Author Archives: Jesse Wiens

A Path with Heart Gift

Here’s your Gift from ZENVC Thanks for joining A Path with Heart: NVC & Social Change. We’re grateful for your interest in this important topic. Please enjoy this ZENVC Ongo Guided Meditation, as an expression of our appreciation: Download or listen to Connecting to Needs Through the Body now Connecting to...

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The Practice of Zen and Nonviolent Communication

In March, 2012, Jesse spoke at the Empathic Telesummit about the practice of Zen and Nonviolent Communication.  In it, he addresses some common questions about Zen and NVC such as “How to be compassionate with yourself in your practice, no matter where you’re at”, and “How Needs aren’t something to...

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Nonviolence/ Empathy Trainings at Occupy WS and DC

Dear supporters, Some of you may know that we have been receiving requests to offer dialogue support and nonviolence/empathy training to various groups related to the Occupy movements, especially those in Wall Street, Washington D.C., and Chapel Hill/ Durham.  We’re writing to you to let you know how we’re responding...

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The Courage to Wait

from Practicing Peace in Times of Warby Pema Chodron Then the path of peace depends on being patient with the fact that all of us make mistakes.  And that’s more important than getting it right.  This whole process seems to work only if you’re willing to give yourself a break,...

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Mindful Heart, Heart-full Mind


excerpt from Peaceable Revolution Through Education by Catherine Cadden

Sixteen-year-old Zeke was an active member of the Ku Klux Klan. I had the opportunity to work in high schools in the San Francisco Bay Area teaching nonviolence in a two-day workshop format. The first day was spent working on how to transcend our thinking, fixed ideas and our perceptions of others while connecting to human needs. The second day, we supported connection between students in the class as well as empowered them with conflict resolution skills.

By the second day Zeke had sat with his discomfort in a room with people he saw as Jewish, Gay, Black, Liberal, the wrong kind of White, and Female until he could no longer keep quiet. During a game, when it was a revealed that a Jewish girl's older sister would be having a wedding ceremony the following summer to marry another woman, he did not hesitate to voice out loud what was happening in his mind, "That's just wrong!

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Live and Learn!

Zen. Nonviolent Communication. How do they relate? Where do they intersect? Here. This body. This mind. This moment.

Dukkha, or {tooltip}stress1{end-link}Dukkha is commonly translated as “suffering”, however, I prefer Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s translation of dukkha as “stress”. This speaks more to my experience, where suffering is felt as a subtle energy of stress, from which emotions like fear, worry, anger, and depression spring.{end-tooltip}, is often what brings a person to a practice such as Zen or NVC. As a moment-to-moment practice, the Buddha’s teachings on dukkha invite us to reflect deeply on what the cause of stress, is, in this very moment. In Nonviolent Communication, we might name what our present feeling is, the need behind it, and a request to satisfy the need. Bringing the two approaches together, we have fertile ground for exploration. For example, there is a very natural curiosity that can arise when certain feelings and needs recur, over and over again. In these moments, I wonder, “What is really going on here? Is a need for empathy really the cause of my frustration?”

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The Universe Inside “How”

"What does one do to live from this place of gratitude and connection, rather than the deficiency and fear?" Someone in our class last night who practices NVC asked us this. They also asked, "Do you have any suggestions for How I can live more from this place of gratitude?" These questions imply that there is something to get more of, gratitude and connection, and something to get away from, deficiency and fear. I also notice a sense of powerlessness when these kinds of questions arise in myself; I have lost all faith in myself, and I am afraid that if I don't do something, my life will fall completely apart. When we seek for the answers, for someone "more enlightened" than ourselves to give us something that will save us, we miss the whole universe that is contained in those questions. The real question is, "What is the whole universe here that is being expressed through these questions?"

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Agape (from A Christmas Sermon on Peace)

by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
December 1967

AGAPE is more than romantic love, it is more than friendship. Agape is understanding, creative, redemptive good will toward all men. Agape is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. Theologians would say that it is the love of God operating in the human heart. When you rise to love on this level, you love all men not because you like them, not because their ways appeal to you, but you love them because God loves them. This is what Jesus meant when he said, "Love your enemies." And I'm happy that he didn't say, "Like you enemies," because there are some people that I find it pretty difficult to like. Liking is an affectionate emotion, and I can't like anybody who would bomb my home. I can't like anybody who would exploit me. I can't like anybody who would trample over me with injustices. I can't like them. I can't like anybody who threatens to kill me day in and day out. But Jesus reminds us that love is greater than liking. Love is understanding, creative, redemptive good will toward all men.

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Communication (from Embracing the Beloved)

by Stephen and Ondrea Levine

Sujata used to say, "Let it go! But if you can't let it go, I guess you'll just have to communicate."

Communication is a crossing of our boundaries. At best, it attempts to transmit the heart. At least, it attempts understanding.

Because everyone seems to be born with perceptual quirks unique to their personality, or what some call "karma," misunderstanding naturally arises between somewhat different "realities." When this occurs, communication becomes a peacemaker, an attempt at understanding sent out by carrier pigeon over the fortress walls. We think the moat of our affected indifference will protect us. But our castles are burning. And in our confusion, we try to hide smoke instead of extinguish the fire. Much of our "communication" is an attempt at smoke control. Much comes from the fear that another will see us as we fear we really are-confused and clever, hidden and theatrical, self-interested, angry, distrustful. We are afraid to share our grief, so little of ourselves have we surrendered to its healing. We weigh our words. No one says quite what they mean. We bargain for love in dulcet tones like a cat wrapping itself, purring, around our ankles.


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