How to Solve Our Addiction to Conflict and Create Peace

Most of you know I’m a lawyer, now retired. By definition lawyers are individuals trained and licensed to fight other people’s battles. There’s even a canon of ethics about zealously representing our clients’ interests and holding them inviolate, even above our own.

Theoretically to get justice, the law is a concept adopted by society to stop the fighting and bring some order to conflicts between individuals, entities, and the state. As such, it is used to take our disputes out of the streets and hands of the gunfighters and warriors, and put them into a forum of legalized conflict where they can bash each other’s brains out to the full extent of the law.

Having waged those wars for decades, it has afforded me a unique perspective into the energies of conflict, what motivates them and how they might be resolved, particularly when merged with the spiritual and metaphysical perspectives of my life on the spiritual path.

The causes of conflict

At its core, conflict results from a clash between competing fears and desires, wielded by egos to impose their wills on others to get what they want. It results from the interest of self to shape its reality into something that brings it more pleasure and less pain.

Legal wars are contests of power to achieve a desired result, whether that is to restrict freedoms for violating the edicts of the state, or to get (or keep) money or other relief in redress of civil grievances with others.

From my view of things, this is the way humans are built. We’re dumped into this 3D reality to try to carve out lives that work for us (a very subjective goal) and deal with all the things along the way that try to stop us.

What we want and value may differ, but the intention is usually the same — get ours while the getting’s good. Sometimes there are inner governors in us that self-impose restrictions upon what we’re willing to do to get it, like our indoctrination into the moral standards passed down by many religions. Sometimes there aren’t and we do harm to others or their interests in the process, often violently or through force.

Desire (or its flip side fear) is the motivating factor in nearly all conflict. Will is the engine by which it we try to get it.

If history tells us anything, it is that the more things change, the more things remain the same. Science, technology and medicine have made great leaps in understanding, but they have done little to change the content of our character or our propensities to fight for what we want.

Like the old cigarette commercial slogan, we’d rather fight than switch. We want want we want, and we’ll do what we can (subject to our internal and social restraints) to get it.

Look around you. People are fighting for whatever they think will make their lives better. Some feel downtrodden or depressed. Others impotent. Others want more money, power, or whatever else they think will float their boat. And they all wage war to get it.

Though humans are each unique, we share many common characteristics and desires. Often those things don’t mesh with what others want for themselves, putting us on a collision course when our desires are mutually exclusive.

So we fight to go our own way, often stepping on the toes of others to do so.

This is the nature of being born into this reality. Conflict is a way of life. It is the very fabric of this reality.

How can we stop fighting?

If we are to build the promised Golden Age of peace and prosperity, we somehow have to evolve beyond this knee-jerk reaction to getting what we want. For when conflict rules the day, peace doesn’t stand a chance.

That means we have to change how we see and conduct our affairs. Otherwise, we’ll continue to be in a to-the-victor-go-the-spoils mentality, and keep on with the fighting until we win or die trying.

You can see where those battles are leading us. We’re nearing the precipice, rushing headlong to our destruction and very possibly that of all mankind.

Certainly we can hope for an ET solution, that some race of beings from the stars will suddenly appear and force us to give up our warlike ways. That would be the Gort Solution from The Day the Earth Stood Still, threatening the destruction of our world if we export our violence into the heavens.

But that would be an externally-imposed solution, forcing their desires upon us (not to mention a violation of the Prime Directive). It would do nothing to force us to change our natures and propensity to fight other than to impose a severe penalty for doing so. Inside we’d still be these seething masses of desires looking for a way out, waiting to be impressed upon the world around us so that our lives could somehow be better (so we think).

From a spiritual perspective, we wouldn’t be any closer to our source. Rather, we’d build up the walls of our self-interests even higher, looking for new ways to win our battles.

I propose a different course — the path of awareness of what’s going on inside us and others that leads us to conflict, and the more-responsible exercise of the choices that expanded consciousness allows us to make.

It is a path that would be much easier to travel if we learned new ways of manifesting our desires, as well as the self-discipline to let them go when they don’t serve to create the kind of lives we want or the world needed to live them in.

Living in the Gap

Now, I know there’s a big gap between the life you have and the one you want. A lot of things go into creating that gap, but the result is inevitably a discontent with life that makes you susceptible to your fears and desires and their pursuit in ways that perpetuate the conflicts.

Those on a spiritual path may approach that gap by trying to be content with what they are and have, allowing all things to be as they are created. Releasing desire has been a central tenet of many spiritual teachings for centuries.

Those on a more material path may find that the ways of making things happen may need to give way to new means of manifesting their desires and avoiding their fears, ways less dependent upon conflicts with others. What kind of ways? Learning to work with energy, manifesting through vibratory alignment, and applying their creative energies for the upliftment of all might be a good start.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers of how we’re going to get to this Golden Age, but I do know we’re not going to fight our way there. For any peace that comes through manipulation, control or force is only temporary, as our desires will continue to lie dormant beneath the surface just waiting for the chance to become our reality when the opportunity arises.

The path I’ve laid out involves knowing ourselves, negating the ego (moderating desires and addressing the inner conditions that cause us to fight) and listening for the whispers of our souls to guide us to new ways of interacting and into a closer relationship with source.

Those on the spiritual path know that at the end of their journey, there is no reason to fight and that we’re here to dissolve the illusions of separation that keep us apart, both from each other and the source from which we come. And they tend to see the conditions of conflict as catalysts for them to evolve ever-closer to that source, and allow the inner voice to lead them through the challenges.

Those on the material path know only what they want and what they’re willing to do to get it. They are lost in the darkness, and cannot find their way out.

If you are awakening, perhaps you share some responsibility to help them find their way. I doubt that involves engaging them on the field of battle.

But then again, each of our journeys home are a little different, and you’ve got to walk the path carved just for you. I just hope you’ll do so with a little more love, and a lot less conflict, to get there.

God bless you indeed.

John Dennison
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