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Crosseyed and Painless

Conflicts and Talking Heads


Try as we might, it is hard to envision a world of perpetual peace. Obviously no one wants to experience perpetual discomfort of dissatisfaction. It would rob the joy of living if we had to remain in a constant state of struggle. However, we must acknowledge that conflict is a natural part of our everyday lives.


Among the many challenging narratives we encounter in engaging with spiritual practice, is that we should strive to be free from conflict. Or, we might hear that conflict is a sign that we are not doing enough practice, or some other form of idealizing the human experience. Ideas that deny the basic realities of ordinary life are deeply dehumanizing and deny our capacity ro relate to our own life or the lives of others with compassion.


The fact is, human life is full of conflict. Whether it's where or what to eat, or what is or is not acceptable or useful behavior, we are perpetually faced with some form of conflict. Unfortunately, the models of we see represented often, wrongly, suggest to us that violence is an inherent part of having and resolving conflicts. So it may seem unusual to even suggest that conflicts belong in the "spiritual" setting, but a spirituality that is not grounded in life is nothing more than fantasy; everything is equally spiritual, whether we want it to be or not. In and of itself, conflict is neither good nor bad, no matter how uncomfortable it may be to experience.


The aim of spiritual practice is to experience the limitless source of all possibility, joy, creativity, and contentment. While it might seem as an obstacle, how we are able to navigate conflicts can lead us towards liberation.

Inspired by Talking Heads - Crosseyed and Painless

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