What’s Up Next?
Sunday, August 7, 2016 ~ Risking Our Significance
Inquiry: What would it be like to throw yourself into the world in your fullness, to let go of whatever is holding you in place, safe and alone?
Risking my Significance:
Even when I am full of doubt, I want to offer myself in full to the world. If I find myself thinking that I am not important or that my actions are of no significance, I want to seek support to come back to my knowledge that my presence and my gifts matter.
What would change in your life if you trusted that you matter? Here are some examples:
1) Make a pact with yourself to offer your ideas and gifts even when you don’t fully trust them. Make it concrete by choosing a certain number of times a day or a week that you commit to doing it.
2) Share your celebrations and mourning with people in your life. Expand and deepen with those you already do so, and add new people to the circle.
3) Reflect or journal on your experiences: how did you feel? In what way did your offering support the purpose for which you did it? How was it received? How did you respond to the way it was received? Also, track yourself over time to see if risking your significance gets easier with practice. If not, bring tenderness to whatever is holding you up from doing it with true willingness. Fully accepting that aspect of you can make it more possible that such willingness will find you over time. (see more here: Core Commitments)
Art by SUZANNE SHERMAN
Tikkun Magazine, January/February 2010
Wanting Fully Without Attachment
by Miki Kashtan
The origin of suffering is attachment. – The Buddha
The Talmud tells us that in the world to come, everyone will be called to account for all the desires they might have fulfilled in this world but chose not to. The things we desire—the desires themselves—are sacred. Who put them in our hearts if not God? But we have been taught to be ashamed of what we want; our desires become horribly distorted and cause us to do terribly hurtful things. – Alan Lew, from This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared
If you have had a spiritual practice or have experience with personal growth workshops, you have no doubt heard many times that letting go of attachment increases happiness and well-being. The principle is simple, but exactly what does it mean to let go of attachment, and what do we do to get there?
Sometimes it appears as if spiritual traditions suggested that the only way to let go of attachment is to give up on what we want. But is this the only way to interpret the old traditions? Is wanting really inseparable from attachment? Or is it possible to want what we want with full passion without the constriction of being attached? Can we remain genuinely relaxed about whether or not we get what we want? And if we can do this in our personal lives, what about as social and political beings, as we relate to the state of the world? Why would we even want to release attachment when our passion is for the world—be it for social justice, peace, sustainability, or any other cause?
The challenge arises primarily when we experience tension between what we want and what is or what seems possible. We frequently respond in one of two ways. Externally, we might try to force what is to conform to what we want by outright coercion and threats or by using more subtle forms of demands. Internally, we might try to suppress or give up on what we want. Both of these strategies lead to suffering. Neither of these paths engages with life openly. In both we are forcing others or ourselves instead of being in a dialogic relationship.
What follows is an attempt to outline a new path, different from forcing or giving up; a path that affirms who we are and accepts what is; a path that allows creative strategies to arise from a quality of connection that recognizes and affirms our own and others’ needs, aspirations, and dreams.
And what about social transformation? you may wonder. To begin with, if we are unable to tolerate the world as it is, we will be at war with the world, putting ourselves in danger of re-creating the very same structures we are seeking to transform. The path of wanting without attachment supports our work for change in two key ways. Internally, as we grow in our capacity to want without attachment, our inner peace increases. Externally, our capacity to release attachment and continue to want and work toward our deepest dreams provides a foundation for an entirely different approach to working toward change in the world: we can then work without urgency, with less burnout, with more capacity to dialogue with those we encounter along the way, and with a sense of clear vision instead of opposition… (continues here: Tikkun Magazine)
Kashtan: “If you have ever participated in meditation of any kind, you probably know that most forms of meditation involve returning attention to an object of focus whenever attention wanders. Some meditation practices focus on the breath (many forms of Buddhist and Yogic meditation), some on certain bodily sensations (some forms of Vipassana meditation, for example), some on specific words (mantras in transcendental meditation), and some on specific sequences of ideas and images (some forms of Jewish meditation).
In an entirely similar manner, you can develop a meditation practice that focuses on connecting with needs. The object of focus is the line “I have a need for ____.” Just as with any other form of meditation, your mind will likely wander. You will likely hear internal responses, such as: “But this need cannot be met; why bother?” or “Yeah, but this person is not going to change,” or “I should just grow up and get over this petty wish of mine,” or “This is not just about some personal need of mine. This is about everyone’s right to dignity.” The aim of the practice is to bring your attention back to the need you are meditating on—without harshness. Rather than punishing yourself for wandering, just gently bring your attention back.
Encountering and connecting with needs is different from naming them as checklist items. Whenever we do this practice, we can take a moment to breathe, to really experience the flavor of that need being inside of us—exactly what it feels like, what the sensations of having this need are, and what this need means to us…” (continues)
Audio (via NVC Academy): Wanting Fully without Attachment
Excerpt from Kashtan’s blog post (link above): … Two years ago I wrote a full-length article about it in Tikkun Magazine. I called it Wanting Fully without Attachment. My aha moment was discovering that it’s attachment that leads to suffering, not wanting per se. Wanting, I believe, is the core energy that makes life happen. When I look at small children, I see powerful and sturdy wanting, and the willingness to take sometimes enormous risks to move in that direction. It takes years and years of punishment and regimentation before we give up on what we want and lose track of that vibrancy of life within us. In my work with people, the surest way to rekindle aliveness and a sense of meaning in life is to reconnect with that passion that used to be all of ours. Attachment, on the other hand, is the attempt to make life be a certain way. It makes us lose our openness to life, our creative and imaginative capacity to dance with what life presents without losing track of what we want, and our capacity to embrace the fullness of our experience even when it’s not what we want. One of the key challenges in this unfolding and opening to what we want is that as we remove the lid on our wanting, it takes considerable spiritual fortitude to re-engage with our wanting without the illusory protection that comes with attachment to outcome. Because of this particular challenge, I see wanting without attachment as a deep spiritual practice. I am still learning, and will probably continue to learn…
Needs: Facets of Self-Connection
Purpose: This guided reflection is intended to support you in experiencing a variety of ways to connect with your needs, which you can use at any time in your daily life. People resonate differently with these different ways. You may want to explore each of these to see which support you in gaining more self-connection and inner freedom. You can use these reflections as a series or separately from each other.
1. Focus your attention on a need that is not met to your satisfaction in
your life. Put your focus specifically on the unmet quality of this need. You can say to yourself: “My need for ____ is not met,” and repeat this phrase until you are fully connected with the experience of the unmet need. (You might want to close your eyes and focus inwardly while you do this.) What sensations do you notice in your body? What feelings arise?
2. Now shift your attention to the need itself. Not to the idea of having the need met, but to the need itself; to the fact of having a need. You can say to yourself: “I have a need for _____,” and repeat this phrase until you are fully connected with the experience of having the need. (You might want to close your eyes and focus inwardly while you do this.) What sensations do you notice in your body? What feelings arise?
3. Now shift your attention to the met quality of the need. What is it like for you when this need is met? You can imagine this need met, and say to yourself: “My need for _____ is met,” and repeat this phrase until you are fully connected with the experience of having this need met. (You might want to close your eyes and focus inwardly while you do this.) What sensations do you notice in your body? What feelings arise?
4. Lastly, shift your attention to the need as a presence you want to
encounter (another meaning of “meet”). This is similar to focusing on the need without it being met or unmet, but may be experienced differently. Focus on what it is like to meet this need in the sense of encountering it fully. You might say to yourself: “Hello _____. Welcome,” and repeat this phrase until you are fully connected with the experience of having encountering this need. (You might want to close your eyes and focus inwardly while you do this.) What sensations do you notice in your body? What feelings arise?
5. Note any insight from the shift in focus, and or any needs met by the
6. Consider: when would you want to engage with each of these different
focuses on your needs? How might each serve you? What needs would you
want to meet through this focus?
7. Do you have any requests of yourself?
Miki Kashtan re: How to Differentiate Between Needs and Strategies
Kashtan: “Needs lists, how to say this, is intrinsically an approximation, and the reason for that is because it’s isolated concepts, and life is fluid — so whether or not something is a need, some people start getting into kind of hairy conversations about whether this is a need or not. And, for me, what matters is two things, one is to ensure that what I’m talking about is clearly not attached to specific strategies. And there is an acronym that someone came up with that helps with that distinction. The acronym is Plato. Like the philosopher Plato and it stands for…
If you have any one of those five in what you are imagining is a need, you know that it is a strategy, because it is in material reality. So that’s one thing. Once you’ve taken all of those things out, you know that you are not in a particular strategy and you’re more likely to be in the energetic, spiritual, gestalt of the need, and then — from there on — the second question is — “if this is sufficiently deep to find the self-connection that I want?” So, for example, I can say that Comfort is a Need, but for me personally (I’m not saying for anyone else), most of the time (not even always) if I look inside to understand myself and what I come up with a need for comfort, it doesn’t feel like the end of a journey, it’s not really something I can go like ‘oh, yes that’s it I feel connected’ — than I keep inquiring and go deeper, but if it is sufficient than it’s a need, I don’t care what anyone else says, but in this moment it is a need.”
PLATO on: The Forms
FYI: Upcoming Teleseminars with Miki Kashtan (courtesy of Adriana):
Fearless Heart Teleseminars
The next Fearless Heart Teleseminars are scheduled for the following dates:
Monday, Sept 12, 5:30 – 7:00pm
Sunday, Oct 16, 10:30am – noon
Monday, Oct 17, 5:30 – 7:00pm
To access Miki’s blog posts, just visit thefearlessheart.org and search for topics of interest at the very bottom of the page.
To access the recordings and other information, click here. Note that these calls are focused on Miki’s blog posts, and reading them ahead of time will likely increase the benefit you get from the call.
If you are not registered for the Fearless Heart Teleseminars and would like to, click here . If you already registered once, you don’t need to register again.
Facing Privilege Calls
The next Facing Privilege calls are scheduled for the following dates:
Sunday, Sept 11, 5:00 – 6:30pm
Monday, Sept 26, 9:30 – 11:00am
Monday, Oct 10, 5:00 – 6:30pm
Sunday, Oct 30, 1:00 – 2:30pm
Principle-Based-Teaching Coaching Calls
The next Principle-Based-Teaching Coaching calls are scheduled for the following dates:
Monday, Oct 3, 5:00 – 6:30pm
These calls are intended for people who are sharing NVC with others or preparing to do so. If you are new to NVC and/or are mostly planning to use NVC in a personal context within your life, it is very unlikely that these calls will be a fit for your learning needs.
To learn more and purchase a packet of materials, click here.
If you sense that these are calls you would like to participate in and would like to register, click here.
To access the recordings and other information, click here.
We look forward to your participation in any and all of the above calls!