Nonviolent communication

Over the last few years, as my Vipassana practice has deepened, I’ve become interested in the way that we humans communicate. Language is one of the many things that make humans the most sophisticated beings on the planet. How we use language essentially determines the quality of our lives.

In meditation one begins to realise that our thoughts, words and deeds are all manifestations of our volition. The challenge is that while our intentions may be ‘good’, what we think, say or do may be rooted in our past conditioning, habits and biases. Every single person on Earth has a totally unique set of ‘conditionings’, which leaves a lot of room for misunderstanding.

Language is one of the primary ways in which we can have our needs met. Nonviolent communication (NVC) is a technique pioneered by the late Marshall Rosenberg and asks us to remap the way that we communicate with one another by removing the violence inherent in much of our ‘conditioned’ speech.

The purpose of Nonviolent Communication is to inspire a compassionate, heartfelt connection so that all needs may be valued; to connect to the life in ourselves and others; to be inspired and to inspire others to give from the heart.

“In every moment, each of us is trying to meet our needs in the best way we know how.” ~ Marshall Rosenberg

Like meditation, Nonviolent communication is simple but not easy. In any situation there are two ways to enhance connection and understanding; 1) express our feelings and needs vulnerably, 2) listen to the feelings and needs of others with empathy. These are radically different choices than our conditioning is accustomed to.

If we move away from praise, blame, judgment and conflict towards a heightened state of awareness, we can cultivate an attitude of acceptance, empathy and understanding. From this new perspective we can begin the journey of deep meaningful connection within ourselves and communicate more fully in harmony with others. Improving the way that we relate to and communicate with others will enhance the quality of our lives in beautiful, wonderful and unexpected ways.