Ending the War On Purpose
“The first act of war is defense” (Byron Katie). This is a statement that will stop the mind, if you
take just a moment to consider it. It seems to be one of the simple and great truths which is almost
Take a minute and look into your mind. See if you can locate a recent situation where you were defending something. Try to find the beginning of your defense. Once you have that located ask yourself, “Is this where the war started in my mind?” As I have tested Katie’s statement, it has proven
true each and every time. When I am honest with myself about where the war started in my mind, it is
always at the point where I began to defend something or someone. For example, when the dogs bark in the lobby where I live, I get upset and start to defend the silence… my right to peace… how wrong people who don’t control their dogs are. I defend and go to war. Often first in my mind, and then with another person.
Listening is the end of war. As simple as it may seem, one of the hardest things to do when we
are defending something is to listen. Yet listening is exactly what will bring peace. In my work with Couples On Purpose, it is horrendous how often they are compelled to interrupt, talk over and interject what they think the other is going to say. As we work to unpack emotional pain and grief, time and again, we discover one shared common ground. The thing they both seem to want more than anything else is… “to be heard and understood, by the other side”.
The end of war is that simple. Whenever we listen in an attempt to understand another person, their defenses dissolve. Their anger dissipates, and their sadness subsides. The same happens when you listen to
hear and understand yourself as well.
Part of the practice of living On Purpose for couples is to give up the right to interrupt. Whenever we feel the need to interrupt, it is almost guaranteed there is a need to defend something. We defend our point of view. If you did not have a right to interrupt, you would be forced to learn to listen.
The second rule is, instead of defending learn to hear and understand. Then ask questions, not to be right, but rather for clarification and understanding. In these practices, miraculous things can happen with communication. One of the most fascinating phenomena is that both people seem to know when one has been heard and understood clearly and completely. A sense of peace that is palpable emerges and brings along with it acceptance. The ability to rest my case and enter into a true relationship transforms age-old grievances and heals life-long pain and suffering.
As you go about your activities and relationships this week, consider and try to implement this:
1. Defense is the first act of war.
2. Give up the right to interrupt another person’s expression of their thoughts and feelings to assert yours instead.
3. Listen to hear and understand, rather than to be right and good at defending your point of view.
Thus, you will be “Ending the War On Purpose” as you bring purpose to each interaction.
The choices are yours…
• Interrupt and join the war.
• Listen and bring Peace to the war.
If you find yourself with questions, I encourage you to reach out. The journey to living On Purpose is 100% possible. Let me help you start your path forward.