Spirituality and Conflict
I have spent much of my life avoiding conflict. Naively I thought that the more I meditated, studied, journaled, and prayed the less conflict I would encounter. Yet as I grow older and deepen in my practices it is clear that the opposite is true. Any spiritual practice that seeks to bring about peace is bound to reveal the non-peace that is within and around you.
Conflict would usually trigger deep feelings of guilt from within me. My mind would say, “If I were more spiritual I would not be having this conflict right now.” Believing this thought put me in conflict with conflict.
There is nothing more uncomfortable then standing still in the midst of conflict. But stillness is where our center is and where our power lies.
If we are still enough we can learn what conflict has to teach us: Conflict teaches us about the nature of assumptions which is how most conflicts arise. It can teach us how to listen so that we can hear the depth of the other person’s needs. But more importantly it can show us the depth of our caring and how caring is a reservoir of strength.
Today I spent six hours talking to the roofer, debating with neighbors, soothing my husband’s temper, writing emails, and even consulting an attorney. I did my practices too though. I breathed, I listened, I stayed in my center as best I could. On the outside it looked really messy, like any woman dealing with roofers, neighbors, husbands, and attorneys but on the inside I felt the depth of my caring for the roofer, for the neighbors, for my husband, and especially for myself .