Fran Peavey, in her book Heart Politics talks about an experience she had at Stanford University. She was walking on the campus one day when she came up to a group of people carrying recording equipment. They were recording a male chimp who was loose and a female chimp on a long chain. The scientists and spectators (mostly men) were trying to get them to mate. Every time the male chimpanzee approached the female chimp, she whimpered and backed away, to avoid his advances. Peavey says as she watched this scene, a wave of empathy swept through her. In the next moment, the female chimp, yanked her chain out of the male chimps grasp and walked through the crowd of people standing directly to Peavey, and took her hand. Then she proceeded to take Peavey back into the circle towards the only two other women there and joined hands with 1 of them. The 3 of them then stood together in the circle. Peavey says the chimp had formed her own support group.
This story affirms how we instinctively seek support, look for cues of safety and have the deep need to be seen, heard and recognized. Paying deep and focused attention to others allows us to be attuned to their experiences, creating space for the person to feel seen and heard. As Peavey stood there, feeling empathy for the chimpanzee, the chimpanzee sensed this support and found her safe space.
Listening deeply to others requires stepping out of our own constant inner dialogue. When we listen and attune our inner selves to the other person we also reduce the gap of separation of “us” and “them”.
“One of the deepest longings of the human soul is to be seen” ~John Donohue
“There is a force in the universe, call it God or spirituality or whatever you like, that wants the victory of truth and justice. This force will help you if you are steady, humble, brave, and patient. Never, ever give up, however bad things get.”
~ Nelson Mandela
In The Lost Art of Good Conversation, Sakyong Mipham provides simple ways to have authentic conversations. Conversations that engage the heart and mind so people feel heard, seen and understood. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche is the head of the Shambhala lineage and much like in his teachings, in this book he focuses on kindness, compassion, wisdom and bravery so that people can genuinely connect and relate to each others goodness. His words create their own joyful rhythm leaving the reader inspired to lean into simple and difficult conversations.
The book is full of stories and practical advice which can be used seamlessly in daily conversations and in personal reflections. The book can be read multiple times as each chapter focuses on different aspects of conversations.
I chose this book from http://www.bloggingforbooks.com and my recommendation of this book is based on my own opinion. I would suggest this book to anyone who has conversations; to anyone who wants to support people in being their best and to anyone who wants peace in their heart and in the world.
In each moment we have the opportunity to greet what we seek.
We yearn for connection
while speaking of the inconsequential
We long for community
yet we are divided by ethnicity
We speak of peace
and engage in wars
We want unity
while excluding diversity
An open mind and kind hearted spirit
is needed now more than ever
so we can boldly yet gently
be in this space of ambiguity
moving beyond fear
hand in hand, together
“The source of love is deep in us, and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, or one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring him joy. One word can give comfort and confidence, destroy doubt, help someone avoid a mistake, reconcile a conflict, or open the door to liberation. One action can save a person’s life or help him take advantage of a rare opportunity. One thought can do the same, because thoughts always lead to words and actions. If love is in our heart, every thought, word, and deed can bring about a miracle.”
~Thich Nhat Hahn
Buddha statue in my garden
Diwali, also known as festival of lights is a 5 day celebration. It marks the arrival of God Rama (an incarnation of Vishnu) after 14 years of exile. During his exile he defeats Ravanna and signifies good winning over evil; Wisdom winning over ignorance. In Sanskrit, Diwali also means row of lit lamps. Although the festival is marked by different celebrations based on regional and religious beliefs wishes for joy, prosperity, light, love and success are the same.
On Diwali and in the year ahead I wish you all wholesome happiness, love, compassion, hope, unshakable faith, and an inner nurturer who helps you shine in joy and spread your wisdom.