Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Comfort, Blame and the Container of Conflict

In a previous post, I talked about the idea of a "Container of Conflict" that we've created that seems to provide a kind of resonator that allows (empowers?) conflict to continue long past its useful life.

Conflict isn't all bad. Of course. It highlights differences and makes tangible the discomfort necessary to examine our behaviors. As I mentioned in my previous post, we don't always have to be "comfy". But we do, I think, have to be honest. And when things aren't comfy, it seems, we'd rather be comfy than honest.

Enter Blame.

Dr. Brene Brown, in her marvelous TED presentation (that I recommend to everyone - watch it as soon as you can...seriously), talks about shame, connectedness, and vulnerability. At one point in her talk she slips in a profoundly relevant comment.

"You know how blame is described in the research? A way to discharge pain and discomfort."

We have created a Container of Conflict in which blame ricochets back and forth, with virtually no "loss". Blame becomes the resonant frequency inside this container of conflict. It stays almost perfectly intact, resonating and re-resonating and (with a little encouragement and participation from us) builds and amplifies. The Container of Conflict is a superconductor for Blame.

Blame is pretty much pointless. "A way to discharge pain and discomfort". Is that what we need? Or do we need a way to recognize what behaviors cause pain and discomfort, and a way to heal the wounds that result?

I'm increasingly suspicioius that evil enters the world when we sacrifice someone else - their feelings, their rights, their freedoms, even their physical selves - in order to protect one of our own wounds. Think about it. Rather than experience the pain and discomfort of a wound, we "blame" someone or something else. 

When you look deep inside, does that sound familiar?

In reality, we're not so different, after all. It's only in our imaginations and affectations and illusions, which we cultivate with great pride and vigor (typically, to protect a wound we wouldn't want anyone else to see, out of shame, or fear). And we build up these ridiculous stories about "the other side", and maniacally invent stories about "what they think" to justify "what we think" - our own polemics and dogma and self-righteousness.

Not good.

Spirit whispered to me "Dissolve the container of conflict. Dissolve the container."

How? I'm still working on that. The first step, it appears, is to realize there is one.

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