Both of us spent considerable portions of our lives reaching milestones. It seemed that once we would graduate from the university; finish law school; get that coveted job; make a lot of money; or marry the perfect mate (of course, once we’ve fixed them to our liking!) we would get “there” – feel happy, at peace, at ease and in joy.
Despite of all the milestones we’ve passed, “there” always seemed to be around the next corner. So, we’ve changed our path, following Robert Frost on the road less travelled. We rode motorcycles, travelled to exotic destinations and studied Eastern philosophies – still not getting any closer to “there” than on the “traditional” path. Whatever path we took, we thought that as long we could change, control or avoid the outside circumstances we would stumble upon “there” and stay “there” in peace, in bliss and in love.
But, somewhere on our journey we realized that “there” is here, at this very moment. “There” – all that we are seeking, be it peace, compassion, freedom or love – is not an exotic destination somewhere in the Himalayas or a Nobel-prize-like crown achievement. Nor is “there” the consequence of having arranged our life external circumstances in a particular way to suit our idea of what should be.
Realizing that whatever we are seeking is already here and always is one of the fundamental principles of Dis-Solving Conflict from Within. Thus, the purpose of the process is not to get somewhere or gain something. It isn’t to win conflict or to create a blueprint for all conflict situations.
Rather, Dis-Solving Conflict from Within is a tool for coming in contact fully with this moment, especially when this moment is difficult or even unpleasant. And, it is in this moment that “there” resides. Learning to connect with the present in all of life’s situations, especially conflict, means that we can experience peace, compassion, love and freedom irrespective of any outside circumstances or behavior of people. It also means that we can detach from our stories, seeing them as merely words or images that neither define nor control us.
And, if we can detach from our stories and connect with the present moment, experiencing, peace, love and compassion, irrespective of any outside circumstances, think of how differently we can respond to the outside world. Think of how differently we would view conflict and other aspects of our lives if we are not seeking anything and know that we already have all that we may ever need.
Connecting with the present moment, with what is right now, is also an important component of identifying our true feelings and our needs. Being in touch with our own feelings and needs, something really lacking in our culture, is one of the most fundamental steps towards compassionate and authentic communications with others.
So, when we say that Dis-Solving Conflict from Within helps us to respond to conflict instead of reacting to it, what we mean is that the four steps of the process help us to tune in into our feelings and needs, while also allowing us to create space to listen for the feelings and needs of others. Thus, reactions to conflict such as labels, judgment, criticism, denial of responsibility and demands turn into responses steeped in authenticity, compassion, respect and responsibility. Of course, responding to conflict does not mean that we will not have disagreements in our lives. It does mean, however, that when disagreements arise we have the capacity (developed over time) to honor ourselves by identifying our feelings and needs and provide opportunities to others to meet our needs while being open to meeting the needs of others. Then, we won’t need to avoid, conquer or win conflict, but will view it as an opportunity for authentic connection, growth and compassionate dialogue.