The whirlwind of the IIT has subsided, and I continue to bask in the afterglow of a remarkable event. I intend to share some of my feelings, needs and thoughts about the IIT later, but right now I'm back in scurry mode, preparing for a weekend junket to Oakland to participate with the BayNVC US Project meeting. In the meantime, I wanted to share with you some writing from my friend Steve Tumulo who attended the recent IIT. He asked me to give folks the opportunity to share some of his experience of integrating NVC. If you would enjoy connecting with Stephen about what comes alive in you as read it, feel free to make a comment or send him an email @ email@example.com
Dwelling in the Energy
At a recent Nonviolent Communication intensive training in Albuquerque, Robert Gonzales led a session called “the Living Energy of Needs.” In this session, I began to make a number of connections between the spirit, intention, and process of Nonviolent Communication and the message carried in Christian scripture.
“Meet the Need”
In his presentation, Robert led participants through an exercise in which he invited us to “meet the need.” The invitation was not to “meet” the need in the sense of acting to fulfill it immediately, but to encounter, or meet it. This was an invitation to bring into my consciousness and dwell in the energy in this beautiful desire within me. Through this exercise I encountered the need for self-respect not out of my sense of its lack, but of its presence.
“Fully Human and Fully Divine”
Meeting a need, encountering a need, for which I am deeply hungering and simultaneously connecting to its fullness reminds me of the Christian understanding of the mingling of humanity and divinity in Christ. Christ is the divine energy incarnate, embracing the limitations and unmet longings of human life, while losing none of the consciousness of who he is and where he comes from and his intention on this planet.
“Dwelling in the Energy of the Need”
As longing and eternal presence are embodied in the person of Jesus, Robert Gonzales invited participants to bring together the pain of a deeply felt unfulfilled need an awareness of that need in its presence and life. Through dwelling in the energy of the need, the energy begins to activate inside that person, not changing their circumstance, but simply adding an awareness of the preciousness of how I am made as human, with this beautiful heart’s desire. This is abiding or dwelling in the Quality, in the presence, behind the need.
“Abide in Me”
Jesus invited his disciples to remain in conscious connection with him regardless of their circumstance. “I am the vine and you are the branches,” he told them. “Whoever abides in me will have life within them. They will bear much fruit. Without me you can do nothing.”
“Don’t prepare what to say”
Jesus encouraged disciples to not prepare long speeches in their defense, but to simply abide in his presence and energy and let life flow. This is what I heard Robert inviting us to in focusing on meeting the need as encounter ahead of attempts to go out and get all our needs fulfilled.
“Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
Out of the awareness of the preciousness of how we are made as human, all with the same powerful desires in each of our hearts, it’s natural to value others needs and my own needs on the same level. Living out of this mutual honoring is living out the great law, to love your neighbor as you love yourself.
“Christ on the Cross”
God is Love. And when Love is crucified, Love responds in a particular way. This is the response of Christ on the cross, experiencing the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual pain in unmet desires for love, friendship, life, understanding, intimacy, and much more with no condemnation. Christ on the cross experiences the raw pain of so many unmet desires for love and connection with his people and does not add to it condemnation. Never in the four gospels do we hear Jesus blaming himself or second-guessing his own choices. Likewise, Jesus does not condemn his persecutors: “Father, forgive them. They know not what they are doing.” He recognizes the tragedy in their choice of strategy and leaves them with forgiveness.
In doing so, Jesus leads humanity in the way out of the cycle of violence. Love incarnate bears the cross, the pain of not being met, and, choosing neither condemnation of self nor other, abides.
Stephen Michael Tumolo, Nonviolent Communication International Intensive Training, Albuquerque, New Mexico, June, 2006