• To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.

    - Buddha
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The Wisdom of Conflict

Do you avoid conflict? Does your throat tighten-up when facing confrontations or do you tolerate other people’s emotional outbursts in the name of ‘peace’?

If this sounds like you then read on, perhaps there is a way to turn conflict into your best opportunity…

It is only through the understanding of conflict that you can realize your best opportunity in life.

Let me explain. When facing a conflict your fight or flight response is signaled and most of us then start exposing our fears and vulnerabilities because you end up acting out your deeper issues.

Turning conflict into your best opportunity means to learn how to override your fight or flight response and to shine by expressing your virtues in that given moment.

It’s an opportunity to express the best part of yourself and if you will allow me to say… even express the highest part of yourself.

Conflict is both a verb and noun; an action and state. It describes a collision or disagreement, a fight, battle, or struggle, even a prolonged struggle within yourself. Certainly conflict is not something that most look forward to.

Seizing your best opportunity and learning how to override your fight or flight response requires the knowledge of the secret side of conflict. There is an unknown purpose to conflict that has only been shared in the major esoteric circles and I am sharing it with you today.

What I am about to share will sound controversial to most, which is why it has to be said:

Spiritual growth doesn’t come by seeking to avoid conflict. Spiritual growth is the act of consciously overcoming our basic will to survive.

Yes. You read this correctly—I wrote overcoming our basic will to survive.

Before you laugh at this notion of acting against our survival instincts, please let me clarify .

It is in the face of conflict that most make a choice for survival that is usually based on his or her first state of consciousness. However, if a choice is made that supersedes your first state of consciousness then you move forward in your psychological development and perhaps your spiritual growth, which can only be expressed or explained as an opening of your heart, or, as Love. Real Love.

Perhaps you’re wondering What is the first state of consciousness?

A decision or action from the first state of consciousness comes from personalities that we all developed to survive when we were completely dependent as children. I like to call these survival companions my survival-psyche.

The instinctive impulse is your survival impulse. Whether aggressive (like screaming or having a tantrum in public) or passive (like agreeing to something that you don’t want to do), these first impulses are ways that people have learned to deal with conflict to provide for and protect themselves. Childhood is when all of us learn how to tell a lie in order to avoid punishment or to act a certain way and to like certain things in order to be loved, to feel loved and protected by family, friends and the world at large.

This is why Good People Sometimes Do Bad or Downright Stupid Things because they are making choices from their survival-psyche that developed from when they were children.

Let’s say that you are in a conflict at this very moment. This shouldn’t be a stretch for most of us: You have experienced the conflictual nature of your thoughts and desires and their outcomes as you go about from day-to-day.

You have certainly experienced conflicts specifically with friends and family and randomly with strangers as you live your life.

Perhaps you had a morning squabble with your spouse. Or you’re afraid to tell your boss that their behavior is offensive. Or you want to end a friendship because your values do not align. Certainly the recession and the massive lay offs have been a huge catalyst for stress and creating more struggle and conflict.

There is no argument that conflict is inherent to the planet, it has always been observed in the natural world and is a long thread in the quilt of our history. Your choices and actions in the face of conflict are indications of:

1.  your issues

2.  your fears

3.  your vulnerabilities and

4.  also your virtues in that given moment.

For most people choices are really fearful reactions, rather than expressions from your heart. A fearful reaction will indicate your issues and fears. This can be anything from believing that you aren’t good enough, not having trust and faith in yourself to the fear of being suffocated by the needs of others.

Vulnerabilities are usually hidden behind an armor of thickened skin and it is in conflict and under stress that we get a glimpse of how sensitive someone may be about the shape of their bodies, their background or even the color of their skin.

However it is in a conflict that we can be empowered by our virtues and experience growth.

The instinct to survive is powerful. Conflict is a necessary program in all of creation that supports the continuance of the differing species. Male lions wrestle it out over territory and the right to mate with the pride. Even weeds have the instinct to survive by choking the roots of the plants around in order to have all the soil and sunshine to themselves.

Survival instincts have supported the progress of humanity without it I’m afraid we wouldn’t be here today. Without the will to live most of us wouldn’t make it past the first week of life.

However if left unchecked most people’s survival instinct will lead them down a dark path—the path of fear. 

For instance, let’s say while in a public restroom you find a travel bag with exactly $5,000 in cash and you have just been laid off from your job. It’s a miracle! A gift from the Universe—wow, the law of attraction must really be working. The impulse to take the cash and leave the bag supports your survival. Biologically you are making the best choice, right?!

But you hesitate because something doesn’t feel right. Internal conflict indicates that something is amiss; perhaps another choice would support a higher interest. If you attempt to return the bag and its contents then you are overcoming your first state of consciousness and putting your survival at risk because it can take months to find new employment and your cash flow is going to dwindle. Returning the bag to the owner is honest and liberates you from your survival-psyche but endangers your welfare – a dilemma since you know to respect your first state of consciousness as your biological protector.

However, by relating to the anonymous owner you acknowledge that if it were your money you would want it to be returned. So you choose to return the bag regardless of the assessment that the owner of the bag is well off and won’t miss the money.  You make a choice that appears to oppose your survival-psyche but it empowers your integrity and will open your heart to opportunities that you wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise.

Perhaps your divine nature to be conflictual should be understood as having two separate purposes:

First, as a valuable biological tool that keeps you alive in service of your genes and second, as a psycho-spiritual springboard to know yourself and evolve beyond your survival-psyche or dark survival companions.

Being in some sort of conflict is a normal life process. It is only through understanding that conflict has a dual purpose that you will have the experience of what the great mystics call integration. Becoming highly conscious during conflict is the healing elixir to your fears and traumas.

It is the dark survival companions from your pasts that ultimately expose the intimate weaknesses that allow you to negotiate your personal peace and world peace.

Fully realizing a dark survival companion that shapes your emotions in conflict reveals your inherent weaknesses. Peace is Love and respect for your inherent weaknesses.

In the world of Nature everything is made up of opposites. We have night to balance the day. We seek heat when it gets too cold. Summer is for play while winter gives us rest. Nature loves to create in the name of opposition—opposition is conflict–but in the natural world opposition is often understood as being complementary. Whether you see the opposition or the complementary forces there is always two sides to a coin.

Lets look at conflict as having two sides…

Conflict could be understood as a biological program in Nature that exists to not only ensure humanity’s survival but also to steer humanity’s development and spiritual growth.

Spiritual growth is the act of being enlarged with wisdom, to put it another way, to be at peace according to the true process of the divine within you.

Take a moment to consider how your darker survival companions are inhibiting habits that supported you in the first phase of your development but now oppose your personal and spiritual growth.

How do my survival instincts oppose my growth? By either being concerned with only:

1.  your own well-being

2.  by feeling sorry for yourself for what seems unfair

3.  by selling your integrity and your vision for comfort and security, or

4.  by suspecting that you aren’t good enough to accomplish anything on your own.

Many more than these four formidable oppositions exist to prevent the empowerment of your whole self.

It is very isolating to be concerned with only your own well-being and incredibly exhausting to those around you. This is living your life through the eyes of a two year old but we see it in tv dramas, with our friends and neighbors and even in politics today. Whereas feeling sorry for yourself for what seems unfair is completely draining, it depresses your whole body, it depresses your immune system, it depresses your loved ones and you are barely engaging in life because you act as if you’re a victim.

Then there are those that will sell their integrity and dreams for comfort and security. Often you don’t even know that you’re doing it until it is too late and by then you’ve compromised yourself to such a degree that your heart has to completely shut down. This sometimes happens when we don’t feel that we are good enough to accomplish anything on our own.

So I will ask you: Is there a better way to encourage your spiritual progress than to make transcendent choices in the face of conflict? To make a choice that overcomes your first state of consciousness? To make choices that overcome fear?

The basis of the conclusion that conflict has a dual purpose, first, for survival and second, to usurp the agenda of your survival-psyche sounds contradictory. In the most linear way it is true that conflict’s dual purpose appears to be in opposition with one another.

Let’s re-cap with this one thought: Integration does not come when you seek it by avoiding conflict.

In the words of the late Indian mystic Krishnamurti:

It is only through the understanding of conflict that there is integration. A complete unification of your whole being in all that you do, in all that you say, in all that you think.

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(Please do not use any part of this post without written permission.)

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