Zen and the Art of Conflict Resolution


Dorris Tennant from Mediate reflects on Diane Musho Hamilton’s book Everything is Workable: A Zen Approach To Conflict Resolution. Tennant claims the book is about “how to live consciously in a world filled with conflicts,” and how to use conflict as a way to enhance creativity and compassion. As Hamilton claims in the book, “the more intimate we become with human suffering, the greater our compulsion to serve others,” suggesting that the more familiar we become with conflict, the more desire we have to give to the world. If conflict provides us with a great opportunity to grow, create, and make a change, how then should we embrace conflict?

A Transformational Leadership article provides 5 steps to embrace conflict, which boils down to increasing empathy by taking on other people’s perspectives and presenting our own perspective with their perspective in mind. We can come to understand another person’s perspective by asking them questions and summarizing their point of view.

Is there anyone in your life who fills you with a lot of tension, conflict, and disagreement? If so, there’s an opportunity for self-growth there if you decide you want to understand them.

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