Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi said:

When someone criticises or disagrees with you, a small ant of hatred and antagonism is born in your heart. If you do not squash that ant at once, it might grow into a snake, or even a dragon. {Mathnavi}


8 Responses to “Conflict…..2”

  1. Grannymar Says:

    Criticism is acceptable when the person making the criticism is prepared to accept the same by return.

    In any other situation criticism once is acceptable, twice is a co-incidence, but when somebody makes a habit of continuously biting or chipping away than they are the one with the problem and need to do something about it.

  2. Looney Says:

    Yes, we should go out and squash the one who criticized, so that the ant won’t grow!

    In my experience, people are invariably polite face-to-face, but what they say about you when you aren’t there …

  3. Padmini Natarajan Says:

    Reminds me of the Zen story about the old warrior and the Gift of Insults

    There once lived a great warrior. Though quite old, he still was able to defeat any challenger. His reputation extended far and wide throughout the land and many students gathered to study under him.

    One day an infamous young warrior arrived at the village. He was determined to be the first man to defeat the great master. Along with his strength, he had an uncanny ability to spot and exploit any weakness in an opponent. He would wait for his opponent to make the first move, thus revealing a weakness, and then would strike with merciless force and lightning speed. No one had ever lasted with him in a match beyond the first move.

    Much against the advice of his concerned students, the old master gladly accepted the young warrior’s challenge. As the two squared off for battle, the young warrior began to hurl insults at the old master. He threw dirt and spit in his face. For hours he verbally assaulted him with every curse and insult known to mankind. But the old warrior merely stood there motionless and calm. Finally, the young warrior exhausted himself. Knowing he was defeated, he left feeling shamed.

    Somewhat disappointed that he did not fight the insolent youth, the students gathered around the old master and questioned him. “How could you endure such an indignity? How did you drive him away?”

    “If someone comes to give you a gift and you do not receive it,” the master replied, “to whom does the gift belong?”

    • magpie11 Says:

      It is a long time since I heard that story. Thank you.

      I take it that you are equating criticism with gifts? A point of view I would endorse.

      The trick or skill? To identify the gift within?

  4. Magpie 11 Says:

    There is always an alternate point of view to be considered: Perhaps there is a possibility that a criticism is offered and not acted upon so another, in the same vein , is offered and so forth.

    True criticism is rarely vindictive, or rarely starts out as such…. I find that this can change with the manner in which it is received and the nature of the reaction.

    There is no need for the conflict of criticism to become combative and thus harmful to both parties and those caught up in the wider net.

    So, Looney, you would immediately become combative. You act of squashing becomes a step in the conversion to status on Monster.

    As for face to face…. I see too many examples of that…. and the nuance of polite remarks can be very critical!

  5. Rummuser Says:

    I would say that the ant that Rumi refers to is the unsolicited criticism or disagreement. Mystics can be detached about it, nor mere mortals.

  6. magpie11 Says:

    Perhaps the unsolicited criticism from a stranger or true friend is to be treasured? The criticism from one with whom one is already in combative conflict is too easily either ill meant or seen as ill meant.

    And there are those who consider all criticism as ill meant. To this day there are those from whom “advice” is seen by me as negative criticism, as a result of constant put downs by my parents.

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