The Good Fight
By PETER and ANNE SELBY
Published in the April 2010 issue of The LENS – a quarterly E-Newsletter/Journal of the Center for Empowered Leadership www.cfel.org
The topic “Fighting For What Is Right” is essential to the formulation of the principles of enlightened leadership. The core principles we work with as healers have profound implications and applications for this conversation.
Much blood has been spilled in the name of fighting for “what is right.” Although the present context is not one of battle, the core virtues of courage, commitment, and bravery still obtain. Standing up for what is right can cost one’s career, one’s livelihood, or even one’s life.
How often have we looked back on the carnage of battle (or life itself) only to question our original assumptions, motives, and tactics. Abraham Lincoln said, “Be sure you put your feet in the right place, and then stand firm.” The pendulum of History swings back and forth, seeking balance and deeper truth, both within our own Souls and in the larger society. Gandhi is a hero among heroes, and he never carried a sword. So let’s save some blood and pull back for a moment in order to develop the most holistic perspective possible through using all our human faculties of conscious awareness.
The primary battle is within ourselves. Oppose an injustice or a wrongful policy as you must, but in order to be most effective, first find what is similar in yourself, and deal with that. Leonardo Da Vinci aptly said, “You can have no dominion greater or less than that over yourself.” Everything that shows up in your life is an opportunity to elevate your own Soul through overcoming in yourself that which you see outside of yourself. When you come to a deeper clarity within, you will be able to promote clarity around you, in both those who support you and those in opposition. Imagine all concerned on all sides thinking like this, searching in their depths to go beyond their own biases into perceptions of the deeper truths.
It may sound unrealistic because “they” are too attached or “they” are not … (fill in the blank), but never underestimate the compelling power of the truth or what is “most true.” Truth has its own power, and simple truths have changed the course of history where raw power and armies have failed. People in control try to control the flow of ideas because they fear the power of simple truth. Daniel Ellsberg’s revelations about what came to be called the Pentagon Papers brought the Vietnam war to a close. In your advocacy for what you are “fighting for,” give space for simple truth to change your world. Advocate truth as best you understand it, and let it speak for itself.
But what is to be done when, in the real world, the people ignore or abuse truth and pursue the likes of power, influence, and special interests at the expense of what is right? What is to be done when political games have no relation to the service of what is best and truest? This is certainly a common and difficult problem, but the tensions that arise can be creative and constructive rather than obstructive or destructive. Seek to understand and address the deeper needs that surface as opposition, injustice, ignorance, or self-interest; consider them from the broadest possible perspective, e.g., from the head, the heart, and gut instinct. When one asks, “How could someone think this way?” or “How could someone do this?” the question begs an answer. So go ahead, answer the question!
Try to understand the conflict at an abstract spiritual level, understanding what each party values and believes in. Then try to see it from the Soul level, meaning how those beliefs and values have developed over time, reflecting the evolving character of the individuals or organizations concerned. See it from a pragmatic point of view, that is, understand how all the considerations being advocated by each party shake out, practically speaking. Then it will be truly possible to relate to those in opposition to what you want.
The Law of polarity states that nothing can exist without its opposite and that everything contains its opposite. The implications of this law are huge in regard to fighting for what is right, in that “right” contains “wrong,” which therefore has the innate potential to manifest as well. Similarly, that which you deem “bad” contains “good”; the discovery of the hidden “good” can be explored and possibly lead to dialogue and mutual understanding. We learned years ago from Adam Sokolow, senior advisor to the Lens, that in diplomatic pursuits as well as when dealing with someone’s inferior function (as in, when someone is being stubborn, stupid, slow, etc.), a special protocol must be followed: send an ambassador bearing a gift; be patient; make them feel safe. In the context of this discussion, your openness in seeking the hidden good makes you the ambassador; perceiving and appreciating the hidden good is the gift you bring.
Furthermore, anytime we oppose something we polarize the energy and reinforce the status quo. Couples begin by falling in love; identities merge only to eventually separate back into their own identities and points of view. It’s the same in the workplace, where work relationships are initiated through discovering the common ground but the identity of the individual reemerges through focusing on differences. An alternative to divorce or polarization is commitment to finding and staying connected to the common ground between differing objectives and points of view.
How many disputants “fight” to uncover and expand awareness of mutual interests and to understand within themselves the opposing points of view? It’s not an easy task, but it’s an ethically necessary one to avoid complicating the problem by aggravating polarization and alienation. Oppositional energies can easily turn negative, siphoning vital force from what is worthy only to feed the collective “pain body” (as explained by Eckhart Tolle). Noble causes have often degenerated into diabolical crusades because people could not conceive of the unconscious realms their negative energy and unconscious motives were feeding.
Finally, w hen it comes to “fighting the good fight,” reaching “upward” and taking the high road will bring you into contact with unseen resources that favor the good. The greater the purity of your spirit and your cause, the greater the power and help you will attract out of the collective ethers and higher realms. Declaring “divine order” helps good come from what might otherwise be deemed a failure or hopeless cause. It preserves one’s spirit when the going gets tough. Strong dedication to the principle of divine order prospers optimism, which itself can win the day and reconcile opposing forces. In addition, declare, “If not this, then something even better.” There‘s always another day. Win or lose, you will have “fought the good fight.”