Some years ago, Soteria International started a collaboration with various spiritual associations and organisations defending spiritual human rights.
Thus, the first step was made i.e. working closely together and giving a louder voice within modern society, becoming more visible to policy makers and other important social bodies. Also, such initiatives became a source of inspiration for similar groups to manifest among other spiritual organisations or organisations defending spiritual rights. The debates were focused on different topics, as for example, last year, where the danger of mind manipulation was explored and its influence upon the human ability of self-determination and on how it could be counter balanced by a strengthened freedom of thought, conscience and belief.
If last year the debates were still oriented more to identify problems or conflicts coming from outside, this year the approach was different, going towards a more functional and very efficient solution: what do we need to do in order to make these external problems and conflicts be significantly reduced? The Greek Γνώθι σεαυτόν (Gnothi seauton) or, temet nosce in Latin was the incentive that seemed to inspire all participants in their speeches and sharing experiences: know thyself and you will know the Universe together with all its laws, its hidden energies and forces. Briefly, solving inner conflicts appears as being the best possibility to significantly reduce outer conflicts.
All speakers agreed on the importance for individuals to become aware about their own feelings, thoughts, words, actions and on the necessity of starting to act both inside and outside of their own beings. By doing so consciously and full of courage the needed transformation will take place that will ensure a proper fulfillment allowing peace and harmony to come, being always opposed to any form of conflict at all levels. All speeches converged in one way or another to the conclusion that finding coherence of his/her own being is the only way for one to reach the deep meaning of a spiritual life harmoniously integrated in society.
If last year the participants in the SHR conference preferred to look at the mind as an important factor of influencing and determining lives, starting from the individual level and reaching the community level, this time the necessity of unifying minds and hearts was the key element to be taken into consideration both for the individual spiritual evolution and for the social evolution seen from an holistic perspective.
Therefore, Soteria International proposed a shift from the old paradigm of solving conflicts which didn’t take into consideration the already existing state of unity and which thus was in itself a seed of conflict, to a new paradigm, of surpassing the level where conflicts appear, by engaging hearts in this process.
Validated nowadays by the newest discoveries of science, this new paradigm of conflict management is based on the concept of Concordia or coherence in the hearts. In the ancient western philosophy, Pascal considered the heart as a cognitive faculty, able to unify key operations of will and intellect without finally collapsing into either. The French author and intellect René Guénon who was an influential figure in the domain of metaphysics referred to the Heart as the centre through which a world can open to all that transcends it. By his two incompleteness theorems, Gödel shows that in any formal axiomatic system there are truths that cannot be proven by the means provided only within this system and it is always necessary to transcend it. When we apply these considerations to the issue of solving conflicts it becomes obvious that it is not possible to do so only at the level of the mind where conflicts appear. The mind has to be transcended and it can be done just by engaging the heart into this process.
The humankind experience so far demonstrates that often legality prevails over righteousness, but when things are considered just as an exclusive result of legislative decisions, the human rights can miss ethic and moral dimensions coming from a common sense of Justice as a fruit of the triptych love-right-solidarity naturally existing among the members of a community.
Emulated by the magnificent spiritual desideratum of Concordia, the participants managed to create an atmosphere governed by this very opening of hearts in which one by one they shared with generosity their experiences and the way the difficulties thereby faced made them grow. Seen in this new perspective, conflict becomes above all an invaluable opportunity to grow.
As a first guest, Mr Narya Tosetto from Ananda Assisi Italy, opened the series of experiences with some impressive testimonials on how the challenges helped him to step into a new spiritual life and give up an old life marked by the never-ending illusion of material needs. Spirituality is at the distance of a thought and to get there requires the courage to jump into the future. Life is starting within the human being and without the decision to change ourselves we cannot change life. People are beautiful when they do something to be beautiful. Jesus changed the world with only 12 disciples and he could succeed just because he believed in it. The divinity gives us the opportunity to change our lives but never changes it for us. By spiritual practice we enter in contact with divinity and from there we receive the courage to act in the sense of spiritual transformation. Concordia is possible just if people decide to change. When one changes him or herself, life will be seen differently.
The conference continued with Ms. Macaco Tamerice from Damanhur Community.
Ms Tamerice spoke about the fact that very often conflicts come from diversity and from the dichotomy created by the idea of being wrong or right in his /her beliefs. But actually, it is very important to embrace diversity and to understand it as having a divine nature. We all have the same divine origin and diversity is nothing else than a great opportunity for enrichment. When we accept it, it becomes easier to deal with conflicts.
Within their organisation they have a common philosophy and dream: we are here on Earth because we want to learn and diversity is a great opportunity for this. One of their ideas is linked to truth. What is truth? What is right? What is wrong? As long as one is not in contact with the higher self, “truth” is always something about a personal interpretation of reality. The Ultimate Truth is coming always from very deep inside and it cannot be discovered at a mental level. They are aware about the necessity of a continuous individual transformation.
They adopted a whole spiritual program of three months where they have to write down very clearly things about parts to be transformed and steps within this process. Instead of blaming the others for being different, is is better to understand that the others are always mirrors for us and fighting against them is actually fighting against ourselves. When we are able to embrace diversity we are able to embrace the others. Happiness is made, among other things, also by sharing. They share a common dream of making this world a better place than we found it when coming here on Earth. By connecting through hearts we have the great opportunity to resolve conflicts and grow.
Mr. Nobuhiro Igarashi from the Unification Church mentioned that there is a tendency among people to keep anger, arrogance and such things that create separation and conflict. It is important to use any spiritual opportunity to overcome such resonances. Religious missions are very important for it and help people in this respect. Diversity is very important, because without it the world would be a terrible place. It is also important to realise that diversity is coming actually from the Ultimate Being.
Mr. Uwe Haspel from the Giving Movement spoke next and described that the simple things are beyond money, such as attention, care, smiling, empathy etc. Life is the biggest gift in the world. They live in a community where they put in practise their ideas, strengthening their health system and social system, thus strengthening their life basis. They speak with politicians about special problems in their region near Dresden and their dialogues are beyond conflicts because they involve their hearts in the conversation.
Ms Raffaella Di Mazio from Spirituality, Religions and Sectarianism explained to us how she employs useful methodologies of mediation to settle conflict between spiritual groups, families and socially. Conflicts have overlapping causes and to oversimplify them is a mistake.
Complex problems require complex solutions.
Sh described how mediation is not possible if 1 party is absent and how face to face communication helps dialogue, find solutions, and then, peace is possible. But, this is a process.
Ms Di Mazio mentions also that the anticult movement was just exaggerating the conflict. She concluded by saying that we shell see conflict as a problem to be solved and not a contest to be won.
Mrs Monica Dobrin from League for Antidefaimation of Yoga and Spiritual Movements, presented us from their experience as an NGO, L.A.Y.M.S., regarding the problem of managing conflicts.
She said that is important, for the NGO’s and other associations involved in defending human rights, to develop awareness of the following:
Ms Marina Jakobsen from Santo Daime presented to us that in their spiritual line they ask for peace, love, knowledge and inspiration. They pray and meditate and this helps them to see beyond ego. In this way it is easy to see that there is no difference between inside and outside. So, all the conflicts are disolved in meditation and prayer.
The conference was concluded in the heart, with the idea that we cannot solve conflicts if we dont make the first step and don‘t involve the heart. We cannot solve conflicts if we remain at the same level in which the conflicts were created, ie the mind, and it requires us to take a step up.