Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dissolving the Container of Conflict

Why is fighting so EASY? And so POINTLESS?

My friend and colleague Mary Electra wrote about a shocking act of violence in her neighborhood recently.

That week, I was also contemplating violence and conflict. I was on my way to a sound healing event, and the tension between our political "sides" was rolling through my mind.

Something about the brisk night air, the coolness, the moon. It seemed so beautiful without being "comfy". We don't always have to be "comfy". Sometimes, it's good to feel the brisk, aggressive, edge of reality. The cold night air aggressively drinking the heat from my hands and face. It's OK, sometimes. It's real. We don't always have to be in a container of "comfy".

I thought about containers. In the traditional/spiritual healing arts we talk a lot about containers. Creating a "safe" container for healing, or a "sacred" container for opening to the Divine.

Suddenly, I was struck by a message. It insinuated itself into my subconscious and then POPPED into my awareness. "Dissolve the container of conflict. Dissolve the container."

Wow. I'm so used to thinking of containers as being good things, useful things. It did not dawn on me that we might have to dispose of those that have outlived their usefulness.

There is a container of conflict in our culture that we have built and continue to feed.

Yes, we have differences. Yes, there are real, deep, and painful problems. Yes, each "side"  is partly right and partly deeply, shamefully, willfully wrong.

But this container of conflict we have built provides support for conflicts that have long outstripped their purpose, outlived their deeper meaning. In fact, the container emphasizes the conflict instead of the meaning, and allows the conflict to be easily sustained and amplified (like a resonance frequency). It literally damps out efforts at resolution. And over the years we've perfected it. For example, the 24-hour news cycle and the blogosphere have been harnessed to amplify conflict.

Why? Because conflict is exciting. It provides an adrenaline rush. Every screenwriter knows that audiences stay rapt when the hero and heroine experience conflict.

But aren't we kind of burnt out on conflict? I know I am. "Just shut up already...!" says my inner self, even when I'm receiving incitements to action for causes I care about. It's not that I don't want to be informed about the opportunity to act. It's that the opportunity is always framed in the language of conflict. In the container of conflict.

I'm suffering adrenal fatigue. Are you?

(Next: Part II - Comfort, Blame and the Container of Conflict)

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