A significant area of stress in contemporary civic life is political conflict. This is not an easy topic to deal with, and has no “solution” as political matters are complex and are continuously evolving. The intention of this discussion is to foster ways of transforming the conflicts of political differences into “grist for the mill” of spiritual development.
During this talk, Peter used the conceptual and practical structure of the Four Noble Truths outlined in the two previous week’s postings to discuss ways to manage interpersonal conflict regarding politics. Participants were encouraged to investigate the physical, emotional and mental symptoms of stress as dukkha. They were then invited to be mindful of how attached he or she might be to a particular view and how easy it is to become caught in a need to “convert” the other person to their view without compassion or deeper understanding. The appropriate applications of the Noble Eightfold Path were included in discussing strategies for overcoming rigid self-righteousness in dialogue.
During the accompanying group discussions, Peter pointed out examples of heightened agitation among the participants when talking about “the others” regarding political views of climate change denial, etc., and invited mindful investigation of craving and clinging in the room.
Here are the notes prepared for this discussion: Mindfulness and Political Conflict
Next week’s discussion will use the Four Noble Truths structure to explore how to manage ecological and global warming distress and confusion, not from a political perspective, but as a form of “Right Livelihood” practice.