Warrior – Peacemaker
Spiritual teachings applied to the practice of law can lead to a more joy-filled and manageable Life. This article takes a fresh look at “opposites.” By altering our perspective of things that seem to be “at odds” we can harmonize them and achieve more satisfactory outcomes for ourselves and our clients.
Regardless of age, position or other outer conditions, when a person notices a struggle between “opposites” they have the opportunity to harmonize polarities. Our interior space relaxes when we accept that the two poles arise out of the larger essence. Think of a magnet. Think of our planet. North differs from south but one is not “right” while the other is “wrong.” Their existence is relational. However, when our planet was created, both poles emerged simultaneously. Further, this polar nature gave way to the spin and spiral dynamic that is Life.
One depiction of this dance of polarities is the Chinese symbol of yin and yang. It symbolizes complementary relationship. We breathe in. We breathe out. The sun rises and an active day unfolds. The sun goes down and, into darkness, we naturally rest. Yang is “masculine.” It represents “doing.” Yin is “feminine.” It represents “being.” The yin-yang symbol depicts wholeness with both polarities in balance. Within yin (black) is the seed of yang (the white dot). Within yang (white) is the seed of yin (the black dot).
The mythology of the Western world portrays this dynamic using the visual imagery and language of astrology. A circle has 360 degrees. In astrology, the circle is divided into 12 sections that alternate between masculine and feminine. The system places 12 archetypes around the circle in a particular order that represents how energy evolves. Moving beyond a mechanistic view of life where astrology predicts future, the quantum worldview can use the language of astrology to describe patterns of energy and relationships within the Field. The rich imagery of the mythology can be used to help us navigate the real world decisions and challenges we all face. Looking at life symbolically, we can identify trends and come up with strategies for improvement.
One set of archetypes that I use to describe my work in the “legal field” are the warrior and the peacemaker, two poles of the same energy. Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, represents initiation and the urge to be born and survive. It opposes Libra, the sign associated with partnership and “open enemies” that represents being in relationship. Aries is ruled by the planet Mars associated with the god of War. Libra is ruled by Venus, the goddess of beauty and love. Every chart, whether it has been drawn for a person, for a moment in time or for a country, has these two archetypes in it and the two archetypes are opposite each other. They are two poles of the same essence. At the center of a chart is the fulcrum point where these two archetypes meet. Imagine the infinity sign. On one side is the warrior; the other the peacemaker.
Every archetype has functional or healthy expression and dysfunctional or unhealthy expression. The true peacemaker listens to all voices at the table and facilitates communication until resolution emerges that meets the most essential needs of all the interested parties. The Warrior defends and protects that which rightfully should be defended and protected. So, as yin contains the seed of yang, the peacemaker must honor the true warrior’s assessment of what is to be defended/protected. Likewise as yang contains yin, the true warrior values peace and keeps that value in core during the discernment process. Unhealthy warrior energy picks a fight when boredom sets in. By excessive violence, the bullying dominates without regard to the destruction left in the wake. The dysfunctional peacemaker turns away from injustice in the name of keeping the peace. Over time, the unsettled “peace” degrades to tyranny and cannot be sustained. The oppressed erupts and retaliates. This false peace breeds violence.
We can apply archetypal imagery to explain how collaborative practice works. In its most functional expression, both collaborative lawyers and all of the allied professionals embody both archetypes. They model and teach the functional expression of the two archetypes to harmonize and transmute the experience of the couple moving through the divorce experience. The lawyer/coach for the “victim” encourages and models the expression of healthy boundaries. That client can take responsibility for their role in creating the problem and generate solutions to reclaim personal power. The other attorney/coach may work with the dominator client to develop active listening skills and learn to empathize.
The ability of the professionals to stay at the fulcrum and to allow the dance of the functional express of these archetypes will determine the effectiveness of the collaboration. The professionals “hold core” for the people in the room during a difficult conversation. Connecting with the fulcrum of the polarity allows the professionals to easily move to the place (a warrior stance or a peacemaking motion) that will restore balance. Sometimes that means speaking up to reframe a position. It might mean silence so that the next voice can be heard clearly. The center of a circle is equidistant from all points around the periphery. The fulcrum represents the detached observer that respects both poles of the essence and can access behavior appropriate to the situation.
To harmonize means to allow each polarity is own expression. They are different. We don’t try to make some one something that they are not. However, a person’s “vibration” can be tuned such that it does not destroy or drown out all of the other voices. A well-functioning collaborative team is not a chorus of people all singing the same words and notes of music. Each has a rhythm and a tone that is unique yet allows for the other voices to be heard.
So at the end of a successful collaboration, agreements are in place that will keep the peace and the parties have learned new skills. Then, should either true warrior conclude that the boundaries have slipped or new ones need to be drawn, they will be able to use diplomacy and negotiate a new peace. The professionals have supported the clients to achieve results that don’t make it into the case law reporters. The results are in the hearts of the participants and in the lives of children who can love both parents. It is practical work with a spiritual essence (another example of a polarity to be explored late