What kinds of people live where you want to move from?” The man said, “They are mean, cruel, and rude.” The wise man replied, “The same kinds of people live in this village too.” After some time another traveler came by and asked the same question and the wise man asked him, “What kind of people live where you want to move from?” And the traveler replied, “The people are very kind, courteous, polite and good.” The wise man said, “You will find the same kind of people here too.
  • “In every street there is a Mrs. Judgment and Mrs. Honesty. One day Mrs. Honesty decided to visit Mrs. Judgment. As soon as Mrs. Honesty arrived, Mrs. Judgment began to complain about her new neighbors, a family of foreigners. “She is a terrible housekeeper”, said Mrs. Judgment, “you should see how dirty her children are…and as for her house! It is almost a disgrace to be living in the same neighborhood. Just take a look at the clothes she has hung on the line, see the black streaks on the sheets and towels. Mrs. Honesty walked up to the window to look, “Actually the clothes are quite clean, my dear. The streaks are on your window!”

Put Positive Interpretation on Other People’s Behavior

In the absence of sufficient facts, people instinctively put a negative interpretation on others’ actions or inactions. Some people suffer from “paranoia”; they think the world is out to get them. That is not true.

Emotional Intelligence

  1. Become Emotionally Literate. Label your feelings and motivations, rather than labeling other people or situations. Here are a few perceived situations/examples:

I feel impatient — vs. H” “You’re wasting my time.”

I feel tired — vs. H” “Nobody gives me a break.”

I feel hurt and insecure — vs. H” “You are an insensitive jerk.”

I feel unloved — vs. H” “Nobody loves me.”

I wish I had more time with you — vs. H” “You don’t have time for me.”

Acknowledge that your feelings are temporary and don’t blow them out of proportion. Be specific about how you feel.

I am feeling a little low right now — vs. H” “I’m totally depressed.”

Let’s talk a little later; I’m quite agitated now — vs. H” “I don’t want to talk to you ever again!”

Please leave me alone for a while — vs. H” “Get lost!”

I feel uncomfortable around her — vs. H” “I hate her”

  1. Distinguish between facts and feelings/assumptions. When in doubt, always check first. Don’t jump to conclusions:

Are you avoiding me? — vs. H””I know you’re avoiding me.”

 “Why didn’t you pick up your phone all day? — vs. H”” Why are you ignoring me?”

  1. Take more responsibility for your feelings:

I feel jealous — vs. H” You are making me jealous.”

Analyze your own feelings rather than the actions or motives of other people. Let your feelings help you identify your unmet emotional needs, and take steps to become more emotionally independent.

  1. Use your feelings constructively to guide your decision:

Ask yourself: “How will I feel if I do this?” Or, “How will I feel if I don’t?” “What would help me feel better?” Or, “How do I really feel about this person?” “Am I really happy with this job?”

Ask others: “How do you feel?” Or, “What would help you feel better?”

“I’ve been feeling a little unsettled lately. I think we should talk about our relationship.”

“I have a bad feeling about taking on this project, can we discuss it?”

“I’ve lately been feeling bored and aimless. I think I should explore a new hobby.”

  1. Allow Your Emotions to Energize You Instead of Wearing You Out:

Channelize emotions of anger or frustration into productive action.

For example, you may say, “I feel frustrated about all the tension between my colleagues at work, how can I help resolve it?”

Harmony

Once in a while when someone treats us kindly and respectfully, we feel so delighted with his affectionate treatment of us. Unfortunately, today, man has veered away from such a noble course of promoting mutual harmony and welfare among his fellow beings, perhaps because of his renewed priorities of acquiring more and more wealth, which leaves little time for him to reflect upon and emulate the good deeds of his elders.

Let’s try to find out why we cannot get along with each other harmoniously as before. Not only our WILL for good of each other is on the decline but it seems to be disappearing altogether. It is affecting not only a particular religion or family, caste or creed, community or country; rather entire humanity. Let us not waste time passing the buck to find out who is at fault for this unhappy state of affairs. Nor we can afford to feel smug in self-satisfaction that all is well with the world and it’s best to leave such trivialities alone. This way we cannot cure ourselves of the malaise we are suffering from.

Our relationship and attitude towards a person depends upon the image we have been carrying about him. It is not necessary that whatever image we have conjured up about others or even for ourselves, can bear the scrutiny of logic. More often than not, the image created by us is solely to suit our own viewpoint, right or wrong. As long as we feel secure with such an image, it ought to be right, so we presume! We do not give much credence to the actual truth but prefer to follow our own presumptions. The basic reasons for disharmony among us are the ‘creation of image’. This is the first milestone on the road to misunderstanding, which reminds us of the ever-increasing gulf and aloofness in our relations with each other. But, is it humanly possible that we do not form any image about others or ourselves in our day to day life?

Yes, It Is Possible

We only have to learn to restrain ourselves from forming any hasty judgments or having preconceived notions about others as well as of ourselves. Our flights of imagination become the basis of our image formation; fancy edging out fact, illusion getting the better of truth. The litmus test of ‘believing’ as per the old school of thought was ‘seeing with your own eyes and listening with your own ears’. But the new philosophy being propounded by the smart thinkers of the day warns us, ostensibly for the benefit of mankind, that even what you see with your own eyes and hear your own ears might not be the real truth but merely a figment of your own imagination based upon various misconceptions.

ਸੋਰਠਿ ਮਹਲਾ 5 ॥

ਸੁਖੀਏ ਕਉ ਪੇਖੈ ਸਭ ਸੁਖੀਆ ਰੋਗੀ ਕੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਸਭ ਰੋਗੀ ॥

ਕਰਣ ਕਰਾਵਨਹਾਰ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਆਪਨ ਹਾਥਿ ਸੰਜੋਗੀ ॥1॥

ਮਨ ਮੇਰੇ ਜਿਨਿ ਅਪੁਨਾ ਭਰਮੁ ਗਵਾਤਾ ॥

ਤਿਸ ਕੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਕੋਇ ਨ ਭੂਲਾ ਜਿਨਿ ਸਗਲੋ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਪਛਾਤਾ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ॥

(SGGS – Sorath Mehla 5 – Page 610)

Su-khee-ay Ka-u Pay-Khae Sabh Sukhee-yaa

Rogee Kae Bhaanae Sabh Rogee ||

Karan Karaa-van-haar Su-aamee Aapan Haath Sanjogee ||

Man May-ray Jin Ap-unaa Bharam Ga-vaataa ||

Tis Kae Bhanae Ko-e Na Bhoolaa Jin Sa-glay Brahm Pachhaataa || Rahaa-u ||

It is said that our perception of things gets conditioned by the way we like to think about them, not the way they actually are.

Similarly we judge people and situations depending upon the images we are already carrying about them in our mind.

This means that thinking creates an image regarding others, or, ‘the image gets created as per our thoughts’. This is a very significant point for evaluating people. In other words, whatever thoughts we carry about a person in our mind, get fixated as our judgment of him, the rationale of which we cannot satisfactorily explain without inviting some awkward queries and embarrassing consequences.

We now understand that good or bad image about someone is created by our own ‘thinking’. But, then, how do these ‘thoughts’ originate in the first place? Our thoughts are produced by the impressions left deep in our mind of the incidents taking place in our daily life as also the environment that surrounds us. This means that the image gets created due to thinking, but the thinking takes place because of our memory, which itself is but a reflection of our past, experiences.

Hence, image takes shape because of our memory and memory is the cumulative reflection of the so called knowledge we have acquired in the past. But, ironically, this very knowledge, which in itself is incomplete, becomes instrumental in giving shape to our judgments about others! ‘There is nothing good or bad but thinking making it so’ our insufficient knowledge and thinking capacity causes discontentment in our lives.

  • I want to make myself happy
  • I want to make others happy
  • The others want to make themselves happy
  • The others want to make me happy

What is the answer?

  • I am able to make myself happy
  • I am able to make others always happy
  • The others are able to make themselves always happy
  • The others are able to make me always happy.

The first four questions are related to our natural acceptance i.e. intention and the next four to our competence.

“To be assured that the intention of the other is always correct is trust”

We generally evaluate ourselves on the basis of our intention and other on the basis of their competence. If we have trust on intention, we have a feeling of being related to the other & we start helping the other to improve his/her competence, if he/she does not have it.

We don’t hesitate to blame others for all problems knowing that we might also be equally responsible for giving rise to such a state of things. We want to remain oblivious of our own shortcomings and do not listen to our inner conscience, thus falling prey to misunderstanding others for the rest of our lives.

We need to take stock of our real self: that our incomplete knowledge was responsible for our incomplete thinking, which led us to think unkindly and unfairly about others. Entrapped in prejudice, one can never think clearly and fairly.

ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਆਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥

ਮਨ ਹਰਿ ਜੀ ਤੇਰੈ ਨਾਲਿ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਰੰਗੁ ਮਾਣੁ ॥

ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣਹਿ ਤਾਂ ਸਹੁ ਜਾਣਹਿ ਮਰਣ ਜੀਵਣ ਕੀ ਸੋਝੀ ਹੋਈ ॥

ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਏਕੋ ਜਾਣਹਿ ਤਾਂ ਦੂਜਾ ਭਾਉ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥

ਮਨਿ ਸਾਂਤਿ ਆਈ ਵਜੀ ਵਧਾਈ ਤਾ ਹੋਆ ਪਰਵਾਣੁ ॥

ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥5॥

ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਗਾਰਬਿ ਅਟਿਆ ਗਾਰਬਿ ਲਦਿਆ ਜਾਹਿ ॥

ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਣੀ ਮੋਹਿਆ ਫਿਰਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਜੂਨੀ ਭਵਾਹਿ ॥

ਗਾਰਬਿ ਲਾਗਾ ਜਾਹਿ ਮੁਗਧ ਮਨ ਅੰਤਿ ਗਇਆ ਪਛੁਤਾਵਹੇ ॥

ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਤਿਸਨਾ ਰੋਗੁ ਲਗਾ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਵਹੇ ॥

ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮੁਗਧ ਚੇਤਹਿ ਨਾਹੀ ਅਗੈ ਗਇਆ ਪਛੁਤਾਵਹੇ ॥

ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਗਾਰਬਿ ਅਟਿਆ ਗਾਰਬਿ ਲਦਿਆ ਜਾਵਹੇ ॥6॥

ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਮਤ ਮਾਣੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਜਿ ਹਉ ਕਿਛੁ ਜਾਣਦਾ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਿਮਾਣਾ ਹੋਹੁ ॥

ਅੰਤਰਿ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਹਉ ਬੁਧਿ ਹੈ ਸਚਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਲੁ ਖੋਹੁ ॥

ਹੋਹੁ ਨਿਮਾਣਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਅਗੈ ਮਤ ਕਿਛੁ ਆਪੁ ਲਖਾਵਹੇ ॥

ਆਪਣੈ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਜਗਤੁ ਜਲਿਆ ਮਤ ਤੂੰ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੁ ਗਵਾਵਹੇ॥

ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਕਰਹਿ ਕਾਰ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਲਾਗਿ ਰਹੁ ॥

ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਆਪੁ ਛਡਿ ਸੁਖ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਮਨ ਨਿਮਾਣਾ ਹੋਇ ਰਹੁ ॥7॥ 

(SGGS – Aasaa Mehla 3 – Page 441)

Man Tu Jot-e Sarop Hae Aapnaa Mool Pachhaan ||

Man Har Jee Tay-ray Naal Hae Gurmatee R-ang Maan ||

Mool Pachhaa-neh Taa-n Sah-u Jaa-neh Maran Jeevan Kee Sojhee Hoee ||

Gur Parsaadee Eak-o Jaa-nayh Taa-n Doojaa Bhaa-u Na Hoee ||

Man Saa-ant Aayee Vajee Vadhaayee Taa Hoaa Parvaan ||

Ioa-n Kahey Naanak Man Too-n Jot Saroop Hae Apnaa Mool Pachhaan || 5 ||

Man Too-n Gaarab At-iaa Gaarab Lad-iyaa Jaa-ih||

Maayaa Mohnee Mohiyaa Phir Phir Joonee Bha-vaa-ih ||

Gaar-ib Laagaa Jaa-ih Mugadh Man A-nt Ga-iyaa Pachh-u-taa-vaeh ||

Ahn-kaar Tris-naa Rog-u La-gaa Birthaa Janam Gavav-ih ||

Manmukh Mugadh Chay-teh Naa-hee Ag-gae Ga-i-yaa Pachh-u-taa-vaeh ||

Iao-n Kahey Naanak Man Too-n Gaarib At-iaa Gaarib Lad-iyaa Jaa-ih || 6 ||

Man Too-n Ma-t Maan Kar-ih J-I H-au

Kichh Jaan-daa Gurmukh Nimaanaa Ho-ah ||

Ant-ar A-gi-aan Ha-u Budh Hae Sach Sabad M-al Kh-oh ||

Ho-ah Nimaanaa Satguroo Ag-gae Ma-t Kichh Aap Lakhaa-vah-en ||

“O’ Man! You have the light of god in you; visualize the truth in your own heart. If you are intelligent enough, don’t blame others, look for your own shortcomings. Thus harmonized relationship between ourselves can be resurrected once again if only we desist from the practice of building preconceived opinions and images. One simple plan to make our family happier is to learn and practice to control Kaam (Lust), Krodh (Anger), Lobh (Greed), Moh (Selfish Love) and Hankaar (Ego) in our lives. By controlling Kaam one becomes a virtuous person, controlling Krodh one becomes a fighter to fight only against injustice, controlling Lobh one acquires the quality of contentment, Controlling Moh one learns to practice True love and by controlling Hankaar one acquires the quality of self-esteem with humility.”

(—ਚਲਦਾ– ——— Continued in next month’s issue)