I have had many clients come into my office and talk about how the current political and social climate has directly or indirectly affected them.
Regardless of their personal beliefs, the seemingly endless and omnipresent conflict wears them down. Many clients want to withdraw into their own world and get away from it all.
This makes sense; it is a basic survival mechanism to avoid conflict and seek refuge.
However, this approach does nothing to resolve the conflict.
As in, as without
“Who am I to solve this national conflict? He is much older than me!” it’s a common feeling.
It can be very difficult to imagine yourself trying to solve the problems of the country or the world. For most of us, it’s beyond our reach.
But this does not mean that we are powerless to do anything.
“As above, so below, within, without, as the universe, so the soul…”
I advise you where you have a conflict and how you resolve this conflict. Is there a part of yourself that you just can’t stand? A part you don’t trust or hate? Where is that part of you, let him take a word A Few Good Men“You don’t like to talk at parties?”
The way we can affect change outside of us is to start fighting change within ourselves. As a quote attributed to Gandhi says, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Internal conflict resolution
This is where the practice of meditation can be of great benefit. Meditation invites us to see what is happening without judgment. When we don’t, an internal conflict arises.
Where you contradict yourself, you contradict yourself. Fighting with yourself is a surefire way to deepen an existing separation.
Instead, invite all parties to the proverbial table. When you witness what is happening, it becomes easier to come up with a solution that is actually useful. As long as you argue with yourself, you will never win.
As you can understand where each side of yourself comes from, you can understand and tend to your deeper needs.
When I was in my early 20s, I found myself at the height of a long-standing internal conflict. On the one hand, I wanted to be considered cool and accepted by my peers, and so I took actions that hurt another aspect of myself. This other side of me was the rule-following, do-as-you-are-told, be-a-good-boy side of me. One night in particular, I found myself pacing back and forth in my apartment, arguing with myself out loud. I’m glad no one else was around – I’m sure I must have looked crazy.
After about half an hour of both sides arguing nervously, what dawned on me was that both sides were trying to be liked and feel safe. They had very different ways of achieving this goal, which led to their argument.
Focusing on peer acceptance would put me in a difficult position, I felt it would make me feel alienated and alone, and the rule follower was sure to never go exploring, which would make me feel alienated and alone.
When I understood the deeper intention of each side within me, I was able to understand the root of the problem. It wasn’t about whether I followed the rules or not. It was about feeling part of the community and being true to myself.
This is how it helps
As you resolve your inner conflict, you won’t suddenly wake up to the news that world peace has been found. However, some things will happen.
- You will travel the world more peacefully and naturally spread that peace abroad
- As you deal with conflict within yourself, it becomes easier to manage conflict outside of you. The easier it is to resolve the conflict between you and the other person as you search and uncover what the underlying issues are
- Because you are part of the human consciousness, when you change your state, you have a subtle but important influence on all people, which subconsciously helps push the needle further in the direction of communication and cooperation.
Still, working through your own inner conflict won’t suddenly rid the world of discord. However, this will create a space of collaboration and deep understanding that will have a cumulative effect. Collaboration will help us all to sit down with someone on the opposite end of the social or political spectrum and bridge that divide.