Why does the mind seem to gravitate towards conflict?

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Admiral Akmir
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Why does the mind seem to gravitate towards conflict?

Post by Admiral Akmir » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:39 am

Why is it that my default state of mind seems to be to seek conflict in my own thoughts? Someone made a comment last night that really hurt me, and I've been replaying it over and over again, and with each iteration it becomes more deranged, and my response more aggressive. Finally, this afternoon, I had had enough, and pulled myself out of it. The thought remains, but I will no longer be a part of it. It doesn't feel good to be angry all the time, but there does seem to be a desire for it. Something keeps me in that thought, recalling it over and over again. It's an itch that can never be scratched enough, I know this, because I've found myself revisiting conflicts that are decades old. If twenty years isn't enough, then no amount of time will be. Where does this desire come from? It feels like there is some voice that wants desperately to be heard and listened to.

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rachMiel
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Re: Why does the mind seem to gravitate towards conflict?

Post by rachMiel » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:16 am

I know exactly what you mean. Conflict is addictive. Not only psychologically, but physically I would wager: Conflict is arousing, it gets the blood and endorphins flowing.

We are taught to find, create, nurture conflict from the earliest age up. Be better than, beat, win, never be satisfied with yourself or the world but always strive to improve things, earn more, do more, have more friends, get stronger, smarter, sexier. It's endless.

Arguably even the way we think is grounded in conflict. I/subject think about others/objects. This approach to life posits that I and others are separated, at odds, essentially different, in competition, in a struggle for survival of the fittest, etc.

We humans love our conflict. Back when I was in fiction writing groups, one of the first questions we were asked during the critiquing of our stories was: What's the main conflict driving the characters and plot? Without a good juicy conflict, the stories usually came off boring. And ya know what they say: Life mirrors art.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

NuanceOfSuchness
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Re: Why does the mind seem to gravitate towards conflict?

Post by NuanceOfSuchness » Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:53 am

Admiral Akmir wrote: It's an itch that can never be scratched enough.
Amidst your tale of woe, that gave me a good laugh!

rachMiel's reply resonated with me quite symphonically. It is a Pavlovian reaction to the fetters of past sense-based experiences. These seemingly weighty thought reactions appear to have mass and velocity, when all they're really doing is reverberating back and forth from your conditioned state to your current relating experience that's happening now, or the 'now' that you illustrated. Interestingly, the same type of energy attracts the same type of energy. This seems to be the case inside of the mind too. To quote an example from your post: "and with each iteration it becomes more deranged".

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eputkonen
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Re: Why does the mind seem to gravitate towards conflict?

Post by eputkonen » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:05 am

Admiral Akmir wrote:Why is it that my default state of mind seems to be to seek conflict in my own thoughts? Someone made a comment last night that really hurt me, and I've been replaying it over and over again, and with each iteration it becomes more deranged, and my response more aggressive. Finally, this afternoon, I had had enough, and pulled myself out of it. The thought remains, but I will no longer be a part of it. It doesn't feel good to be angry all the time, but there does seem to be a desire for it. Something keeps me in that thought, recalling it over and over again. It's an itch that can never be scratched enough, I know this, because I've found myself revisiting conflicts that are decades old. If twenty years isn't enough, then no amount of time will be. Where does this desire come from? It feels like there is some voice that wants desperately to be heard and listened to.
That is the ego...the ego (the "me") is maintained and strengthened through conflict. As long as the "me" is believed, you will feel inflated or deflated based on what others say. Either way, it strengthens the sense of "me". Attaching to what had happened and replaying it is just another mechanism for the ego to maintain and strengthen itself.

Who/what you really can not be in conflict with the world, what-is, etc. Who/what you really are is now...and finds nothing gained or lost in the past or future.
Namaste,

~ Eric Putkonen
@EngagedNondual on Twitter
Blog at http://www.EngagedNonduality.com - Insights into Nondualism and Living Awake & Engaged

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Admiral Akmir
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Re: Why does the mind seem to gravitate towards conflict?

Post by Admiral Akmir » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:21 pm

Who/what you really can not be in conflict with the world, what-is, etc. Who/what you really are is now...and finds nothing gained or lost in the past or future.
I was thinking about that yesterday. Doing the exact same thing I described in my first post. A frequent thought that I visit, is a fictional confrontation with people from my past, in which I tell them how much they hurt me growing up.

It's like there's a part of my ego that wants that to be heard, but can never be heard enough. I thought about that for a while, and tried to figure out what the end goal is of these conversations; what am I supposed to be getting out of it? What would have to happen in order for that desire to be satisfied? What does it want?

Suppose I really did have that conversation, and I got an apology, and admittance of fault, what would that mean? Maybe I wouldn't feel ashamed of the past anymore, maybe I'd change and become someone completely different. But would that new person be any more true than what was there before? What if I had grown up in an entirely different family? Would the person I turned into in that alternate reality be any more real than what I perceive myself to be now?

The conflict just sort of drops after that thought, which leads me to believe that the purpose of these inner conversations is to promote a specific view of the self. Once it's realized that all forms of ego are equal, regardless of the emotional impact, then it feels pointless to even strive for anything else.

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eputkonen
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Re: Why does the mind seem to gravitate towards conflict?

Post by eputkonen » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:57 am

Admiral Akmir wrote:It's like there's a part of my ego that wants that to be heard, but can never be heard enough. I thought about that for a while, and tried to figure out what the end goal is of these conversations; what am I supposed to be getting out of it? What would have to happen in order for that desire to be satisfied? What does it want?

Suppose I really did have that conversation, and I got an apology, and admittance of fault, what would that mean? Maybe I wouldn't feel ashamed of the past anymore, maybe I'd change and become someone completely different.
The ego...the "me"...always demands to be heard, be seen, be understood, etc. - as long as it is believed and in control. It is a ridiculous demand, because we don't even know ourselves that well. We have not really seen who/what we really are.

Furthermore, this creates suffering for yourself. Suppose the person never hears you out...suppose the person never apologizes...what then? Do you carry that emotional baggage the rest of your life? Do you let it fester and poison you from within? This just becomes another story for the "me" to sustain and strengthen itself with...how "I" have been slighted and "they" won't apologize. This is just holding onto conflict...keeping the conflict going.
Namaste,

~ Eric Putkonen
@EngagedNondual on Twitter
Blog at http://www.EngagedNonduality.com - Insights into Nondualism and Living Awake & Engaged

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