Greetings from the Land of Enchantment: Irreconcilable Conflict?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Irreconcilable Conflict?

I've been reading Krishnamurti again. It's been awhile. He's a great teacher and in his written lectures, he repeatedly challenges the 'audience', the reader, to follow the logic with him; don't just listen but process the question for oneself. One of his suppositions that he queries a lot is that inherent in the nature of identity is conflict. Because if I'm Sikh and you are Christian, or I am Palestinian and you are an Israeli, or I'm white and you're black then there is inherently conflict. And the evidence of this supposition is everywhere. It seems obvious. And yet, my gut rejected the inherent truth of this supposition.

The first principle of Buddhism is that 'there is suffering.' And the acceptance and ultimately transcendence of suffering is the point of the path. Yogi Bhajan says, point blank, that this isn't true. Suffering is not fundamental. So, in looking at this question of conflict, I had a precedent before me that said, Maybe it isn't true? In our tradition, polarity is described as that thing which cannot exist without the other. So, what many people perceive as conflict is actually a polarity that hasn't learned how to co-exist in harmony--that hasn't learned how to relate authentically to each other's identity within the spectrum that is the polarity.

Now, granted, you don't necessarily need an Israeli in order to be able to define a Palestinian, so the definition doesn't fit perfectly. But it's safe to say that what is perceived as a conflict of interest is really just a failure in perceiving the dynamic: One cannot exist without the another in the geo-political world that we've generated in the Middle East. In fact, what would happen if the 'conflict' ceased to exist? Where would people place their energy, their talent, and their memories? Lack of imagination, misinformation, rigid application of tribe, law, and family, as well as simply resistance to the nature of the relationship is at the root of the stubborn idea that peace is not possible. If indeed it is a polarity or paradox, how do we elevate the conversation so that what is perceived as conflict begins to find the common ground--the continuum in which we can all co-exist together--right to liberty, life, and the pursuit of happiness comes to mind, from our own foundation document.

I've seen the birth of conflict, from simple differences, in my own life. In my pursuit of all things spiritual, I eventually came to the feet of the guru, the sound current of truth and bliss. But what I saw as my own path, my mother saw as a rejection of hers. I will admit, that for years, my seeking was simply a rejection of my youth. So the roots of her feelings do lie in my own actions. But once I found what I was looking for, it no longer felt like rejection. In fact, I saw the truth in both. It's hard to describe, but I felt more Christian than I had in years AFTER I became Sikh. But even though my perspective had shifted, it didn't necessarily follow that my mother's had. So, even though the dialogue continues, I often have to remember that although I don't perceive it, from her perspective, the difference is a conflict.

How do we get beyond these irreconcilable conflicts? Is the understanding of polarity the key? If we begin to understand things as a relationship--a dialogue, not an argument--then would conflict cease to be? Imagine.


At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe you could tell your Mom that you are a Sikh now, and therefore do not claim any religion or deny any religion. As a student (Sikh) your way is to live righteously (Dharma) and to neither accept dogma or meaningless ritual.
I think most Christians want to hear that you have accepted Jesus into your heart, so just let your Mom know that you have. Most of modern day Christianity has nothing to do with Jesus and since they have no record of his teachings and use the Bible as reference for his life (meaning they have very little of his real life story), it's only logical to accept Jesus and reject the false practices that are attached to his name. Ask your Mom what Jesus did between age 12 and 32. Since that's not written in the bible, she may not know. Tell her, what he was learning in those years (when he travelled East) is the path that you follow. The path of yoga (union) where all is seen as part of the One.

At 5:27 PM, Blogger Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa aka Chiara Huddleston said...

Well thanks for your comment Prabhu. But I think those observing our practices could just as easily speak about meaningless rituals if they wanted to. As for Jesus' missing years, most of that is speculation and wouldn't be swallowed by an observant Christian such as my mother. I think it's best if we comment only on what we know, which is our own experience and leave other's religions to them. I do appreciate the fact that as Sikhs we can say with all honesty that all paths are one, but part of saying that is respecting that other's paths are not so. I feel like so much of the conflict that exists within our world is this feeling that we can just label someone something and assume we know everything about them. I know I wouldn't want people to think that about me; and I certainly don't like people thinking that about my family, who even with their belief system which is much maligned in contemporary culture are sophisticated, nuanced, and humble people that don't need to be told about their own practices by someone who's never experienced them.

I know this response is a bit more defensive than my usual stance and I apologize in advance. However, the way we talk about faith and religion is sometimes as reprehensible to me as 'they' do--whomever they may be.

Sat Nam and blessings.


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