How to disagree without being disagreeable (video)

By editor - 15.4 2021

According to Winston Churchill : “If two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary.”

The Lord has designed each of His human masterpieces uniquely, therefore the individuality of every living being is a fact. Hence disagreements are a part of everyday life. We are engaged in a casual conversation or trying to perform service in the temple. And suddenly a divisive hot-button issue comes up. How do we navigate the tension when there are drastically different perspectives? Is it possible to share our worldview truthfully, infused with love and kindness, so people will actually want to work with or hang out with us again?

The good news is, our differences don’t have to divide us. Whatever is the disagreement, we don’t have to be disagreeable. This Monk’s podcast between Braja Bihari Prabhu and Chaitanya Charan Prabhu provides strategies that can help keep the dialogue open and respectful and serve together, even when our opinions are miles apart.

HG Braja Bihari Prabhu is a disciple of HG Bhurijana Prabhu(ACBSP). He is a Conflict Resolution practitioner with the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Prabhu founded a project called ISKCON Resolve, a conflict management system that includes mediation, Ombud’s, facilitation and more.

HG Chaitanya Charan prabhu needs no introductions. He is the brain behind this podcast, and is a spiritual mentor and author.

Summary of the podcast @1.34.07:

CC Prabhu: We discussed about this topic on how to disagree without being disagreeable. You started with your journey of how you started exploring conflict resolution, and then you created structures which are across the world now. Devotees can access these in various ways, i.e. the website. And then we discussed whether devotees have more conflicts or less than others? So there were some common factors:

Structures and values.

But beyond that, it is our own identity. Our investment in our identity that can cause conflicts, especially in religion faith-based organizations like ours. I think that and values were the main part of our remaining discussion. So it is amazing, you quoted Prabhupada saying that we should appreciate people even who are not devotees and then what to speak of devotees. And that appreciation or that broad-mindedness, it can come if we learn to see others as devotees, not just see them and reduce them to the position that is problematic for us. You also talk about “I” messages, which is more about expressing vulnerability rather than expressing judgment about the other person. If we focus on the fact that we all have the same ultimate purpose, then we can we can minimize differences.

Sometimes, because we emphasize philosophy, so, we reduce people to philosophical categories, seeing them as multifaceted beings. Prabhupada has given many examples of he being philosophical, by having differences, but being culturally friendly. Then you also made this point that the resolution can be based on three ways:

Power- based,
Rights- based
Interest- based

Most resolutions are power- based. So when a call for cooperation seems to be like a deference to authority, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, if it is operational.

We talked also a little bit about social media and how it can unnecessarily spread negative vibrations. But there are a means by which devotees can express their grievances and have things addressed.

And toward the end, we talked about how we have created space for devotees by provisions like; different devotees can have different outreach centres in the same city. So that means we appreciate each other but we try to have space for ourselves. And in that way we can have unity in diversity like a like a set of flowers in a flower vase.

So this was a very illuminating discussion. Any concluding words you want to say?

Braja Bihari Prabhu: “No, but just what you just did summarize is one of the best ways to have a good rapport with other devotees. Because it shows that you were respectful enough to listen. And when you summarize like that, it’s also if you’re having a dialogue or you know debate, it’s great to summarize the other person’s points before you make your own because the person will feel much more ‘Oh yes, he’s understood me’. “

CC Prabhu: “Okay”.

Braja Bihari Prabhu: So it’s very good for relationships and also for clear thinking. So thank you so much for doing that. You did so wonderfully.”

CC Prabhu: “ Thank you so much prabhu, very much Prabhu. wonderful to have you here.”

Braja Bihari Prabhu: “Thank you for having me prabhu, Hare Krishna. All glories to Prabhupada.”

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