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)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Are You Out of Control?

In recent days, an email list serve for NVC (compassionate communication) practitioners interested in brain functioning has been discussing the limits of NVC। For instance, when the brain is overwhelmed with emotional input or is short on energy, it diverts energy away from frontal lobe, which can cut down links to the higher cognitive functions. As NVC certainly trains the cognitive loops (stories) to impact the emotions, if you aren’t thinking very well, does it mean that you can’t be the peace you wish in the world? Examples include if you are tired, physically threatened, ill, and in a rage. Who of us has never “lost it?”

I know that I have। The times that my brain just doesn’t work is after the death of someone close to me, and also sometimes, when I am in the midst of playing soccer game and another player purposively fouls me. In either case I look back and realize that there isn’t much thinking going on – so much emotional processing I believe hampers the links to my frontal lobe. So in dire circumstances, does this mean that we cannot be peaceful, aware, and empathetic with others?

Perhaps not। Perhaps so। I do believe that the practice of NVC works imperceptibly over the short term but definitely over the long term to strengthen the ties between emotions and cognition, so that even when tired or threatened, there is modulation of my response that comes from a place of interconnected wonder instead of isolated defensiveness or withdrawal.

Not that I want to test this. It’s been a while since I played a soccer game and got slammed into the earth, or my heart got slammed with a death or broken relationship. However, the mini crisis, or the perceived but not actual threats do seem less intense. Will this save the world or save a life?
Perhaps not। Perhaps so.

What resources do you draw upon when you find that you are not thinking well?

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