Introduction

Building Community & Embracing Diversity

The Art of Compassionate Communication

Facilitation Skills: Decision Making & Conflict Resolution

Personal Empowerment & Leadership Skills

Celebrating Life:
Art & Creativity

Local, Bioregional & Global Outreach

 

2a. The Art of Compassionate Communication
Active and Deep Listening Giving and Receiving Feedback Compassionate Communication

“What I want in my life is compassion, a flow between myself and others
based on a mutual giving from the heart” – Marshall Rosenberg

The Art of Compassionate Communication

The skills described here are strongly related to non-violent communication (M. Rosenberg) but also inspired by Buddhist teachers like Thich Nhat Hanh and others. To communicate from the heart is essential in building community. The purpose here is to strengthen our ability to respond compassionately to others and to ourselves even, and especially, in situations of conflict. Our personal responsibility for how we act and respond to others is emphasized. Practicing deep listening fosters respect, attentiveness and empathy. Through using words mindfully, with loving kindness, we practice generosity and create trust amongst people.

To communicate in a compassionate way, learning the art of expressing careful observations free of evaluation and judgment is a good starting point. Next, we need to become aware of our feelings and learn to read them as indicators that show whether our needs are being met or not. We can express our feelings without blaming or attacking others. This helps to minimize the likelihood of facing defensive reactions in others.

Through training to identify our own deeper needs and those of others we can clearly articulate what we wish for. This means making clear requests without demanding them to be met. All human beings have the same basic needs - this makes it possible to connect with each other and to find mutual understanding on a deep level. Focussing on the clarification of what is being observed, felt, and needed, rather than on diagnosing and judging, we discover the beauty of our own compassion. This is the key to creating a flow between ourselves and others based on a mutual giving from the heart.

Once we become able to receive critical and hostile messages without taking them personally, giving in, or losing self-esteem we know we’re on the right track.

 

 

Thich Nhat Hanh

Budhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh has been very active in the peace movement, sponsoring retreats for Israelis and Palestinians, encouraging them to listen and learn about each other, has given speeches urging warring countries to stop fighting and look for non-violent solutions to problems, and has written several books about meditation, mindfulness, and peace.