I don’t know about you, but for me personally, the war in the Ukraine has stirred up so much to reflect and act upon. On the one hand I question how it can have come to this, and yet, on deeper reflection I can see how it has come to this.
When reflecting upon what brings about a war, perhaps it is useful to understand that an outer collective war can not arise unless there is an individual inner-war. Where there is an inner feeling of injustice, being unheard, hurt, abandoned, ignored or whatever else causes inner-pain…well…those very feelings, and the associated beliefs and thoughts that go with them, will be projected outwardly into the world unless the root cause of it is healed.
There are few of us that haven’t felt inwardly hurt in our life at some point, and without a means to navigate this inner-pain, it festers – sometimes consciously, often unconsciously. Many people go through their whole lives with unhealed wounds that they stay trapped in, repeating the same outer cycle over and over again – all of which is serving to bring their attention to that which they have not yet come to peace with.
Whether we recognise it or not, we project unresolved pain onto the many people we have met, and onto those we are yet to meet. We will project it into our personal relationships, our work relationships, and into our relationship with life itself. If our inner-war continues, so too will our need to get our justice in the outer-world. That’s a good thing, when it’s done in a healthy way; it’s not healthy when it lashes out in vengeance. Blinkered by it’s own egoic inner-story, unresolved pain is rarely open to truly seeing or hearing another’s perspective and so an impasse is reached. It is our way or no way. The war that simmers or rages inside, spills out into all worldly interactions, eventually lashing out in uncontrollable rage…and full on war.
As Steven Covey aptly put it…
“We see the world not as it is, but as we are – or as we are conditioned to see it. When we open our mouths to describe what we see, we in effect describe ourselves, our perceptions, and our paradigms.”
We likely all have had/still have our own internal wars, that have or haven’t found a peaceful resolution. It costs us all greatly if we do not learn to sit lovingly with the wounds, to hear their emotions, and then to do the inner-work and take the outer-action. We will all experience conflict within and without. Life, by it’s very nature, means that we all have our differences and won’t always see eye-to-eye. If we want to create collaboration and peace then it is each and every one of us’s individual responsibility to learn to first sit lovingly with any of our own lack of inner-peace, to get curious about it, to see where we are projecting it onto others, and then to open up to truly listening to each other. That requires an ability to navigate instinctive fight/flight/freeze reactivity and to gain greater communication skills. It’s not easy and it takes committed effort.
Sadly, there will be some of us in the world that do not take accountability for our own inner-war, and the effects thereof, and in these situations, may never be open to seeing past egoic projections. In such cases, when one or more parties are not open to genuinely listening to and understanding each another, it is with regret that there is no option but to walk away or to defend the attack should it come to that. Kindness and tolerance still have to have boundaries. Dialogue is only effective if it is a two-way street.
Thankfully, we are becoming increasingly intolerant of bullies, and seek to hold each other accountable for fairness. We must compassionately address what creates a bully in the first place. At the same time, a bully can not blame the world for being a bully. If we want to create a world of collaboration and peace, we must also continue to move towards greater understanding and self-accountability for our own inner-wars – it is there we must learn to find peace.
The war in Ukraine is inviting us to reach out in a practical way to offer whatever support we can and to stand for the greater good of all. At the same time…for me at least, it is inviting me to look at all those areas within myself that I too might still be at war, even if a cold one.
I’ve been reflecting upon…
🤔 Where does my ego project its story onto others and into life?
🤔 Where do I criticise another for what I myself still do, and yet fail to see?
🤔 When I judge another for not listening to my point-of-view, am I truly open to listening to theirs?
🤔 Where do I fail to listen to, and manage, my own emotions?…and then blame others for that?
🤔 Where do I fail to outwardly honest about how I feel…in an attempt to keep peace?
🤔 Where do I fail to hold healthy boundaries…in an attempt to keep peace?
🤔 Where do misunderstandings occur or relationships fail because of a lack of open-hearted communication?
I’m also reminded of the below wise daily questions from Henri Nouwen…
Sending much love to you all 💕💕