The Taoist general, Sun Tzu, in his great work “The Art of War” says: “For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.” And this is so true , not just in physical battle, but in whatever conflict we may find ourselves. Now, whether that conflict be in the work place, the school yard or at home, we should always strive to find a more peaceful and civilised resolution.
It’s like the story of the four blind men who go to the zoo to find out what an elephant looks like. The first man touches the trunk and thinks, “It is more like a snake.” The second blind man touches the side and concludes, “It is more like a wall.” The third man then touches the elephant’s leg and thinks, “It is more like a column.” And finally the fourth blind man touches the tail and proclaims, “It is more like a broom.” The four blind men then proceed to argue and fight over whose opinion is the correct one; but, of course, they are all wrong because they do not have the whole picture, only a small part of it.
The above analogy is a good example of the conflicts that rage across our world today. There is always more than one side to every argument and we should really strive to listen to both sides before jumping in. In many instances the reason we argue in the first place is that there is something within us that causes us to lash out; and if that is the case, then we should seek out the deep cause inside of us and become intimate with it. Whether it’s jealousy, prejudice, anger or fear, if we can learn what it is that causes us to fight, then we can begin to deal with it and look for a peaceful alternative.
Even in an argument we can disagree with one another without being crazy, rude, crude or crooked. We may not agree with our enemy's point of view but we should be willing to listen to their concerns or grievances, and perhaps through negotiation come to a mutual agreement that is beneficial to all parties. But if we don't try to look for the silver lining, for the alternative, if we just lock horns and are not willing to concede any ground, then we're destined to be in constant turmoil with whomever ot whatever we're fighting against.
And this is true in everything - work, play, family and relationships. We need our minds to be open to other possibilties and not closed shut. For, if we dismiss everything out of hand, whether it comes from our worst enemy or not, then how are we, as human and spiritual beings, ever going to evolve and grow.
And we should never forget that every war ends at the peace table.
Copyright © 2012 by Peter Jessop