Conflict comes in all shapes and sizes, forms and fashions. From personal to global, systemic to environmental, conflict is a part of life. It may even seem conflict is what makes life what it is. You may need conflict to show you a new perspective or use it to help you grow. Conflict can help you discover your emotions and develop compassion. Or, it can disintegrate your strength and test your faith.
Conflict is all around you. From weeds in your garden competing for soil, water and sunlight, to balancing your needs with the needs of your family. There a many ways conflict can express itself in your life:
Responsibility and happiness
Beliefs and values
Faith and evidence
Spirituality and ego
Emotional or psychological illness
Acts of terrorism
How you deal with this conflict will depend on how much you have a hand in it, or play a part in it, and how closely it affects you and your family.
When you are directly responsible for the conflict you are facing, you can find peace by doing everything in your power to reconcile it. You may not be able to fix the issues at hand, especially if the other players are not interested in a peaceful or impartial resolution. But you can pride yourself on taking responsibility for your role in the matter, and doing everything you can to amend it. Peace comes when you focus on noble actions, not favorable outcomes.
When you are not directly responsible for the conflict in your life, and someone else has brought trouble to your doorstep, you will have to dig deeper to find your sense of inner peace. Feeling trespassed against can be a vulnerable and violating experience. One from which there may be no immediate escape. But you can face the reality that your path has brought you an opportunity to find love, compassion, forgiveness and faith in the face of adversity. Take this chance and become the quiet eye in the storm, until it eventually passes.
Conflict that has a direct impact on you hits home and hits hard. It may feel like the weight of this conflict crushes down on you and you struggle with every breath. But again, when you are the first line of defense, you can confront the trouble and create a foundation of peace to build off of.
When another feels the impact of conflict, it compounds the issues and makes the road to peace harder to navigate for everyone. You must deal with any discomfort you feel in witnessing someone or something you care for endure hardship, while at the same time providing them a sense of peace and comfort in their own battle to find serenity.
What helps me through my personal conflict is my understanding of the connection between spiritual turmoil and secular strife. I know that when someone is abusing or attacking me, they are in pain too. No matter the beliefs, a mind at peace won’t lead a body into violence; not even psychological or emotional violence. Conflict is born of an uneasy mind and spirit. I take this into account when I put my peacemaking into action.
So, how can you deal with conflict not just theoretically, but in the real world?
Go to your spiritual texts. Read and absorb the messages of your faith. Take them into your heart and know them in your waking life.
Speak with purveyors of the messages of your belief system and ask for their guidance. Let them bless you with their wisdom and share their life challenges.
Ask for guidance, assistance and peaceful feelings from your Higher Power. Pray for peace of mind and love for those you are in conflict with, as well. Know that they are hurting, too.
Meditation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, deep breathing and even just sitting in stillness — especially in nature — will help you tune into the vibrations and messages of both heaven and earth. Be quiet, and listen.
Tribal dancing, celestial celebrations, formal dance classes and dance fitness clear the mind of worrisome thought, help decompress from stress, improve mood and make you smile. Break a sweat and get into shape while getting out of your funk.
There’s nothing trivial about artistic pursuit in times of conflict. Many cities commissioned works of art during the Great Depression to keep spirits high and keep men working. Take up painting, ceramics, drawing, sewing, graphic design or even writing. Find something you feel passionate about creating and admiring. The hours will wash away the worry, even just for those moments.
Conflict is part of life you won’t likely escape from. But how you deal with conflict will show your true colors. If you face it and take responsibility where it’s yours, process your emotions and find faith where it touches your life, conflict will seem like less of a burden and more of a message.
Families are closely affected in times of conflict no matter how big or small. The best motivation in finding a sense of peace amidst the chaos of life is the welfare of your family. Keeping those you love in high spirits, and keeping faith at the forefront will help you build a sanctuary where peacefulness reigns. And even the conflict brewing within it cannot survive in the love and light your faith and family shower upon it. Conflict cannot live where there is only room for peace.