Dealing With Conflict

Perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of spiritual growth is understanding how to react to conflict. Conflict can come from many sources, but most often I am speaking in terms of either personal relationships or inner turmoil over some outside influence and a decision to be made as a result. How must you react, in either situation, for both your own best interest and the best interest of others? The best react is often no reaction.

While this may sound as a passive approach, it is actually the most aggressive approach one can take to find the end of the struggle more quickly. In the case of personal relationship conflict, we must understand that we are mostly energy. The affects of our mind and our vibration on our environment are far great than the affect of our physical bodies. We share energy constantly. In fact, often times if we are within several dozen feet of another person, we can be said to be included in the boundaries of that person’s energy field. When I speak of a person’s energy field, I am referring to a shell of radiating energy that emits from each person. This energy is present at all times, and is the reason we can often feel that someone we know well is in a poor mood or is going through strife. Because of this energy field, we must be constantly aware that we are both giving energy signals that can be picked up by others and also receiving energy being sent by others. Understanding this is key to understanding what to do next. So, let’s consider an example. You come home and your significant other is at home. Something seems odd about his/her mood. Your significant other may even show hostility towards you, of which you may or may not be the cause. Commonly, we react angrily in these situations because our natural egoic reaction is to feel offended and take a defensive position. This almost always creates a situation where you now have two competing egos, each wanting to be heard by the other, and neither particularly caring to listen. Often when this happens, and the argument has subsided, you may not even remember what the cause of the fight was. Otherwise, you may remember it and now view it as trivial. At this point, the ego has exhausted itself in the fight, and present awareness has taken over instead. Think of this as similar to “buyer’s remorse,” where the ego creates a rush of adrenaline that causes one to make an ill-advised purchase, only to regret that decision once the ego is satisfied and once again relaxed. Well, in this example, you have purchased an argument with your loved one. You might say your apologies to one another and move on, only to repeat this process again.

How do you combat against this? If you notice tension in your significant other, do not be affected by the negative energy. Your goal at this point should be to mirror no aspect of the energy your partner is exhibiting. The ego is like a large fish that simply needs live bait before it bites. Don’t feed your partner’s ego. Instead, remain calm, even if your partner seems to be trying to lure you into a conflict. Go into another room. Find an interesting book to read. Whatever you do, emit positive vibrations yourself, and keep a watchful eye on your partner. After some time, the ego may disappear, and your partner may suddenly seem as though he/she is happy again. The ego waits to feed until a later time. This also allows your partner to feel as though they can come to you with problems, without fear of judgement or controversy. This type of understanding of the shared energy of the ego can create wonderful depth in a relationship.

You can react similarly if you feel strife within yourself. What if you are the one who is experiencing negative emotion, and you seek not to drag your partner into it with you? You must listen to yourself. Stay silent and trace your breaths for 60 seconds as you inhale and exhale. Think about the good in your life. Feel your pulse relax. Be aware of the negative thoughts, but don’t attach judgement to them. After a few moments of this, you may feel a calm come over you, or you may even forget why you were upset initially. It is in these moments that we realize we are susceptible to outside stress, but that doesn’t make stressors bad. Stressors are only bad if we react to them in a way that gives them, along with the ego, the upper-hand in determining our own well-being. From this position of power, we can more readily make decisions that properly deal with stressors without becoming emotionally involved or overly attached to the situation.

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