Timely topic right now? Certainly, as much as it was when the book by Gary Simmons was written 18 years ago. The conflict we experience is not always with others. We experience conflict within ourselves on a variety of levels such as:
- When our creativity is stifled by our dutiful nature or rigid beliefs about what we “should” do. Ahh! The power of the “should”!
- Internal conflict is also manifested when our health habits do not reflect our innate knowledge of what is best for us.
- Conflict with the clock is evidenced when we are over-scheduled or chronically late or behind on projects.
- Conflicts exist in our work worlds whenever we are out of touch and therefore out of sync with our true calling, or when we over-identify our worth with how we make a living.
- With finances, we may feel like we have less money than we have, or more money than we have, and end up in conflict with our bank account.
- Or how about the conflict of wanting a friend or a partner but not being one?
The notion of conflict coming to us rather than from us is to be lovingly challenged. Being gentle with ourselves, we can develop a list of internal conflicts and utilize spiritual practices to gain awareness and begin to make changes. Spiritual practices do not just yield states of feeling. They yield ways of being. What a comfort it is to know that meditation produces a clear mind and prayer produces an open heart so conflict can be embraced, examined, and utilized to move towards serenity and synchronicity with our true nature.
Of course, there is also conflict with others that often stems from judgment, misperceptions, and unmet expectations. But the conflict still tracks back to being internal. Judgment is about the one doing the judging rather than the one being judged. Or the individual may be experiencing the lack of something, most often the characteristic about which the judgment is occurring. As the author points out, misperception occurs when seeing is believing, rather than believing is seeing. The idea of believing is seeing is akin to the familiar phrase “Change your thinking change your life.”
Changing the way we think about conflict changes the very nature of conflict itself. How empowering and comforting all at once.