April’s Learning Resources
Practicing Inclusion + Nonviolent Communication
Treating people of all backgrounds and identities with fairness and respect is an ongoing journey for most of us, including our team at Namchak. We share our experience with the practice nonviolent communication, which teaches us how to listen deeply to our own needs as well as those of others, helping us connect to our innate compassion.
📚Suggested Resources and Activities:
- To Read: How can Nonviolent Communication (NVC) be helpful in these transformative times? By Roxy Manning (www.roxannemanning.com)
- To Watch: Transforming Racism [www.roxannemanning.com (46 min)]
- Resource shared by Lama Tsomo: Anti-Asian Violence Resources
- Namchak Blogs: The Ripple Effects of Implicit Bias and
A Conversation Between Lama Tsomo & Konda Mason: Implicit Bias
- Lama Tsomo’s recommended book of the month: Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People From Lama Tsomo: “Surprisingly approachable book by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald. These social scientists noticed that, even though people answered survey questions as though they had no bias, in real life they did. After much puzzling on how to catch unconscious bias (their term), they devised quick, simple tests … which are in the book! You can take them and be embarrassed in the privacy of your own home! They did. And they flunked. And were embarrassed. But better to know and work to change your biases than to go around hurting people without realizing it. It’s something we can all do, to address one of the most difficult and tenacious problems of our time. And because of the historic challenges of our time, we all need to come together to create and enact solutions!”
- Podcast: Oren Jay Sofer, Practicing Mindful Communication (Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris, Episode #165)
- To Discuss: What unique lenses of personal experiences do you bring into your self-talk? Your relationships? Your overall interactions with the world? What topics or situations tend to feel difficult for you to discuss with others? Are you able to acknowledge your needs as well as the needs of others when having these difficult conversations? What tools are you looking to add to your toolkit in order to move through these types of conversations or interactions with more grace, compassion and steadiness?
✨ Monthly Learning Circle Spotlight:
This month we would like to feature our Sunday Soul Sangha who have been meeting as a virtual Learning Circle in many different iterations for almost three years! Members of this Circle have come and gone over the years, and the most current members came together in the beginning of the pandemic around March 2020. The energy in the Circle around this time was palpable, and sometimes Circle meetings would last for over three hours! Members were so excited and grateful to connect during those times of uncertainty and isolation. They would have the actual circle where they would check-in, meditate, and read a book together. Then they would have the “after party” where the conversations would shift from the dharma to giving each other tours of their homes, sharing virtual snacks, and welcoming lots of laughter that arose from everyone’s unique quirks and personalities. This Circle is still together and going strong! They still have after parties from time to time, and there is still lots of laughter and personal sharing. Right now this Circle is reading Pema Chodron’s book, Start Where You Are, and working with the Lojong phrases in between Circles.
The Gift of Community
Having spent the dark winter months reflecting on our personal practice and spending the holiday with friends and family, embrace on the new year with an appreciation for both self-compassion and compassion for others, focusing on our interconnectedness and what it means to live in community.
As our awareness of our interconnectedness expands, so too does our sense of belonging in the world. This month, through exercises focused on our individual and shared stories, we explore how we can open our hearts to experience an expansive sense of love and true connection. We’ll look at the four “immeasurable” qualities of Compassion, Loving-kindness, Sympathetic Joy, and Equanimity.
Modern life brings unprecedented stressors, from personal challenges to global ones like climate change. Shamata helps us expand our mental awareness of the causes of stress, allowing us to cultivate a greater sense of calm in our lives and find the joy that is always available.
Our personal practice isn’t just for ourselves, but for the benefit of others too. We dive into the meaning of work, consider our gifts, and examine work as an environment to practice being in community and contributing to the greater good.