10 Oct 2013, 1:10pm
Thirteen Thursday

Exercises for Compassion

This Thursday 13 is about listening, being present, cultivating an ear.

  1. turn compassion towards yourself. hear yourself out, all the way out, without interrupting or pointed questions or judgements that dismiss. preferably practice not while indulging someone else’s time.
  2. know yourself by observing, resistances in the body, scanning for tension held in neck, back, hand, foot. threat or defending self are resistances as well. know what state you’re in.
  3. with others, lean in and look at who you talk with. chasing the person’s eye is not the same as eye contact.
  4. you are taming one another by learning one another and building a path to equality so give the space and time to let the other come towards you while remaining available. it is not unilateral. you can’t force the other to your agenda and timing of being cared for and caring. quality bonding time in 9, 8, 7.. (and for x number of minutes).
  5. no multitasking. only listen. collect all that the other person says and the gaps and omissions and body language mismatches.
  6. don’t leap to correct or “dialogue”, just acknowledge, keep listening, not passively but discerning for when patterns emerge.
  7. spend some time mulling on what the person’s experience has been, piece together what things may have impacted how. cultivate curiosity and questions of what you don’t know.
  8. be prepared to witness, not fix. pity is recognizing someone as lesser and broken. compassion is recognizing everyone’s broken and different and the same.
  9. It’s empathetic to feel someone else’s hurt but learn to express and hear pain without throwing emotional turmoil into it or reacting with drama. A model of resilience and strategy, strength and neutrality allows respect and more communication.
  10. your head wants the stability of a label. form a theory but watch for confirmation bias. try to disprove yourself or the person as system. there’s no one answer.
  11. a document on Compassionate Listening* focussing on reconciliation and conflict resolution from Buddhism and Quakers applied to Palestine and Israel and Alaskan subsistence fishermen, but conflict and compassion is in every human and animal encounter. *[Compassionate Listening, An Exploratory Sourcebook About Conflict Transformation by Gene Knudsen Hoffman Leah Green and Cynthia Monroe]

Case Study? Lincoln High rethinking discipline and takes problems (fights or “laziness”) as an indicator of something wrong and inquires.

Quote: “Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment” ~ Rumi

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