Human beings are all different. Difference provides tremendous opportunity for us to learn from each other. However, difference often can lead to stress and unhappiness. We deal with our differences in different ways. Most of the conflicts between ourselves and others can be resolved by practicing the strategy "do not enter the fight." The quote from Chapter 68 of the Dao De Jing is:
the person who excels in defeating his enemy does not enter the fight.
On this July 4th, I went to Central Park to practice. About 20 minutes into my training, I saw a tennis ball fly by to my left and heard a lady yelling, “Go get it, baby!" I realized that she was playing with her dog. She threw the ball again, and as it flew to my right it almost hit my head. She said “sorry” but continued to throw the ball towards me, even though she could have thrown in any other direction.
I was annoyed briefly. Then I reminded myself of this quote from Dao De Jing, and said to myself, "Let me move to another location nearby so she can continue to spend time with her dog, and I will cultivate my energy, tranquility, and happiness by simply moving. This way, the lady and I (and her dog!) were all happy and enjoyed our time at the park.
I shared this story with students in the Sunday class in NYC, and one participant asked, "Does that mean you lost your ground? I think that I did not lose any ground. Instead, I gained a ground, my happiness and tranquility.