Discovery 3: Experiencing Conflict From Your Higher Self

Discovery 3:

Experiencing Conflict
From Your Higher Self

The Conscious Couples Relationship
Chapter 17

– Part I

This Conscious Couples Orientation Springs A New Paradigm In How We Deal With Conflict

This new wisdom based on the Spiritual and Inner Enneagram generates a revolutionary and complete shift in how we approach and process our conflicts together in our relationships. The understandings, self-awareness, and frameworks provided by these new dimensions of the Enneagram lead naturally to this different approach compared to how most all couples and people respond to conflicts.   Leaning this will not only make a major difference in your relationship. It will also accelerate your personal growth and deepen your spiritual Presence through thick and thin.

In this new conscious way the process itself is more authentic, heartfelt, and poignant. This is because it is a process of opening up and sharing what is really going on inside together in the face of differences that generate tensions. As the framework maintains each other’s goodwill, conflict now becomes a primary process for resolving issues together instead of an argument. As you will see, this meaningful and more effective way of you dealing with conflict and tensions is what every person would wish for from their partner and in their family.

Normally in the midst of a conflict, each person will argue the “rightness” of his or her individual point of view. This is natural as when faced with problems each person has a point of view, and it can be important to express it. However, what makes the interaction turn into a “conflict” is when a person’s point of view is generated from gripping inner emotional tension and pressures. This is when partners become self-righteous, frustrated, dramatic and difficult to interact with.

You can see the difference when there is no emotional tension generated by the “problem” you are facing. Then it becomes just something to solve, as challenging as it may be. That’s all. It happens all of the time. And that’s life. These are the challenges that arise where you work it through together as a team. It becomes just the next thing to be done. Even with the partners’ different approaches, there is no tension together as neither feels threatened by the other’s point of view. And they are thus able to work through their differences with understanding and sensitivity.

When differences do generate emotional tension, however, it is not having inner tensions that make the interaction so difficult. As we have discovered, everyone is saddled with sensitivities, insecurities, and emotional core ego needs that can become triggered or threatened. This is the human condition. So no one is “wrong” for having those sensitivities, anymore than they are wrong for having asthma or high blood pressure that can also be “triggered” and inflamed.

What makes differences turn into “conflict” is when partners do not realize that the source of those inner tensions that are gripping their consciousness are coming from within themselves. When they can step out of their ego and recognize that their tensions are coming from patterns of insecurities within themselves and be able to own them —“The tension is mine.” “I know this is my stuff.” — that changes everything.

Then there is no one to blame. And no one feels blamed or feels emotionally threatening in the interaction. We can safely process those tensions to resolution and then solve together what triggered them because each of us can wisely recognize what is really happening as the tensions emerge –“90/10.” This is what changes how we navigate through those differences together and resolve our issues. We now understand each other, so there is no threat. This enables us to now respond with understanding, sensitively, and more effectively.

Having these awarenesses and skills, couples discovered that the emotional tensions that can naturally become triggered are no longer the problem. It only becomes a “conflict” when they lack these understandings, and instead would freely take out those tensions and inner insecurities onto each other, or go into denial in defending them or shutting down.

The only reason natural “differences” in our personalities and insecurities turn into “conflicts” is when we are not conscious of what is really happening inside of each other! When each of us recognizes the source of our inner tensions and the stressful patterns in each of our personalities that generate those tensions, there is no real conflict. They are simply differences that need to be resolved together. And they now do so harmoniously, with good will and caring for each other.

Whenever a situation becomes a stressful conflict, couples learn to open up and each share from their side what “this is really about” for them that is generating the inner pressure and tension. When they do this the process turns into a heartfelt sharing of what is really going on within each other that has contributed to the “problem” they are facing.

So then where is the “conflict”? It is only when people’s core ego needs, inner sensitivities and insecurities, and their imbalances clash, and remain unconscious, that those tensions are threatening and turn it into a “conflict.”

Challenges Are How We Evolve Consciousness in Life

Challenges are an invaluable part of life. When we look around, everything in life is always changing and evolving. Including our consciousness. But there is nothing like a “problem” to focus our consciousness. They force us to confront and experience what we are lacking inside. So we learn from it. Grow from it. As difficult, threatening, and painful as circumstances can be that we may have to face, they are purposely designed in life to move us forward on our individual path in the expansion of our consciousness. Challenges and conflicts are what spur us to evolve, develop and grow.

“Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.”
Seneca (4 BC – AD 65) Roman Statesman

“No pressure, no diamonds.”
Mary Case, indie film screenwriter

This evolution of life is like an invincible river — there is no stopping progress in our personal evolution. The River of Life keeps moving us forward. At times we move with peaceful, enjoyable, wonderful currents that nourish us. And sometimes in our life, we experience difficult challenges in the rapids we have to face. All of it taken together, however, is what moves us forward in the expansion of personal knowledge and growth of our consciousness.

The key in these rapids is to stay conscious through it all. Never lose our Presence of Awareness in our essential nature as Person A. So then the threatening rapids become opportunities to strengthen our connection to Self as we stay present and fluid, moving with the appropriate currents instead of fighting them. Then we are fine. We learn our lessons from each and every experience. And gain increasing self-esteem and competency as we become more seasoned and more sophisticated in our awareness.

However, the typical way of responding to emotionally charged conflict is to resist consciously experiencing what we are facing inside of ourselves. That is when we take those pressures out on everyone else. And what does that lead to? This is the School of Hard Knocks. Aggression breeds aggression. And our outward focus keeps our insecurities imprisoned inside. So we remain on a tough road that we then have to go through in order eventually “to get it.” How many failures, divorces, being beat up, hitting bottom before we wake up?

With These Awarenesses & Tools, You Experience Conflict in Your Relationship as an Opportunity for Accelerated Growth & A Deeper Connection Together

In this orientation, clashes are inevitable, but that are recognized as one of the primary purposes of our relationships. Like the challenging rapids, the clashes of our ego needs and insecurities in the relationship become valuable opportunities for our growth and healing. This is because our unresolved emotional sensitivities will of course bump up against each other in a live-together, intimate relationship.

In fact, most of us will fall in love with the perfect person to bring up our deepest insecurities. When we open our hearts and fall in love, we also expose our most sensitive vulnerabilities and dependencies. This is why the more open we are in our hearts with someone, the more “hurtable” we can become. Unwittingly, we are exposing our most sensitive insecurities now in the hands of the person we love the most.

We do not even get to choose. Everyone will draw in mates and specific challenging circumstances in their life that force them to face themselves, challenge themselves, expand themselves. This is how life uses the “carrot and the stick to move us forward. The love becomes the “carrot” that draws us in in order to open up our hearts. Then the “stick” becomes the challenges that give us invaluable life experiences and expansion of consciousness.

These challenges and emotional conflicts you draw in to experience actually reflect in each of you where your blinders are and the insecurities that drive them. The conflict and argument shows each of us precisely where we get “hooked in” emotionally. They make clear where our repressed tensions are lodged inside of ourselves that need to be consciously resolved and healed. As such they become an accurate mirror of where each of us is not whole inside.

However, how many people have you seen in an argument will shift their focus into exploring what the argument is bringing up within themselves? And how many have you experienced discover their blinders that got them into the conflict?

Without these understandings and awarenesses, it is can be difficult for people to see their repressed “90’s” and their personality’s stress patterns when they become triggered. Even though you may not see them, your partner certainly sees them in you! Just ask your partner what they see when you become upset. Partners readily can see each other’s imbalances and the unresolved insecurities that drive those imbalances.

It is difficult for people to see their imbalances and insecurities as they have so adapted around them they come to feel natural. And those primitive wirings are designed to protect them from threatening pain. No wonder partners each will defend themselves. But when people do so, aren’t they simply in effect defending their inner insecurities and past emotional wounds?

But these blinders are exactly what hold them in place! As long as those patterns and responses to inner stress remain unconscious, they continue to grip people’s consciousness. No wonder people tend not to grow or change. And no wonder years of this together can wear a couple out.

This is why the Inner and Spiritual Enneagram are so necessary. They provide the blueprint of those individual forces and patterns in our persona. They show us our natural gifts, but they also accurately show us our core ego needs, insecurities and patterns of imbalances. Not as an indictment, but rather as a cosmic Road Map on our individual path to freedom.

It is these self-awarenesses that couples gained which in turn generated this new orientation for resolving charged conflicts. Couples found that the more familiar they became with their inner worlds of divergent needs, sensitivities, and imbalances, the more their personal inner process became strikingly evident when their worlds clashed in a conflict. As a natural result, now there became no reason to blame the other in working through those tensions together.

So in this conscious orientation, where we can harmonize the process of resolving our tensions together and heal the source tensions, each “conflict” can become a gift.

“Every problem has a gift for you in its hands.”
Richard Bach, author Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Typically at some point in one’s journey, people have had enough getting banged around in the School of Hard Knocks. And they begin to wake up. They begin to realize that learning by suffering has limited returns. And that it is a slow and arduous path. At some point they start to become open to learn more effective ways to work through differences and conflicts. And in this process now begin to free themselves of stuck, tension-producing issues and patterns.

With these new understandings and fortified by their new-gained self-awarenesses, people find that they are able to safely stay present to what they draw in in life to experience on their path to wholeness. This process changes their perspective, as they now are able to consciously embrace everything they draw in to experience.

In this conscious orientation, they stay open in their hearts and minds, in their very Beinginess, to experience everything — love, happiness, and their inner pain. Everything is experienced to its natural completion. Nothing goes underground and remains unresolved.

In This Process You Are Also
Strengthening Your Pure Spiritual Nature

In this new Conscious approach couples found this process was not only a healthier and more harmonious way of resolving differences and charged issues. With experience they also discovered that the experience was strengthening their inner spiritual nature. The self-awareness and tools were enabling them to maintain their inner Presence even in the midst of rising tensions.

This is important. Whereas before it was the insecurities and past emotional wounds that were directing their reactions, now it became their pure wise and noble nature guiding them through their differences, tensions, and issues. In not being overshadowed by those tensions, they were sustaining their pure Awareness. They could step out of their ego and respond as Aware Person A to their inner tensions and emotions as they worked through and resolved the “problems” they were facing together.

“I believe that the basic nature of human beings is gentle and compassionate. It is therefore in our own interest to encourage that nature, to make it live within us, to leave room for it to develop. If on the contrary we use [anger], it is as if we voluntarily obstruct the positive side of human nature and prevent its evolution.”
His Holiness the Dalai Lama

When you do not lose your natural center inside, your pure Selves, this is what makes the difference in a conflict. Now it is not the anger or fears that has taken us over and doing the reacting, nor doing the talking. Nor are their selfish needs and self-interests dominating them. They have not lost them Selves in the process of resolving those tensions. As a result, the differences and issues are resolved with goodwill – fairly, sensitively, and more effectively.

The purpose of this Conscious process is to purify those tensions and repressed, unresolved emotions inside. The freer you are of inner anxieties and pressures, the grip of selfish needs, the resentments that you carry, the more connected you will feel to your essential nature. The more open and free you will be, the happier you will feel, and the more fulfilled you will be within your Self.

This is the pure Self your partner fell in love with. This is who You are. This is the place inside where you are at peace within yourself, naturally loving, happy and secure, free of fear and insecurity.

Your partner has experienced this place inside you, where the real You shows up, unencumbered by insecurities or inner pressures. And you, too, have innocent moments of this natural experience inside, enough to know that this pure Self exists within.

As you both become more self-aware and skillful, you will find you becoming the best of your selves. You each increasingly see beyond your ego’s narrow needs. And you become more attuned to the other’s needs.

Then when you become triggered, you easily move towards vulnerability. You grow in your natural humility, as you feel secure enough within yourself to do so. Your attachment to your lower self’s distortions begin to diminish as your locus of awareness shifts to your natural home within your Self.

This is how you evolve in Life to being your Self. This is why you are here on this earth. And this is the inherent value of being in relationship, to complete your journey.

This Is Exactly Your Natural Orientation for Resolving Conflict When You Are Secure Within.

What Is Radically New Is the Self-Awareness & Tools That Give You That Inner Security Whenever You Are Triggered.

Of course this orientation to conflict is natural. When people are caring and secure in themselves in the face of a challenging conflict together, this is how they resolve their differences together. This is also how highly evolved spiritual souls face conflict and resolve differences – nobly, respectfully, caringly. On issues where you are not threatened by the challenging circumstances you face, this is how you naturally respond too.

What is new here is the comprehensive nature of inner self-awareness that the Inner and Spiritual Enneagram provide. Plus the tools that naturally evolved that are able to sustain one’s Presence of Self in the midst of rising tensions. These together are what enable partners when faced with inner tensions to be able to step out of their ego and recognize what is happening. So they can consciously embrace and free themselves of those inner pressures and experientially resolve the original imprints of overwhelming tensions.

Is this radically new in our cultural understanding of conflict? See for your self. How many people do you know in our culture who responds this way when they become emotionally triggered? In all of the arguments that you have witnessed or been the brunt of, how many people with their upset feelings go inward and recognize and own the source of their tensions instead of blaming others? How many people do you see who are able to stay Present and take the High Road when resolving their emotionally charged differences?

Just look at our media’s real life presentation of how people in our culture tend to handle upset feelings when they become emotionally triggered. A good example might be in the popular array of “reality” television shows like The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Survivor, Big Brother, The Amazing Race, The Real Housewives of… series. How the participants on these shows can respond to conflict is simply a microcosm of how our culture deals with individual tensions and inner insecurities. And then think of those going through a painful break up or bitter divorce. And how those tensions affected their children’s lives.

Most people when emotionally triggered do not see the source of their tensions lies within them selves. And it is those tensions that tend to make the process of resolving the conflict together so much more difficult. Nor does either see their part in it – the pattern of distortions in their Enneagram type’s ego needs, expectations, reactions, attitudes and beliefs.

In a marriage, it is this lack of awarenesses and skills that are the primary indication of troubles ahead. They can even forecast doom down the road. Remember, it is not the insecurities them selves. Those are naturally the human condition. It is the lack of awareness of them and the lack of educational training in dealing effectively with them in their relationships.

This is why this orientation of going inward when partners are emotionally triggered and the tools that enable them to resolve those tensions offer a radical paradigm shift for individuals and couples. These awarenesses and tools are much more powerful and effective than our cultural strictures of conduct such as politeness, respect, and fair play we are expected to follow in a conflict.

In working with couples for over thirty years, I do not know how this approach could happen without the blueprint of consciousness revealed in the Inner and Spiritual Enneagram. How would people gain self-awareness of all of the lines of force that make up their persona that generate conflict?   And where are these inner dynamics that explain emotional conflicts so systematically laid out for each individual person?

Partners have been giving each other “feedback” pointing out each other’s imbalances in their personality that affect them and the distortions in their ego needs and beliefs throughout the years in each doomed relationship. That is what an argument is! But how much of an effect did their feedback have? Typically the receiving partners stood up for themselves, and in every incidence they would justify why they did what they did in that circumstance. So they never “got it.” They never stepped out of their ego and recognized the pattern, nor those specific underlying pressures within them that generate their part in the conflict.

Partners have not had a framework that gives them individually a detailed picture of their personality’s complete operating system – one that explains their pure essential nature, their individual ego needs, their sensitivities and insecurities, or their patterns of reactions and imbalances in their personality. So how would they recognize any of this? Or be able to make overall sense of those patterns?

However, with these new awarenesses and understandings it becomes so obvious to partners as soon as those tensions emerge, which enables them to right away recognize and say, “I can see I am being too much of a [One, Two, Three…] right now.”

In doing so, notice that I am not recognizing and owning them as something is psychologically wrong with me. This is not a pathological approach, that I necessarily have a formal psychological disorder (as I was taught as a clinician in psychotherapy graduate school). Rather it is the normal human condition that we are affected by the inner stress within us as well as the patterns that the stress generates in our personality. We simply need to become aware of those in order to become healthier. And it is this Awareness that enables us to consciously resolve them within ourselves.

Without this shared self-awareness and understandings together, how will people recognize their part when they negatively affect others? Especially as when each partner’s needs and tensions feel so completely natural to them in their world? So whenever partners face a conflict, how are they each suppose to make sense of the feedback their partner is giving them. Lacking these shared understandings, the downside in their relationship can be huge as these tensions and their denial take their toll.

And when couples do part, then what? Just reflect on your life and all of the relationships you have had that were ended. And ask yourself, how much do you feel that your ex-partners or previous friends left the relationship with any self-awareness within themselves from being together with you? How much did they really see their personal patterns of imbalances and their underlying insecurities that were at the root of the conflicts you experienced together? And in leaving the relationship, going forward, how much did each of them develop or take away new interpersonal skills from you being together?

But isn’t that why the relationship ended? Without these awarenesses and skills to resolve your differences, the relationship became intolerable. Yet in parting away from each other, what then will keep them from repeating those same patterns in their next relationship?

Without those awarenesses and skills, the relationship became intolerable. And ending the relationship was necessary to avoid having to feel those unresolved feelings inside of each of you again.

But then (and this is the crux of it), what would they say about you?

So we want to gain these awarenesses and develop our skills in safely and harmoniously resolving tensions together that arise for the sake of sustaining the natural love that we feel for each other. But it is more than that. As essentially a spiritual being having a human experience, in our hearts, we know that we do not want to be unkind, hurtful, ignorant, or out-of-balance in our personality among others. This is not who we are. When those tensions emerge, it is the stress reacting and doing the talking, not our pure Selves.

So we do this for ourselves as well. As a invaluable process of sustaining our connection to our Self. And particularly for the ones that we dearly love — our beloved partner and our dear children who are dependent on us for their well-being.

In this Conscious approach, these inner awarenesses and framework of skills that you can learn can enable each of you to keep your hearts open as you resolve your differences and insecurities together. This is the gift of having a marriage or committed relationship, where you can support each other to become more whole, and in the process grow closer together.

For most couples, fortunately gaining these awarenesses and skills simply takes education. It is education and competency training that enables individuals to develop the sophistication that will counter the primitive wiring for their survival that tends to direct most conflicts. These awarenesses are the most empowering and most relevant education that we all should learn before marriage.

Knowledge is power here. But these comprehensive understandings are just now emerging. Just like the steady advances in medicine over centuries, these new awarenesses are a result of the natural evolution of consciousness in relationships.

Continue to Discovery 4:

The Spiritual Validation of All of These New Dynamics