Using Spiritual Tools to Resolve Conflicts
When we are in conflict with someone and we want to resolve the conflict, by employing our spiritual tools we will overcome the typical obstacles that arise when we habitually move through conflict with our ego leading the way. We know ego is leading the way through conflict when we feel justified, we know better/best, when we believe that we have more experience and finesse, and when we have any feeling or thoughts that place us on a different level or in a different position than the other person.
The Spirit World and the Mundane World are One. We've all heard this and we have had experiences where we Know this is true. Our spiritual experiences and lessons are applicable in the mundane. What we learn in the mundane applies as well to our spiritual growth. The paths we explore and live in one world always overlay onto the other world. We just don't often see it beyond glimpses here and there or in hindsight when we reflect back on events and circumstances.
In my work, I actively use spiritual tools to unearth and discover things that may be going on and unspoken issues that divide so that I can begin to understand what underlies the problems people are having or their conflict at hand. I use the sensory information that I receive and weave it through the conversations that I have with people, looking for body language and words that tell me I see their issues correctly or that I don't see the issues correctly and have to jiggle my perspective so that I can then move forward again delving back into the matters that divide them.
As a mediator I have many tools in my toolkit. We all have many tools. I use tools to as needed to get people to talk more; to reframe or rephrase something said so that it can be seen in a different light; to dig deep into critical and uncomfortable issues without unnerving the person; and to let the person know that I understand what they are saying without imposing or forming judgment about it, and if I see people coming toward an agreement I facilitate that by illuminating things they have in common, by raising important unresolved matters, and by guiding the conflict toward some form of resolution.
Despite having these mundane tools and working closely with Guidance while I work with people to resolve their problems, when I found myself in a personal conflict situation, I approached my own problem differently. I have come to see that only when I approach my personal conflict in the same way that I approach other people's conflicts, that a positive shift happens.
The two most important tools we have in our spiritual and mundane toolkits are "active listening" and "responding not reacting." Through active listening we acquire so much information that we often don't know what to do with it all, and we then respond without reacting when we are comfortable with the information we have (regardless of whether we like it or not).
When using active listening skills in conversations with guides, we are actively engaged in seeking out information. Active listening is an assertive technique; it is not passively listening to a conversation. An active listener wants to know more about the situation and asks questions and seeks clarification. When we are comfortable with our guides, we do this. Sometimes we banter with them, argue and want validation. Other times we passively receive messages and insight and then do nothing else as if there is nothing more to do.
When in conflict, typically people restate what they want/need (what is important to them), give passing credence to what the other person wants/needs (what is important to the other person), and then everyone gets angry at the other for not working with them to solve the situation. That is simply stated, but the concept is familiar.
More often than not, when in conflict we just want the issue resolved. We really don't want to spend time actively listening to someone who does not actively listen to us because all they want is "their way." What happens, though, is that everyone stays polarized or maybe one person will "cave" a little bit, people will become superficial or they will just keep things "polite." However, the conflict is still seething underneath nearly every interaction with that person. The conflict is unresolved.
If you want to resolve the conflict (and sometimes we don't want to invest the time and energy to resolve a conflict) try these techniques in the manner that works best for you.
1. Ask questions that will get to the heart of the matter. This is where spiritual active listening comes in. Seek guidance and use active listening skills to get information that you can use to move through the conflict. This is different than what tends to be done. Usually when in conflict, insight is sought about what is really going on in the situation or with the other person and the insight gained isn't used much beyond that. The insight helps us understand, appreciate the circumstances, and feel compassion in the situation but there is so much more information that is waiting to be sought.
To use active listening spiritually, here are some good questions to ask in the beginning and from there ask more questions:
· What is important to you? What is important to the other person?
· What things need to happen or be resolved before the other person can fully participate with you in resolving the conflict?
· What fears do you hold around the conflict? What fears does the other person hold?
· What is motivating you? What is motivating the other person?
2. Take the new insight and explore it within you. Sit with the insight you've received, explore it and get a feeling for what you can accommodate and for how the insights can help you move through the conflict. If you need more information, ask more questions.
3. Center yourself and then open the door of conversation. At an appropriate time when there are no distractions, begin a conversation with the other person. Open the door to talking about the conflict by verbalizing that you want to know more about their perspective. Ask them to tell you more about what they are thinking and what is important to them. If they are slow to share, use one small piece of the insight you received to gently ask a question that you know they will respond to, but be gentle. If the question is too personal or highly charged, you've defeated your purpose of opening the door to conversation because they will shut down, or get angry, and/or become reactionary.
4. During the conversation, keep your awareness between the worlds. I cannot overstate the importance of this. It is hard when emotions are charged, but it is only when walking Between the Worlds that you will be able to clearly see everything that is going on. And, believe me there will be an immense amount of information for you to work with.
5. Actively Listen / Respond Don't React. As you did when seeking guidance, actively listen to the other person. Ask questions, seek clarification, summarize what you heard them say, listen for their feelings on the issue. From a centered place between the worlds, you know so much more than you ever could know having the conversation standing just in the mundane world and this wealth of information allows you to be able to respond, not react, to what is shared with you. Summarize what you hear from them (not parrot back to them) and validate any fears you hear them say.
6. Consider all the information you've acquired from guidance and from the other person.
Usually the process of actively listening, whether you agree with the other person or not, changes the entire dynamic between people. It isn't about agreeing with them or getting them to see your side of the situation. Take the information you have, contemplate it and explore what you want to do. Maybe everyone sees a solution that can be implemented. Maybe there is no solution. But, if the process is done with right intention, integrity and impeccability, then the energy dynamic between those in conflict will have shifted for the positive.
It takes a lot of time, effort and investment to resolve conflict. Sometimes it is better to walk away. Other times, it is better to try to resolve them. Always it is important to raise our awareness to understand as much as we can while reserving judgment, labeling and narrow perspectives and when we do that it is hard to stay engaged in conflict with someone.
Active listening and responding are valuable when used with the intention
to work through a conflict. The process of active listening whether with our guides or with another person are the same. When we feel comfortable with the
knowledge that we have we can respond and not react. We can unearth barriers embedded in a conflict and we become poised to move through the matter in higher
awareness. We know this and people sense it about us. What others may see as skillful, artful, or a magic touch - we know it merely happens when we consciously
walk between the worlds with the intention of making a difference where our lives intersect with others. It is what happens when we honor that our spiritual
path and mundane path overlay in Oneness.