When it comes to communication and relationships, there is collaboration. And then there is everything else. The dictionary definition of collaboration is: 1) to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor; 2) to cooperate with or willingly assist an enemy of one’s country and especially an occupying force.
So, one definition puts collaboration in a “good” light. Working jointly with others in an intellectual endeavor is an optimal way to work. On the other hand, assisting an enemy is not such a good thing. Instead of collaboration, in our most vulnerable and intimate relationships, both at home and at work, our maladaptive styles are: 1) forcing – using your power or authority to satisfy your need to be right without regard to the ideas or opinions of others; 2) accommodation – codependently allowing others to be have power or be right while neglecting yourself and your own voice; 3) over-compromising – a pattern of resolving conflicts by always giving in, even when you are certain that right is on your side and 4) avoidance – like withdrawal, it’s not giving attention or voice to a conflict and thus not taking any action toward resolution. Avoidance is, in and of itself, an action, a non-collaborative one.
What we are looking for, and what we can call upon Jizo to help us reach by grounding us, is collaboration. Expressing your concerns without attacking, listening to others, considering all sides and finding a mutual solution that leaves everyone feeling authentically heard is a win-win endgame.
Do you see yourself in these styles? Does collaboration seem impossible? Sometimes it feels impossible. But with pausing and engaging our “better angels” – our Buddha-nature or Jizo-nature – we can come from a place of groundedness, neither invested in being Right nor ashamed of being Wrong, but seeking a Middle Way, a way of peace.