As a reminder, I share NVC as a modality of yogic practice, and therefore my style of NVC offering has a distinct Yoga philosophy flavour. This is not the way all trainers share it, and if you are looking for something different you can find a full list of Certified trainers here.
Okay! Onto the premises!
I have decided to leave this one to the experts (references below)!
“Compassion is a complex process that is innate,
determined in part by individual traits, and modulated by a myriad of conscious and unconscious factors, immediate context, social structures and expectations, and organizational ‘culture.’”
– Beth A. Lown (MD), Chief Medical Officer, The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare
“Yoga, then, in constraining thought, aims to make thought (and therefore also one’s behaviour) reflect the true nature of the person.
And persons, in Patañjali’s view, are intrinsically pure, benign moral beings whose essence is antithetical to immoral action…
Persons in their true form… are not harmful, covetous, deceitful or unrestrained in their interaction with others.
People only act this way when they do not understand their true essence.”
– Dr. Shyam Ranganathan (MA, MA, PhD), researcher, author, translator, scholar and teacher of philosophy (@yogaphilosophy_com)
– Lown B. A. (2015). Compassion Is a Necessity and an Individual and Collective Responsibility Comment on “Why and How Is Compassion Necessary to Provide Good Quality Healthcare?”. International journal of health policy and management, 4(9), 613–614. https://doi.org/10.15171/ijhpm.2015.110
– Ranganathan, Shyam (2008). Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. 73. Penguin Books.
Do you know that warm, fuzzy feeling when you give something to someone
That they actually want/need?
Not out of obligation
But out of the pure joy of giving?
At these times, it doesn’t matter what you give. It could be your presence, an object, or a hug.
It is the act of giving that is in and of itself valuable.
On the other end of the spectrum, do you know that cool, dense feeling when you give something to someone
Out of obligation
Or out of an attempt to manipulate or control them?
The strings attached to the ‘gift’ weigh you down, and the other person too.
And the joy of free giving is extinguished in place of transaction.
NVC suggests that humans love to give freely, and it is our socialization and conditioning towards violence [through western imperialism] that has corrupted this joyful practice and way of expressing our true nature into a transactional action where we use others to get what we want.
“No good deed goes unpunished” is a phrase I’ve heard before. However, through a Yoga lens, it requires a slight addition:
“No good deed goes unpunished.. when you tie that good deed to additional expectations or outcomes.”
Doing good deeds as a means to an end is Consequentialist in its moral theory.
And it is in this Consequentialist frame that the joy of giving disappears.
It is within a Yoga frame – through a modality such as NVC – that the innate joy in giving is uncovered within us.
At the surface, this premise might seem as though it advocates for community.
Suggesting that you and I need to be part of a larger group that shares a commitment to being part of that group in order to thrive.
When we practice NVC as a modality of Yoga, we acknowledge that
While we may need each other,
We need each other all in our full Sovereignty,
To be able to effectively live in interdependence.
Community group membership (such as a family group, friend group, group with shared beliefs, etc.) can necessitate a sacrifice of personal autonomy in exchange for inclusion or belonging, leading to disempowerment.
There is an alternative!
You can create a personal network.
One where your personal responsibility overlaps with mine, such that you and I are sharing responsibility for some facet(s) of each other in full clarity and consent.
No one sacrifices autonomy.
Everyone is empowered.
Interdependence is only possible when we are all empowered.
The alternative is for humans to meet their Needs through manipulative or exploitative relationships.
And as we both know, this is very common.
The One Person Revolution is no joke. It’s a radical shift in how we live and what we aim for.
Are you up for it?
This premise highlights how resourced we really are.
That our world offers abundant resources for meeting our Needs.. when it is diverse.
A diversity of
A diversity of
Diversity ensures our survival.
Because we meet our Needs through Sovereign interdependence with each other (see NVC Key Premise 8!).
As western imperialism continues to spread by way of violent domination, the world becomes ever more homogenous.
Diversity is what supports us. Diversity is what allows us to meet our Needs effectively and non-violently.
You can practice maintaining diversity through the pre-practice of Yoga, the Yama-s (YS II.30), which ask you to first interrupt systems of harm, then take seriously the truths that arise from that interruption.
Maintaining diversity necessarily DOES NOT begin with truth. Because truth is based on perspective and contingent circumstances. If you start with truth, conflict will arise.
It DOES begin with harm interruption. Because only then can we come to understand something without destroying it.
“When human beings are committed to valuing everyone’s Needs, are able to discern how much they actually need, and have regained their skills for fostering connection and their creativity about sharing resources, we can overcome our current crisis of imagination.” – Miki Kashtan
Which resources do you frequently turn to in order to meet your Needs? And how are you supporting their abundance? How are you creating a world of diversity?
In Yoga, we sometimes talk about saṃskāra-s.
Saṃskāra-s are latent tendency impressions that accumulate over your past lives and current life.
“They comprise the largely subconscious material of your personal narrative that you have constructed over time, through which you understand yourself and interact with the world. They are, in a real sense, your karmic baggage, and the reason you are currently in bondage and not liberated.” – Dr. Shyam Ranganathan of Yoga Philosophy.
We all have them! It’s not just you.
You can choose to relate responsibly to your saṃskāra-s by acknowledging that you are predisposed to think, speak and act in certain ways, but that you still have the opportunity to change.
You can choose not to relate responsibly to your saṃskāra-s by treating them as facts or truth about yourself with no possibility of change, thereby consistently entrenching them.
Nonviolent Communication (NVC, aka Compassionate Communication) as a modality of Yoga can illuminate unhelpful saṃskāra-s, shining a light on your tendencies, habitual reactions, beliefs, assumptions, etc.
In some cases, by distilling moments in time down into their components, you can actually trace the root of a saṃskāra back to when it was originally implemented.
This kind of self-intimacy and self-understanding is unmatched in my experience.
And it is the self-awareness that comes from this process that creates conducive conditions for facilitating sustainable human change.
From change comes change.
How are you embracing change in yourself and others? Is that choice meeting your Needs?
How are you resisting change in yourself and others? Is that choice meeting your Needs?
I hope that you enjoyed this series on ten key premises on Nonviolent Communication!
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