Mindfulness & Conflict
Mindfulness is a hot topic these days. Research tells us that it’s linked to all kinds of psychological and physical measures of health, happiness, and optimal functioning in personal and work life. An increasing percentage of people are learning and practicing mindfulness in a wide range of settings, including organizations and institutions.
Mindfulness is also relevant in responding to difficulty and conflict. There are the difficulties of our daily lives, and there is the incredible suffering, heartbreaking violence, and political divisions that are becoming increasingly more visible and disturbing. Do we respond in ways that create the world we want, or do we end up creating more of what we don’t want?
A phrase that has a lot of meaning to me is, the power of conflict. I believe that within conflict is the potential for reaching new and greater possibilities, if we have the ability to successfully navigate it. I have found that integrating mindfulness, particularly nondual mindfulness, with communication and a framework that supports empathy, compassion, and collaboration, makes responding to the suffering and challenges in our own lives, and in the larger society and world, not only more effective, but can turn it into a mythic journey of discovery and an alchemy of transformation!
In our Mediate Your Life training, we offer what is called a Self-Connection Process. This process integrates mindfulness with language components of Compassionate Communication (Nonviolent Communication/NVC), and a 3-chair mediation framework to navigate life’s challenges and difficult conversations.
Self-Connection enables you to find the inner “3rd chair” of awareness. From this place, you can observe the “opposing chairs” of thoughts and feelings, and effectively navigate the storminess and rough terrains of conflict to find connection on the other side where new possibilities emerge for solving problems and experiencing well being.
The Hero/Heroine’s Journey: Evolving Our Brain to Respond to the Challenges We Face
Neuroscience research shows that dedicated meditation practice changes the brain in positive ways. We have the power to evolve our brains by how we consistently use attention and language. I highly recommend daily meditation as self-connection practice. Research on the benefits is clear and compelling.
For me, however, mindfulness and self-connection is to continually return to the inner 3rd chair of awareness, presence, and choice. It is the journey of navigating through the challenges of everyday life and the tremendous hardships of this world with empathic connection and compassion between self and others. I still often fall back into identifying with thoughts, beliefs, and emotional reactions, but it is in remembering to return to the inner seat of awareness through breath, body, need that I can then be and act from a different place. This place is the mythological hero/heroine’s journey of transcendence. It is tapping into the creative power within conflict in constructive ways, giving poetry, purpose, and deep meaning and possibility to daily living. If you’re not already, will you join me in this adventure?
In this way, we build new habits, new neural pathways in our brain to create connection in the midst of difficulty, and respond in harmony with what we value. Together we human beings can respond to the challenges we face, and create a peaceful, healthy, and sustainable world.