Conflict Resolution

Conflict Resolution

Vibrating in the harmony transmitted by our ancestors

Use your imagination to transport yourself to the heart of Mesoamerica, where the original Maya nations once lived, a region vibrant in color and rich in culture. You are in a land of tranquility, where there are no disputes and everyone is at ease with one another, where communities and people can cohabit peacefully. Now, let us return to the present moment with the understanding that the image we have constructed in our thoughts is a common modern misconception people have when connecting to this wisdom.

When initially connecting with this spirituality, individuals often imagine that Maya land was a utopian paradise, which is far from the truth. While they had numerous achievements and a spirituality that thrives on reciprocity and connection, their communities were also shaped by disagreements and conflicts, which are a normal state of the human being as we embody our duality.

In our society, it is common and totally natural to face problems, things that are difficult to deal with and which can leave a significant impact on our well-being, and the Maya are no strangers to this. Whether it was in ancient disputes between nations or in their current fight for democracy, Maya people have found themselves in many of these circumstances. In reflection of their history and the teachings it has left, the Maya and many ancestral heritages have spent their time creating tools that will help in these moments. We will share some of these today.

To begin, we'd like to analyze the following question: Why is our current society so polarized? In a time when many people preach unity, compassion, and love for oneself and others, why are we in a time and place when everything appears to be the polar opposite? We request for union but develop notions like "appropriation" that cause separation; we ask for compassion but attack those who do not share our views or opinions; and we seek for empathy but build an unforgiving culture that punishes individuals for their faults. When in a society everyone feels they are right and have the ultimate truth, yet refuse to agree to disagree, it is obvious that something is not functioning.

However let us recognize that we have enormous power; we not only have tools created by our ancient nations to assist us in these times, but we also have our own history, people, and stories to learn from. We will share some of these with you in hopes that they are helpful and open space for self-reflection. 

What many of us fail to grasp is that when we are troubled by someone else, what is really troubling us is within ourselves. It's like a mirror; the image of ourselves that we see reflected in them is what bothers us. If we take a minute to disconnect from our bodies, let go of our inner dialogue and ideas, and zoom out to see the land where we live, the earth, the stars in our galaxy, and the universe as a whole, we will understand that we are not only a part of this universe, but the universe itself. In this way, we can see the concept of oneness and realize that we are the universe living its own story. If we harm someone, we hurt ourselves, and if we lift someone up, we raise ourselves. So, when we start pointing fingers at others, take a minute to breathe before directing that finger right back at ourselves. When we are in confrontation with others, we should turn to reflect on ourselves, since a part of us became triggered. We can ask, “How do I see myself reflected in this person, and what part of me is creating resistance? What emotions is this individual evoking in me, and what does this lead me to work on?”

This is not to argue that we should solely live in love and light, since doing so would mean rejecting a part of ourselves. One of the most important insights from Maya wisdom is that we are dual beings, embodying both love and light, while also representing anger and fear. It is what makes us whole. So, when we're in disagreement, we don't have to hide these emotions or a part of ourselves that is frequently not accepted in our culture. Feelings like rage can be powerful tools for setting limits and boundaries, but we need to learn how to use them. It is completely different to use this feeling to benefit you than to let it take control and cry out harsh comments. 

According to Maya wisdom keepers, when we sense anger and hatred rising within us, it is a good indication that we need to set boundaries and have an important conversation about it. However they don't walk right to the other person and scream phrases we are not even conscious of. It's truly time for a pause. Go for a walk or run, scream staring up at the sky, or cry while being embraced by Mother Earth. Do anything you need to get it out of your system and feel whatever comes up without judgment. Then you can take action to center yourself, such as sitting down and listening to the wind rustle between the leaves of the trees, or drinking a cup of cacao while taking deep breaths to connect with your heart and soul. Only then are we prepared to address the problem, since even when we communicate our needs directly, we do it from a place of consciousness and, in many cases, compassion. 

Along with this, we don't have to wait for these moments and feelings to arise. This is why, in Maya wisdom, there are moments set apart for introspection, to look within oneself, such as the Wayeb'. In these times, we reflect on the last year, our thoughts and behaviors, and recognize when we need to apologize or forgive someone.

Using these tools, the Maya are now renowned for leading these conflicts in a respectful manner. In current times, when strikes go out of control, individuals who hold the knowledge of this ancient tradition are the ones who put an end to the aggression. This is because they understand that hostility leads to nothing aside from separation. When leading essential talks, it is acknowledged that if we desire to be heard while closing our ears to others, we will go nowhere.

No one in this world is flawless, since the current notion of perfection is so far removed from who we truly are. However, we know that this does not imply that we are entitled to be disrespectful, condescending, or rude toward others, even if we feel we have the ultimate truth. As human beings, we must finally put our words into action.

With this in mind, let us ask ourselves in all honesty: are we actually being a part of the change?

- By Eline from the Mayan Wisdom Project

Image obtained from: Comunidades indígenas se manifiestan en Guatemala contra el Gobierno de Giammattei - Revista Summa 

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