Conflict Management and Expanding Consciousness

Conflict Management and Expanding Consciousness

Posted by Ralph H. Kilmann

Conflict Management and Expanding Consciousness

Ralph H. Kilmann, co-author of the Thomas-Kilmann Instrument (TKI)

I’d like to comment on a seven-day workshop I attended in Westminster, Colorado. This experience is called “Ultimatum” and is based on the work of Dr. Donald Epstein, a chiropractor, who has developed several mind/body/spirit disciplines and has written several books and many articles. The forty or so participants who attended, including myself, learned (and energetically experienced) so much in a relatively short period of time. But I can share a few gems.

Workshop in Colorado

We explored the energetic intelligence fields around the human body: life-force energy, emotional energy, mental energy, soul energy, and spirit energy. In that order, the energy fields move farther out from the body (although they also radiate into the body). It seems that everyone has an “energetic intelligence” constitution, however derived, which makes it rather easy (or especially difficult) to access and use one or more of those energetic intelligences in his or her daily life. One person might find it easy to mobilize his life force and emotional energy, but have a difficult time even knowing about, let alone accessing, his soul and spirit energies. Another person might have easy access to the latter energies, but not the former. But it’s the access and use of ALL those subtle energetic intelligences that ultimately determines our health, happiness, creativity, and our desire to know and pursue our special calling in life.

Subtle Energy Fields

We also learned how these various energetic intelligences help us move through an expansion of consciousness: the path to healing and wholeness. The first three stages of healing are suffering, living with self-defeating polarities, and feeling royally stuck in a perspective. The life force, emotional, and lower-mental energies are usually difficult to access when a person is struggling with a weak and fragmented ego. The soul and spirit energies are illusive. A person in these stages often attempts to MOVE AWAY from the pain, chaos, and confusion: thus avoiding the signals and the many opportunities for a more meaningful life. This is the season of Discover.

The next stages of healing include gaining self-empowerment, seeing beyond the illusion that your ego is separate from everyone else, and proceeding to build up your emotional and mental energy so you can discard what life strategies you don’t need anymore and thus you can now derive a workable resolution with yourself and others: an effective compromise. Now it takes some emotional energy, including the lower mental and higher-mental energies, to move through this process of becoming whole. These middle stages involve MOVING TOWARD the pain, illusions, and challenges in your life. This is the season of Transform.

The later stages of healing involve transcending your ego and thus experiencing your connection to a larger spiritual essence as well as merging with the consciousness of the entire universe. Now you become aware of your true nature. Indeed, what you previously experienced as childhood wounds have now become precious gifts to give to others in diverse communities. In these stages of healing, you are tapping into the soul and spirit energies, which is precisely why you can now experience the world as so much beyond a solitary being. This merging of self, others, and the cosmos is much like using the collaborating mode on the essence of life. This is the season of Awaken.

Just as we have gradually learned to become aware of our minds and bodies, a fantastic journey is to also become aware of the energetic intelligences that make us who we are, to tap these energies, and then apply them so we can fulfill our purpose in life. For me, this journey is perhaps the epitome of appreciating and managing conflict—specifically, managing the most fundamental conflicts that arise concerning who we are, why we are here, and how we can live a meaningful life.


Kilmann Diagnostics offers a series of eleven recorded online courses and nine assessment tools on the four timeless topics: conflict management, change management, consciousness, and transformation. By taking these courses and passing the Final Exams, you can earn your Certification in Conflict and Change Management with the Thomas-Kilmann Instrument (TKI). For the most up-to-date and comprehensive discussion of Dr. Kilmann’s theories and methods, see his 2021 Legacy Book: Creating a Quantum Organization: The Whys & Hows of Implementing Eight Tracks for Long-term success.