On a scale of 1 – 10, this would hardly register on anyone’s conflict scale, however, it gave me a valuable insight into how it works for me. Like most people I naturally avoid ‘conflict’; I have seen myself as a ‘flight’ person rather than a ‘fight’ one. Until that is I noticed recently the role of my mind in creating what can appear to be a conflict situation, but it’s just an illusion.
Here’s the story… I came out of the house on Saturday morning to find two white vans parked on our communal grass. It’s a space that we love, it’s a focal point for our small neighbourhood; we hold ‘get togethers’ and BBQs on it in the summer, we have a large communal Christmas tree on it over the festive period, we raised money for Portland stone benches, and we obviously mow it and tend the flower beds. So, I had some ‘stritchy’ feelings when I saw these commercial vans (window replacements) parked in the centre of it.
I was on my way out for a walk with the dogs so I continued. On the way round my thoughts returned several times to the issue of the vans. In the past these thoughts would have built up, I would have quickly felt powerless to do anything about it and any way surely the damage had already been done! The difference for me on this occasion was that I didn’t get caught up in a spiral of thoughts and so I didn’t feel powerless. I now know that thought is everything and that we live in an inside-out experience, so I was able to calmly look at my thoughts and see them for what they are; anything more than the vans being physically on the grass was made up only in my mind! Indeed, from this place of calm it seemed perfectly obvious that I would just go and find the guys responsible and ask them to move their vans. It wasn’t a challenging conversation at all, I had no feelings associated with conflict. They moved the vans and apologised – job done and I got on with my day.
The real learning for me in this situation was to appreciate that I had previously had a tendency to create a conflict where there was none – how interesting! How often do we avoid a situation because we perceive it to be a conflict or a challenge? How often do we harbour ‘bad’ thoughts about a person because we perceive them to be the cause of our anxiety? When we truly know the power of the mind in creating our experience (100% of the time) we have the ultimate freedom to choose to do what ‘feels’ right rather than to feel powerless.
In the words of Sydney Banks “If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.” At that moment I had a deep sense of what Syd meant by these words; conflict is an illusion.