Managing Conflict

While sitting in meditation one day the student implored his teacher
to take him to that place of perfect peace. 

The Master reflected for a moment and then solemnly
looked at his student and said,

“I can’t take you to that place of perfect peace because then it would no longer be peaceful.

Blessings!  I hope you had a chance to join me live this past Sunday on Facebook or YouTube  for our Spiritual Perspective session on Conflict.  Such a relevant topic in our world. I am pleased to bring you the recap today!

The world appears to have a great deal of conflict which is defined as a ‘serious disagreement or argument, typically which lasts a long time’. Some are ancient conflicts while others happened this morning. Whether ancient or fresh, there is definitely a lot of conflict in our world.

Conflict makes us miserable and causes catastrophic human suffering. Globally conflict is the source of wars, genocides, mass shootings and a far too long list of atrocities where humans harm humans, animals, and the earth.  On a personal level, conflict is the source of pain, fear, and aggression all which undergird addiction, depression, existential angst, and loneliness – just to name several. Conflict fills the news, is the basis of most water-cooler conversations and dominates family dinner table talk.

As spiritual seekers and evolving peacemakers, it seems valuable for us to explore the Spiritual Perspectives which will help to mitigate the pain and suffering all this conflict and drama inflicts. Let us take a closer look at:

  1. Resolving ancient conflicts.
  2. Avoiding new conflict.
  3. Dealing with conflict that shows up.
  4. Approaching conflict in the world.

Conflict appears to be an inevitable aspect of our lives as human beings.  I suggest that it is neither necessary nor inevitable.  I think rather a well etched habit bordering on addiction to drama. It IS possible to be a human living a conflict and drama-free life.  But it takes work!

Reading the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, one could deduce that God is the source of conflict with all the fire, stormy weather, flying frogs and smiting of people. One could deduce from the New Testament that God is the source of all love, compassion, and kindness. This is not the venue to explore the metaphysical meaning of the Bible – but for the purpose of this article, the egoic aspect of us, is the source of all conflict.  The Spirit of us is the source of all peace.  (We can argue this at some other time – smile).

Last week I quoted Rev.  Barker, author of the Power of Decision, as saying, “Problems will not improve you”.  There is a train of thought which suggests that there is a Divine intentionality behind life’s challenges and that there exists a Divine requirement for human suffering as a pathway to a happier life.  I boldly repudiate (I love this word) these ideas. In my experience I have grown, evolved, matured, and learned from every mistake. And I am grateful for the quality of God called Grace, which seems to have the intent and capacity to make right every crazy thing that I and my ego-gone-mad self has done over the years. Love, reconciliation, and rehabilitation are a blessing as we navigate this environment. I also know that as we release the hold of the ego during our journey and embrace the presence of the Divine within us, we make fewer mistakes and experience fewer problems.

God is not a problem maker.  We do create problems on our own, but this a temporary state which is corrected as we begin to live our lives from a spiritual perspective rather than the ego’s point of view. Until more of us are living spiritually, conflict will continue to be present in a plethora of forms.

This next Perspective might be challenging to accept so take a breath.  Conflict does not really exist in people, situations, or conditions.  The ONLY place that conflict and drama exists is within you. This is not to say that the situations and conditions do not exist nor that they might be emotional inducing situations and conditions.  What it does say  is that you are the author of your own book, the baker of your own cake and the author of your own interpretations and perspectives. A primary Spiritual Perspective everyone must embrace is the releasing of ‘victimhood’ while accepting full responsibility for life.  You are a mini-God and therefore master of your own universe and as God cannot be a victim, neither can you.  Conflict as a situational response is a choice not a fact.

Let us examine how we might bring Spiritual Perspectives to the conflicts we experience in our daily living.

1. Resolving ancient conflict

 Concerning deep-seated unresolved conflicts from the past, remember that the only place that the conflict exists is within you. For ancient grudges, resentments, and anger to still be affecting you after all this time, it must be living in you as a habitually recalled memory or a belief in its power to have a hold on your life. The Spiritual Perspective we bring to the past is always to just let it be.  Anything you can let be, can let you be. Everyone in your past, including you, did the best they could do at the time according to the then state of consciousness. Chances are that you aren’t remembering everything correctly anyway.  Just let it be.  You can from the power of your capacity to do so, declare that from this moment forward you are moving on with life.

2. Avoiding new conflict

  1. Declare yourself to be a drama-free zone and mean it. Can you do this unconditionally?
  2. Don’t engage in conflict creating activities or conversations. If necessary, turn off the news for a while.  Don’t tear down other people in your dialog with yourself or others.
  3. Become un-botherable. Through reflection, realization and practice you can achieve a state of ‘un-botherability”. It is possible to be so grounded and connected that anyone could tell you how ugly and stupid you are, and nothing would happen inside of you. This can be equally true when watching the news or responding to someone ranting and raving about the presidential election.
  4. You may not control the world and the people in it, but you have 100% control over you.

3. Dealing with conflict when it shows up

  1. Practice the principles of no-defense or attack. This means that whatever comes into your field of awareness, you have the capacity to do nothing. Attacking reveals fear and defense reveals inferiority. Remain still and composed. When someone says or does something you don’t like it is almost never about you. The ego is reactive, the Spirit responds.
  2. Do this exercise. Write on one side of a piece of paper “It’s not about me” and on the opposite write, “Tell Me More”. Whenever anyone triggers conflict in you that causes an attack or defense mode, hold the paper up with the “Tell me more” facing them. This is a very powerful way to not take things personally and to be interested in what is going on with others.

4. Ways of approaching conflict in the world

  1. Stop judging. You will never know the entire back story. Because of your own history and disposition, you make up stories and then jump on in with judgment. God does not judge us, and we are to not judge others. The Spiritual Perspective acknowledges that the universe is balanced and the consequence for all actions are automatic and don’t require our help. This called Karma or the Law of Cause and Effect. It works perfectly while we tend to miss the mark!
  2. Have compassion for the lack of understanding by everyone. When the ego oversees a situation it is never good. When people know better, they will do things differently. There was a time you didn’t know better, and a lot of people still don’t.
  3. Unconditional Peace asks that we not allow anything to rob us of the peace within us. This word ‘unconditional’ should be taken literally. It is a good word to use with love as well.
  4. NOMBA stands for “not my business anyway”. This has served my peace of mind well over the years. There is nothing you can do to make someone else be what you want them to be, be where you want them to be or be how you want them to be. Keep your nose out of affairs of others. This alone will eliminate a lot of conflict inside you!

We end today with a perspective on what we should as evolving peacemakers do when we witness conflict happening? When I say conflict doesn’t exist in the world, I do not mean that there is nothing for you and I to do to make the world a better place.  Just standing by while people are injured is not okay! There are plenty of situations which require evolving peacemakers to step in and do the loving thing. But the things that you do will be most useful if you are devoid of judgment, condemnation, and anger. It is possible once you are conflict free inside of yourself, to approach all situations with compassion, kindness, and a spiritual intent to heal and reconcile. Much like God!

We have tried it the other way.  The egos perspective of an eye for an eye leaves us all blind and perpetuates the endless suffering on our planet for people, animals, and the earth.  It may be way of the ego to win and be right at any cost but that is a learned habitual behavior which can be transcended.  We can become inclusive, loving, and helpful people even to the people who we don’t particularly like. The ego will tell you that doing this will be your demise because then you will lose, have fewer toys, less respect, money, and power. This is simply not true.

Your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health will benefit when you become a drama-free zone where conflict simply plays no part in your inner landscape. And the world will become an infinitely more loving place for all.

"I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could've been any clearer
If they want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change."
~ Lyrics by Michael Jackson

So ends today’s Spiritual Perspective on Conflict.  Join me this coming Sunday for our Spiritual Perspective on Personal Values. ~ Love, Rev. D

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