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This is an open thread for members of the DKos Sangha and others who are interested in discussions concerning how we integrate our progressive political activism into our spiritual practice.  If you have observations about the political discourse of the week, or about practice, or about anything else related to walking a spiritual path through the political world, if you wish to share, or if you seek support, or if you simply want to say hello, please do; this space is for you.

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Friday night I was at a meeting of an intentional community group, and our guest speaker was Steve Torma of Earthaven who spoke some about NVC, Non Violent Communication.  NVC sounded like a very interesting thing to follow up on, and something to share here with the DKos Sangha as well; so I thought I would glance at Wikipedia and get some basic concept to share here with you this morning.

NVC was originally developed by Marshall Rosenberg in the 60's.  It focuses on three aspects of communication ..

self-empathy - defined as a deep and compassionate awareness of one's own inner experience

empathy - defined as listening to another with deep compassion

honest self-expression - defined as expressing oneself authentically in a way that is likely to inspire compassion in others

At the meeting, Steve talked about needs versus strategies, recognizing that conflict is caused by differences in strategies rather than basic human needs which are common to us all.  The wiki article summarizes this pretty well ..
NVC is based on the idea that all human beings have the capacity for compassion and only resort to violence or behavior that harms others when they don't recognize more effective strategies for meeting needs. Habits of thinking and speaking that lead to the use of violence (psychological and physical) are learned through culture. NVC theory supposes all human behavior stems from attempts to meet universal human needs and that these needs are never in conflict. Rather, conflict arises when strategies for meeting needs clash. NVC proposes that if people can identify their needs, the needs of others, and the feelings that surround these needs, harmony can be achieved.
Steve was talking about NVC with us as he finds it, in his experience with Earthaven and other communities, to be an important tool for resolving conflicts among members of a community.  But he also finds it to be a framework for understanding the way in which we relate with others, and how through that understanding we might be able to change our habits of thought and the habitual ways we interact with others.

Again from the wiki article ..

Nonviolent Communication holds that most conflicts between individuals or groups arise from miscommunication about their human needs, due to coercive or manipulative language that aims to induce fear, guilt, shame, etc. These "violent" modes of communication, when used during a conflict, divert the attention of the participants away from clarifying their needs, their feelings, their perceptions, and their requests, thus perpetuating the conflict.
It appears to me from my first brief glances, that NVC can be a very useful dharma tool for each us, no matter our spiritual tradition or path, as another way of looking at and understanding the conditioned thought patterns within us that arise when we react to what others say.  And it obviously can be a useful tool in understanding and more effectively engaging in the political process to bring about change in our world.

I'll probably be away from the computer for the rest of the morning and into this afternoon, as I have an out of town guest.  But I'll try to check in when I can.

If anyone has any experience with NVC, please share in the comments.

Enjoy your Sunday!


Originally posted to DKos Sangha on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 07:13 AM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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