Twenty years ago I began to practice a concept of finding hidden places within that needed to be healed.
It was overwhelming to consider that I might have something to do with the people that got on my nerves. One of the worst side effects of this was I could no longer take a vacation to get away from annoying people. No matter where I went, there I was.
It scares me when someone, or we as a society, points a finger outward. You people, those people, that one–you are our problem. Without you, the world would be so much better. We have reached the source of what is wrong, and it is you. There is something that aches within me because if I am the you, there is no cause for celebration. There is no relief.
In spite of our desire to push away the cruelty in the world, the real compulsion still remains hidden. People decide, often unconsciously, to damage or destroy someone else in the hope of feeling better.
There are times when I suffer. I feel misunderstood, afraid, attacked, annoyed, confused, disconnected, embarrassed, heartbroken, and vulnerable. I feel like this when my needs are not met. I point a finger to the one who I have fooled myself into believing has been the source of my agony. I beat with my fists to correct the wrong that has been done to me. Now things will be better. It relieves me temporarily. I can clearly see what is wrong with the world in them, but I miss what is wrong with me.
This has become my practice when I want to have more connection, instead of conflict. I’m looking for some company. Would you join me? Next time you suffer because of what someone else has done, do something different. When you must act,do this. Ask yourself, How am I doing the same thing? When have I done the same thing in the past? What good might this behavior or action have provided for me and might it be providing for this person now?
My behavior may look a little different, but I can transfer the concept from one situation to another. I can change the color of my house from tan to gray and still recognize this is where I live.
Hurtful behavior and violence are outward expressions of inner, unresolved suffering. To continue to respond in the same way perpetuates a vicious cycle that will never end unless we do something different. It’s a vicious cycle that we have the power to change.
My hope is that I and now you, will no longer be aware of a conflict without wondering from where inside this arises. There are no more vacations to get away from horrid people, because no matter where I go, I take myself. Me–the one I know and trust–who is not horrid, but merely suffering.
Each time I bring love and compassion inside, it transforms my suffering. Little by little my heart softens and I am free of one more misunderstanding. How am I doing the same thing right now? When have I done the same thing in the past? What good might this be providing this person or what good did it provide for me at the time? I commit myself, that there will be one less conflict in the world. I start with me.
From this place of compassion, I know I have already changed my world and I’m much less likely to want to poke someone’s eye out which will likely change theirs, too. I’ve also noticed that the next time around, that same behavior doesn’t trigger me.
It’s a beautiful world. How do you manage conflict?
Sharing more of the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, faithfulness, and goodness that’s in you with the world.
Image credit: Eilidh Gill