The first question:
It is all jolly fine for everyone to do their thing but what should be an attitude when our “things” conflict? I am always giving in for the sake of harmony and to do one’s thing under constant threat takes the joy out of it. But harmony is not in itself my thing.
First, if conflict is your thing then let it be so. Then don’t try to impose any false harmony on top of it because false harmony will never be true, it will never be satisfying. It is ugly. A true conflict is beautiful – more beautiful, far more beautiful than an imposed harmony, because deep down the conflict continues. You are deceiving nobody, you only think you are deceiving. The reality cannot be deceived and you have to suffer the consequences.
If conflict is your thing then let it be so. That is the message of Tao. It has nothing to do with harmony, it has to do with let-go. If conflict is your thing and you allow it, then that is harmony for you – because you will be in harmony with your nature.
It is difficult because you immediately make ideals. You think Tao is harmony. It is, but not as an ideal. When you relax and you do your thing – whatsoever it is, mind you, whatsoever, I say – then you are in harmony.
So the first thing is that you are not to impose anything upon yourself otherwise you miss the path of Tao.
“It is all jolly fine for everyone to do their thing but what should be an attitude when our ‘things’ conflict?” Let there be conflict. Whatsoever happens, happens. What can you do? The conflict has to be accepted with great respect. You would like to have no conflict but this liking is your ego. If God wills the conflict to be there then it has to be that way. Relax and let the conflict be there.
To move on the path of Tao is to move relaxedly. Whatsoever happens, there should be a total acceptance of it – both of the act and of the consequence. If the conflict brings misery then that has to be accepted. You have to flow with the river wherever it leads. If it goes south, good; if it goes north, good; if it does not go anywhere, good; if it drowns you, good. This is total trust.