Dear Still Water Friends,
After our sitting this Thursday, November 4, we will recite the Five Mindfulness Trainings and focus our discussion on Mindful Speech and the Election.
The Fourth Mindfulness Training reads:
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I vow to cultivate loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I vow to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord, or that can cause the family or the community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.
These past few days I've been pondering how to relate this training to the
election. This morning the thought came to me that our country has become like
two warring tribes which are exceedingly angry at each other and unable to
communicate. Each side is distrustful, judgmental, and full of blame.
Marshall Rosenberg, the originator of the Nonviolent Communications process tells us that people in conflict can come together only when they are able to listen to each other and honestly share their feelings and needs.
By needs Rosenberg means universal human needs: physical, emotional, and spiritual nutriments that make life both possible and rich. Needs include autonomy, celebration, integrity, interdependence, play, spiritual communion, and physical nurturance. (NVC's list of needs can be found at http://cnvc.org/needs.htm.)
Feelings, for Rosenberg, arise when needs are met or not met. When our needs are met we may feel: confident, affectionate, engaged, inspired, grateful, hopeful, refreshed, etc. When our needs are not being met, we may feel afraid, annoyed, angry, embarrassed, tense, pained, vulnerable, etc. (NVC's list of feelings can be found at: http://cnvc.org/feelings.htm.)
When people can non-judgmentally share their observations and relate them to their feelings and needs, compassion is nurtured. Rosenberg writes:
We learn to hear our own deeper needs and those of others, and to identify and clearly articulate what we are wanting in a given moment. When we focus on clarifying what is being observed, felt, and needed, rather than on diagnosing and judging, we discover the depth of our own compassion. Through its emphasis on deep listening-to ourselves as well as others-NVC fosters respect, attentiveness and empathy, and engenders a mutual desire to give from the heart.
During our program this Thursday evening, as an
exercise in mindful speech, we will role play Democrats and Republicans coming
together, and, using NVC methods, sharing their observations, feelings, and
It should be interesting.
As this Thursday is the first Thursday of the month, we will begin our gathering at 6:30 pm with an orientation to the Still Water community and to the basic mindfulness practices. Newcomers and old-timers are invited to attend, ask questions, and share experiences.
Our meditation period begins with a sitting at 7:00 pm. At 7:25 we will practice walking meditation, until about 7:35. Our second sitting will begin after the walking meditation and continue until 8:00. Although participants are welcome to join us at any time, it will cause the least disturbance to others if you can join us at the beginning of the first sitting or during the walking meditation.
I invite you to join us this Thursday evening.