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05 October 2016

Regarding Conflict Resolution

You can never truly resolve any conflict if the action you take harms another, whether the harm is slight or great. It does not matter if you're "right". The Creator, God, the Universe (whatever you call it) does not care if you're right--you're only task is to transform the "wrong" with love and hard work and understanding into a better situation for both parties--otherwise you just make it worse. You can't out muscle a bully, and when your action that you feel so righteous about harms someone else, you've made a bad situation infinitely worse. There's a simple test to determine if the action is something to put into motion: will this cause any harm to any other beings?  The war you win is the one you never fight.

Seven principles to keep in mind:

Whatever action taken to resolve a conflict must not cause harm to anyone—even if it solves the problem in question, if it hurts someone else, it is not really healing. Harm is not just physical, but emotional, too, such as creating stress and anxiety for someone else—the process of healing is stressful enough—so whatever you do, do no harm.

Both parties have to realize they need each other and cannot move forward unless they go forward together. There is no “us” and “them.” 

This process requires a genuine desire to uncover truth as accurately as truth can be determined and integrity (such as having the best intentions for seeking information--not to injure the other person but simply to discover truth) must be central to the researchers’ efforts; both sides need to be willing and able to sit with the information revealed or discovered without judgment.

A common misconception in resolving conflict is the perception that there are only two possible solutions to a problem when there may actually be an infinite number of options--keep all options and possibilities open.

Time is required and healing has its own timetable.  There is chronos time and kairos time; chronos is more about human time and the ways we measure it, including our expectations for how long something should take; kairos is that instantaneous moment (outside of normal time and space) when enlightenment becomes reality—it could take fifty years of hard work to get to that moment of transformation. 

Healing really is a transformation as a completely new paradigm emerges. The landscape is totally different. Healing happens first on an energetic level and then on a physical level as energy finds its way to the physical plane, literally reshaping everything.

One must keep in mind the resolving of a conflict or healing as we wish to define a favorable outcome will never be about only having your needs met but discovering the greatest possible outcome for all people involved. 

All photography by Island Sunrises

Click here to access notes on Gene Sharp's conflict resolution strategies from his famous work The Politics of Nonviolent Action Volume II from Dr. Scott Bennett of Georgia Court University presented during a talk he gave on nonviolent resistance at Brookdale Community College in 2016.

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