Have you read _Nonviolent Communication_ by Marshall Rosenberg? The concept of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is not at all transparent.
The reason NVC works as a mediation tool is because there is no compromise required: everyone gets their needs met. No one has to give up what they want because, when human beings truly listen to one another–actively and with empathy–they can’t help being compassionate; it is our natural response.
So the authentic conversation will change the stakes, the tone, and our needs.
Instead of wanting to be right, to win, to change the other person, we want to meet each other’s needs.
To do that, the parties involved have to become human to each other. How do we see the other as human? Well, for starters, they are! And also, we want to loosen our grip on our own ideas.
The more tightly we cling to our ideas–the more we think we’re right and they’re wrong–the more we suffer.
Jack Kornfield demonstrates the benefit of the open mind in _The Wise Heart_: A veteran nun has left the forest Buddhist monastery￼ to join an Evangelical Christian church and soon returns to the Buddhist monastery in an effort to convert monks and nuns to her new religion.
The Buddhist monks and nuns complain to their leader about the evangelizer. How could she? What if she starts convincing others to leave? What do we do?
The ever-equanimous leader says, “Maybe she’s right!”
Imagine that! He is honest: who really knows, in matters of deep belief, who is “right” or not? To the calm and open mind, the evangelical is no threat–just another noble person trying to make her way. And she is honored for being herself.
That is what it means to be “open minded” and to not cling too tightly to your beliefs, when in the throes of a challenge to your core beliefs, you can still entertain other possibilities.
It doesn’t mean he lacks conviction–he runs monasteries. It means he is not so blinded by his own ideas that he mistakes them for Truth–*everyone’s* Truth.
That is why intention matters so much. We can have different beliefs and grow from learning, understanding, opening up. That feels dangerous to many people because without set core beliefs, we may feel like a boat at sea with no rudder. In fact, we change all through our lives. You are already a different person than when you started reading this: some of your cells have died, your mood is not identical to what it was three minutes ago, you have more or less blood sugar coursing through you, etc.
You are putting in new rudders all throughout your life, big and small. Relax. The boat may occasionally run aground. And you’ll get it back in the direction you choose once you consult all the guides you can. It’s encouraged to ask for directions.
No compromise. We all get our needs met. The leader of the monastery upheld his principle to respect all beings and the nun got to show others her new rudder. It doesn’t have to be dangerous to listen and care.