Tag Archives: conflict

Conflict in the Workplace

“For when you know that you are holiness itself, how could you ever look upon your brother or sister and believe that they have wronged you? How could you ever want to do anything but love them? That is, let the Love of Christ flow through you so deeply and so profoundly that they get that you do not believe their illusion.” (WOM, Lesson 7, Page 86)

I once had a difficult relationship with a co-worker. She denounced my work, and indeed myself, in a peer review that was very disheartening. And I cast a deciding peer vote that she would not get the managerial position that she sought.

We were really doing it to each other. Or were we? We were actually doing it to ourselves, creating our own reality. Using each other as pawns. As foils one to the other.

We are all holiness itself, not as finite creatures who make mistakes, but as children of God. She did not “wrong” me, though I believed this for years. I sought to forgive her, but the words seemed stuck in my throat. And what, I wonder, was she thinking all those years?

What was going on here, but that we were both getting an unforgiveness “cooked”? We were healing something else that was buried deep within our subconscious. We needed to realize that we were lost in ego, both of us. And when she criticized my work, my ego cried out for redress. When I stopped her advancement, I was hurting her ego.

Yes, the ego is constantly being undone.

We really did each other a great service. We were even in our misguided efforts to hurt another.

We know better now. The ego has fallen away, the holiness that we both embody has cleansed us of past deeds and past thoughts to hurt.

Illusions actually hurt nobody. It is all just like a mirage. Holiness trumps illusion every time.

Conflict

“Many of you believe you are on a spiritual path. You will know if that is true by your willingness to feel and experience wholly exactly what is in front of you, moment to moment. So if you have a conflict with another and you sit in your chair and decide to pray or meditate in order to change the feeling state within yourself, and you arise later and say, ‘There, I’m feeling much better now,’ but the issue has not been solved with another, nothing has changed.

“Go, therefore, to the other. Open your heart, share, and resolve. If you have offended another, ask them their forgiveness. If you have judged another, admit it. Ask for their forgiveness. It is only in such a way that you can truly heal the place of conflict within.” (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Lesson 6, Page 80)

When we have a misunderstanding with one of our brothers and sisters, we probably don’t want to hear Jesus tell us that we ought to resolve the issue by going to that person and clearing up the conflict. But this is biblical advice also. We need to find within ourselves the wherewithal to confront, in Love, and thereby turn the experience into Love for both of us. There is no other way for full resolution. There is no other way that our meditation and prayers can truly sink into our minds and hearts.

Jesus and the Holy Spirit often ask us to do something that seems unwise to us. We are afraid of how we will be received. We are going to be embarrassed. But Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that this perception comes from a shabby self-image, and we would be done with that.

If there is somebody you feel that you have wronged, meditate and pray to know how to approach that person. Being in our closet with prayer can help tell us what to say, how to act. Prayer and meditation can determine our resolve.

Only if approaching the other is now impossible do we seek redress in our thoughts, our deep thoughts. Psychically the other will know our intentions, will know that we are seeking forgiveness on another level.

Don’t confuse ourselves about this. There may be times that we say the confrontation, the reconciliation, is impossible, when actually it is very possible indeed.

Discern the difference.

Resolving Conflict

Are we ever really in conflict? The Course would say not. The true Self is above such pettiness. When conflict rules, we have let our egoistic images of ourselves collide with simply a different egoistic image, also of ourselves.

This conflict happens all the time to those of us still on this side of the bridge, and this includes most of us—we who are still not consistently living in the “real world.” We do not, however, have to continue in conflict. We can refer all questions to our Counselor, the Holy Spirit.

I have found that the gesture of turning the conflict over to the Holy Spirit may be answered immediately, or we may be so involved with turmoil that a quieter mind, one that could hear guidance, has not yet come to us. If the latter is our situation, we need to suspend our thoughts, refusing to mull over the unresolved issue, and quiet our minds.

Whatever method one uses can be right—meditation (the Course makes use of some of this quietness, though the word “meditation” is never used in the FIP edition); prayer; or simple distraction from the conflict to thoughts of something else. One must be aware, however, that distraction can allow the conflict to light upon something else later on. Whatever method one uses, we must trust not in one’s self, but in the Holy Spirit, the Bearer of better thought, to give a way out of the impasse. One helpful thought when battling conflict is to remember that one always battles illusions, for Reality does not battle at all. This recognition may in itself may be enough to calm the heat of passion.

In my own case, I used to have a neurotic tendency to find something, anything, about which to worry. It is as if the “worry” part of me were comfortable only if I had something to fret over. So it is that the ego thrives on conflict, justifying its continuance by conflict. There is a well-worn groove that most of us reserve for worry. When all is said and done, we may find that we were simply in the grip of a bad habit. But by so retaining this bad habit, the Course would say that we make the conditions that we dread, because we choose our own reality. There is a solemn warning in realizing our power to choose our futures that should not be minimized.

Picture instead a resolution, as yet unknown, to be worked out by the Holy Spirit. Abide with this thought awhile, and see if a calmer mind will not welcome, in a moment of revelry perhaps, the answer previously sought so frantically. Once we set aside the conflict-ridden emotional state, the Holy Spirit is free to act.

When in Conflict

The-Ballet-Dancer-by-Edgar-Degas-large“To live in relationship is to live in harmony even with conflict.  It is an understanding that if conflict arises in your present there is something to be learned from your relationship with conflict.  (A Course of Love, 27.14)”

Affirmation:  “I would live in harmony today.”

Reflections:

1 – Learn from Conflict

We do learn from conflict, though we might not like to do so.  When we remain in harmony within ourselves, though, extending this outward to displaying no anger nor attack with others, we can view the conflict dispassionately.  We can remain harmonious, even though those around us are not.

2 – Retain Harmony

What are we learning?  We are learning the benefits of retaining harmony in any situation, even though that push our buttons.  We are learning that anger and attack have no foundation in truth (from A Course in Miracles), and that they are not justified in us as children of God (and all of  us are children of God).  We can make the best of a bad situation, though, when others misbehave.  We do not have to assume a “holier than thou” attitude, either (and this attitude would be most inappropriate).

4 – Conflict in This World

Today’s passage indicates that wherever there is conflict in this world (and that place is almost universal), we can stay true to our understandings, gleaned from ACIM and A Course of Love, and yet still learn from the conflict.  We did not create the conflict, but we can learn from it.  And we choose not to exacerbate the conflict.  We remain in harmony with all.

5 = When Baited

Others may try to bait us.  But we do not have to rise to the bait.  This may be easier said than done.  Some ways to react:  Take a timeout.  Simply excuse yourself from the room.  Listen quietly and tolerantly.  Ask internally what to say or do in response.  Remain calm and collected.  Above all, do not become emotionally heated.  Chill out.

6 – Personal Interpretations

None of these suggestions are found in ACIM or ACOL, but are personal interpretations, based on my own living experiences.  You will have other solutions, and, if so, I would welcome your comments to this posting.  Thank you.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I recognize that I am my own worst enemy, making conflict within my own personal self when I would do well to turn to You.  I make the conflict all too often, second guessing myself and doubting the intuitions that rise to the surface.  I would end this reaction today.  I would live in harmony whenever possible.  Whenever it is not possible to live in harmony in my relationships with others, I would learn from the experience.  Then I can leave the conflict behind, knowing that I have gleaned all that can be gleaned from what has happened.

Be with us today.  Thank You for the beginning of a good day.  Whatever happens, may I be prepared, with Your help, to handle it.  Life is not always easy, but it can always be good when I am enfolded by Your love.

Amen.

Stab of Anger

ACIM Workbook Lesson 192 – for Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Affirmation:  “I have a function God would have me fill.”

 

“Therefore, hold no one prisoner.  Release instead of bind, for thus are you made free.  The way is simple.  Every time you feel a stab of anger, realize you hold a sword above your head.  And it will fall or be averted as you choose to be condemned or free.  Thus does each one who seems to tempt you to be angry represent your savior from the prison house of death.  And so you owe him thanks instead of pain.  (WB366)”

Reflections:

1 – See the Sword Averted

A very important passage, this lesson for today is telling us what we must do when we feel a stab of anger.  And who among us does not still feel anger, even if one believes himself/herself to be enlightened?

2 – Stress and the “Pain Body”

We are likely to be stressed at the time that we seem most out of control.  As Eckhart Tolle would say, our “pain body” is in the ascendancy, and we want pain at any and all costs.  We are not in our right mind; we are even more insane than the usual.

3 – The Ego = Strong in Conflict

If we can realize that averting the sword above one’s head actually makes us free, we might be more inclined to follow this passage when the daily pathway turns grim.  We want to be free, but we cannot be free if we are caught by anger and attack, for the ego is strong in conflict (paraphrase from ACIM).

4 – Temptations to Anger

Our brothers and sisters who tempt us to anger are actually doing us a favor, for without their input, we would not be inclined to choose the good more often than the bad.  They, in turn, are merely asking for help at such times.  A brother or sister who attacks is calling for help, and the only sane response is to rush to his/her side with that help.  We must be reasonable, and ACIM does not counsel doing anything that will escalate the conflict.  If we are in danger, bodily or mentally, it would be wise to act later on, when the heat is out of the moment.  (These are interpretations, not stated in ACIM.)

5 – Venting and Our Anger

Do we really owe our brother or sister thanks for the stab of anger that his/her venting has elicited?  According to ACIM, we do.  We can recognize that we will not likely ever be free of moments of being tempted into anger, but we can fly into a great calm rather than into a great fury.

6 – This Lesson for Today

Making that choice is what today’s Workbook lesson is all about.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose today to be free of stabs of anger.  If my brother or sister tempts me to anger, help me to turn aside from attacking verbally.  Help me to realize that in all likelihood, this brother or sister is stressed, and I have been there, throughout my lifetime, many times.  I would want someone to forgive me when I am letting Eckhart’s “pain body” rise to ascendancy.  May we all pray today that our pain bodies will be released, and that we will enjoy the peace and harmony that You want for us above all else.

Be with me as I walk the pathway to You today.

May I take a timeout, leaving the room temporarily, if my temper is threatening to get the best of me.  It is actually the “worst” of me.  And I would not indulge my ego today by venting when I am stressed.  And I don’t get angry unless I am stressed.

May my brothers and sisters adopt what coping mechanisms they find most useful in avoiding anger and attack.

Thank You.

Amen.

When in Doubt

“Doubt is the result of conflicting wishes.  Be sure of what you want, and doubt becomes impossible.  (M-7.6)”

Affirmation:  “I am sure of what I want.”

Reflections:

1 – “When in Doubt, Don’t”

I have often said to myself, “When in doubt, don’t.”  While this may seem like a very laidback attitude to take toward actions being contemplated, it works for me.  My unconscious (not available to me) does seem to indicate when a given course of action is not to be taken.  Whether or not this is direct guidance from the Holy Spirit is a question in my mind.  Normally, I sense the Holy Spirit has an inner voice or an intuition, and this warning, “When in doubt, don’t,” seem somehow different.  A Course in Miracles says in today’s passage that I am feeling conflicting wishes, and, for me, this means that the course of action being contemplated may be way off-base.  So I choose not to follow the pathway that is beckoning, perhaps because the ego is involved at that moment.

2 – Conflicting Wishes

My conflicting wishes do suggest to me when not to pray for a given outcome.  I once wanted something very badly, but, with the exception of a span of two or three days, I never got the “green light” to pray for this outcome that I thought I wanted.  Now I know that my childhood and early adulthood did not prepare me for all that my desired outcome would have demanded.  I had personal challenges that would not have made this superficial, but intense, desire good for all involved.  I can report that I did not pray for that outcome, because the prohibition was direct and unequivocal.  And my life later took a turn that was far more suited for my talents and even my ambitions.

3 – God’s Will = Our Real Will

We do not really want things that are not in line with God’s Will.  We are told in A Course in Miracles that God’s Will and our will are identical, that the Holy Spirit choose for us.  The Holy Spirit knows all circumstances–past, present, and future–that will affect a given choice.  We have given up our judgment to Him, because He knows in a way that is impossible for us.  And when we have given up our judgment, we know peace.  The lamentable aspects of our world, we are told in the Manual, are present because judgment is so much a part of this world.  May we take the first tentative steps today away from personal judgment, and invite the Holy Spirit to lead our next step.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Right now I am in conflict.  So the action that I am thinking of taking may be wrong for me.  I am, over the years, tested out this reaction numerous times.  So let me be sure before I act.

Help me to have a good day.  There are many things on my agenda for this week, and the week seems daunting.  Yesterday was daunting as well, but all turned out to be just fine.  

May today be no less.

Amen.

Forgiveness Ends the Dream of Conflict

ACIM Workbook Lesson 333 – for Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Affirmation:  “Forgiveness ends the dream of conflict here.”

“Father, forgiveness is the light You chose to shine away all conflict and all doubt, and light the way for our return to You.  (WB469)”

Reflections:

 1 – Forgiveness is Central to ACIM

This section of the Workbook emphasizes in various ways, time and again, what forgiveness can do for us.  Forgiveness can be viewed as the central message of A Course in Miracles, and until we have come to terms with the need we all have to totally forgive ourselves and others, we will remain outside the kingdom.  Our return, this passage says, is made possible by forgiveness.  And it is our return to God that we want above all else, however often we may think that we want some glittering jewel that the world offers.

2 – Picture Frames as Metaphors

There is a passage in the Text that describes in beautiful language the adorned, bejeweled frame that hides a picture of nothing.  This is the frame that the ego would have us seek.  Our eyes are dazzled by the frame, not noticing until up close that there is nothing at all within the frame.  In contrast, we see a slim frame, held in light, that holds a picture of what is really true and what we really want.  We are bade to disown the ego, not to be misled by the frame that holds nothing of value, and to look instead to the frame that is framed in light–holding a picture of what we really desire, God’s kingdom.

3 – Conflict and Doubt

Conflict and doubt are of the ego, of course.  And the light of forgiveness shines all this nonsense (and it is nonsense) away.

4 – Do Not Underestimate the Ego

It is wise that we not underestimate the wily ways of the ego, especially as we approach ever nearer our union with God.  The ego becomes very subtle when some of the more gross distortions of value have been laid aside.  The ego may try to reassert strength by guile, and it may be very ingenious about how it attempts to do this.  Do not be fooled, at this late point, by egoic notions that will only delay our homecoming.  Be at peace with God, our brothers and sisters, and be at peace in one’s mind and heart.  Then the ego will know that its days are indeed numbered.

Prayer:

 Dear Father/Mother,

 I would see a picture of my world framed in a “light frame,” which substance rather than illusion found therein.  Help me to forgive my brothers and sisters, and myself, for the illusions that I might previously have sought.  May we leave illusions behind, because the fantasies that encourage illusions are not the best way to proceed.  May I live in the real world, however fleetingly, today.

 Be with all of us as we had into the Christmas season.  May we bring joy to troubled individuals, and may we find joy in this endeavor.  Help us to live a good day, as all of our days are truly meant to be.

 Amen.

The Law of Love

ACIM Workbook Lesson 277 – for Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Affirmation:  “Let me not bind Your Son with laws I made.”

“Your Son is free, my Father.  Let me not imagine I have bound him with the laws I made to rule the body.  He is not subject to any laws I made by which I try to make the body more secure.  He is not changed by what is changeable.  He is not slave to any laws of time.  He is as You created him, because he knows no law except the law of love.  (WB435)”

Reflections:

1 – Are Pills OK?

We often do things for our bodies that are meant to make them more secure, safer.  This is all unnecessary.  We need be careful for nothing.  Yet even Jesus recognized our frailty when he counseled the use of pills to help us, because if we do not use them, we will be even more in a fear-weakened state (Text tenets).  Though pills are a form of magical solution, they are not banned by Jesus.  The Course is always practical (an ACIM tenet).

2 – Travel More Lightly

But if we would know freedom, we must travel more lightly.  There is a well-known poem that beings, “When I am old, I will wear purple,” and it celebrates the freedom of the older individual who is not so bound by the conventions of this world, the ways that we have developed to protect our human condition.  This older woman would travel more lightly if she were going through the world again.  I speculate that Jesus, who did not even have a place to lay his head at night, would counsel us also to travel more lightly.  We do not need elaborate locks to protect us (a paraphrase from the Text).  Why are we so defensive?  ACIM says that defense creates what it would protect from (a paraphrase).  We do not need defense, nor do we need to be defensive by retaliating when attacked by a brother or sister.  We need to walk God’s way, sure in the knowledge that He walks with us.  And His defense of us is all that we need.

3 – How Can I See Turmoil Go Away?

If we live the law of love, much of this turmoil in which we find ourselves will dissipate.  We make much of the trouble that we encounter.  As has often been said, we are our own worse enemies.  May we turn aside from such manner of living immediately.  Let us live the ACIM way, the way of love and forgiveness.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would travel more lightly today.  If I think I need a pill for some reason, I will stop and ask if this is really necessary.  The Holy Spirit will answer, knowing that sometimes a magical solution will diminish fear.

I would walk this world lightly, knowing that it is not my real home.  I will recognize others who believe as I do, but I will not let the ego intrude on this mystery of soul recognition.  I am not better than anyone else; we are all equals, all destined to find our way home.  May I be drawn today to those who could benefit from my company.

I would leave turmoil behind today.  Conflict is always of the ego, because God’s peace is always quiet.  May I live as stress-free a day as is possible under my circumstances, and may I not forget to thank You for the benefits of stress-free living.  Be with me if today does bring stress that I cannot ignore.

Amen.