Jonathan Foust

April 16, 2009

Meditation and Mediation

Filed under: Dharma — jonathanfoust @ 10:51 am

A definition of meditation I use all the time:

“Meditation is noticing what’s happening – while it’s happening … and noticing your relationship to what’s happening.”

This definition can be most helpful when it comes to relationships and conflict.  We are more inclined to look outward rather than inward.  When conflict arises with another, we tend to skip paying attention what’s going on inside and focus more on the externals.

The practice of RAIN helps immensely in this process of self-inquiry:

RRecognize and Realize what is actually going on

A – Explore what it means to Accept or Allow your experience just as it is

IInvestigate or be Intimate with the experience.  What do you feel inside?  What are you believing?

N – As you rest in awareness of what is moving and shifting inside, Non-Identification or Natural Awareness can help cultivate a shift in your relationship to the issue

This model helps us recognize more intimately what is actually going on and how to be with it.  How we respond to conflict can be profoundly influenced by this practice.

Consider this model, a hybrid of NonViolent Communication, Mindfulness and Whole Messages. .  When you encounter conflict with another you might reflect on these inquiries:

Observable Behavior: What are the facts?  Describe the situation without evaluation, judgement or analysis.   Can you describe what happened in a way that the other person would agree?

Thoughts:  What does this lead you to believe?  What ‘stories’ arise?

Feelings:  How does this make you feel?   What sensations and emotions do you feel inside?

Needs: What are you needing?   What needs can you identify that are unfulfilled?

The NVC model goes on to form a Request that might bring you and the other person into greater harmony. (In this model, the other person is left free to honor or decline the request.)

We are constantly buffeted by the “8 Worldly Winds” of pleasure and pain, praise and blame, loss and gain, fame and disgrace.  Each of us is in a constant inner battle to maintain a sense of equanimity  (or simply trying to hold it together as best we can).

Taking ownership for our inner experience can begin to open us to empathy for another.  We can begin again to open to the inner-connectivity of our lives.

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1 Comment »

  1. So true. I have not conducted a mediation yet that did not involve feelings, principles and emotion. You truly have to get to the “heart of the matter” to resolve any conflict.

    Comment by Sandra C. Upchurch — April 21, 2009 @ 3:03 pm


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