The Preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO declares that “ wars begin in the minds of men, it is the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” UNESCO was created in 1945 after world suffered by two world wars.
This famous vedic saying, “war begins in the minds of men (and women)” is a reality which we experience in the numerous disputes between countries, families and individual persons. The large number of conflicts which happen daily between persons in families and organizations are due to misunderstanding and false imaginations which originate in the minds of people. With misunderstanding and assumptions persons make accusations against each other and react negatively ending up in fierce fights and prolonged enmity.
Among the individuals very often the conflict begins with minor reasons and misunderstanding. Words used casually without any malice and a false information or gossip from someone can cause suspicion and anger against the best friend or the most loved ones. Indifference from the part of husband or wife due to their some preoccupation or pressure in workplace would cause doubts and breakdown in normal communication. When tension mounts they forget all the positive experiences about the other and the wonderful times they had spent in love and friendship. The delay caused for communication and dialogue will intensify the conflict and increase gap between the persons. What are the steps to dissolve the misunderstanding, heal the wounds and rebuild trust and relationship?
1. One who is senior, more experienced and holding higher responsibility shall manifest more maturity and understanding keeping away the personal ego, obsession with power and authority . In a conflict it is always the senior and the powerful who should show understanding and concern for the other.
2. Instead of concentrating on the baseless allegations, impulsive behaviour of the junior partner and placing arguments to prove the other person was wrong the senior shall express concern for him /her. Showing one’s humility and honouring the junior or weak partner who nurtures hurt feeling will only win the heart of that person. This change of heart may not happen immediately. However he / she would be forced to reflect on this act of humility and magnanimity at a later stage and would start emulating this example in his / her personal life.
3. Success in dialogue between two persons in conflict and peacemaking will be possible when the senior person is aware of the importance of relationship and is committed to restore fellowship and trust at any cost . Then there is no room to prove who is right and who is wrong. The focus would be on rebuilding the strained relationship.This is needed for the happiness of the family and progress of the organization. A broken family, a divided organization and a divided country can never achieve their vision and mission.
4. If the individuals in the family or groups in an organization were brought up in vision centered atmosphere and educated in mission consciousness the resolution of conflicts is easy . People who are led by personal ambition and false ego may neither understand nor accept any efforts for dialogue and reconciliation.
5. The ideal way is to have dialogue between the conflicting persons themselves and settle the differences and conflicts. A mediator should come only when the persons and groups who are in conflict unable to meet and talk. In any case no conflict should be prolonged. As the cemented structure cannot be broken easily the prolonged conflicts will need much effort to settle.
6. The individuals and groups in conflict should take time to reflect on the mystery of life and death. Death is a reality which will put a full stop to all our ambition , ego and fights. None of us can choose when, where and how we will have to end our lives . But all of us can choose how we should live today, ney, NOW. How can we carry on with our hurt feelings when we are not sure of a fraction of a second ?
7. The most motivating force to forget , forgive and move on is the awareness of the gift of life and all the abundant resources we have received from God. The all powerful God is patient and loving despite our repeated infidelity, disloyalty and misuse of all God-given gifts. On what basis can we be so demanding and rude to our fellow brothers and sisters for their failures?
8. I recall the response of a famous Malayalam film actor Prem Nazir in an interview about his attitude to those who criticized him. He said, “Life is short; we have very little time left for loving people around us. Then where is time for hating?” May the words of Prem Nazir who is considered one of the successful actors of Indian cinema motivate persons to hasten to rebuild friendship and fellowship.
Friendship is the face of God. Loving one another is the true worship of God. This mindset will prevent conflicts between individuals and wars between countries.
(Published on 31st August 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 36)