Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mindfulness & Compassionate Communication

Reply to someone posting on a list about an event with
NVC and Mindfulness training in Scotland...


I think that's great Claralynn, and I agree completely.
I would go even farther and say this:

NVC and Mindfulness* training are complementary
and incomplete without the other.

(* For those not familiar with the term,
is Buddhist meditation technique.
The source text is the Satipatthana Sutta.
Meditation is also taught as part of Yoga.
I find the Buddhist "Four Foundations of Mindfulness"
to be the best description of the technique.

Jon Kabat-Zinn has worked for many years in the academy
showing how mindfulness can be used for stress reduction
and pain relief)

I'm working on a little video new about a hidden trap with NVC
relating to Needs. According to NVC:

Q: Why do we make a request?
A: To get out needs met.

Q: What happens then?
A: If my needs are met then I will be happy!

Our real needs relate to our body:
air, water, food, shelter, clothing.
Marshall calls them "physical nurturance".

However, most of the remaining list
of NVC "needs" are like "authenticity"
"trust" and "harmony".

Buddhism calls this premise "delusion".

As soon as you tell me an example of
something you consider to be a "need",
I'll show you a monk or swami who has
renounced it, including shelter, clothing,
even food and water.

Most of what we call "needs" in NVC are
I would say more properly called
"desires", "preferences", "cravings"
or more generally, "strategies for happiness".

I love NVC, and have seen in my own life the
power and utility of 90% of NVC consciousness.

However, this is problematic and inconsistent
with ~2,500 years of Buddhist theory

NVC says: We each have lots of needs, and
when our needs are met we are happy, and when
our needs are unmet we are sad, angry, afraid.

Buddhism says: Happiness is our one true need.
Happiness is also our ground-state of being.
Happiness is not dependent upon any external thing.
It is only through unskillful living that suffering arises:
(cravings/grasping, attachment to impermanent forms,
resistance to our present here-now experience) Buddhism, there is something called the
Wheel of Dependent Origination.
(It has many other names).

It shows were all human suffering originates.
One key section is like this:

Perceptions -> Feeling -> Craving -> Grasping

Note the similarity to
Observation -> Feeling -> Needs -> Request

So the risk here is that the cycle

Feeling -> Needs -> Request is a mask for
Feeling -> Craving -> Grasping which is the source of all suffering!!

This is where Mindfulness training comes in.

  • At Observation -> practice sense-withdrawal (pratyahara)
  • At Feeling -> practice noticing
  • At Craving (Needs) -> practice gratitude, patience, forgiveness,
    satisfaction, allowing, indifference, equanimity, compassion
  • At Grasping (Request) -> practice renunciation, letting go, not-grasping

It is quite clear from the research and teachings of the ancient Rishis:

Nothing outside in the world of form will bring lasting happiness!
Not wealth, not sex, not a relationship, not status, not a big house, not a fancy car.

In recent years, "Happiness Studies" in academia have shown identical results:

So, yes, while we live in these bodies, we seem to be
grounded in the material. It seems we need to connect with others,
to communicate, to make skillful requests of others.
NVC is very helpful here.

Mindfulness helps us to realize that all we really "need"
is to be conscious of our own breath.
This wisdom is very liberating!

May all beings be happy!

Will Huston
Binghamton NY Phone: 607-321-7846

Binghamton-area discussion; spirituality topics:
Watch for Open-To-Everyone TV!

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