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Practical Spirituality

I trust a spirituality that leads people to go forward and transform the world, that doesn’t just sit there with this beautiful image of radiating energy. I want to see that energy reflected in the person’s actions as they go out and make things happen. It’s something you do, a practical spirituality.

“How are you?” is a greeting expressed in many cultures in many languages. It’s a very important question, because if we’re to live in peace and harmony, if we’re to enjoy contributing to one another’s well – being, we need to know what’s alive in one another.

It’s a gift when you reveal yourself nakedly and honestly, at any given moment, for no other purpose than to reveal what’s alive in you. Not to blame, criticize, or punish. Just “Here I am, and here is what I would like.” This is my vulnerability at this moment. To me, that is a way of manifesting love.

The other way we give of ourselves is through how we receive another person’s message. To receive it empathically, connecting with what’s alive in them, making no judgment. Just to hear what is alive in the other person and what they would like.

It is our nature to enjoy giving to one another. In Nonviolent Communication, we strive to connect with one another in a way that allows our nature to come forward.

I’m well aware of all the violence in the world, but I don’t think that’s our nature. There’s nothing that feels better or more enjoyable than using our efforts in the service of life, contributing to one another’s well - being.

Nonviolent Communication evolved from my attempt to get conscious about Beloved Divine Energy and how to connect with it, to understand this concept of love and manifest it. I wanted to discover how to do it. I came to the conclusion that it was not just something you feel, but it is something we manifest, something we do, something we have. It is giving of ourselves in a certain way, an honest expression of what’s alive in us in this moment.

The way I know Beloved Divine Energy is in how I connect with human beings … I not only see Divine Energy, I taste and feel Divine Energy. I am Divine Energy. I’m connected with Beloved Divine Energy when I connect with human beings in this way and then God is very alive for me.

The associations the word God brings up for many people are often judgmental, right/wrong thinking and it is one of the hardest things I’ve found to overcome in teaching Nonviolent Communication over the years. Nonviolent Communication is a tool to get me over my cultural training so I can get to the place. NVC is not the place. It is a strategy to get connected to the Divine, so what we do toward one another comes out of Divine Energy. That’s the place I want to get to. I’m trying to connect with the Divine Energy in others and connect them with the Divine in me, because I believe that when we are really connected with that Divinity within one another and ourselves, that people enjoy contributing to one another’s well - being more than anything else.

Violence comes because of how we were educated, not because of our nature. It started with myths that began to develop long ago about human nature, myths that humans were basically evil, selfish, and that the good life is all about heroic forces crushing evil forces. Domination cultures use certain teachings about God to maintain oppression. Destructive mythology requires a language that dehumanizes people and turns them into objects. Connected to these is the concept of justice based on deserve, that if you do bad things you deserve to be punished.

We need communication that brings us closer to our nature and the fun way to live, which is contributing to one another’s well - being. I complained to the Loving Divine Energy that it sometimes take too long to get this connection happening, that Energy responded “You just do what you can to connect. Bring your energy in. Connect and help the other people connect and let me take care of the rest.” I have come to see that joy is inevitable if we keep getting connected to our own and one another’s Divine Energy. If we get in touch with one another’s Divine Energy, it’s inevitable that we will enjoy giving and we’ll give back to life.

Acknowledging needs are the quickest, closest way to getting in connection with that Divine Energy. Everyone has the same needs. The needs come because we’re alive. We let people know what’s alive in us. We connect with what’s alive in other people, even if they don’t have words for saying it.

We need to tell the other person what they’re doing that is supporting life in us … or isn’t supporting life in us. It is honesty from the heart, not honesty that implies wrongness. The cause of our feelings is our needs, not other people’s behavior.

We’ve been educated by people who tried to make us feel responsible for their feelings so we would feel guilty. It’s very important that we follow our feelings with a statement that makes it clear that the cause of our feelings is our needs.

People associate needs with being needy, dependant, selfish. People do not make good slaves when they’re in touch with their needs. When you can get people over their diagnosis of one another, get them connected at the need level to what’s going on in one another, how conflicts which seem impossible to resolve seem like they almost resolve themselves. It doesn’t mean that we have to have the same feelings; it means that we are with the other person.

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