In compassionate meditation, I face my inner conflicts. In my relationships, those conflicts come to life when I feel threatened that I am at risk of losing something, being wrong, getting called out.
Collaborative couples therapy is about teaching people to communicate by engaging without 1) attacking; 2) defending; or 3) withdrawing. This is not easy. We are all relatively fragile in our most intimate relationships — those relationships where our innermost vulnerability is exposed. This morning, while driving, I heard the story of a woman physician, Alice Stewart, who researched cancer in children in the mid 1950’s. She discovered the connection between the radiation in x-rays and cancer in children. Her method of research included working with a statistician whose job was to prove she was wrong. Huh? Yep, prove she was wrong so that she could prove she was right. Sounds a little like a Zen koan, doesn’t it?
This set me to meditating upon the concept of collaborative conflict. I got excited. It felt like another layer of awareness, of valuing the uncomfortable, of facing the ego’s need to be right in order to find the Middle Way. This applies to individuals’ inner lives, couples and families seeking more harmony, and organizations of any size — from small businesses to major corporations.
Nobody likes being wrong. Yet, we have to be open to being wrong in order to learn new things.
How, oh how, and why, oh why, wasn’t I in class the day that the teacher taught this? Or was I daydreaming about recess?