The initial instinct will be to assign blame, or to approach the issue from a victim perspective.
As meditators, we must know better and let go of these views.
Powerful emotions can be very good teachers if we know how to harness the energy.
The teachers in the Thich Nhat Hanh sangha have a detailed conflict resolution guide for exactly this situation that I suggest you review
We are often the victims and the attackers, if we can realize this, we can solve anything.
A poem by Thich Nhat Hanh
Please Call Me by My True Names
I have a poem for you. This poem is about three of us. The first is a
twelve-year-old girl, one of the boat people crossing the Gulf of
Siam. She was raped by a sea pirate, and after that she threw herself
into the sea. The second person is the sea pirate, who was born in a
remote village in Thailand. And the third person is me. I was very
angry, of course. But I could not take sides against the sea pirate.
If I could have, it would have been easier, but I couldn’t. I realized
that if I had been born in his village and had lived a similar life
- economic, educational, and so on – it is likely that I would now be that sea pirate. So it is not easy to take sides. Out of suffering, I
wrote this poem. It is called “Please Call Me by My True Names,”
because I have many names, and when you call me by any of them, I have
to say, “Yes.”
Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow — even today I am still
Look deeply: every second I am arriving to be a bud on a Spring
branch, to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings, learning to sing
in my new nest, to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower, to be a
jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry, to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that is alive.
I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river. And I am
the bird that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.
I am the frog swimming happily in the clear water of a pond. And I am
the grass-snake that silently feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as
bamboo sticks. And I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to
I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat, who throws
herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate. And I am the
pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.
I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands. And
I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to my people dying
slowly in a forced-labor camp.
My joy is like Spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom all over the
Earth. My pain is like a river of tears, so vast it fills the four
Please call me by my true names, so I can hear all my cries and my
laughter at once, so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names, so I can wake up, and so the door of
my heart can be left open, the door of compassion.
~Thich Nhat Hanh