How much time or energy is required to deal with stubbornness, our own or that of others? What would be the most reasonable and effective response whenever it’s encountered? Is it an inescapable condition?
There’s no question but that we encounter it far more often than we’d like. It’s like walking into a brick wall, while seemingly beyond our power to avoid. Whether we are dealing with opposing perspectives of reality, as are evident in current political and social areas, ongoing relationship issues with family and friends, or with our own inability to face crucial decisions that we know to be necessary, it limits, confuses, and confounds us.
Dealing with it from a wisdom perspective requires that we consider two fundamental truths. Firstly, that our material world is in a continuous state of flux, changing in both cyclical and linear patterns resulting in the creation of a progressively present state. This tells us that rectitude, or ‘rightness’ can never exist beyond a fleeting moment. Fixed positions on any matter can never prevail for long.
Secondly, our material mind is rarely aligned with our non-material or spiritual awareness, and it is fully capable of distorting reality for its own ends. We are all past masters at deceiving ourselves in the name of comfort and convenience. We’ve all discovered too, when we argue with our self, we’re bound to lose!
So, our first response to any challenge is critically important. Our needs are for safety, security, and acceptance and they encourage us to adopt ‘positions’ by bundling seemingly related issues. Positions tend to become identifiable, entrenched and eventually rigid, but they are ours, so we need to defend them. When based on exceptionally strong emotions, like fear and greed, they can become fixations, unforgiving, self-sustaining perspectives that endanger everyone, including our self.
Rationality, logic, and reasoning will not prevail. The material mind is unlikely to challenge itself when basic needs are threatened; it seeks only to defend its adopted position. Any emotional causations are a powerful glue that will defy all-comers, and further entrenchment is inevitable.
Our only hope lies in the balancing impact of our non-material or spiritual awareness. It alone has the leverage to relax adopted fixations and thereby allow any needed re-positioning of perspectives. This will require approaches that are based on ‘attractive’ forces rather than oppositional ones – approaches like love, respect, honor, tolerance, forgiveness, acceptance, and compassion. These, alone, can compensate for the inflexibilities of stubbornness.
As we interface with others in the pursuit of growth and self-fulfillment, this is where we’re likely to find the paths that will take us forward. They are Openness, Generosity and Empathy, and they are abundant sources of inspiration, comfort, and benefit. Above all, they work! They build relationships, resiliency, and mutual respect, and this has to be the better alternative.
Read Nine Paths to Wisdom for more practical suggestions.