Compassionate Communication

 

compassion1

I have spent the past eight years in a place of observation.  I have been trying to understand and learn about the causes of conflict, separation and suffering.

I consciously have chosen to take time in my life to do this.  I have not been in a place of judgment or blame (of myself or others), but more so in a place of contemplation.

In order to create the space in my life to do this, I had to set some limits on my “normal” ways of being.  I had to learn to set healthy boundaries, be still and detach and in the process I risked losing some relationships.  I risked becoming a target of others judgment (mainly from a lack of understanding).  I did not feel I needed anyone’s permission to make a choice that I knew in the long run would benefit myself and anyone I interact with in a positive way.

I see this choice as an act of self-responsibility and self-love.  My goal has been (and still is) to heal anything that was/is preventing me from living a life of wholeness and unconditional love.  The main healing has been/is letting go of any past hurts and/or preconceived future hurts.  My focus has been on becoming present and wholehearted, first to myself and then to others.

My way of doing this has been and is mystic centered.  Mystic: A person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that is beyond the intellect.

I recently decided to dedicate the next six months to a year to specific spiritual disciplines.  Meditation, Prayer and Yoga are daily practices for me.  I do not use these practices as a way to escape my human experience.  I see them as inner pathways that lead to a deepening of the human experience and a conscious and complete incarnation of the divine self with the human self.

I have always been a HSP – Highly Sensitive Person.  I have been told by others that I am “too” sensitive.  Personally I thank God for the HSP’s walking this earth, the artists, poets, writers, musicians, ministers, therapists, healing arts professionals, etc. etc.  To me they are like a canary in a coal mine; they have reactions in body, mind and spirit to what is toxic in our world.  They are not shut down and emotional numb.  They feel deeply.  They sense and know things long before the majority.  Some animals sense when a disaster is about to hit and they react long beforehand and try to find their way to safety.  When a human has this experience they want to warn others and not just save themselves.  They also want to be of service to the suffering in this world.

I have so much respect for people who are on the front lines so to speak, who are in service to others from a place of loving compassion.  Not only people who have an active business but people who carry the message of love and truth in their every day endeavors.

Another avenue of focus for me is learning to be a Compassionate Communicator.  For me compassionate communication is the bridge to healthy and loving relationships.

Link to a quick tutorial on Compassionate Communication

file:///C:/Users/Irma/Desktop/Compassionate%20Communication%20sources/A%20Quick%20Tutorial%20of%20Marshall%20Rosenbergs%20Compassionate%20Communication.htm

Excerpt from a quick tutorial on Compassionate Communication:

The ability to keep observation and evaluation separate is the highest form of human intelligence ~ Jiddhu Krishnamurti

Some common types of evaluations:   

Judgments
Analysis
Interpretations
Labels
Projections

It’s a simple fact that we all tend to habitually and automatically evaluate and interpret whatever we observe. This probably had survival benefits in the jungle by helping us predict what might be running after us on the trail. But when we are in non-threatening situations this “skill” of evaluating, interpreting and imagining often doesn’t serve us at all – instead it adds unfortunate, even poisonous meanings to what we observe, . We often add information that is not actually there, usually by reaching into our past for similar situations, and then we can imagine that someone is saying something or meaning something that they are not. This is also the process that causes worry – our uncontrollable imagining that undesirable things will occur. These imaginings and projections are one of the main causes of conflicts.

Most humans are not conscious of this process within themselves. When we see or hear something, instead of just noticing it for what it is, we often react – we worry about the implications of it by creating dire scenarios in our mind and then getting upset with them; we project out what we think the other person is “really” doing or meaning and then we get angry about what we think; we go into our past to similar situations, but of course bad ones, and decide that “we’ve seen this before” and then judge what we are observing as bad. There are endless ways we use our mind to add more than what is really there – and then to get upset about it. And to boot, we hold on dearly to what we imagine too, as though this creation of our mind is absolutely true, and we rarely think to verify it before we pronounce our judgment! We are very skilled at finding ways to get upset.

So the first skill in Compassionate Communication is to develop the more advanced skill of being aware of what we are observing and how we are adding our own extra content: our imaginations, worries, projections – and interpreting, analyzing, or labeling it. We simply want to bring this process into consciousness so that we can check to see if our thought about what we are observing is indeed correct or if we need to adjust it.

The simplest way to experience this is to imagine that you are a video camera. If there was an argument going on between two people, a video camera would report exactly what they said, and how loudly, and with what facial expressions. But it would not interpret it and say, “These two people fighting, and they are fighting because one of them is an idiot and the other is acting like a victim.” Only humans would try to add that extra content, and interpret it that way – and then start an argument about whether it is true or not. So let’s practice for a bit being a video camera and see if we can just report the facts.

It’s understandable that we want to free ourselves from powerful frustrations. And the most effective way is to do the normal steps of Compassionate Communication:

1 – Observe clearly without evaluation what happened
2 – Experience and acknowledge our feelings
3 – Look for the values, desires, importance and needs that seemed to be threatened or shattered by the situation

As this process becomes a natural part of our life, doing these steps will often resolve the desire to blame without even needing to talk to the others involved, but even when we do want to talk to them, we will be able to share our experience, taking complete responsibility for our feelings and not needing to accuse or blame another.

The Compassionate Listening Project

http://www.compassionatelistening.org/

Book on Practicing the Art of Compassionate Listening http://www.compassionatelistening.org/store/books

Compassionate Communication website

http://www.ashevilleccc.com/index.html

Book: Inner Empathy: Opening Ourselves to the Heart of Self-Compassion

http://www.ashevilleccc.com/book_chapter.html

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