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When I think of the gifts I have received in the practice of Nonviolent Communication, the development and practice of empathy has been one of the most powerful and transformative.  For me, the practice of empathy is a spiritual path of compassion, beauty, transcendence, and clarity.  Connecting empathically with myself and others leads to a connection to that which is most human and sacred.  It is a way of transforming each experience and involvement into a presence and wholeness that transcends our limitations, disagreements, individual points of view, and yet can include it all.  Instead of distancing ourselves from what is happening or from others, we connect to the most human part of ourselves and others.

A quote I heard recently so concisely points to the quality of empathy that transforms and connects us to our shared spirit:  "Nothing human is foreign to me."  These few words attributed to Terence, a Roman slave/poet, point to a quality of being that enables us to be present to all that is in a compassionate, resourceful way.  Embracing our shared life in this way has lead to some of the most beautiful, humbling, reverent experiences of being of my life.

To truly empathize with another is to truly be with their experience, to enter into their way of viewing the world in a non-judgmental way, to step into the unknown and be willing to fully consider their perspective, and maybe even shift our own, to considering their way of being and to let it settle in our consciousness, to allow time for deeper understanding.

It is my great joy to share the tools of empathy and honesty with all who care to live in this way of being together, where we transcend our enemy images and embrace the sacredness and struggle of what it means to be human in a world of diversity not only when our needs are met but also when our needs are not met.

Nonviolent Communication gives us tools for communicating that bring our relationships alive, not only with others, but also our relationship with ourselves.  And to me it is more than tools for communication.  It is a way to join the deepest part of the vitality and creative force within each of us and tap into possibilities beyond our singular perspective.  Through the art and gift of empathy we can experience perspectives that together are greater than the sum of the parts of each of our perspectives.  In truly being present to our self and others, our world expands and our view becomes more panoramic.

For me NVC is a spiritual practice of presence and compassion, like "meditation off the cushion" leading to ever increasing authenticity and connection to the spirit of life within us all.


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Reader Comments (1)

Dear Jim, dear Jori! Just now I enjoy your wonderful and helpful website! and I remember our time last eastern in Albuquerque. I would not hesitate to join another time, if you would be closer to my home! Thanks for the downloads of self-empathy; you write of 4 parts, but i get only 1 part. Is that correct, or do I not get the newest version?

Be blessed! Barbara Ihle
May 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbarbara

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