Remember the expression, “No pain, no gain.” We don’t come to Community to escape the pain of conflicts, to avoid taking responsibility for learning to get along. We come because Community life provides us with an opportunity to unfold our human possibilities. We don’t expect it to be “trouble free.” That would deprive us of the opportunity to learn, to experiment in the science of human relationships. If we want to avoid the “pain,” we could try to ignore conflicts, convince ourselves that we are right and carry the hurt, but what is the “gain”? Will avoiding or ignoring conflicts help us or the group? Will that lead to a more harmonious world? Is that the basis of peace that we would like to establish?
Conflicts become an opportunity, because they give us a chance to put our understanding to the test. We learn techniques to solve conflicts, and we base this effort on empathy for our companions. The work then becomes to respond with what we understand in a consistent way. When we are not able to live what we understand, we have an opportunity to learn more about ourselves. Each time we are able to respond in the way we understand, we are creating a new habitual response, until it becomes a part of us. The change then comes from within.
Community life does not offer a magic answer to solving conflicts and growing from them. It does, however, offer us constant practice with others who share our method and our way of life. All the members of Cafh share the same method, but we are able to fulfill it with fewer distractions. Our companions are there with us offering, through their actions, examples of their inner work on spiritual unfolding. As we fulfill life’s duties and obligations together, while sharing as well life’s joys, we hold a common priority based on our spiritual work. The support of the group working with this common objective helps keep us on track, so we can take advantage of the circumstances life gives us.
So the challenge is set. We are faced with the question—what is best for the Community, the group in which I live with my spiritual companions? What will help us all? This puts a conflict into a larger perspective. It is no longer me alone trying to survive. It is “us,” we who live together in Community, working together to unfold spiritually through the development of our human relationships.
Community life helps us to recognize that we are part of a whole, and the conflict I am having has an effect on the whole. So I learn to work with the conflict. I am willing to change, to become a more understanding, harmonious human being. This becomes the basis for spiritual friendship, a bond of love on which Community life is based.
This is one way in which we in the Communities of Cafh are meeting the challenge: to cultivate the science of human relationships. By consciously solving conflicts, we are working together on our relationships, learning through our offering of life to live in a harmonious, peaceful manner. Civilization depends on it.
Diana Autumn lives and works in a spiritual community of Cafh in southern California.
To find out more about communities of Cafh, visit www.cafh.org.
Back to Features