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”