Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.
- (Sufi Poet Rumi)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Questions Elicit Wisdom

Yesterday I heard Nonviolent Communication Trainer Miki Kashtan speak about the power of questions. If we can ask a question to help others see the value of something in their lives, they are more likely to listen to what learning you have to offer to them.

For instance, consider you would like to help your son see the connection between his feelings and his needs. You really long for him to be able to recognize what needs are coming up for him, so he can be a powerful agent in his own life to creatively work well with others to address these needs. Instead, you have been frustrated and saddened that he seems to be angry quite a bit, and blames this on you. So, you can ask him if he'd be willing to listen to the importance of connecting his anger to what needs lie underneath, or perhaps you could ask him this:

After you have expressed anger towards someone else, how do you feel later, and does it impact your relationship with them?

When you have been angry, what has worked for you to lessen your anger?

When you see that other people are angry, what have you seen others do to help them deal with their anger?

Out of these conversations he might be able to come up with what you hoped to "teach him" and he might open up to more listening to you because he appreciates respect and being heard. By questioning, you can bring to consciousness the wisdom within us all.

Where in your life do you wish to share/teach something to someone, where a question along might bring out the wisdom of the other?

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