Sticking our nose in others’ conflicts

Pretty much ever since I first started practicing Dharma, I’ve felt it was my responsibility to try help those I love get along with each other. I would often stick myself in the middle of every conflict and try resolve their differences for them. While I thought I was being the good bodhisattva, I’m increasingly realizing my motivation has largely been attachment to outer harmony and aversion to those I love being hurt by one other.

My efforts at peace making just caused them to start to expect me to solve their problems for them and use me as a weapon against the other person. This made all of our relationships dysfunctional to a degree and deprived them of the opportunity to learn how to work through things themselves. The truth is we cannot manage other people’s karma and relationships for them, and if there is delusion in our motivation, our efforts to do so will just make things worse.

Now, I’m working to resist the temptation to re-insert myself in the middle and to let go of my attachment to those I love being happy and getting along with one another. I need to focus on overcoming the delusions in my own mind and try maintain healthy relationships with everyone in my life while accepting others might not get along all the time, and that’s okay. Of course, I can encourage others to get along, but I don’t need to put myself in the middle. I can offer good advice if asked, but I should refrain from doing so if not asked. I can pray for others to heal their differences, but I need to let go of attachment to them doing so.

Understanding the Dharma is easy. Actually practicing it skillfully in daily life is hard.

One thought on “Sticking our nose in others’ conflicts

  1. Beautiful reminder of the contrast between love and attachment, as well as solving problems with Dharma vs common means.

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