Please join us for our next Engaging the Dharma meeting, Sunday, January 13th from 1:00-2:30 in the Living Room. There's a potluck after the dharma talk, so you could take part in that before our meeting if you choose!
This month there will be a special workshop by Doyle Banks and Kirsten Smith in response to the many people who want mindful listening/communication be one of the ways that we share our path with the world. The subject of the workshop is:
"WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE: NVC Communication Skills for Oppositional Situations"
Kirsten and Doyle will introduce us to the tools Marshall Rosenberg developed, and give us the opportunity to try these techniques for ourselves. We’ll leave with tangible skills for launching higher quality interactions with those we’ve considered unreachable. And with practice, even dinner with that cousin could become surprisingly enjoyable!
Whether you’re standing up against an injustice, or just having dinner with that cousin who always goes on and on about the political figure you abhor, staying centered and present in the midst of the emotions that arise can be difficult at best. And finding ways to communicate with those whose views seem so radically different than your own sometimes feels like an insurmountable challenge.
In the “us vs. them” climate of today’s political environment, it is easy to get swept away into an endless loop of judgment, argument, and competition. It can be hard to know how to break through so that some fruitful dialogue can actually happen. When others are unable and/or unwilling to communicate respectfully, what can you do?
Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg came up with an effective and elegant method and consciousness he called Nonviolent Communication (NVC), which he used around the world to help bridge gaps between gangs in Los Angeles, Palestinians and Jews in the Middle East, Croatians and Serbs in the Eastern Bloc and many, many others who had long been at what seemed like insurmountable odds.
One of the key components of NVC is listening, but not just any kind of listening. Marshall taught empathic listening. One could call it “engaged listening” because it requires us to engage fully in mindfulness practice, while intentionally using the techniques he developed to make the listening truly effective. We can use these powerful, cultivable skills to engage with those whose views--even political views--we do not share.
While there is no guarantee these skills will automatically “work”, those who have used them around the world for decades will attest that they dramatically increase the likelihood that connection will happen. When it does, more often than not, solutions to lifelong conflicts are usually not far away.
Please join us for learning, practice and discussion.