How Much Conflict is in Your Life? Is Peace Possible?

How Much Conflict is in Your Life?

Is Peace Possible?

By Dr. Scott Peck & Shannon Peck


Let’s see. Any of this accurate?

  • I have conflict within myself. “Yes, I’m often in inner turmoil.”
  • I have conflict in my personal relationships. “Why is it so hard to have peace?”
  • I have conflict in my most intimate relationships. “It just happens so quickly.”
  • I have conflict at work – especially with one person. “It’s unsolvable.”
  • I have conflict when I think of politics. “I can’t believe what’s happening.”
  • I have conflict when I think of the Earth. “Will we wake up in time?
  • I have conflict when I think of all the refugees. “What will happen to them?”
  • I have conflict when I think of all the hate on this planet. “Is there a solution?”

Whether it’s one or all of these, conflicts drag us down. They depress, frighten, annoy, create anger, debilitate, & hold our happiness captive.

How long do you plan to live with these conflicts within you?

“Oh, you mean I have a choice!  I don’t think so. Some of my conflicts are beyond healing.”

We understand. Anyone in conflict needs a lot of empathy. It’s not easy to be in the suffering of conflict. Our hearts are fragile. We want understanding, compassion, resolution. There often doesn’t seem a way out. We’re stuck in conflict.

What can you do?

  • Hold your anger internally?  “I do that all the time. Not much comfort there.”
  • Vent your feelings?  “When I do, things often get worse.”
  • Wish for revenge or karma?  “Oh, I’m a master of that.”
  • Withdraw?  “Yes, that’s me, but the conflict keeps festering inside me.”

There is a higher path.

It’s not an easy path, but it has the power to transform conflict into peace. And the power to build peace within yourself – regardless of outcomes.

Peace does not just mean the absence of conflict, even though it might feel like a wave of relief to have conflict stop in your life, even for a minute, or a day. During our previous marriages, we each prayed for such relief from conflict. It seemed hopeless.

Peace means the presence of something – listening, compassion, goodwill, openness to solutions, justice, even unity.

As your thought shifts to this way of thinking, you begin the journey of becoming a Peace Master.

One of the most difficult tasks of a Peace Master is to envision peace.

Here’s a small example from Scotty’s life – in his words.

One day, as a real estate agent with my partner Bob, we went to visit our clients – a husband and wife. When we arrived at their home, our for sale sign was missing from the post. We walked to the side of the house and saw that the sign had been beaten to death – smashed apart. Our client was obviously very upset.

As we approached the front door, my partner Bob said, in a humorous but serious jest: “I’m looking forward to seeing how your peace skills handle this one!” (He’s been to our workshops!)

But I was already at work as a Peace Master – meaning that I was internally envisioning that peace was possible. I didn’t know how. I didn’t even know what the conflict was yet. But I was already envisioning transcending the conflict.

The key here is that envisioning peace doesn’t involve anyone else. It’s entirely within your own consciousness. It is not something dependent on a condition, circumstance, or another person. It happens alone with you. That’s what makes this peace step so powerful. There is nothing in the universe holding you back from envisioning peace.

We entered the home. The husband’s face was red with contained anger. The wife didn’t know what to say or do. Even before sitting down, I took the initiative & said to the husband in a loving,  empathetic tone, “You’re obviously upset over something. I’d like to hear your thoughts.”

He shared why he was upset, and, frankly, to this day, I can’t remember what it was. It was a misunderstanding of something in the sales process and didn’t even involve us. As this became apparent & his feelings got out – without resistance – he settled down. We all did.

He stuck with us & soon after that, we sold their home. That was over a decade ago. We still get together with this couple once a year to celebrate the sale – and we have an easy-going friendship. That conflict was transformed into genuine peace.

Now that’s a small example and one that turned out well. There are obviously much bigger conflicts to address.

You can begin by developing the peace skill of envisioning. Let’s practice that right now:

Pick a conflict within you that you would like to move towards peace. Now quietly, by yourself, let in the idea that peace is possible. That might seem ridiculous or impossible. Don’t focus on “how.” Just focus on the possibility.

Let your heart open, soften. Begin to release all those currents of the conflict. Take all the time you need for this new way of thinking to emerge. Allow yourself to simply cherish the idea of thinking about peace. It doesn’t matter whether it will happen – or how it will happen. You are developing the muscle of a Peace Master.

That’s step one!

Whew!  That’s not an easy step.

Well, think of Nelson Mandela when he was in prison in South Africa. There was no evidence of any possibility of ending the conflict, not to mention achieving peace. But he envisioned. It was private. He did it alone. He was strengthening his resolve & intention as a Peace Master.

  • Would you like to get better at this first step as a Peace Master?
  • Would you like to know the next 9 steps for transforming conflict into peace?
  • Would you like to learn how to have inner peace even when conflict seems overwhelming & unhealable?
  • Would you like to know how we apply these peace skills in our marriage when we have conflict?

We invite you to sign up for our free Peace Course where we will move through each peace skill, plus much more, with shared discussions & questions. It begins January 28, 2017 as part of the Season for NonViolence created to honor Gandhi & Martin Luther King. 

Thank you for each step you take on the path of a Peace Master.

I’d Like to Learn More & Sign Up for the FREE Peace Course

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