Beyond Conflict: What Does Your Heart Say?
“Every day, at the moment when things get edgy, we can just ask ourselves, ‘Am I going to practice peace, or am I going to war?’” —Pema Chödrön
When we find ourselves in conflict, entrenched in our positions and unable to reach out a hand to each other, this is when we most need to listen to our heart’s wisdom.
Often there’s confusion on both sides and a longing to do the right thing. But villainizing those who don’t think or behave like we do has been so ingrained in us that our hearts shut down and we hide behind angry walls. Our heart might advise us to work together toward the higher good of all, but the voice of judgment and blame is drowning it out.
We don’t have to agree with others in order to open our hearts, offer them respect, and seek to understand. Are they motivated by fear, or by their higher intentions? Are they acting from confusion, pain, or from the wisdom of the heart? How about us? Does our heart tell us mud-slinging is perfectly fine, or can we get in touch with the sadness that often lies behind anger and blame?
The darker the moment, the greater the opportunity to stop and offer compassion to all, to see the humanity we share, and the mistakes we all make. This can be difficult to do, and sometimes we need to take steps to protect ourselves and others. But when we make the effort to move our focus from grievances to solutions, we can find there are ways to rebuild connections and start seeing what unites us rather than creating more to divide us.
We can’t let fear steal our compassion and drown out the voice of our heart. We are so much stronger when we build together rather than tearing each other down. There’s always pain on both sides. What if we commit to stop creating more and start treating others the way we’d like to be treated—with respect? What if we set our intention to listen and learn more about people, rather than dismissing them, locking them in a box labeled “evil other”?
Can we walk away from the battleground and let compassion lead us toward peace, and maybe even common ground?
May our heart guide us today and every day.
Here are some affirmations that may be helpful reminders:
When I find myself caught in judgment and blame, I send compassion to my heart and look deeper at the situation. I ask my heart for guidance to move toward more peace.
When I see people acting from pain, anger or ignorance, I hold them in compassion, knowing they have not yet learned a better way.
Each day I set my intention to listen and learn more about other people, and to let the wisdom of my heart guide me. Rather than focusing on our differences, I seek to work together toward common ground and solutions.