Want Peace? Embrace The Conflict.

Want Peace? Embrace The Conflict.

The paradox of the compassionate heart

A Tibetan monk, who had spent more than 18 years in a Chinese prison labour camp, told the Dalai Lama that on a few occasions he really faced some danger. So, he asked him, ‘What danger? What kind of danger?’, thinking he would tell him of Chinese torture and prison. The monk replied, ‘Many times I was in danger of losing compassion for the Chinese.’

The recent war in Ukraine reminds me of one thing. We are in danger, in danger of ourselves. When I look around, I notice that people are angry, afraid, and feel powerless. And rightly so, but with whom are we angry, who are we afraid of and why do we feel disempowered? 

At the heart of the problem lies our denial as a species that we are not just aware, loving, and caring beings but we have the potential to be killers as well. The spectrum of what the human being is capable of is vast; on one end we can love unconditionally and on the other end we can kill and destroy cold-heartedly for our own benefit. Now, this is the part of us that we don’t like being reminded of; our dark side or the shadow as Carl Jung called it. Our unloved Self is too shameful, painful, or traumatic to bring into the light and acknowledge. Acknowledge that this is part of who we are, what we have done, what we have created.

And by that very suppression of our dark side over years, decades and centuries, individually and collectively, we have created a massive polarised energetic charge that continues to infuse conflict in ourselves and thereby the world around us. Just like any pressure, that charge seeks expression. And this is what we see in and around us all the time; an excess charge that is trying to find a way out.

As long as we keep coming into action from that old unresolved business, we will have more of that pain and suffering again. This is no rocket science. Well actually it is…quantum physics shows us over and over again that we create our reality on a moment-by-moment basis based on the thoughts, beliefs, and preferences we’ve subscribed to in the past. So, if we hold a tense and contracted state of reality in ourselves, we will see that same reality manifest around us. We are co-creative beings of our reality, not victims to it. 

As much as we would like it to all just go away, we have to deal with the mess we created. But it won’t if we keep coming from the same principles we applied to live in the past. Einstein reminded us of this when he said that we can’t solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

And apart from the same thinking, it might not even be thinking at all that is going to get us out of the woods. It could very well be that the thinking mind is never going to get us to the place where sensible solutions to problems can present themselves: the present moment. And it can’t because the job description of the thinking mind is to seek, to go out on a quest to find something other than ‘this’. ‘This’ is the very moment in which life manifests as it does. And that manifestation is all-inclusive, not just peace and harmony but also conflict, pain, fear, and all other aspects of life.

Now we may want to ask ourselves if this is a problem. I have come to see that we don’t suffer from being afraid but from our inability and resistance to consciously experience that fear. Our judgment, fear, and denial of that which life presents and our immediate need to fix it creates the very charge we hold on to as stress and which we keep feeding back into the system, thereby perpetuating conflict.

In my belief and experience, the solution to this can come from our compassionate hearts. Contrary to the thinking mind our compassionate heart has the ability to experience all aspects of life freely in all its intensity without knowing or understanding. At the same time, the compassionate heart has the ability to let that experience be without personalizing or needing to fix it.

In this sense, compassion exposes the illusion that what happens in this very moment is personal and needs fixing. It is simply how life unfolds. True compassion ends the personal drama and sees life as it really is; a free fall of endless possibilities. 

The union of compassion and being aware of how life is now having an immediate and noticeable energetic effect. It will release the old charges and prevent them from building up again. The effect of us holding less charge from the past is that we no longer project it into the reality of tomorrow. 

If we apply this principle to war, for example, we have to make an entirely irrational step in how we have dealt with this before. We now need to consciously move towards something that we previously tried so hard to run away from. And rather than fix it we now let it be. We can see it for what it really is; an aspect of life that has come into manifestation. Letting war be, does not mean approving of war or condoning it. That is what your mind will tell you in facing the compassionate embrace, which instantly ends the story it wants to keep going so badly.

What happens is simply astonishing. We will lose charge around our perception of war. And by no longer holding that charge in us we don’t feed it into the reality we manifest in and around us. When more and more people practice this and thereby end their contribution to the conflict, we literally disempower the war. Not by fighting it, opposing it, or trying to fix it but by embracing war as part of life as it could potentially manifest.

This is a much more aware and realistic approach to living. We need to get real, wake up. Life is not just a fluffy cloud of pink marshmallows; it is a living system of endless diversity and potential. What part of that potential comes to life is up to us. The first step is to take responsibility and deal with our creations from the past in a conscious way by no longer giving them energy. Denying it or running away from it didn’t get us anywhere. Neither did peace demonstrations. Taking sides only leads to more polarisation, energising the very things we wanted to put an end to. Noticing the present moment in an aware state and embracing that which presents ends the unconscious re-creation of the past and gives way to a much more harmonic principle that is no longer based on our personal limitations that come from fear, greed, and ignorance.

When we move out of a contracted state of being we come into the flow. A natural state of energy, which moves into directions that benefits all of nature. The actions and decisions we then make come out of clarity and awareness and have quite a different outcome than the ones we used to make from our contracted states of being.

We can no longer exclude the parts of life we don’t like or want and thereby polarise and charge them. We need to learn to embrace the diversity of life and experience it without reservations, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Does this mean we will never be angry again, that there won’t be any fights? It is a romantic idea but completely unrealistic. Trying to achieve that would be missing the point here. Look at life, it is everything. Making ourselves consciously available to all of it allows us to experience its endless diversity and intensity, without being a victim to it any longer. I believe it is the only way to freedom and peace. 

A Tibetan monk, who had spent more than 18 years in a Chinese prison labour camp, told the Dalai Lama that on a few occasions he really faced some danger. So, he asked him, ‘What danger? What kind of danger?’, thinking he would tell him of Chinese torture and prison. The monk replied, ‘Many times I was in danger of losing compassion for the Chinese.’

How to connect with your body?

When we talk about body-oriented work or somatic work we intend to focus on the connection between body and mind. We believe that the relationship with ourselves, with others, and the world around us is strongly conditioned by this connection. One of the basic elements of this approach is that the person experiences itself not only in the mind but above all through physical sensations and feelings. We can consider this a “bottom-up” approach because it starts from exploring the physical and emotional perceived and then subsequently access the processing of the mental arena.

Essential concepts of this work:

• Body, mind, and emotions are always in interaction. We can consider them three intelligences that influence each other.

• The body can be a guiding tool in inner growth.

• Physical sensations, emotions, images, thoughts, or reasonings can represent a map through which the person in this approach can get to know him/herself.

• The body through its posture and the tonicity, tensions, or stiffness represents an armor that defines either a physical structure or a character structure that is correlated. 

• The person is animated by energies (mental, emotional, and physical). The well-being of the person lies in the natural flow of energy loading and unloading. When the natural flow comes disturbed, interrupted, or altered, one can experience physical, emotional, and relational stress or dysfunctions.

• The body records and maintains memories of lived experiences including traumatic ones. When these experiences are not integrated and processed, they are created, physical blocks, held emotions, physical dysfunctions, and relational dysfunctions.

How does the method used in Feel Free work?

In both individual and group meetings, the person who wants to work on a topic starts by exposing it. During the exposure work, we try to bring attention to what is happening in the present moment and in the body. In observing the body, the person is asked to: slow down, avoid getting lost in a long description of its history and draw attention to any physiological changes caused by tensions, contractions, or sensations of release or expansion during sharing.

The intent is to accompany the person in an exploration of himself, of the held emotions, of his physical state, of the awareness of the body-mind connection. This exploration is intended to support restoring a greater sense of inner expansion and well-being.

Depending on the physical and character structure of the person and on the theme expressed, the work may be accompanied by body movements, breathing exercises, listening exercises, physical sensations, interior dialogue, and the meanings attributed to one’s own experience. The proposed work is carried out based on the person and what they can contain and process.

The techniques, exercises, and work methodologies used within the session can be different: from Gestalt therapy to Core Energetics work, to the techniques used in somatic experiencing, to the use of conscious breathing, mindfulness, and meditation. 

Who can this experience help?

In this holistic view of the person, physical or mental discomforts or disorders are considered on the same level of importance. Many of the issues of emotional distress have somatization in the body and acting on the body, they can be transformed into an experience of well-being for the person who does the work of inner growth.

Often chronic pain, insomnia, poor digestion, physical and mental fatigue, apathy, anxiety, the difficulty in creating satisfying and healthy relationships, are all signs of discomfort or trauma not yet completely elaborate and could benefit from somatic work.

What benefits can this work bring?

This work helps people to be more present in themselves and more aware of it. Thoughts, physical and emotional sensations, and our behaviors are all connected. It allows us to move more easily from a state of emotional disturbance to a state of greater inner stability. When we work on traumatic past episodes it allows us to manage the sense of emotional overwhelm and to re-establish the state of stillness and centeredness more easily. Increase our resilience and ability to tolerate the complexity of daily challenges. It increases the sense of inner security, creating greater confidence in oneself and in life.

How can QiGong help our mind and body during this unstable period?

Fast-paced and demanding everyday life can make us physically and mentally overwhelmed and exhausted. Especially now, when we still feel the effects of pandemics and our inner batteries run low on energy. QiGong is a method through which any person regardless of age and physical form, can acquire skills and knowledge necessary for a healthy and joyful life. The practice offers a quick energy recovery and a peaceful mind during everyday activities. QiGong works on three levels: the mind and mental health; body and self-care; as well as soul- consciousness.

So how can QiGong be useful for you? Being a system of breathing, physical exercises, and body meditation, it helps to relax muscles, relieve stress, and calm your thoughts. Consequently, it positively affects your mood and body health. The exercises regulate metabolism, lengthen and deepen breathing, massage internal organs, and thus help to relax emotionally and physically. These practices used by ancient warriors back in the days,  today become a great recovery complex and favourite source of energy for the whole day.  · 

Key benefits of QiGong:

  • releases stress
  • removes psychic and muscle tension
  • massages internal organs
  • strengthens muscles and stretches tendons 
  • concentrates our attention 
  • improves breathing
  • teaches us to consciously work with energy

Moreover, QiGong increases body mobility as during the practice almost all muscles are involved in the work. They repeatedly strain and relax, giving you an experience of a combination of dynamic and static movements. Your bodily posture gets improved as a lot of attention is put on the spine, lower back and coordination of all parts of the body. Last but not least, it helps to prevent diseases by stimulating the immune system, releasing stress, relieving muscle tension, and enhancing the processes of removing toxins from the body. In the mental aspects, Qigong teaches you how to release emotional blockages, relax and concentrate. You also get a sense of control over your own energy. The practice makes you an active, cheerful, and creative person. 

What happens during the practice:

  • the internal, mental dialogue silences
  • physical tension of muscles drops
  • you are in the moment – here and now
  • you experience a feeling of inner harmony
  • your intuition increases 
  • your attention is being trained

The history of Qi-Gong dates back to 5000 years. It is thought to have originated as a form of “remedy dancing” created for healing and health preservation purposes. Due to the long-term struggles with nature, the ancients gradually realized that body movement, exclamations, and various ways of breathing could help readjust certain body functions. In China, the country of origin of the practice, Qi Gong is very popular. The government supports the practice of health exercises and funds research and teaching institutes. The current categories in China include a variety of systems. They are differentiated as either health exercises for preventing disease and maintaining health or for healing existing conditions of disease and recovering fully. 

About Olga:

Olga WuWei received direct transmission of ancient knowledge from a recognized Chinese Master-  净空, Jing Kong meaning Clear Emptiness. She lived 6 years in China, 2 years at the mountain in WuWei Zen temple being a direct student of the Master, in order to bring these eastern practices and philosophy of China to the West. Over the years, she transferred knowledge in China to Chinese and foreign students, in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Italy. Now she has hundreds of students from more than 20 countries around the world.

5 tips to start 2022 off on the right foot

1. ​Spend as much time in nature as possible and oxygenate the brain and body.

This might seem obvious but in this world of urban living and busyness, we spend too much time in our isolated, unventilated homes. Commit to going on daily short walks and going into a natural park for longer periods at least once a week. Time spent walking in a heavily forested environment changes our whole outlook on the day. Many of us go for prolonged periods of time without immersing ourselves in the freshness of nature. Since we are spending many hours a week wearing a mask, we want to give ourselves the gift of clean air. At Mandali, we have the advantage of pristine nature and unpolluted air all around us.

2.Avoid conversations and people who get into heated polarized, political, social, or cultural views.

Life is short and as the ancient Greeks used to say, “take the time to understand other(s) and when others are more interested in the position of being “right” rather than the all-encompassing view of understanding that we have different ways of seeing the world than walk away”. The chaos of today is forcing people to choose sides and sometimes we have to choose a side. Whatever side you choose, you want to cultivate respect, understanding, and empathy for the other view.  If you feel yourself arguing and getting angry that others have a difference of opinion, remove yourself from the environment, breathe and remember that every view has merit (even if it is only 1% true).  Do not compromise your state of equanimity for anyone or anything. The wise person listens with friendliness and decides whether to engage or disengage without causing harm or hatred.  

​3. ​Honestly review your day – Practice Self-Inquiry.

Ask yourself at the end of each day: Where did I compromise my highest values? Where was I self-aware and kind and where did I lose the plot today? By doing this regularly, you will spend more and more time living the kind of day that brings joy and fulfillment. Ask yourself: what did I do well today? Where was my discipline tested? Where did I not do so well today? How can I improve tomorrow? Just don’t beat yourself up. Remember to forgive yourself daily.  Practice self-compassion. Research shows that forgiving yourself, not beating yourself up, prevents you from continuing to put things off. Don’t just be critical of yourself. Think about what you did well so you can repeat it tomorrow. Be grateful for the good that happened today!  

4. ​Take multiple short 5-minute mindfulness breaks throughout the day.

This will reset your nervous system. Practice your favourite breathing meditation. Breathe in consciously and imagine that with every exhale, you are removing the mask of tension. Use your hands in a gesture of gathering air and imagine you are inhaling pure, clean air, and with every exhale, you could even put your hand on your face imagining you are removing stuck masks: the mask of disappointment, the mask of tiredness, the mask of the fear of uncertainty.  This exercise produces unfathomable results.  By consciously breathing and imagining that we are unmasking ourselves of our struggles and pain, the joy of our original face is revealed.  

5. ​Move your body vigorously at least once a day.  

Dance to your favourite song. Moving to one short song instantly changes your chemistry. If you are not sure what song to play, we have attached a fun short song here.  Moving your body in creative and emotionally expressive ways reduces stress and depression, increases energy and serotonin, increases mental capacity and creativity, and increases so much joy that we are better equipped to handle the ups and downs of home and work life.

Here’s a little feel good moment:


Jon Bastiste- FREEDOM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YHVC1DcHmo