“God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” – 1 John 4:16
I think that it is reasonable to state that: “A critical mass of people in the world strive for a sound foundation, internal and external protection, a vibrant life for the mind, body and spirit, steady growth and ultimately sustainability of success”. I would further state that they would expect a smooth transition to peace, harmony and abundance.
Yet, I have observed significant and pervasive conflict between countries, local political parties, regional businesses and pairs of individuals; and within political parties, service clubs, families and even an internal conflict within a given individual. Conflicts are inimical to the achievement of the goals of peace, harmony and abundance, hence the continuing need for conflict management and conflict resolution at all levels.
My experience, now that I am almost half way through my eighth decade on earth, suggests that we bite the bullet, cut straight to the chaste and recognize that the only solution is love. When there is anger, worry, fear, guilt and hate, the breeding ground for conflict, the only solution is love. Remember that “Each Life stands under a beam of Light which draws its energy from an infinite pool of Love”.
I am reminded of the chorus of the song “Love is the Answer” accredited to England Dan and John Ford Coley: “Light of the world, shine on me; Love is the answer, Shine on us all, Set us free … Love is the answer”.
Further support comes from the late Dr. David Simon, founder of the Chopra Centre: “Everything we do, we do for love. The beauty of love is that in giving it away, you are left with more than you had before”. Peace, harmony and abundance? Love is the answer. God is love, the everlasting source of love.
Here are eight examples of conflict in various aspects of our lives.
(1) I had a glance at the global website – www.cfr.org/global/global-conflict-tracker/p32137#! – and was quite amazed at the number of countries that are currently in conflict. We are all homo sapiens but we have allowed many factors to influence our minds and propel us along what could be a self destructive path.
(2) In the Caribbean, we have recently witnessed the democratic transfer of power from one political party to another – in Trinidad and Tobago (September 7) and St. Vincent and the Grenadines (December 9). These countries have relatively slender resources and instead of designing a constitution which promotes a Government of national unity, we perpetuate the system of a tug of war every five years where one side wins and the other loses. The loser then goes through a period of disbelief, disappointment, hurt and hate. Why not use the common sense approach of amalgamating slender resources towards the common good?
(3) Caribbean businesses, in the same sector, fight for national brand recognition. What about the concept of rationalization of industries and a Caribbean brand across our relatively small diverse multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-culinary, multi-genre (musical) and multi-lingual islands and coastal communities of just over 40 million people?
(4) Then there is the building of relationships between pairs of individuals, especially when each party brings diverse opinions and experiences to bear on the new relationship. There will be peaks and troughs as we move forward but the secret is to strive for an upward trend in the undulating sequence of “moods and options”.
(5) It is bad enough to squander one’s resources through a tug of war between political parties but it makes absolutely no sense to squabble within political parties. Why does it happen?
(6) Then there is the recognition of the importance of the foundation of corporate governance, even for non-governmental organizations, lest these organizations crumble and fall or at best operate inefficiently resulting in a source of frustration for their members.
(7) Here is an extract from Erik and Erica Brewer’s weblog (2013): “It has been said that the family is the bedrock of society and can be proven by the fact that all over the world every society is structured by the same pattern. A man and woman marry and form a family. This process is repeated multiple times making multiple families which form villages, regions, and eventually countries. When several countries come together they form a continent and all of the continents make up the world. The foundation of this entire process is the family. I propose in this essay that the family has a crucial role in society by being a model of love in three different aspects; love for the children, love between husband and wife, and finally love in promoting moral values”. Notwithstanding the importance of family, it is reported that the average divorce rate in the United States is of the order of 50 percent and in the Caribbean it is growing.
(8) Even in an individual’s mind a struggle may occur and it is important to embrace the thesis that “You can’t love another person until you love yourself first”.
In the above eight examples about conflict, there is often the temptation to let our egos get in the way not realizing that, as many authors have shared, EGO stands for ‘Edging God Out’.
Let us acknowledge that it is not our egos that determine our future and let us seek God’s help in exploiting love, a renewable resource, to the fullest so that its energy may clear obstacles along the journey. Love is a Divine asset which is given freely to us. It is the answer to the avoidance of conflict and allows us to pursue peace, harmony, abundance and prosperity. Remember, love has a positive “multiplier effect”.
(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET. His columns may be found at www.cbetmodel.org and www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com.)