Conflict and Mediation – Finding Peace Amidst the Turmoil
by David Gould
“Breath on a mirror. If it fogs over, you have conflict.”
This phrase signifies an undeniable fact of life: that conflict is inevitable and everywhere. How we manage our conflicts will have a tremendous impact on our personal and business success and satisfaction.
The Nature of Conflict
Before we can deal with a challenge, we need to understand it. What I am about to share with you is an over simplification of what are often complex matters. All conflict exists in our stories of the past about what happened to us and what we made it mean.
When we bring that story with its emotionally charged meanings into the present moment and we enroll others in our saga of fault and blame we can find ourselves trapped in conflict. The damage escalates when we project our conflict stories into our future and live into them. Communications breakdown and become accusatory. Long standing relationships become toxic. Hopelessness looms and “war” feels inevitable.
These beliefs about right and wrong are closely tied to our identity and values. When we feel that those are threatened, we enroll allies and eventually lawyers to validate our position and weaken our opponents. We become invested in our stories as the best and often the only way to get our interests and needs met.
Escaping from the Trap of Conflict
The 12th century Sufi mystic, Jalal al-din Muhammad Rumi, provided some wisdom about how to break free of this trap. He wrote: “Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”
In order to gain access to Rumi’s field it is first necessary to step back from your own story and separate what actually happened, the facts, from what you made those facts mean, your judgements, interpretations, and assumptions. You can also make your best guess as to how the other party sees the facts and what they made them mean. When you do this work well, you open up a whole new range of possible options for resolution. You will likely find that much of the conflict is in the meanings.
You can get help from family, friends and professional advisors but remember you want their objective insights not simply their buy in to your conflict story.
Simply stated mediation is Rumi’s field in action. A mediator is a neutral 3rd party empowered by an agreement among the parties to facilitate communication and intervene appropriately to assist the parties in their negotiations.
Contact David Gould
Phone: 403 801 0234