Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I'm still thinking about the message of  Occupy Wall Street; still yearning for a way forward that will lead to a more peaceful, equitable, and environmentally sustainable world that will benefit and meet the needs of all. I read several thought-provoking posts on this subject at Commonway Praxis, a blog written by Dr. Sharif Abdullah.  The following quote is from Dr. Abdullah's book, Creating A World That Works For All:
"We live in a world that works for only a few.  The problem  is exclusivity: the fundamental belief that we are separate  from one another.  All beings, all things, are One.  Our lives  are inextricably linked one to another.  Because of this, we cannot wage war against anything or  anyone without  waging war against ourselves.    Therefore, we are obliged to treat all beings the way we want to be treated.  There are no 'enemies' - all beings are expressions of the Sacred and must  be treated as such.  Some being cause pain to others; this does not meant that they are enemies.   Some beings are food for others; this is all the more reason to treat them as sacred.  Once we understand that we are interconnected, we have the responsibility to create a world that works for all."
"With this as our goal, the next question is obvious: how do we achieve it?  How do we avoid sinking into despair or cynicism?  And how do we avoid dabbling in utopian fantasies or engaging in 'pie-in-the-sky' religiosity?  In fact, we can change this world right now by shifting our consciousness and our values from a foundation of exclusivity to one of inclusivity. This shift in consciousness is the core of the world's major religions.  The essence of the moral code they urge upon us is inclusivity:

         What is hateful to you, do not do to others.  ~RABBI HILLEL

         Do not hurt others with that which hurts yourself.    ~ BUDDHA

         Do unto others whatever you would have them do unto you.  ~ JESUS
                   None of you is a believer until you love for your neighbor what you love for 
                    yourself.  ~ MUHAMMAD                                                                                                              
"Considering the clarity, simplicity, and consistency of these statements, one has to wonder what it is about the message of inclusivity that makes it nearly impossible for people to either comprehend or implement.  Why are there Jews, Buddhists Christians, Muslims, and many others around the world who are killing their fellow men and women when their traditions call for peace, nonviolence, and inclusivity?"
For me, the HOW is the missing piece that I've been searching for.  How do we implement the spiritual truths found in all the world's religions?  How do we put our spiritual teachings into concrete practice in our daily lives?  How do we embody the Divine and bring the Kingdom of Heaven down to this Earth that we all live on? 

Well, I'm very excited about a tool I recently learned about that's really answering the big HOW question for me.  Non Violent Communication, developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, is much more than a communication method but a practical way to connect with "others" and live with Love toward all - beginning with our interpersonal relationships and expanding to peace at the global level. It is a way to practice the connections that make violence both inappropriate and impossible.  Below is the first in a series of Youtube videos filmed during a one-day introductory workshop in which Marshall Rosenberg teaches the basics of Non Violent Communication.  Altogether, more than three hours of this workshop can be viewed free of charge! 

Dr. Rosenberg's book is Non Violent Communication: A Language of Life.  Many additional resources can also be found online at the Center for Non Violent Communication and the NVC Academy.

By the way, PuddleDancer Press, the premier publisher of Nonviolent Communication related books, has recently donated hundreds of books on Non Violent Communication to various Occupy Wall Street libraries.