Conflict is an appearance. It arises due to our relationship with and response to circumstances. Often in retrospect we can see that the challenge was a transition underway, an emergence of a new way of being. The apparent conflict was only between what was falling away and what was arising.
If we understand that change is the falling away of the old and the emergence of the new, we’re less likely to fight it. Just that small shift in perspective can make a huge difference in how we experience transformation. In fact, how we experience much of life. Do we fight it and find ourself in conflict? Or do we step into the flow of change? We’re in a time of profound transformation now.
If we watch the news or read the paper, we see an astonishing array of trouble. But the media is attuned to people seeking what’s wrong and who’s to blame. In order to feel right, an identified ego has to make other wrong. It needs conflict, even if it’s not in our best interest. The media give us ample examples. However, this is not an approach that will support our journey. Usually it just makes us feel bad anyway.
This is not to say that some of the challenges arising in today’s world are not immense and real. But these give us a sense of the scale of transformation that is underway.
If we extrapolate some of the issues, we may conclude civilization is courting disaster or going down the tubes. But much of what we’re seeing is the struggle of the old, fighting to hold on. What is emerging is not very obvious yet. And in many ways, it is outside our experience so we have little conceptual framework to go by. Lots of people make conflicting projections about where it’s going.
But like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, the struggle of transformation ensures we emerge strong and prepared. Don’t hold on to your struggles. Just keep going and let them fall away as the transitions complete.
Yesterday I was lunching with friends on a busy street patio. A Canadian Swallowtail butterfly landed in the middle of our table. I had not noticed before its bright blue and red markings near the back of its wings. Same kind of blue as on my logo feather – an optical illusion. Some First Nations see the butterfly as symbolic of transformation.
Here’s a few quotes that came up on the subject…
“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself”
— Joseph Campbell
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
— Dr. Seuss
“The agony of breaking through personal limitations is the agony of spiritual growth. Art, literature, myth and cult, philosophy, and ascetic disciplines are instruments to help the individual past his limiting horizons into spheres of ever-expanding realization. As he crosses threshold after threshold, conquering dragon after dragon, the stature of the divinity that he summons to his highest wish increases, until it subsumes the cosmos. Finally, the mind breaks the bounding sphere of the cosmos to a realization transcending all experiences of form – all symbolizations, all divinities: a realization of the ineluctable void.”
— Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces
“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished; that will be the beginning. ”
— Louis L’Amour
“Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have one before us, the labyrinth is fully known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence; where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.”
— Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces