Contributions

Noble Speech: Mindfulness of Connection

There are different approaches to communication. In the midst of conversation we can practice “Mindfulness of Connection”: aware of whether we’re in sync with another person. The following are a couple suggestions for connecting.

We can use the brahmavihāras as supports for conversation. They are:

  • loving-kindness or benevolence (mettā)
    • e.g. “I hope everything goes well.”
  • compassion (karuṇā)
    • e.g. “Sounds like a really difficult situation.”
  • empathetic joy (muditā)
    • e.g. “I’m glad things are working out for you.”
  • equanimity (upekkhā)
    • e.g. allowing “success” and “failure” to occur; just listening

We can use the four elements to stay with feeling tones (physical sensations) as they come up, so that we connect to our experience without becoming distracted or overwhelmed – while knowing that everything is changing (anicca). For example, if challenging emotions arise in conversation, simply note (i.e. label in one’s mind) the particular element associated with the feeling tone:

  • earth – solidity, hardness
  • water – fluidity, cohesion, tightening, swallowing, sweating
  • fire – temperature, hot, cold, etc.
  • air – expanding/contracting, pulsating, fluttering, breathing

Finally, it can always be useful to know that imperfect conversations and connections are OK! There’s no such thing as “perfection,” aside from the perfectly imperfect moment – however it is.

For more on Cultivating the Brahmavihāras, click here
For more on Recognizing the Four Elements, click here
~Matt Kaplan


Local Artwork

Thich Nhat Hanh, global spiritual leader, poet, & peace activist…

The local artist is Matt Berry. If interested to find out more, he can be reached at (803) 257-3923, or mberry411@yahoo.com.


Reflection

I took this picture when I was working outside during the fall and we had rain everyday. It was on the road in front of my house. When I saw it I thought the punishment that this leaf received from the rain and vehicles had made it more prominent and defined even when it was very much tattered. Its breathtaking color became even more vibrant.

Isn’t this the nature of the Dharma? From this picture, I am reassured that the Dharma is meant to be examined, challenged, tested, and that its true nature and beauty will shine through in the most difficult conditions. Is our true self revealed only when suffering is in us?
-Ha Nguyen