We live in a world where conflict is now the norm. Why is that?
I think that we’ve lost our inner strength and the ability to exercise what we understand to be right and true. We know that fighting doesn’t get us anywhere and quarrelling doesn’t get us what we want - it just creates a lot of negative energy - but we just can’t help ourselves. What we need to do is develop our own internal strength, recognise our own value, recognise the value of other people and accept and understand the diversity in our world.
Is there a connection between inner conflict and conflict with others?
Everything begins with ourselves. If I’m fighting with other people, I’m battling with something inside myself. Perhaps I’m not able to put into practice something I believe in or am having to compromise my values. This battling makes me lose my inner strength and value. When I’m unhappy with myself, it comes out in my interaction with others. When a group of people are unhappy, it comes out on a bigger scale. The more understanding and peaceful we become, the more accepting and loving we become, and we reflect that in our relationships.
To stay quiet and withdraw in a situation of conflict might be seen as weakness. Can spirituality be a strength?
We cannot gain internal strength without spirituality. By spirituality I mean to recognise that I am more than just this physical appearance. My strength lies in my awareness of myself as a spiritual being – a living, thinking being, the essence of peace, of love and happiness. The more I experience this, the more I experience strength inside myself. To be quiet doesn’t mean to run away; it means to evaluate my thoughts and feelings before I express them.
What if you know you’re right? How do you achieve what you want whilst keeping your spiritual awareness?
The main thing is patience. This is something I’ve really had to work on. I might be right but I have to wait for that moment when everybody else agrees. That way I also let people learn their own lessons. Maybe from where I am it’s possible to see quickly how things will happen, but others have to get to that place before they can see it. I have to learn to accept that what is right will eventually become apparentt and exercise my own patience.
We may recognise the need to change but how do we do it?
We eat to survive but if I want to survive mentally in a happy state, I have to feed myself with silence, positive thoughts, the qualities that I have inside me. I have to be conscious of these every day, as many times as I can, and so build up my inner strength.