What’s Up Next?
Sunday, October 2, 2016 ~ Wit is not on the tongue, but in the ear…
Inquiry: If you view NVC as a kind of mindfulness discipline, then how do you move your practice ‘off of the cushion’ and onto the street (into ‘relational mindfulness’ of practical reality, such as navigating political differences as a consequential election looms ever larger on the horizon)? For example, how do you strike a balance between your own authentic self-expression and the spacious understanding of listening to another’s point-of-view (how to envelope multiple vantage points)?
The mindfulness practice below could be done while listening to the radio, watching TV, reading a book/magazine, or any other setting where the task at hand is to attune to the thoughts of another…
Via Mindful.org ~ Guidelines to Mindful Listening by Diane Winston
- Give the speaker your full attention. This is easier said than done, but simply requires an intention to do so and a bit of persistence. We can offer our presence in a relaxed way, just being there for another. Mindfully focus on the person. Let them be your main object of awareness.
- Use your body to help you stay present. Our body is an incredible doorway into the present moment. Our mind can be anywhere: past, future, lost, reactive, spaced out, daydreaming, ruminating, angry, anxious…but our bodies are always in the present moment. If we can remember to bring our minds into our bodies — just feel a body sensation or two — while we are listening, we have immediate access to the present moment.
- When your attention wanders away (and it will) simply return to the present moment, which means listening to them. This guideline is analogous to how we practice our sitting meditation: we focus on our breathing or whatever is our main object, and when our mind wanders — and it always wanders — we gently, but firmly return our attention to our breath. This aspect of the technique should be familiar to anyone who practices mindfulness meditation.
A jest’s prosperity lies in the ear
Of him that hears it, never in the tongue
Of him that makes it. ~ Shakespeare
Rosaline, Scene ii ~ Love’s Labour’s Lost
Tricycle: Cleaning Out the Storehouse
by Ben Connelly — Fall 2016
On Cultivating Awareness:
Here is an easy practice…It takes a minute or two. Stop and take three mindful breaths and notice how you feel in your heart and in your body. Then list ten things from the past that planted seeds in the storehouse and that were involved in creating your perception of this moment. Since everything is connected, anything that ever happened counts, but it’s not good to focus on emotional states. Here’s an example: after lunch I stop and take three mindful breaths. Then I use my fingers to count to ten and say or think, “My perception of this moment depends on loving my mom, the rainy road last night, the terror of war, white privilege, meditating this morning, my grumpy grandpa, watching baby birds, never feeling good enough when I was young, being afraid of the dark, worrying about work.” Then I move on. There’s no need to analyze, just let the seeds of remembering how much the past forms the present sink into the unconscious, the storehouse. Reminders that infinite seeds form our moments help us shed the habit of believing everything we think, they help us be patient with the slow hard road to liberation; and they help us focus on the ground of our deepest empowerment: the ability to transform our consciousness.
One way of framing mastery as a Nonviolent Communication practitioner, may be akin to what Sarah Peyton refers to as the cultivation of “resonant” empathy — as characterized in the quote beneath — fine tuning one’s instrument (or being) and capacity to be (vibrationally) “resonant” with others, rather than merely “inert”…
“Although I am not a musician, I once had the opportunity to hold in my hands an exquisitely made violin dating to the eighteenth century. What amazed me, even more than its harmonious lines or the beautiful grain of its wood, was that, holding it, I could feel it vibrate. It was not an inert object. It resonated with the various sounds that happened to resonate around it: another violin, a tram passing in the street, a human voice. If you hold an ordinary, factory-made violin, that just doesn’t happen. There can be hundreds of sounds around it and the violin remains numb. In order to obtain that fine sensitivity and extraordinary resonance of the old violin, the makers had to had an exceptional knowledge of wood and its seasoning; they were supported by the artisan tradition of generations, and they were endowed with the talent of cutting the wood and furnishing the instrument. This marvelous responsiveness is an active virtue. It is the capacity of the violin to enter into resonance, and it goes hand in hand with its capacity to create sound of extraordinary quality — music with a soul, able to move and to inspire. We human are, or at least can be, like that violin.”