Inner-Conflict

We all face conflicts day in and day out, be it an individual conflict with friends, colleagues, boss, spouse or ideological conflicts like politics, religion, philosophy etc. Life is full of conflicts and we spend a great amount of time mulling what is right and what is wrong, what is good and bad, then try to resolve them in the mind. Yes we are all troubled by  conflicts….conflicts and conflicts…..is there a way out?.

Not all conflicts are bad, some conflicts are healthy and it will help you to act on your lacunae and impart life changing lessons. But most of the time we confront unhealthy conflicts which strain relations, inflict deep wounds in the psyche, and erode all peace of mind.

The conflicts are due to opposing ideologies, beliefs, desires, habits etc. Since no two individuals think and feel alike, we differ in our views, opinions, interests and values. Impulsively we argue to prove our point rather than listen to the other side and find a middle path. By the episode you not only hurt the other person, but you hurt yourSELF.

Of all the conflicts we face, inner-conflicts are the most difficult to handle. Since, the head and the heart are at constant tussle, if one agrees and the other disagrees. Mind with its logic can arrive at knowledge. But the heart with its own desires and emotions resists the mind and hence is slow to change and align with knowledge. Even when the heart changes our instinctive, habitual actions and reactions offer even greater resistance. At every step of personality change lies an inner-conflict. When scientists and thinkers find new ways of progress for humanity, society comes up with customs and traditions, moral and ethical dilemmas.

So, the need of the hour is to understand the mechanics of inner-conflict by broadening our perspective and finding a work-around is very important.

Well, all conflicts are not bad, some are really interesting and they act as a positive force to your growth, it bestows a new meaning to life and enables you to get fresh perspectives.

We constantly engage in mental dialogues and weigh our thoughts between good and bad, right and wrong and invariably most of the time we remain indecisive. Another side effect of constant inner dialogue is that we tend to become judgmental on other’s opinions or views .

Some examples below illustrate the day to day conflicts and the dilemma associated with it.

Ex 1.  While you are managing your family expenses on a strict budget you find an attractive offer on some item you can gift your wife or daughter.  Inevitably your mind swings between impulsive buying and compulsive logic.

Ex 2. When an important meeting with your boss and a family pooja ceremony demanding your presence coincides, great dilemma sets in….how to prioritise?

Ex: 3. You believe that you should be assertive and outspoken to get recognition and make advancement in your career.

The opposing thought is, you are not confident enough and you think if you try to be assertive people may ridicule and laugh at you……so you remain indecisive

These are small, day to day happenings we all face. However we could face major crises like health, finance or relationship related issues which may throw you off balance and create panic and prompt you to take hasty, mindless decisions.

Mahabharata, is a story of inner conflicts. All the characters live in our mind and heart, The story outlines the struggle to establish dharma (righteousness). The essence of the story   lives in our subconscious.

There are many examples we can take, for me Karna’s example seems to be very apt for inner-conflict. Throughout his life he struggled with inner-conflicts, Because of certain unfortunate situations he was placed in “he always did what he ought to have done to promote himself, rather than what truly he should have done according to dharma” —Meaning, he was desperate to show the world he was the best archer, he did not leave any stone unturned to get an opportunity to exhibit his skills, in the process he divorced Dharma and took sides with adharmic people.

He went through intense mental trauma vacillating between good and bad. He knew very well he was taking sides with wrong people but couldn’t firm up his decision to tread the path of Dharma, because he was stuck to the valueless vow to protect Dhuryodhana, who helped him in many ways. The tragedy is, he never summoned the courage to discard the wrong path…he was good at heart, but led astray by his ambition. Whether to choose ambition or Dharma was the great inner-conflict he faced and he failed from Dharmic point of view

A wonderful story from Paulo Coelho on the inner-conflict

A gardener was taking a morning walk in the bright sunshine and he was happy to see the rose garden blooming which he always tended very lovingly. While watering the garden he noticed sudden growth of weeds in the garden and was taken aback. He knew the weeds would kill his garden.

He believes Soul is like a landscaped garden that needs to be protected from weeds.

So took his sickle to cut the weed. Weed spoke to him and said “Hi, why do you want to kill me, I’ve grown on my own, I’ve come a long way, you haven’t given me life, I have the right to live….so please do not cut me off”

The gardener thought for a while after listening to the weed, and he felt what it was saying was correct.

He dropped the sickle. Suddenly Rose flower talked to him “Hi you have brought me here and you nurtured me very well with love and care, it’s time to bloom, and you are allowing the weed to grow and destroy me. I request you please cut the weed”.

His inner-conflict peaked up with logic and counter logic…compelling him to think in all dimensions to justify his action.

At last Gardner took the sickle and cut the weeds…..and he looked up and says

“God give me similar strength to weed out the unwanted thoughts from my mind”

Overcoming inner conflict is not an easy task; it takes a conscious and consistent effort for a prolonged period of time.

Some pointers below may help you to reduce and overcome inner-conflict.

Bring awareness: Having deep awareness of the conflicts is the starting point of dissolution, because awareness brings a resolution mind set

Be conscious: Try to be conscious of your choice, take the right decision by analyzing what you need versus what you think right.

Calm your mind and never get influenced by other’s opinion and point of view

Practice Mindfulness meditation

 

PS: I have just given an overview of inner-conflicts, tried scraping on the surface level, not gone deep into it. Deeper study gives more info of the psychological complexities involved in inner-conflict and its resolutions. However I have limited scope to basic psychological level, not clinical or pathological side of the subject.

If anybody is interested in discussing further to enhance academic knowledge, please feel free to touch base with me.

 

“ When Inner-Conflicts ends peace begins”

 

Failure a new Perspective

Failure is a stepping stone to success, winning streaks comes from failure… statement or fact? We only know success begets success and failure leads to depression and loss of confidence this is what we’re taught since younger days. We we’re taught to eulogize success and scorn failure. When we fail, we feel everything is lost and we can never bounce back again. We feel we are finished for good. Psychologically it uproots our belief system and makes us lose faith in ourselves. We have been conditioned to think like that by our society and also at home. However, failure is not an end, it’s just a bend.

 

Today’s generations are restless to achieve success. They constantly chase success, by hook or by crook want to achieve.  Yes, to stay in the rat race and climb social ladder, success is important. However, in the hurry to achieve success in the face of mindless competition, many times they resort to short circuiting the value systems. The success one achieves through such means are temporary, not long lasting and soul satisfying.

 Whereas, failures teach you immense lessons and give a different perspective on the problem of life. As the saying goes “an empty stomach teaches more lessons than all the universities”. It’s also true with failure provided you accept and look at it as a lesson. You may rest assured you will emerge successful in the future attempts.

Failure could be plinth on which you could build your edifice of success if you have learnt the lesson of embracing failure as part and parcel of success.

Failure is not the end of the road, it just gives a different perspective, provided if you look at it from a rational point of view and not succumb to play of emotions. No significant success worth mentioning has been achieved without failed attempts or repeated failures and history mirror’s many examples.

Thomas Alva Edison has failed several times before he could discover the right material, tungsten….he illuminated the whole world through incandescent light bulbs….a lasting success.

Sepoy Mutiny against British rule in 1857 was a failed attempt, but it gave sufficient insight, courage and created a solid platform for freedom fighters to organize the future freedom struggle in a better way. After several failed attempts…we got independence.

Success of Mangalyaan is a shining example of success built on previous failures, ISRO partially failed on chandrayaan -1 mission, but the project team did not succumb to the avalanche of negativity heaped on them. They learnt immense lessons; through frugal and innovative engineering with precision timings made the MOM project a grand success and the whole world looked at India as champion of space programs.

Walt Disney was fired by his employer; he was told he lacks imagination and creativity. How he used this to his advantage and became world famous, it’s there for all of us to see……. rest is history.

Most of us do not risk doing new things because of fear of failure and associated social stigma. Psychologically we are conditioned to think that it’s shameful to fail and failure means end of the road.

Failure strips you of your pride. Pride is a pseudo feeling that feeds on our ego. We feel hurt since ego has no fodder to feed on. Look at it dispassionately and analyze what causes you to feel so, you will get an answer. Failure has inherent lessons and it teaches you to be humble and gives you a better understanding of other side of life.

 Here are some random thoughts to overcome the burden of failure and step into the shoes of success.

❖     Each failure is a chance to grow better and wiser.

❖    Remember great achievers have failed several times before success embraced them.

❖     Your motto is to  be resilient and you must find ways to identify reasons and rectify  the issues   to bounce back.

❖     Do not hold on to the pain for long, don’t succumb to play of emotions, do some reality check. Go to the root cause of failure and address it (many tools available for root cause analysis).

❖     Relook at the goals; many times we do not set the realistic achievable goals.

❖     Think of changing the approach….

❖     Have positive affirmation and never keep ruminating about your failures.

  “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts”…..Winstun churchil

Restlessness to Peace

It was the early 90’s, myself and four friends were staying in a small house in Bangalore. One of my roommates went to the US to do masters in computer science. At that time, globalization was just round the corner. India was in the hot seat with global leaders. A lot of speculations and heated debate were happening in India about the pros and cons of globalization, more so on the negative effect. One section of people were vehemently opposing globalization, as it was thought to bring cultural change and uproot the job market and render most Indians  jobless. People argued that jobs will be taken away by foreign companies who come with deep pockets and even local businesses will collapse since they do not have the resources to fight the competition. People are worried that India  will lose freedom to capitalists and come under colonial rule. People did not have clarity and were given to  just speculation  as to how events will turn out.

 Around the same time, I received a letter from my friend who went to the US for higher studies, (those days no e-mail) narrating his culture shock while getting adjusted to American fast pace life and competitive rat race. But he was amazed to see the technological advancement and the excellent progress the US has made in education, business, Research and Development and every field of activity. He concludes in his letter, globalization is the only remedy for India to become a developed nation. 

Well, what happened after that is history, we all have seen how India progressed and the doomsayers vanished. Globalization opened up a new door of opportunities, we progressed swiftly  in all frontiers of knowledge, a strong and a new  India emerged on global scenario.

Here we are today in 2020… reaping the benefits and suffering the side effects of it.

We have lost more than what we bargained for, though materially richer  we’re today, but nonetheless morally and culturally deprived to the same extent and the side effects seem to outweigh the benefits.  There is a constant struggle and restlessness just to stay alive and create little comfort. Unmindfully we are sucked into a vortex of false prestige, jettisoning the values inherited from generations. We are restless just to keep our life going, without a clue we juggle our priorities. VUCA (Volatility,uncertainty,complexity, Ambiguity) world dictates our life. 

In Dog-eat-Dog competition, not a day goes peacefully without tension, stress and restlessness. There is a sense of emptiness inside us, we all live in a highly insecure world, constantly worried about our safety and security. Jobs are under constant threat, constantly struggling to make both ends meet. Our desires remain unfulfilled…we stretch ourselves to the limit to achieve our dreams. We set unrealistic financial targets and compromise on family time trying to achieve them.  In the process we have lost a precious thing  ………PEACE OF MIND.

We live in  a spacious house but our minds are narrow. We possess wealth but not health, we have a lot of  acquaintances but hardly any friends. 

Mental health has taken a toll on us, Antidepressant drugs are being sold across the counter and tops the chart in drug sales. We have  grown more intolerant, slightest discomfort triggers our temper and we get into squabbles. Greed has taken over the better part of us. We  like to  amass wealth at a shortest period compromising on the means….Means should justify the end…..it’s just the opposite….we are justifying the means through our ends.

We have pop-up  street psychologists who advise you on every problem.  In every by-lanes we have astrologers  who are ready  with quickfix solutions to all your problems. The fact we are highly dependent on them, it goes to show that we are merely  educated but not intelligent..we have become easy prey for such quick fixes.

The life we are living is not the life that we want. Then what is the underlying problem?

We are in an age of materialistic, consumer and brand driven-culture, it’s difficult to avoid Stress/ tension and restlessness in the modern world.

When you reflect back  you will realize the genesis of the problem.What we can do is to look inside, try and take corrective action.

All the problems emanate from mismanaging the priorities and misunderstanding of our own self.

 Because of this discord we get into all kinds of problems, like stress, tension, anxiety, neurosis and  related physiological diseases ( psychosomatic disorders). 

 Do not juggle with too many priorities,try and align in the order of its immediate impact on your life and the surroundings.

 Try to be in the present moment, if we can remind ourselves and practice regularly over a period of time your mental agitation will come down and you will become calm.

Try to be content with what you have, not that you should not aim for higher goals. Contentment brings peace of mind; you will not torture yourself to achieve the goals. This Mindset helps you achieve the desired goals and the universe also will help you. Express gratitude to the universe for the gift bestowed on you and value the gift you have received.

Recognize the purpose of life….work towards it; you will get happiness and fulfillment. 

 Meditate regularly..

I think this is the panacea for all the modern world ailments.

After all the purpose of our life is to be happy, unfortunately we search for happiness in every place except within us…….