Nonduality in workplace conflicts

workplace conflict between two people
(Image credit: iStock)

I’ll tell you a story which happened to me a few days back. This is a story from my workplace. And it implements the teachings of non-duality. I think it’s very interesting. Read on…

A few days back I wrote some code and submitted the pull request. The pull request was reviewed by lots of reviewers, out of which one reviewer commented that your pull request commit messages are not good. I saw his comment and then saw my commit history. I noticed that the messages in the commit history were not that descriptive. I thought, perhaps the commit history should be a better message. But I also felt that no one reads the commit history, especially in our team, such is the workflow. You write code, make pull requests, send a pull request, and request reviews, reviewer reviews the entire code and then puts their review comments. I hadn’t seen this anywhere before that the commit history is being reviewed. So, I found this a bit strange. Why did the reviewer say that the commit history messages should be better? Especially, because the commit history does not come in our workflow.

I then felt that this reviewer probably had regarded writing good commit history messages as important. The recommendation must have been received from somewhere else. And they’re looking to implement the recommendation in our team’s workflow. We don’t know whether that recommendation applies to our workflow. After thinking about all this, I felt that I should tell this to the reviewer, and then close his comment. But something was bothering me about this choice. It seemed to me that what I am doing is probably not right. That’s why I stopped that moment and then did one thing which I learned in the teachings of non-duality.

Nonduality states that your thoughts and feelings are different from you. Your mind, your body, and your environment are all in your awareness. But your identity is not in them. Your identity is rather in your awareness. It is also recommended in the practices of Nonduality to not identify with your mind and your body, as they are mere tools and vehicles to you. A better understanding of yourself come from your awareness.

So, I thought why not implement this in my current workplace conflict situation? I noted that my mind is recommending I go back to the reviewer and tell them why their review is wrong. But my feeling was telling me, this is not right, there is something wrong with this. I had a choice now, I, who is different from his thoughts or feeling, can decide what to do. After that, I said, what other options do I have in responding to this situation? And at the same time, I also watched my mind carefully as I considered implementing the suggestion of the reviewer in my workflow. What is the harm? I found out that if I changed my workflow, that would cause some disruption. And what about the habit of not writing good commit messages? By changing the habit of writing more descriptive commit messages, I felt I might benefit. Then I asked, is this so difficult? Can I change this habit of mine? Where did this habit come from? Should this habit be improved? I started the introspection.

After asking myself all these questions, my mind gave me a different answer this time — that their recommendation should indeed be taken and commit messages should be better. As soon as I thought of this, I felt very good. I decided that this was the right solution. I fixed the commit message at once, decided to change my workflow to write better commit messages, and told the reviewer, look, I have changed the commit messages as you said. The reviewer was very happy. I was happy too. And what could have worsened the situation, got resolved. I was very impressed with myself. At the moment, by using the practices of Nonduality, I came up with a better solution, which benefited both of us.

So, this is my message to all of you: in your workplace conflict situations, take note of what your ego says. It will give you some suggestions which might not be the best ones. If you create a little distance from your ego and use it as a tool, then you can use your mind to generate better ideas, and solutions to implement. My best to you. Thank you.

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