Am I the cause of my conflicts?

Commentary by José Parés Pérez, Concepción, Chile

It is very difficult for us to accept this truth: that we are the cause of our own conflicts. Wherever the spark came from that lit the fire, the fire is now alight and we have to deal with it. We tend to blame the cause of the spark without realising that we lay the kindling for the fire and life adds the match. There are even many times when the spark itself comes from us. But there will not be any fire if we control the fuel. Our inner life and our relationship with others can contribute many sparks, life constantly provides us with opportunities to flare up and lose our peace of mind. The fuel always comes from us. The conflicts that we experience in our lives may arise externally but the fire really burns within us. Our conflicts generally come from our thoughts. Thought creates a moment in time: yesterday, today and tomorrow. We blame ourselves or blame others for what happened yesterday or we become afraid or worry about what may happen tomorrow. In both cases, we are in conflict with ourselves because we constantly feed what we dislike about what happens to us. In this way we are fuelling the conflict with our thoughts, we are distracted from our lives.

We have abandoned our presence in the present moment of our existence. When I chat to friends about this they mention to me that their practice is to “try and forget what happened but shortly afterwards the conflict returns.” It is clear that, trying to forget involves thinking about the conflict in order to try and forget it, and this just fixes it more clearly in our minds. The fire that burns like the conflict we endure is sustained if we feed it with our thoughts. The life we live produces many moments that supply a spark and fuel for the fire (sadness, a rainy day, the death of a loved one, an insignificant bad patch, etc.) and therefore if we live in the here and now, paying attention to the present moment we will silence those of our thoughts that develop even when we are distracted, If we pay attention to what we feel, our involuntary thoughts will be extinguished. Accept yourself as you are and pay attention to what you feel. It is a different way of living. Stop blaming yourself for the past or worrying about the future. Live in the present and you will see that cloudy days will continue to exist, but you will be present in yourself. You are your own sun. Your happiness will return, that happiness and the same sun that you enjoyed when you were a child.