How do you engage conflict? Are you afraid of it? Do you try to stand toe to toe with it, or barrel through it? Do you wrestle with it much longer than necessary? Do you go searching for it, are you bored without it?
How we engage conflict is a determining factor of how we relate to our selves and the world around us. Conflict patterns reveal the nature of one’s character and clearly display emotional and psychological wounds which have yet to be healed. Conflicts can take any shape or size and can be experienced internally, externally or both. But, what is the nature of conflict itself?
At it’s center, conflict is nothing more than resistance of one type or another. Without resistance it is impossible to have conflict. Conflict arises when either the mind or the body do not accept whatever is happening at that particular moment. All resistance creates a buildup of pressure, whether that be physical, mental or emotional. This pressure increases exponentially as long the resistance is in place. Just like a damn bursting from the weight of too much water behind it, eventually the pressure will become strong enough to destroy anything in it’s path. Sometimes it is the mind that cracks, sometimes it is the body, sometimes it is an object or an adversary, but whatever it is by this point we have lost all control. Once resistance has built up to it’s boiling point we cannot control how this force is unleashed.
There is another way to engage with conflict. If we do not judge a particular experience but instead accept it as present reality we can move with the physical, mental or emotional energy of any experience in a way that creates no tension in the mind or body. Instead of resisting a punch like a wall, if we accept the trajectory and allow the body to merge with this vector the punch will cause no damage. This is the main idea underlying the martial art of Aikido, which is a physical system of neutralization that, when properly applied, renders attack impossible. If we handle emotional energy in the same way, instead of creating a barrier to stop an unpleasant feeling we merge with the feeling and follow it’s vector we will soon notice that the feeling has been neutralized just the same as a physical attack.
Acceptance of what is is the only secret to avoiding conflict at any layer of being. Resisting what is only creates tension and struggle and fatigue. Acceptance creates relaxation, peace and joy. We accept what already is because it already is, there is no point in arguing with it. Can you imagine telling the clouds to stop raining? Then don’t tell your body not to feel angry or sad or afraid. Accept your emotions the same way you accept the rain and you will find yourself splashing in puddles and making mudpies with a large grin.