Called to Deeper Truth

As  Dominicans we are always called to deeper truth.  I have the good fortune in the ministry I do to be in a learning mode.    Daily I am invited to practice nonviolent communication more practically and more genuinely.  The other day I got frustrated at our administrative assistant.  While I certainly expressed my feelings I did not pause to learn where he was coming from and what were his feelings or needs.  How to practice better communication in this instance?  Well, there is nothing like back-tracking to try to truly hear each other.

This kind of learning is its own preaching as well.  Phrases like deeper listening, pausing, being curious about where the other is and what are his/her feelings and needs.  These are all practice tools.

The ultimate goal?  Transformation:  individually, communally, and socially.  Through this practice I am slowly expanding my experience of empathy:  self-empathy (when I botch up a communication as described above) and empathy for the other (when I/we explore the shared longings we carry within us.)

This level of empathic engagement is often itself transformative, changing opposition into affection, defensiveness into openness, and opinionated assertiveness or withdrawal into shared inquiry and active co-creativity. These skills, more broadly practiced, would profoundly change our experience of conflict and our ability to use its energies to make life better instead of worse.

How are your learnings a preaching?  What is empathy teaching you?

K.C. Young, OP
Kirkland, WA


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