Very often in spiritual study, we hear that we are all meant to be unified as one. This is, of course, true – without real unity, nothing can function. Think of our bodies. All of our organs must operate in perfect harmony for us to stay healthy.
However, the kabbalists teach that there are actually two forces that need to operate at the same time to create true harmony: unity and conflict. This can seem like a paradox at first. How can unity and conflict coexist? In truth, conflict is a powerful opportunity for us transform ourselves and the world around us. When we approach it with the right intention and consciousness, conflict can lead us to become even more united.
Here are 3 ways that conflict can bring us together:
Whether it be within a company, a community, a relationship, or society as a whole, conflict allows us to grow. Our opposing opinions and different viewpoints expose us to new ideas. If we only surround ourselves with people who think and act the way that we do, we will have a very limited perception of the world.
We are meant to learn from each other. By being exposed to other points of view, we often learn something invaluable about ourselves and others. Whether or not we agree with other people, even just acknowledging that their opinions are valid can open our eyes to new possibilities, appreciation, and ways to solve issues. For example, a good CEO must listen to and address the concerns of his or her employees in order for the company to function properly.
When we take the time to listen to one another, despite our differences, we can work together to take action and make change.
Most of us struggle with confrontation in one way or another – either we are too argumentative or we avoid it altogether. Sometimes we get so focused on proving that we are right. We argue or fight, and we’re unwilling to see things from someone else’s perspective, which only creates separation. On the other hand, some of us can be so focused on making sure everyone gets along that we suppress our own thoughts and feelings for the sake of keeping the peace. This only causes us to build up anger and resentment. We cannot truly be unified if we are suppressing these important aspects of ourselves.
The key is to find a way to express our differences in a manner that is still respectful, honest, and loving. For instance, we may argue with our significant other at times, but if we don’t learn to be truthful about our feelings and sensitive to theirs, the relationship cannot survive. It takes strong communication, patience, and love.
It is important that we evaluate the way we handle conflict to learn about ourselves and to see how we can grow from it. Conflict shows us the areas of ourselves we still need to work on. And knowing is half the battle!
When we are met with disagreement, it forces us to reevaluate our own opinions and actions. We have the choice to face this opposition with open-mindedness or with unwavering stubbornness. Choosing to open our hearts and minds to try to understand where someone else is coming from is an amazing act of sharing that can reveal Light in the world.
Conflict is an incredible opportunity for us to put into action our spiritual work: Are we being reactive? Are we really listening to the other person? Are we putting our judgment aside? The more we work at loving and accepting each other, the closer we bring ourselves to the Creator.
As Karen Berg says, “We are meant to be many, yet united as One.” It is a beautiful thing that our world is full of diverse, unique individuals with their own thoughts, skills, and backgrounds. Being unified does not mean that we all become the same. We are strongest when we put our individual skills together to accomplish our common goals. With the right consciousness, conflicts can lead us even closer to each other and closer to the Creator.