It appears that the world is in utter chaos. Social media and the 24-hour news cycle broadcasts in detail, the atrocities and mayhem that humans inflict on one another all over the world, compelling us to feel distraught and emotionally pulled in directions often guided by primal concerns.
And so it is that we take sides
Whatever we do to ensure the survival of our side, we believe we do it for the better good.
With that filter firmly in place, we organize marches, write petitions, send money, donate living necessities, and join with like-minded people to promote our cause. We are even willing to use lethal weapons to defend it.
Unfortunately, in the process of cementing our rights, we neglect to consider the other side’s rights. We steadfastly refuse to walk in the others’ shoes and thus suffer.
Some of us feel so overwhelmed with what we see and hear that we choose to retreat to our mental cave. We relinquish our power to false heroes who look and sound as if they will surely rescue and uplift us.
With this borrowed power, we act out pent-up anger and suffer for refusing to walk in the others’ shoes.
Ruth Bader-Ginsberg and Antonin Scalia traveled together, attended the opera and enjoyed a long friendship by accepting and respecting each other’s ideas.
Such is what I learned in the weeks following the creation of this painting, completed at a time I perceived to be the height of social conflict.
I knew that the conflict was in me.
It took me nearly a month of living with the art to come up with what it was trying to teach me about fear, strife, taking sides, supreme court justices, and giving power away… until this weekend.
As I observed the reactions and commentary of my visitors, I noticed that none perceived fear. I even encouraged some to notice the red forces and the purple shapes engaged in battle in an attempt to prevail. Were the red beings the loving ones? Were the purple beings mightier? Which were being swallowed by the other? Is red kinder than purple? Is purple more spiritual?
While my friend Isabelle saw the different shapes and even appreciated their struggle, she proposed that this was a depiction of the perfect order of the universe and an example of harmony, or yin and yang. Each textured form was moving about the galaxy being just who they were; gases, nebulae, exploding stars, planets collapsing and new ones being born.
Nature was being natural.
I knew that the conflict was in me when my friend Maria didn’t see conflict either. Instead she perceived the bright colors and shapes as playful and hopeful!
This morning, I finally understood what I had painted: a world where there are no sides, ever. I don’t mean that opposing forces don’t exist. Ginsberg and Scalia publicly expressed diametrically opposing views. It is just that opposition is the way of nature, yet in each opposite, the seed of the other exists and is capable of transforming both in a constant cycle of moving and changing.
When we understand conflict as natural and transformable, we are no longer afraid.
And seeing that conflicts outside mirrors inner conflicts we can transform, there is no need to defend anything.
The seed of peace arises within us and we can focus on bringing balance instead of fixing conflict.
When we notice that we all experience inner conflict when showing aggressiveness toward others; when we feel compelled to defend our position, or when we hear dissonant words and feel hurt; we would do well to remember that it all starts within and that it is natural.
In accepting the opposite as natural, we create harmony.
Acceptance of what is does not imply that we give our power away. We simply know that when a fire burns out of control, we do not add more fire. While it is natural to move to control a raging fire, it will eventually subside when what fuels it ends.
Osho said that “…the conflict is in man. Unless it is resolved there, it cannot be resolved anywhere else. The politics is within [us]; between the two parts of the mind.”
Only we can transform conflict.
Please click on Perfect Order and purchase the original or a well-priced print. Beholding it and allowing its vibration to affect your space, may open new avenues of understanding the shared world we inhabit.
Ruth and Antonin accepted divergence as natural. Their filter was respect so they had fun with each other. Their respect for the perfect order spawned harmony. You can do that too!