Journey to Inner Peace and Peace in Our World

June 4

Conflict makes me anxious even when I am only observing it between others. I am very anxious when I am the one in the conflict. My natural tendency is to do anything to remove myself from a conflict situation. Sometimes problems will resolve themselves if I leave them alone. There is some wisdom in giving some time and space in a conflict situation, in order for me to discern whether this is a minor irritation of which I need to let go, or a major affront that I need to address. 

If it’s important enough to address I need to speak coolly and clearly. Often I have made things worse by trying not to say something that might hurt someone’s feelings. I can be so obscure that the message is lost entirely. Worse, in trying to soften the “blow” I can be so flattering that the one who has offended doesn’t know that or how they have offended.

In the long run these evasive ways of dealing with conflict undermines charitable and trusting feelings in relationships and over time, suppressed feelings will build to an explosive level. Fortunately for me, I have supportive people around me who encourage me to be honest before things get to an explosive place. I don’t feel a need to have my way or express an opinion about everything but when it’s very important to me I have been learning to speak my truth as clearly and calmly as possible.  

For respectful conversation that leads to peace it is important to speak clearly, and equally important to really listen to the other, even when it is painful. Mediators offer the perspective that instead of seeing one another as adversaries, we could see ourselves as sitting around the same table looking together at the problem/conflict/offence/ as the adversary.

Peace is not the opposite or the absence of conflict.  Sometimes conflict is an indicator of a relationship in which trust is strong enough that each person believes the relationship is strong enough to weather the conflict.

Mature spirituality throughout time and around the world understands that our wholeness/integrity is linked to that of others.

This week Canadians were confronted, shocked, deeply moved and grieved as we learned of the hundreds of unnamed children buried at residential schools. Now when our hearts have been softened, is the time to allow this suffering to continue a transformative process within us.

Grey Night Owl writes, “I know that all must be brought into the Sacred Hoop for it to be mended. I often wonder how we will bring those who do not see even the simplest of Circles into the greatest Circle of all.”

May Spirit give us the courage to enter the Sacred Hoop and meet the “other”. It is my experience that the “other” is not so different from I, whatever her creed, age, abilities, health, nationality, race or orientation. 

Ultimately, mental health is about being at peace with myself. Over the past century many have tried to find inner peace through a quagmire of self-help, feel-good, avoid-challenge spirituality. Mature spirituality throughout time and around the world understands that inner peace comes through a transformative process that involves a letting go, or dying to things that are unhealthy in order to allow new life to emerge.

“There are really only two ‘cauldrons of transformation’: great love and great suffering,” in the words of Franciscan Richard Rohr. I find that I don’t need to look for opportunities to grow through suffering. Life brings enough suffering to us.

Grey Night Owl is the publisher and distributer of the Native American “Wotanging Ikche”.

The KAIROS Blanket Exercise, led by indigenous facilitators has the purpose of “fostering Positive Relationships between Indigenous & non-Indigenous Peoples. KAIROS Canada is an ecumenical movement for ecological justice and human rights around the globe.

One of the Recommendations from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation is for Canada to sign onto and implement the strategies of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. We are days away from finally enacting Bill C-15 which would take this momentous step in our national journey towards healing. See this link for more information and a letter that you can copy to email to senators and parliamentarians.