Week 31 – Conflict vs. Peace…
What do you see in this photo? I see a building, kind of run down, with a sign that suggests I can go there to practice yoga. But look a little closer and think about what you see. The holes in the building may suggest artillery shells. Perhaps this building is in some type of combat zone. Maybe the sign is offering some type of sanctuary in the midst of a chaotic environment. That’s what resonates with me in this picture. The surrounding environment suggests some type of conflict while the yoga sign offers some sense of peace. The building structure seems to be juxtaposed between conflict and peace.
Do we not find ourselves constantly in a juxtaposed state of mind? “I love my spouse but we fight all the time.” Or “I want to lose 20 pounds because I want to ‘look good,’ but I’m going to have this piece of cake just for this one time.” And sometimes, “I’m going to church on Sunday, but for now I’m going to curse out this person for making me angry.” If I love my spouse…it’s not my true desire to fight with him/her constantly. Most of us have a desire of peace for our homes. If I have a desire to lose 20 pounds, I know the cake will not help manifest my desire. And we fight with ourselves through justification, excuse or simple indifference. At least until we catch ourselves in the mirror again at which point we pass judgment on ourselves and make ourselves pay for it dearly with harsh thoughts about our self image. Or if I am on a road to “being a better person” and I have chosen church as my vehicle to help me get there, we are sometimes conflicted by the behavior we WANT to demonstrate that would be opposed to what the church would say. Many of us tend to be in constant conflict with things while we actually desire peaceful, tranquil, outcomes. We desire outcomes that makes us feel good…long term but get caught up in the short term satisfaction. Small, fleeting moments of satisfaction do not satisfy your long term desires. But sometimes circumstances steer our desires in opposite directions. When speaking of enlightenment, it is important to understand that in any given situation or circumstance, the conflict is not outside of you…the conflict is inside of you.
Looking at the photo again, I can imagine this setting may be in some seedy neighborhood where things may not be safe. However, I can also imagine that there is unadulterated peace and tranquility inside of that yoga studio because I associate peace and tranquility with yoga. The conflict is on the outside while the peace is maintained on the inside. This photo could be considered symbolic to our lives. Conflict surrounds us daily. But I’m not speaking of the conflict overseas, or within the government or on the streets or even in our neighborhoods or society. It is usually the internal conflict that does the most damage to us as individuals.
Internal conflict is heavily reliant upon ego and judgment. It’s ‘holding your ground’ in an argument because you KNOW you’re right. It’s making sure the person on the opposite side of your political party KNOWS what your position is and you will MAKE them understand it or else. It’s unaccepting of others who don’t look like you, dress like you, talk like you or act the way you do. You may say, “I’m not conflicted in this, this is just me and the way I feel!” Then ask yourself…do you ever truly “win” the argument? Is the other person’s political views truly “wrong?” Or do they simply have a different life experience than you which causes them to see what they see the way they do? Do you truly want a world where everyone looks like you, dresses like you, talks like you and acts exactly the way you do? Doubtful. So from an enlightening point of view, what you truly desire is peace and harmony. Imagine the photo above again. And imagine there is gun fire and violence on the street in the neighborhood. If we lived in that area and were given a choice of where to spend our day, we most likely would want to spend it inside the yoga studio as opposed to fighting, shooting and possibly being hurt on the street below. So why don’t we choose that on a daily basis? Why do we choose conflict over peace? The choice is ALWAYS our own. This is where aligning your soul to enlighten your life comes into play. And it all begins with awareness.
Enlightenment is about being aware. Aware of what? Aware first that we are all spiritual beings having human experiences. Our souls are never in conflict but always at peace. We introduce conflict through judgment and ego. The ego lives to defend it’s position even against itself. And in that defense and insecurity, ego creates ‘stories’ about who we think we are and what we think we must do in this life. Becoming aware is understanding the position of the ego. When a person can discern between the ego and their authentic selves, the ego shrinks away and enlightenment begins to shine through. Conflict within oneself begins to subside and peace begins to blossom. This is in alignment with your authentic self. And it feels good to you. Why? Because peace is your innate being. Think about it. A new born child is closely connected with where we all come from and is closest to being one with their soul when they arrive. So what baby is born innately and perpetually angry or in self conflict? A baby is born with love, a freedom of being exactly who he/she is, with no boundaries or preconceived notions and offers a true sense of peace. WE call it ‘innocence.’ Finding that peaceful place, free of conflict within yourself is not hard to do. But it has to be what you desire.
Here are a few things to try that will help create and sustain peace within your life:
Find the stillness within your mind. Quiet your thoughts. Silence your ego. Commune with your soul.
- Don’t Be Reactive but be Proactive In a State of Perceived Conflict
The next time you feel conflict rising in you, do not choose your typical response with reacting to it. Don’t react to your ego which is feeding you nonsense but calling it truth. Instead, be proactive and decide to move toward peace…immediately and deliberately. “I love my spouse, but we fight all the time.” Immediately and deliberately decide, “I love my spouse.” Period. The fighting will subside. “I want to lose 20 pounds to ‘look good’ but I’m conflicted about eating this cake.” Make a decision to eat it or not. And lose the judgment of yourself either way after that. Period. “I’m going to church on Sunday, but for now I’m going to curse out this person for making me angry.” Be proactive instead of reactive. Choose your long term desire. Is your long term desire to be in perpetual conflict with the person you want to curse out today? Are you choosing to harbor that anger for life? If not, then choose to release it immediately and decide what you want to feel right now. Choose peace within yourself and there will be peace all around you.
- Be Aware, Be Enlightened
Be aware of the fact that you are a powerful spiritual being. God has given you the innate ability to create the moment you desire right now. So be aware of your circumstances, surroundings, situations…but also be aware of the fact that you create and control what you choose to feel in any given moment. That creation allows your current circumstance, surrounding or situation to become whatever you give it authority to be. If you choose not to be moved by the internal conflict, then what you offer is peace. The conflict is removed by your offering of peace.
Find your peace within and the environment around you will follow. Namaste