San Francisco, 2009
Listen and Talk to People You Don't Agree With
If you have friends or relatives with whom you disagree about such things as the war in Iraq or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it can be painful. Practice deep listening: Listen without arguing, and try to hear what the other is really saying, remembering that, as Buddha pointed out, all beings wish to be happy and avoid suffering. A Buddhist practices nonattachment to views. If we human beings are going to stick around on this earth, we need to learn to get along not just with the people who share our views, but also, and more to the point, with the people who get our goat. And remember—we get their goat, too.
Learn Nonviolent Communication (NVC), a model developed by Marshall Rosenberg (see "Say It Right," Tricycle, Winter 2002), which fosters respect and empathy even under difficult conditions. Attend a workshop, or get a trainer to come to your group. The skills learned in NVC can be helpful in talking about the coming election with people who are undecided about whom to vote for. See the website for the Center for Nonviolent Communication: www.cnvc.org, and Rosenberg's book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life. Remember, we are all related and interconnected, whether we like each other or not, present administration not excepted.
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