This was first published in my eZine, Resolve, in March 2011
by Gay Landeta
Conflict. While many of us avoid it, if at all possible, it can play an enormous part in our personal and spiritual growth. The challenge is to utilize its growth-full properties instead of its dividing qualities.
So how to do that?
First we need to understand conflict a little better. I like this description from Transformational Kinesiology. It originates from The Science of Becoming Oneself by Torkom Saraydarian and discusses the causes of conflict:
“…we will find conflict starts when:
- A new energy, thought or idea clashes with the old obsolete one
- People feel dissatisfaction with the current economic, social, religious, or scientific conditions (as new and better conditions arise)
- An advanced person enters our ranks and disturbs the calm and peaceful waters in which we are floating innocently or sinfully. We find in literature of olden days great disciples were often called troublemakers, this is true in every age.
I love the truth of that. Conflict with / from others is often the result of new ways clashing with the old. This shakes us up and if we are open enough creates change.
By looking at the situation, by being open to the lessons of growth, we can cope with the changes that conflict brings and even embrace them. Openness allows us to listen to others perspective and communicate our concerns more easily. For example, an argument with a loved one can result in creating a plan to change something that isn’t working. If we stay open to new ideas.
Saraydarian goes on to say
“conflict also takes place in ourselves, sometimes because of spiritual thirst, or as a result of the call from our Soul. ”
Internal conflict can be even more difficult to come to terms with. The duality of our nature means that we can hold several conflicting truths at one time and, at times, they come crashing together. When this happens we tend to want to justify and rationalize what we believe in or what we WANT to believe in to stay feeling good about ourselves and our choices. Have you noticed how it is possible to justify almost anything?!
Once again, by being open to the duality of our nature and being willing to listen to our inherent craziness we can pull these conflicting beliefs apart and chose those that feel congruent and are growth-full rather than limiting.
What about when we shut down and become unable to be open to a difficult situation or a conflicted emotional place? We could be seeing that conflict as an attack, whether is was intended that way or not. The difficulty is that once we perceive we are attacked we are waiting for the Sabre Tooth Tiger to jump. Once we are in ‘fight or flight’ finding the real truth in the situation becomes nigh on impossible.
Saraydarian differentiates the two, conflict and attack, by looking at the motives behind them. He says conflict is always growth-full while attack is fuelled by ‘”limiting, materializing, isolating, selfish and dark forces”. I think that sums up how it can feel. Dark. Isolating. Alone and very limited. We have all been there.
Stepping out of it. While letting go of an attack can, at times, need the support of a good therapist to release patterns, develop new skills, create healthy boundaries, etc (growth-full in itself!): many others can be transformed into an opportunity to grow through using the following techniques.
1. Often a good place to start is recognising the judgements you are imposing on the situation. How much of your position is justified by the story you tell yourself? ‘I should be, they should be, it has to be, I have to, they must…’ This type of language creates fundamental beliefs that are hard to shift. Try replacing ‘should, has to, must, etc’ with could; ‘I could, they could, you could, it could be that’ as you read those statements notice how less constrictive they feel. And the opposite to constrictive? Openness.
2. Grab a journal and write it out. Many find exploring the issue, the conflicted thoughts and feelings of a situation, defuses the emotions and takes them to a point where the care factor has diminished to very little or even nothing. It just doesn’t matter so much.
3. Laugh about it. Be open to laughing at that stubborn little personality that you are. That we all are! Laughing in itself is a very opening practice. And if laughter is a little tricky google Laughter Yoga. A group meets in New Farm park each Saturday at 10 at the Rotunda.
4. Spiritual practice, yoga, meditations and such, can raise our energy and provide much needed clarity.
5. Being with people we love, having a cuddle or just doing stuff we love can shift the way we look at things quite dramatically.
6. Nature, walks, exercise.
7. Even chocolate!
Practice openness in your life. Practice new viewpoints and different perspectives. Bring in regular practices that raise your energy and bring lightness to all aspects of your life. And notice how much less conflict, within and without, you feel.
And, importantly, if these do not work then do seek out someone to help you through it. That conflict you feel or are experiencing could be the doorway to a whole new way of being. You just need to find the doorway!
This Month’s Resolve: I create my outcome!
copyright 2011 Gay Landeta. All rights reserved.