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The Anatomy of Peace

How to Resolve the Heart of Conflict

By The Arbinger Institute
9-minute read
Audio available
The Anatomy of Peace: How to Resolve the Heart of Conflict by The Arbinger Institute

The Anatomy of Peace (2006) addresses an unpleasant fact: how common it is for people to resort to conflict as a way of resolving differences at home, in the workplace and in the world at large. Learn the reasons behind this mindset and how we can find a better way to move forward. There’s no reason to think things have to be the way they are today. With a little understanding, we can all choose the path of peace.

  • Professionals struggling with coworkers or customers
  • Readers who want less struggle and more peace in their lives
  • Parents and teachers eager to handle conflicts better

Founded by scholars in 1979, the Arbinger Institute is dedicated to spreading a message of peace through books, trainings and other means. The Institute has over 300 members, including coaches and staff members who work in offices located in eighteen different countries.

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The Anatomy of Peace

How to Resolve the Heart of Conflict

By The Arbinger Institute
  • Read in 9 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 5 key ideas
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The Anatomy of Peace: How to Resolve the Heart of Conflict by The Arbinger Institute
Synopsis

The Anatomy of Peace (2006) addresses an unpleasant fact: how common it is for people to resort to conflict as a way of resolving differences at home, in the workplace and in the world at large. Learn the reasons behind this mindset and how we can find a better way to move forward. There’s no reason to think things have to be the way they are today. With a little understanding, we can all choose the path of peace.

Key idea 1 of 5

There are two ways to view those around you: with either war or peace in your heart.

Let’s imagine that you were raised to fear and hate left-handed people, because two thousand years ago a group of left-handed people attacked your family’s right-handed ancestors.  

But one day, you notice a man leaving a store that sells left-handed goods. As he’s in the middle of crossing the street, he falls and drops his bag, spilling his belongings. What do you do?

There are basically two options: you can have a heart of peace or a heart of war.

To have a heart of war is to see the person in need of help as inferior, or as an object rather than a human being, which is a sure way to perpetuate conflicts.

Your inner-voice may tell you not to help him because you were taught that his people hate your people. But this frames him as only being part of a group or concept, rather than recognizing him as an individual.

The heart of war suppresses our sense of compassion and urge to help; it’s the kind of mindset that creates and perpetuates hate, conflict and war.

The better option is to have a heart of peace and listen to your sense of compassion – to see those around you as human beings.

Even if you are forced into a war, you can still treat your opponent with compassion, which is what the sultan Saladin did in the twelfth century after the Crusaders massacred the people of Jerusalem.

Eventually, Saladin’s Muslim army retook the city from the Christians, but he did not slaughter the innocent, as the Christians had a century before. He forbade his people to harm them, provided them with safe passage and even kept the city open to Christian pilgrims in the years that followed.

This is what a heart of peace looks like: you choose compassion and treat others as human beings, burdened by their own fears and desires.

Once this happens, others will be more likely to treat you the same way, increasing the likelihood of peace.

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