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What's Arising?

Richard's Blog & Podcast


What's Arising?


Richard's Blog & Podcast


What's Arising?


How to resolve conflict

By Richard Schultz  December 5, 2023

... Episode 10 of What's Arising

This episode has a similar theme to the last one on "Ending All War" but it seems to be arising again and again, so perhaps it is worth repeating in another way. Resolving conflict is generally difficult. Emotions are highly charged. The risk of being hurt or hurting the other is high. Rather than resolving conflict with love, compassion and understanding, it becomes more about whether we win or lose the war. We often get stuck in blame, shame and right/wrong thinking. So what is the way out?


At the root of most conflict is 'Shadow', especially conflict that is highly charged. If we are going to fully resolve conflicts within ourselves, our relationships, and our world, we need to look deeper than the surface symptoms and heal the underlying trauma and shadows at the root of the conflict. We need to release the 'charge'.

Click here to view a full transcript.

Learn more about Shadow-work:

Open Dialogue is one approach to build safe spaces to resolve conflict and get deeper insight into new possibilities.

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What's Arising Video Transcript

Resolving Conflict


So welcome to the Wet Surprising Podcast.

This particular episode is going to be about conflict and as before, before I get into the podcast, I'm going to ring my bowl here.


This bowl ringing is as much, maybe more for me than than you.

I get into helps me get into a different space and get connected and present and open to what wants to arise and come through me around the particular topic that is present.


So I hope you enjoy it.

It'll get me into a bit of R.E.M. in another space and hopefully we'll learn some things in the podcast together.

Here we go.


So I hadn't planned on doing an episode right now on conflict, but I've had someone uncomfortable conversation today, and I've been sitting with it for the past few days in anticipation of a conversation that was going to arise.


And being in conflict with others is not my favorite room.

It's not my favorite place.

I I don't know if anybody has a favorite place around being in a being in conflict with somebody else or some other people.


It's something that we tend to avoid.

Our capacity and our skills to to be in a place of conflict is often not there if you're like me, in terms of how you're raised.


I learned to avoid conflict.

There wasn't, you know, motions were mostly suppressed.

So we never got the experience of how to work with conflict.

I can look at other cultures and other families and I think of the Southern cultures, maybe the Italians and maybe, I don't know any of the Italians at all.


But you imagine some, some of the people in the South like Italians or maybe South America with this rich passion.

And when an argument comes up with a partner or spouse, maybe it's from the movies, there's this blow up and fully into it by both partners and it's done and they let it go.


Maybe don't hold on many of us in our in the culture I'm in as Canadians, or at least in my family and experience.

Maybe I should be just speaking about myself.

I'll tend to hold on for a while unless I can get to the source of what it's really about in this conversation about conflict is I think is really important in our society because we don't really have the capacities really anywhere to deal with the deep conflict.


We can see it in, as at the time of this podcast, in the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

We can see it in Ukraine and Russia and many, many other countries and societies in the world.


And yeah, it's can lead to war, death, many other atrocities coming from this energy of conflict.

So I think it's really important to dive into this subject and where it comes from and what the repercussions are, and how do we resolve conflict in healthy ways rather than hold on to it and have it burst forward again.


Conflict tends to come through as a pattern unless it's healed at the source.

So you know, with the spouse or a friend or your boss.

When we hold on, it subsides.


We there's an outburst maybe and and there's a conflict that happens and the energy is released and for a time it goes away and maybe it's partially resolved or at least the energy is released and then some form of it comes back again or with another person, but it's often the same energy.


The other strategy is to suppress it and not say anything, have it circle around in the head and the emotions and carry it for days and days and days and then that affects everybody else in our life.

That conflict with the boss or the partner or our view on the conflict in our society tends to have other repercussions in terms of our health and balance, our joy and our just well-being at the source of every conflict.


I think there is this, this energy that I referred to in other podcasts and now as Shadow.

Shadow is born in some kind of conflict with self.

It conflict is created from the shadow and conflict is sustained by the shadow that is was created in the 1st place.


And the way to resolve, finally resolve any particular conflict is to do the inner shadow work with self, because that's the source of it.

So when we go through a difficult situation as a child maybe we feel rejected or maybe there's a physical trauma even severe trauma like sexual abuse or maybe there's bullying.


Maybe it's even seems relatively minor.

We we were shut down in a conversation with a parent and we felt we didn't have a voice and that maybe pattern repeated from our parents shadow and behaviors and and we learned to separate and come into conflict with the part of us that has a voice we we if we have a voice maybe we if we use our voice if we say something in conflict we get shut down and hurt and so we don't feel loved.


So we go into conflict with those parts of self that have been pushed away or rejected, or where we haven't felt loved with the inner family situation early in life is where these generally happen.


Or we stand up and shine and somehow that, umm, causes the attention of somebody in our shine, in our joy, and they dampen that, shut that down and reject us because we're happy when they think we shouldn't be happy.


So there's a conflict there with the other party.

Our parents are then transferring into a part of herself and we start to push away those parts of self that aren't welcome or we push them down and suppress them inside ourselves.


And here is where Shadow is born.

And now we have this conflict with self and the root of conflict with others.

And this pattern continues to repeat itself.

Often it starts in childhood repeating, you know, early childhood and then mid childhood and then teenage years and suddenly it's or over time it gets solidified and then it shows up in our in our other relationships.


It also comes through our conditioning.

We might be conditioned to hate a certain race or a certain kind of people and we project that hate or racism on to others, and even even the hatred of racism or hatred of people who are racist is a form of shadow and hate and will cause conflict.


They're not good.

It's a projection, It's a judgement in a sense.

It may be true in some sense that that person's racist, but it causes us to be in conflict and not open hearted compassion.

What was their journey that got them into that place?


So looking at her own judgments and her own separation of self and suppression is part of that.

So the and conflict and why it's so disturbing to be in conflict is because when the shadow arises and the deep emotions and the trauma arises within the conflict, we're afraid of ourselves and we're afraid of what we might do, the we're afraid of the other person of what might happen there.


And this original wounding is in the space and it's a very uncomfortable space.

We feel attacked.

Maybe we don't feel we can handle it because we never handle it in the 1st place.

And there's so much energy there.

There's anger, there's sadness, there's hurt.


There's so much energy in that space, so it's no wonder we don't want to go there, and probably we shouldn't.

This external expression of the shadow is hurtful and dangerous and can lead to violent violence, physical violence in the wars we're seeing in the world, but also emotional violence and hurtful feelings on both sides.


So how do we resolve this?

How do we resolve this?

And it's playing out in the world even we're creating even more shadow.

The shadow, as you remember what I said, is created in the suppression and pushing down or projecting into the world.


So there's the individual shadow of and the sustaining of that shadow by pushing it down, trying to control it, keeping it, censoring it, suppressing.

And there's this projection on it there.

The angry person, not me.


They're the incompetent person.

They're the ones that are evil.

That's those are parts of ourselves that we pushed out into others or pushed inside and eventually that blows up and we come into conflict with another.

But this is also happening in our collective right now.


During these times, these shadows, which have a lot of energy, are coming up into the open.

And what are we trying to do with them?

We're trying to push them down.

We're trying to throw those people in jail.

If we can possibly do that, censor them, control the Internet, the lies and everything else.


All these things, the lies, the cheating, the corruption that's happening in the world.

These various polarized, fractured perspectives are different perspectives of different shadows coming together in our collective, and we're entering this very, very dangerous time.


So what do we do with the shadow in the collective?

We have a habit of doing what we do with our own shadows.

That is projecting and coming to war in conflict, or suppressing and having the inner war, which is less violent outside but is also extremely horrible for her own well-being and her mental health and not actually dealing with the shadow inside.


They're connected.

The collective shadow, the more we're pushing in judgment and shame and blame out in the world, the more we're adding our energy into that fractured world and therefore enhancing that.


I've talked about that in other podcasts.

We're pushing the wave even higher, which not only effects that energy but is also we're we're fully in that wave, fully in the drama.

That's not the way to resolve conflict.


One of the skills that I don't have very well is how to have those conflicting conversations.

And I've learned a few things, but I haven't had a lot of experience.

And and those experiences I had was largely before my shadow work, where I didn't know that I could resolve a lot of that inside.


And so full on heat, being right, blaming the other person for the problem.

And what happens?

I I I get separated from my girlfriend or something else happens and I push them away or they push me away and the conversation is done and then it arises with somebody else who's willing to go to battle with my shadows or their shadows.


I've learned for the most part I can't change the other person that's that's not possible or it's not a likely likely for success by trying to make the other person's fix the other person.


Yes they have their shadows in in those confrontations and so will I and they're the shadows are battling each other and that's it's we don't like to be changed.

I don't like to be changed by somebody else and say I'm wrong and be attacked and neither do they.


So the strategies of stepping into these conflicts most of us are not very skilled at.

If we are going to go into that, we have to find a way for ourselves at least and hopefully invite the other person in to a more heartfelt, open, transparent conversations.


How did I feel?

And there's various techniques to do that, nonviolent communication and other methodologies, methodologies to have those conversations and change those behaviors.

It's important to create a safe space, a container, have a conversation about how we're going to talk to each other, not have an argument, not interrupt or something.


Have a talking object and practice listening and repeating back maybe after we've listened that we've actually heard, so that both people feel, feel, heard and seen within those conversations.

So there's a lot of techniques that I frankly have to learn.


Some of those I've been fairly good at learning how to create containers, but not been able to use that container in so many conflicts.

And what I mean is about containers is creating a safe space, A trusting space, A loving space as much as possible, a listening space, respectful, these kinds of values.


How are we going to have that conversation with each other so that hopefully we don't hurt each other, so we can move into those conflict situations and have a different kind, uh, conversation, a dialogue where we're listening and practicing voicing and suspending our judgments and assumptions about what the person says and be more in the inquiry?


What's happening inside of me?

What am I feeling?

What am I noticing?

What's happening over there?

Being curious.

Those are great spaces for any conversation and definitely around conflict.

But for myself, what I find works best for me is I can deal with the shadow in a self dialogue before I ever get into that conflict.


So it changes the how I enter the space.

If I'm having to enter the space in a conversation with someone else, I deal with that emotional charge inside of me before I ever come into the conflict.

And if I'm wise and starting up a conflict, there's a conflict starting with between me and others.


Then if I'm wise for myself, I'll say, hey, this isn't a good time for this conversation.

I'm noticing this charge in with me, and I need to do some work within myself to discover what that charge is about so that I can shift it.


So what I do is take that back, that charge, identify what is this about?

What can't I stand in the other person?

Why do I hate about that?


What makes me feel hurtful in this situation?


And I take that into a shadow process that goes back into the source of when that arose.

And what's the part in me that is resisting and hating that other energy?

Usually what what I see if I if I if I'm angry at them because they're incompetent, or I label them as incompetent and this was me in the past, then taking back am I incompetent?


Do I hate being feeling incompetent?

Do I hate failure and dealing with the fears of failure and looking stupid or are not good enough inside of myself?

Then I can come into the conversation without the labeling energy of them.


I completely resolve this myself and I'm really in a place of of open compassion with the other person and the energy.

My energy change changes and I can just listen to their experience and if I'm deeply listening from a place of love, chances are.


That that whole conversation will shift and will not go into the highly charged conflict.

That might be possible if I'm carrying a charge and they are carrying their own charge from the opposite or similar sides of the the fracture that's happened in within both of us.


Those patterns dealing with the conflict itself having for my process is a self dialogue with that other part, coming to understand it, bringing it closer to me rather than pushing it away like the pattern is with all of us around.


Shadows is pushing it away, projecting it on to the other, which resides results in that conflict, but actually resolving the conflict in self with that energy or part within ourselves coming to peace and then the embracing that part, getting a gift out of it.


There's actually a gift and an insight always within the shadow and a complete transformation of that energy so that we can show up in the world completely different.

And when we show up different with our our family, our our our business colleagues, with our reflections onto the challenging uh conflicts and environment in our world today, whether that be the drama on the Internet or the wars or politics or something else.


When we fully show up in it that full self, that whole self, then we're not caught as much in that drama.

We're more at peace and from a place of no charge or neutrality, we have more options available to us.


We're not lost in our charge and our emotion so that we can say, hey, what's the correct response in this and come from a more loving, peaceful energy rather than jumping into the drama that's happening there.


And when we're not jumping into the drama, but having compassion and love within the drama that's unfolding in life and life will always unfold some kind of drama.

Then we can find our peace and we withdraw our energy from the collective drama.


I like to hope that there's a little less charge in the world if I'm don't have the charge myself.

Now there are also situations where the shadow is, is the inability to put up boundaries or something like this, the inability to stand up for yourself.


So it's not about this necessarily about the retreat.

The shadow work is still important, but it's about about this protection of self.

And the energy might be that we need to stand not not run away, but stand up for ourselves and set boundaries and that doesn't.


That means that we may not come into peace, maybe ever with that person, because that person will not shift, is not an energy or a personality that you can be with.

Even though you're calm and peace within yourself.


You might need boundaries on certain people or certain environments.

This is not healthy because that person is not healthy and not willing to deal with their their shadow and maybe not meant to in this life.


They're for some reason they're going to hold on to whatever archetype shadow archetype they have, the liar, the corrupt person, etcetera.

Well, there's no sense of inviting a thief into your house, even though your peace and love and and care for that thief.


You might put some boundaries around that person and maybe move them out of your life with compassion for yourself.

It doesn't mean that there won't be conflict from them to you.

It's You won't have the charge to enter the conflict, and you can make you know clear boundaries.


You can find places for restraint on your on yourself or the restraint on the relationship, because it's just never going to be healthy until they, if they choose, deal with their shadows and come into peace with themselves.


And maybe that does change.

So I hope this is helpful in terms of conflict.

I know I'm a work in progress on conflict and dealing with conflicting situations.


I'm in one right now and we'll have to have another conversation and I'm and I've got some more inner work to do probably before the next conversation.

And I don't know if that other person will be able to see what we discussed, or if I've got all of the insight into what I need to shift and transform in myself.


That whole conversation is also a work in progress and I expect a deep gift for me because I care about the conflict that's happening in the world.

Not only working with the Shadow, but also how do we bring people back together in trusting safe spaces so that we can redesign and reformat, regenerate our world based on umm kindness and peace and generosity towards each other rather than the direction that we seem to be going in.


So thanks for showing up in this.

If you have any comments, please put them in the comments section, which should be attached to this podcast.

And if you like what I'm saying and want to hear more, please subscribe.


I'd love to hear from you what other subjects and thoughts that you have in the whole realm of shadow work and and moving into a peaceful generative world