I practice and teach heart-centered conflict resolution and when I say those words, I’m often asked, “What exactly does that mean?”
At that point, I usually take a deep, slow breath and prepare myself for a lengthy explanation, wondering where to begin. I typically ask myself, do I just give the 30-second elevator speech or is this person really interested in what I do?
If it appears that they are just being polite, I usually say something like, “I help people see that their external circumstances are merely a reflection of their inner reality and by working toward resolving their inner conflict, we can much more effectively find a peaceful and enduring solution to their legal issues.”
Then, I look them in the eyes and say, “You know… it’s how you relate to yourself while you’re going through the challenge that really matters… that’s what determines your experience.”
This is the point where they either say something like, “Oh, that’s interesting” and proceed to change the subject, or they really get it and start asking deeper questions. This article is for the people that would be asking the deeper questions.
Let’s start by looking at the nature of conflict. Where does it come from and why do we experience it?
In general, conflict arises from our limited interpretations of reality, thoughts like, “There’s not enough money… There’s not enough love between us… You did something wrong… You owe me this or that…” all good examples of our limited beliefs.
When we see the world as a scary place where we have to protect ourselves from others and fight to get our piece of the pie, conflict is unavoidable. It’s inherent to a belief system forged in scarcity and lack.
This might sound esoteric, but I think it needs to be said: All Conflict is an Illusion!
There’s really only One of us here. Therefore, all conflict is only apparent from our limited perspective. It’s just a state of mind and has no more power over us than we choose to give it. It’s essentially just a tool of the Universe encouraging us grow (evolve). All problems come complete with built-in solutions. I’m going to say that again for emphasis, All Problems Come Complete with Built-In Solutions! That’s just how it works.
We live in a complete, whole, holographic Universe, where each of us contains the indivisible whole, without separation from anything or anyone else (although it might not always seem that way).
You might be asking, “Okay, maybe that is true, but how does that help me with the challenges I’m facing?”
Well, if you can accept that things are the way they are in order to support you in your learning, healing, and growth, you can begin to raise yourself above the level of the apparent conflict and open yourself up to the solutions that were always there.
The mind often gets trapped at the level of the apparent conflict, trying to figure out how to get what it needs from something outside itself and often blames others for its unfortunate predicament. This is where conflict thrives.
So what are we to do?
First, surrender into acceptance and stop fighting with reality (that doesn’t mean giving up).
Second, take a look inside yourself and see where the upset around the conflict leads you. You might think you’re angry because your ex-husband wants to take away time you have with your kids, but that’s actually not the real source of your upset. Go deeper. Where does the underlying hurt seem to be coming from?
Each of us has everything we need to find all of the answers (heal) within ourselves, but you may want to find a support person skilled in facilitating this process and work with them to uncover the hidden, unresolved issue that’s at the root of your anger. All anger is masking an underlying hurt and all hurt is masking love, which is your core essence.
Third, send unconditional love and compassion to the part of you inside that feels the hurt. You can do this by connecting with your loving (core) essence that is always residing in your heart (it’s what you’re made out of). It might help to think about adorable kittens playing (or puppies, if you’re one of those kind of people ;^)
Let the part of you that’s hurting know that it’s loved unconditionally. This is how inner conflict can be resolved, which often has miraculous effects on the outer conflict. Even if you still find yourself facing that tenacious ex demanding more time with your kids, set the clear intention to communicate with him from that loving place inside (remember the playful kittens).
Trust me, I know how difficult this can be. You may have a lot of residual anger that’s still being processed, which of course is understandable, but you have the strength to choose your emotional state of being. You can choose to communicate from a loving place. The more you practice, the easier it gets.
If needed, I recommend utilizing a healthy way of dissipating your anger prior to communicating with your ex whenever possible. There are countless ways to do so, but I have found that free form writing and/or some brisk physical activity such as a run or fast walk to be the most effective. Clearing away the anger helps to connect more deeply with your loving essence when communicating.
I have also found that I can never overestimate the power of the energy upon which a communication rides. Communicating from the heart, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and maintaining compassion for your ex will go such a long way in finding a peaceful solution.
The ego-mind, if allowed to be in control, will not steer you out of conflict. It lives in conflict. It actually lives on conflict as its source of existence. The way out of conflict is through surrendering control to your heart and letting the mind be a servant to your Divine, Loving Essence (the real You).
The ego is useful in navigating through life, but should not be the one steering the ship, let your heart do that.
Love & Light Ahead!
Michael C. Cotugno, Esq.
Conscious Divorce Master Practitioner
M.A. in Spiritual Psychology