Healing conflict in ourselves and in the world is needed right now

These are undoubtedly very testing times for very many of us. Countries are beset by political conflict and division. People in the UK are about to be confronted by a very serious political crisis, but they are not alone. In other countries in Europe and America, there are also serious crises. So what does the concerned, consciously aware person do in such circumstances? Is there something that can be done around reducing or healing conflict? You might feel yourself getting caught up in the conflict, taking sides, feeling angry about what is happening and indignant about certain actions. Or you … Read more

There is a field I’ll meet you there

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, There is a field. I’ll meet you there” (Rumi) As the world contemplates yet more conflict in the supposed cause of wrongdoing and rightdoing, the poem by the Islamic mystic Sufi Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī serves as a useful reminder across the centuries and cultures of what is universal to us all – if we pause and reflect. There is indeed a field, which we each find in our own way. In the ruler and warrior traditions as usually conceived perceptions of wrongdoing are usually followed by knee-jerk responses of counter-action. These counter-actions, … Read more

Finding common ground in relationships

Very often in conflict in relationships, we are very focused on getting our own way, insisting we are right and making the other wrong. Such a pattern tends to be destructive of the relationship, and of relationships with other people in general. It was refreshing for me this last weekend to hear again about Non-Violent Communication and that the ideas and practice are still very much alive. While the context was between men, I was reminded of how the practice is also of value in relationships in general as a way of moving away from conflict and towards a mutual … Read more

Healing after a relationship breakdown

A characteristic of a relationship breakdown, be it personal or at work, is the way each party blames the other. Somehow what has occured is the other person’s fault and they themselves feel innocent and a victim. To the outsider it can be hard to see that anybody is “right”. The atmosphere can be inflamed with emotion and people will be very tense and stressed. The participants will be very polarised and it seems impossible to find common ground and a compromise that will enable the relationship to continue. The divorce courts are full of aggrieved litigants in a conflict … Read more

Are we lacking a one world perspective on age?

A sad feature of the current economic malaise is to find perceived causes or even scapegoats for the problem among different sectors in our society. One example has been to blame it on immigration, as the European far right are doing right now. Another such tendency is to make it an age-related issue. I was struck today by an article arguing that a solution to the large size of youth unemployment was for the over-50’s to resign en masse. Lucy Kellaway was suggesting that the over-50’s would be more able to create other work than those who lacked any work … Read more

In longing for inner peace don’t neglect its polar opposite

The longing for peace is as ancient as you can get: it’s called “Shantih” in Sanskrit and part of the practice of yoga was, and is, to focus on inner awareness in order to open up the pathways to the peace of the Self (Atman). I wrote in an earlier posting about meditating on the mantra Om Shantih. It’s interesting therefore that our current perceived reality is often very much the reverse, busy lives, busy minds, busy environment, conflict, aggravation. It’s a polar opposite. In this way, as in other ways, we humans experience duality, in this case between the … Read more

Allow yourself to meditate on love

Reading the news today, and the usual catalogue of disagreements, upsets and conflicts as presented by our media, I was reminded of an excellent book by James Twyman, Emissary of Light, which describes the author’s visit during the Bosnian conflict to a group of people who devoted years during the conflict to meditating together right in the midst of the conflict in the cause of peace. Every day, this group would meditate for most of the day and they would send out light to the world. James describes how on one occasion, a large group of soldiers were advancing and … Read more

Finding our own peace in the midst of conflict

Yesterday on New Year’s Eve we went to the church in the “lost” village of Imber on Salisbury Plain for a peace vigil. Most people probably know nothing about this place, which was taken over by the military in preparations for the D-Day invasion of Europe of 1944 and held by them ever since. The inhabitants were ejected in the cause of the greater good, never to return, except on occasions when the MOD open up the access roads for a few days. The place in midwinter seems forlorn, showing little sign left of the once-active farming community’s houses but … Read more

When people fall out they lose contact with the bigger picture

When people are having a row, positions are usually entrenched, they aren’t listening to each other and they are more concerned with being “right” and in having their own way than in what be possible for both or all of them. In such situations, people are emotionally caught up. Their ego buttons have been pushed and they are in “fight” mode. To take a step back and look at the bigger picture seems impossible. The emotions stirred by the conflict can quickly overwhelm any attempt to do that. Yet the ability to take a step back and see the bigger … Read more

The more it snows, the more it goes

“The more it snows…the more it goes…on snowing” hummed Winnie-the-Pooh. Some things just carry on, like arguments between people about rights and “being right”. Which can be dangerous when each “side” is armed to the teeth. In our big freeze one source of heat generation has been the matter of human rights and state rights, or perhaps different perceptions of rights. On the one hand we have an outcry here for press freedom as the founder of Wikileaks is under attack for publishing leaked documents from US diplomatic cables, while in the democratic US people call for his blood. One … Read more