Aikido teachers advise us not to look directly into the eyes of an opponent. O-Sensei cautioned that an opponent could steal your spirit if you lock into eye contact. Instead, we are told to expand the scope of vision from the center of the opponent's chest, so that we see everything, yet are focused on nothing in particular.
These are two poles of vision. On the one hand we focus down to a fine point and lock onto a spot, eyes, sword, grab, striking hand, and so forth. On the other hand we widen the field of vision to include everything in a sort of dynamic tableaux.
In everyday life we use a variety of perceptual collectors: vision, smell, touch, and listening. Listening in this case is more than just "hearing," it is the active assignment of meaning to what is heard. In everyday listening, just as in Aikido, we can telescope our perceptual focus down to a tiny point, or expand it to take in a wide spectrum of data.
Mood can predispose our vision, and listening, to one or the other of these poles. For instance, a peevish or resentful mood can cause our attention to snag on a spoken word or phrase to the exclusion of all else. Then, if we react, it is often an angry response triggered by our narrowly focused listening, uninformed by any other data. Misunderstandings often result.
At the other end, we may perceive an aggressive move by another, say, a snarky comment. At such a time, inhabiting a mood of generosity and compassion may widen our scope of vision and listening beyond the grab of the words, however hurtful. By relaxing and not focusing on the grab we are free to take in a wider range of data, which may include a reading of the mood of the other.
At times like these wider vision and listening can enable us to have more choices than we might with a smaller perceptual vocus. Wider perception is an opportunity we create on purpose through cultivating an open, relaxed mood. It can reveal additional options, such as simply walking away and declining the invitation to fight.
If we can widen, or narrow, our perceptual bandwidth by virtue of the mood we adopt, and if cultivating wider vision and listening can put us in touch with more choices for constructive behavior, then it makes sense to practice adopting physical moods in conflict situations that facilitate a wider perceptual bandwidth.
This may not be something mortal humans can do every time, but if the practice of managing and shifting mood to enable wider "vision" results in one less stupid fight per month maybe it's worth the effort.