Managing internal conflicts

Friday, October 19, 2018

5 a.m. We have a question here that applies to more people than one. Comment?

[From Andy W: Here’s a question I have for the guys. I have a “hair shirt” strand, or strands, who are reacting intensely to all the changes I’m making – and they find my focused switch to positivity and business activity “unpleasant” and “nonspiritual”, especially since it involves making money, and not giving in to panic and fear. So, do I say “thank-you for sharing” – ignore the input, and keep focusing on guidance from those parts of me who are OK with business and support my existence and “all is well” attitude? I explain to my “hair shirt” strands my motivations for the work I do is to be of service and help others. Yet those strands tell me that I don’t deserve ANYTHING, (and that I can’t really help others) and that the solution is to check out. Like some of them did/do in their strand. It almost feels like my “longtime” project is merely to stay alive, active and connected to my “all is well” identity/strands in face of the current challenges that are being discussed. It feels like I’m changing my spots.]

[TGU:] Indeed it does [apply to more than one person]. And not only does it apply to more people than one, it is not an issue of marginal or peripheral concern: It is of vital importance. And, just as it causes real damage when unchecked, it has the potential to do great good – to lead to great liberation – when once understood, and dealt with. In religious people, the same problem manifests as a hyper-active conscience, what is called “scrupulous” behavior [not meaning ethical; meaning nit-picking concern for every little thing, blowing things out of proportion], and its corresponding trait of continual carping criticism of the conduct and character of others, as spillover from the continual onslaught of criticism of oneself.

Yes, put into that context, the connection is very clear.

But we should spell it out, because it won’t yet be clear to all.

It amazes me, sometimes, this process. By all means, proceed.

It may become clearer if we transpose the situation. Suppose we look at it this way. Andy (and the unnumbered multitude who suffer by this kind of carping criticism) is in the midst of a community. How would it look if the community we refer to were 3D individuals, rather than non-3D individuals? Would he allow the same presumption of competence to judge and condemn him?

I have lived among an unsympathetic community – people among whom I could not express my true feelings, could not expect sympathetic hearing for what I knew. Sheep, intolerant of any animal that was even slightly different from the accepted norm. It is very crippling.

It is, although overcoming such opposition may build strength of character. Now, in 3D circumstances, you can physically relocate. Get another job to be rid of a bad work environment; change cities or states to live among more congenial people; find a different circle of friends, etc. You have the option of changing your surroundings. But what of living in a similar situation when the intolerant, opinionated, emotionally hostile, presumptuous know-it-alls are not 3D individuals but non-3D aspects of oneself? How does one escape them?

I suppose some people may be driven to suicide, if it is bad enough.

Many are driven to suicide, if the concept of suicide be extended to include throwing one’s life away, giving up, giving in.

That is bleak.

It is. That’s why it is valuable to bring it to people’s attention, so that they may free themselves from it.

Of course. The first step in anything involves becoming conscious of it, as Jung pointed out and as I keep finding myself quoting in many contexts. If you aren’t conscious of the various aspects of a situation, it controls you, even though by rights you should control it. But by analogy, you can’t control a dream until you become lucid.

And “Life is but a dream.” True, and relevant. So let us say more, even though we have already said all Andy and others should need, because this is one case where it is better to say too much (to be sure the point is made) than to settle for having said it.

Yes, and I see why. The same internal confusion – even opposition – that causes the problem may tend to obscure the message by interfering with one’s ability to hear it.

Yes.

We say it as clearly as we can: You are the mind living in 3D, you have the right to determine who and what you shall be. This you do by your choices. Your choices. If you choose to be a musician and you hear a chorus of inner voices screaming at you that no, you have no talent, you are deluding yourself, you are stupid to do anything except X – whatever “X” may be – should you listen?

Well, transpose the situation. If it were your family or co-workers or neighbors or strangers acting that way, “should” you listen? Or do you have the right and even the obligation to make your own choices?

Conflicts come disguised. Situations internal, no less than external, may have their own confusion. It isn’t always easy to know what you want, what is practical, what is essential to you if you are not to wither and die. When is advice wisdom and when is it merely opinion, possibly malicious or jealous opinion? When may your guys be implicitly trusted, and when must they be resisted, even defied? These are important questions, that do not answer themselves as soon as posed.

Joseph Campbell famously said, “Follow your bliss.”

And that is very good advice, properly followed, or we should say properly understood. You wouldn’t want to tear up your life every time you felt another whim, but whims are not bliss. They may be temptations, they may be leading indicators of something important, but whims per se are not what Campbell meant. He meant, since feelings are the language of the soul, your soul – your deepest self, your essence of you – will tell you (defining “you” as the 3D consciousness trying to discern its true path in the world) what is most congenial to your nature by providing deep satisfaction when you are doing what you ought to be doing to fulfill your nature.

Yes, like me doing this.

Exactly. “Your bliss” doesn’t mean you are on cloud nine when you are engaged in it. It means, this is what is important to you, this is what gives you meaning, this is when you feel yourself expressing your true meaning as a 3D individual that is also something deeper and wiser and stronger and – well, connected.

The “bliss” you follow may make no sense externally. It may solve none of your problems; indeed, may pose more, is quite likely to, at least in the beginning. But you will know that it fits the real you. you will never follow it grudgingly or perforce. You will no more have to endure doing it than a river has to flow grudgingly and against its will.

To answer Andy explicitly, your right and we would almost say your responsibility is to say to non-3D people what you would say (hopefully) to 3D people: “Thanks for your advice, but you may not know as much as you think you do about what is good for me. Even if I am wrong, I have the right and duty to choose what I want to become, and no one can relieve me of the responsibility or take away from me that right.”

Or, more succinctly, “Shut up.”

Well – we smile and sort of agree, except that a confrontational attitude doesn’t always smooth the way.

I love that line from Stephen Leacock: “’Shut up,’ he explained.”

Well, it can be emotionally satisfying, and sometimes that’s what a situation requires. But a smoother long-term attitude is probably more like, “I know you think you’re helping, but you aren’t. This is my life, my decision, and if it is a mistake, it is my mistake. Why not sit back and see what happens?”

You don’t really think a chorus of harpies is going to be silenced or even muted by that approach?

You think blunt confrontation day by day is going to get better results? Think of your daughter with her children.

Now that is a very interesting analogy. I have been impressed, watching my daughter deal with her very young children having temper tantrums. She would hold them reassuringly, saying, “I know,” sympathetically, while not giving in on whatever was causing them distress. It was wonderful to watch, as she maintained control without impairing affection.

You have any reason to think that wouldn’t work with your own non-3D strands, some of which may act like infants sometimes?

I never thought about it.

Well, now you can [think about it]. To sum up: Discordant strands within one’s makeup have their own right to exist and be heard; that is not the same thing as saying that any or any combination of them have the right to override or second-guess what you decide to do or become. But they won’t be any the worse for being reassured that their concerns have been heard and even perhaps that their interests are not being disregarded.

Hard to realize just how that last would manifest.

Never mind. Those to whom it applies will recognize it as it manifests.

So, probably enough on this subject, but if people raise further questions, or objections, or if somehow it is not yet clear, we’re always here to consult.

I suspect that many people, not just I, thank you for this. Till next time.

 

9 thoughts on “Managing internal conflicts

  1. Frank,

    I cannot THANK-YOU enough for asking the question and publishing the subsequent discussion. Thank-you! This conversation with TGU could not have been clearer. Before I started doing “the work” you have suggested and shared how you’ve done over the years, eventually realizing/knowing a few strands in my compound nature, I would have not have been able to see the real situation.

    Before this I considered myself “broken” – taking one step forward, one step back, and I see it now as that I am a person made up of strands with very strong conflicting ideas about self-worth, values, goals and strategies. There is no need to beat myself up for, or to give credence to the opinions of the non 3D people that are critical or negative. I am whole, not homogenous, and my highest and best connection is always here.

    “To answer Andy explicitly, your right and we would almost say your responsibility is to say to non-3D people what you would say (hopefully) to 3D people: “Thanks for your advice, but you may not know as much as you think you do about what is good for me. Even if I am wrong, I have the right and duty to choose what I want to become, and no one can relieve me of the responsibility or take away from me that right.”

    If I just say “shut up” I see no way to block out the discordant strands, as they can wake me up at night with their opinions.

    I’m glad that TGU confirms they “won’t be any the worse for being reassured that their concerns have been heard and even perhaps that their interests are not being disregarded.” Arguments at times are about strategy, not the goal. So when I listen for and affirm my deepest soul’s idea of my “true path in the world” I can also listen to their feedback, say “thank-you for sharing” and instead take the action suggested by what my deepest essence finds the most satisfaction doing! Really like what Campbell said!

    Thank-you again!

  2. Frank,
    The sentence “Many are driven to suicide, if the concept of suicide be extended to include throwing one’s life away, giving up, giving in.” is very interesting. The ubiquity and importance of this problem (“it is not an issue of marginal or peripheral concern: It is of vital importance.”) could make one wonder what ‘non-3D’ is up to.

    It seems TGU and my guidance, and the guidance of many here want the best for each of us … and lo, in writing this I see the distinction: as usual, which ‘you/us’ do I mean? Each of us compound 3D’ers have those “hair-shirt”/harpy stands, in varying numbers and strengths as part of a ‘larger’ you.

    The guidance I know works to make me aware of ways to deal with those parts of me; this post is a perfect example. But one could speculate on the equal availability of ‘guidance’ that would say “Listen to them, they are right!” Seems like that would be another of those ‘virtuous or vicious cycles’ TGU recently alluded to; the path forward would depend on which you listen to.

    Would TGU care to comment on the ‘existence’ of (from the 3D perspective) such ‘bad guidance?’
    Jim

      1. I am … so far the response has been on the order of “Well, it’s complex …” Will report if something comes through.

  3. Years ago, when I was upgrading to Aircraft Commander on the military cargo jet I was flying, my instructor had a similar discussion with me about leading a crew. An old crusty major with a ton of experience, he said it worked best to get input from my team members about a problem, listening to their solutions, as they were the experts on their part of the airplane. He said, though, that the final decision was mine, and the team respected that. I also needed to explain to them, time permitting, why we needed to do something different.

    A good leader should never shut down a member of the team. They will get sullen and withhold information that could very well be critical.

    This is a very interesting discussion on managing your strands and how to regard non-3D input. It makes me smile when TGU suggests we give the same regard to the non-3D chorus as we do some of our 3D detractors!

    1. Interesting application. Thanks. I’m tempted to lift it and highlight it in a post. “A good leader should never shut down a member of the team. They will get sullen and withhold information that could very well be critical.” Applied to our sometimes rambunctious, sometimes willful strands, very good advice.

  4. Pretty gratifying to read Andy’s comment. I do think we’re feeding each other’s transformation, and I like it.

  5. Wonderfully gratifying! One of my inner projects for a long time has been the inner herding of what I think of as a monkey orchestra. Monkey bunch is starting out only wanting to fight, and aim is to play the same tune and do it brilliantly. And it is very true that conflicts come in disguise. One just wonders why the inner music has died down and then start digging for what is going on. And there will be some unhappy monkey-strand that wants something else than what is going on. So there will be serious inner conversation that starts with me telling the unhappy or sabotaging part: I see you! Sometimes I get to see it is a frightened child-part who just needs to feel her concern is heard and she gets reassurance.

    Is it that by engaging in the world, in different actions, the different strands can find ways to come forth and be seen? And taken care of? Forging an inner tribe/community that takes care of its members. So the ‘me’ that conducts the orchestra is a leader of a tribe. I’ve not made that connection before. Just thought the monkey orchestra has been a useful metaphor to tame an extremely quarrelsome bunch of strands.

    Also very useful pointers on how to discern the right tune when the noise gets really chaotic.

    The conversation just gets better and better! Many thank-yous to all!

  6. Very useful conversations and comments. For a while I thought I was alone in having strands in conflict. I worked to bring everyone into harmony. It didn’t work very well and now I find it’s “normal” and productive to have conflicting forces, (how else could it be really with this much diversity?) I plan to adopt Kristina’s leader-of-a-tribe way of dealing. It is almost like taking back one’s personal power. Thanks all.

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