How to deal with conflicts? How to behave in a conflicting situation in which another person is being angry or aggressive towards me? I might be able to manage the situation within myself but not the other person; hence, how can I stop the other person’s anger?
To answer this question, I will tell you the story of the Buddha. There was an elephant who had become mad and broke his chains. In his anger, he destroyed the whole village and of course took some lives. When it approached the Buddha, instead of running away like others, He just stood steal, he did not react. There were no fears; He stood steal because from Himself there was no fear, only love and compassion. Immediately the elephant stopped and became calm.
Are there any ways that we can behave when someone is being aggressive? If you run away from your oppressor, he will think you are afraid. The Buddha just stood there and that calmed the elephant. The elephant lost it. Many times in life we lose it.
But what can we do about it? We don’t have a Buddha. When the Buddha was there, people flocked around him, because he was like a magnet that calmed people down by his never-ending compassion. This is the only way of dealing with things in life. First, deal with your fears, your confusion, your ignorance and automatically things will look after themselves. You start from yourself, society does not matter, start with yourself. If you have to go to a party because you are afraid. Reflect. Why are you going? Do not reflect from your fears, your wishes or desires. Is it possible to act without all that? Where do you start? Do your practice and learn to remain present and equanimous; these are the two qualities that are needed for a human being. Otherwise someone is harassing you and you retaliate with your aggression, your fears and then there is trouble.
So, we do our yoga practice in developing these two qualities: equanimity and being present in that moment. Otherwise it does not work. If I do my practice with aggression, won’t this aggression show itself in my life in some way or another? So, reflect on your practice. Are you practicing in a non-aggressive manner? If I practice yoga with equanimity and presence these qualities will extend to my life.
In conclusion, stories are stories but they teach us how to be. So, I love this story of the Buddha. But there are hundreds of them. I learned this story from my Vipassana teacher; the Buddha also used to say many stories. Is it entertainment? Yes, it is, but it is also learning at the same time.
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre
Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora