Can We Sort This Conflict Out?
By Neil Millar
As the old saying goes 'More people fall out over politics and religion than anything else.' And it was this prospect that brought spice to the invitation I received to go along to a discussion involving four local leaders, looking to create greater community cohesion.
We don't have to look too far to see conflict. Put on the TV, pick up a newspaper, listen to musical lyrics, children or neighbours. Shall we go into Iran? Where's all our water going? Who pinched the toy? Who killed who, who slept with who, and so on.
Wherever there is conflict there is separation - division. When we conflict we fail to understand. When we fail to understand we get hostile. When we get hostile we damage the cells in our body, we become ill, sometimes cancerous and we lash out and cause even more damage. And if we know all of this, then why on earth after thousands of years of evolution are we still getting upset over piddly little things, like I'm right, so you must be wrong?
Who cares what's right and wrong? I'm me, you are you, we're both human. Let's see where we can agree and discover the opportunity for us both on the issue we can't see eye-to-eye on.
All of which sounds fine, but what happens when someone won't agree with you?
This is where I found myself this week: someone playing hardball, using underhanded methods and seeking to score points in the most damaging ways.
So what do you do?
Acknowledge them. Accept that if you'd had their life, their disappointments, they're hardship, you'd have their attitude and their belief system and being doing the same. Also take note that this person is going through stress and strain to help you identify who and what you are in the moment. But be aware that although you acknowledge these things, you do not have to fuel their internal conflict or become victim.
For me, the result of my trouble this week, using the above method, was that the persons aggression melted. Their aggression was met with love and stillness and found nothing on which to continue to fuel it's personal separation.
They learned what they needed without me getting upset and they now have the choice: to learn from the experience and seek peace or continue on a path of self-destruction.
And while writing this, a young girl began screaming and crying and her mother began shouting at her in frustration. I went out and offered my help (to carry shopping bags, or play with the kid for a minute). Immediately the girl stopped crying. Immediately the mother calmed herself and they went home together more calmly, ore at peace, more at one. I hope I brought them the loving expression they needed at the time they could not find it within themselves.
But what about this gathering of local leaders, I mentioned at the top?
It interested me immensely that the more orthodox religions came prepared and gripping notes and that the New Age and Holistic representatives came seemingly unprepared.
It interested me because some of us grip to beliefs that served us once before. Like these leaders, gripping their notes, some of us grip onto life. We do what we've always done, believe what we've always believed and never break the mould.
While others, as expressed by the New Agers and Holistic-spirituality, have a view that we don't necessarily know what's right, that old behaviour might not now best serve us and that we're not necessarily experts on anything.
Am I saying one leader got it right and one got it wrong. Not necessarily. We are what we are, but what we can do is avoid making each other feel wrong by imposing our view upon others.
There may be times when we will need the security of something to grip to and there will be times when we crave the variety. Our role is to find the path brings us the most joy in the moment. And rarely do we find conflict on that path.
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This article was posted by Neil Fellowes