Paul Shippee cuke link page
Suzuki and Trungpa student Paul Shippee is offering
"Meditation and Nonviolent Communication" -Opening to Life
Through Compassionate Presence-
September 10-12, 2010 in Davis, CA, at the
Shambhala Meditation Center
[Also below read his
Notes taken at workshop in Madrid on May 8/9 2010
on Meditation, Non-Violent Communication and the Heart Sutra.]
When we consider the question ≥How shall we live?≤ we might find that it
involves both the sacred and the relational, or combining Heaven and Earth.
Meditation provides an open path for spacious awareness as well as the
discovery of ego. In our busy materialist culture we sometimes find that
both casual and intimate relationships can stimulate or spark unexpected
pain, the contraction of ego defenses.
When we combine our experience of meditation -the sacred and wisdom aspects
of our training- with the skilful means inherent in applying Nonviolent
Communication (NVC), we find we are equipped with essential tools for
allowing compassionate presence in our lives. This is an opportunity to
glimpse, and begin to heal, stuck emotions and the unnecessary suffering
that arises from old patterns of ≥reaction.≤
We will review the depth and freedom of meditation practice and learn how
such wisdom experiences can guide and support NVC relationship skills, so
important for daily living in todayĻs world.
Nonviolent Communication, developed by Marshall Rosenberg, is
a process that teaches mindfulness of language and inner awareness by
practicing honest expression and empathic listening. In this process one
develops awareness of feelings and needs, by being conscious of whatĻs alive
in us in each moment; then a kind of newness of experience happens. In other
words, an alive world opens up that transforms conflict, depression, hurt
and anger into potential for human growth, relationship health, and
Nonviolent Communication, or Compassionate Communication as it is sometimes
called, brings forth interpersonal skills and seeds of awareness, empathy,
and basic goodness that we already have fully developed somewhere inside us,
but may have forgotten.
at workshop taught by Paul Shippee in Madrid on May 8/9 2010
on Meditation, Non-Violent Communication and the Heart Sutra.
Comments on meditating:
Meditate with eyes open.
The thinking mind is never in the present moment.
There is no purpose, no seeking in meditation.
Alertness/awareness of when you leave thoughts/breath, of when the breath
changes from breathing in/out - backwards and forwards.
Thoroughly enjoy being in the present moment for once in your life.
Mindfulness + NVC : 2 agreements
1. Be aware of whatís alive in you: feelings and needs.
2. Stop making other people wrong, at either a gross or subtle level.
Essence of NVC: become aware of making people wrong.
Most important Buddhist teaching is to cut through/see through the conceptual
Meditation: the way to discover wisdom for yourself.
Emotional pain: uncovering the hidden and rejected parts of us. All emotional
pain should be welcomed. Pain is not the enemy. You donít need an enemy. The ego
is not the enemy.
Distinguish between false self, true self and non-self.
Buddhism teaches us how to work with the ego. Itís not a struggle.
Safety is a masquerade for avoiding feelings.
Warrior means not afraid to be who you are.
Insist: observation / feelings / needs / request
Needs is original Marshall - cut through stories, apologies, explanations - you
lose your power - go straight to need.
If you get stuck in feelings - go straight to need. Feelings are in the body,
need is thinking - combine/connect the two.
Difficulty of giving empathy to someone who is making life difficult: thatís the
whole point - sit with the pain, own the parts youíve put outside.
No one can make your life difficult, your thinking makes your life difficult.
Blame: putting rejected parts of you outside.
Buddhist teachings all come from direct experience through meditation. Not a
head trip. In West all is intellectual - combination of body experience +
1st turning of the Wheel of Dharma = 4 noble truths
1. Suffering exists - not that life is suffering. Mistaken idea that Buddhism is
about transcending, that meditation is about going up, out of the body.
2. There is a cause/origin of suffering, summed up in a single word: thirst.
3. Buddha said there can be cessation.
4. There is a path : the 8-fold path.
It is a mistake to reach the conclusion that desire is wrong. That is
condemnation of yourself, of your life force.
Thinking that Buddhism is all about suffering is a story to avoid going near
3 marks of existence (root of wisdom) (Buddhaís last words: be a lamp unto
yourself, i.e check it out)
3. Egolessness : 2 kinds 1. understand the egolessness of self
2. understand the egolessness of
other - the whole world
Not often seen in books:
4. Peace as an experience
Path: live in the present and take one step at a time
Desire: to escape from where we are.
Egolessness: work with all the things there are in the conditioned world in the
Shunyata - emptiness - but the English word only expresses a small bit of
Interpretation - mistaken - egolessness in the West connects with the idea of
worthlessness. Tara Brach: overcoming the trance of worthlessness.
Heart Sutra speaks about how to see through false identity (I'm not good), but
also through our true identity.
Primitive beliefs about reality and our identity and confused emotions - how we
hold our true identity in our mind.
Sutra: teaching of the Buddha
Transcendent knowledge : seeing beyond conventional reality.
Prajna: clear seeing insight - we all have naturally.
Prajna is what sees shunyata.
Paramita - is going beyond the rational mind.
Prajna - similar to intuition, but it is very precise.
Bodhisattva : awakened being.
Compassion - not being in too much of a hurry to fix something - you might just
extend your neurosis.
5 skandhas : empty nature - describe the development of ego.
1. Form - sensation
At first our nature is completely spacious - a child is completely open in
1. Something forms out of our emptiness - 1st thing that happens.
2. Fundamental primitive feeling - attraction or repel.
3. Perception - put some colours around it, decide what it is. Is a tree/car? Is
All happens so fast we have to be deep meditators to see this happening.
4. We put a name/label on it: formation of concepts. Beginning of conceptual
mind. Things start to seem solid/permanent/reassuring/world begins to become
5. Consciousness: integrate all this information into our whole being/life.
Start from something very spacious and make it solid - make an identity - this
is who I am. Cling to things. Fear makes things solid. Process that is going on
the whole time. But there is nothing solid about it until we make it so through
Everything is fine as long as we donít make it solid. There's nothing wrong with
ego. We couldn't cross the street without it.
Meditation is a process of moving backwards through the 5 skandhas:
1. Leave consciousness behind : not thinking.
2. Then we let go of the names/concepts - move backward through perception ŗ
feelings, through love and hate, what we like, what we donít.
Then we let go of that, we find a form, we are in contact with our bodies and go
back to the spaciousness.
We have to learn in order to unlearn. We have to become ego to become egoless.
So weíre always going through this process.
We donít mind having a conventional identity, but we don't want to be frozen in
it - we want to be free. Freedom from what? From frozen identity. Nothing more
mysterious than that.
You will come to that with regular meditation.
(from the Spanish translation of the Heart Sutra) Debe ver: itís all about
naturaleza - not earth nature, it means nothing is permanent, nothing exists
Things are not empty and they are not form - things are what they are.
We like flowers, we don't like the garbage, but all is emptiness and emptiness
Form = we want to freeze something, find security there.
Emptiness = we canít, and grasping is the cause of suffering.
Being present with things as they are is the essence of shunyata.
In fact, when you connect with this experience what you find is not emptiness,
itís fullness. Feelings move. Needs can feed into the grasping. We can hold
needs with great care, but we can hold them lightly = NVC
We have a need, but we donít have to have it / don't have to meet it - moves
into Buddhism ŗ suffering.
NVC is not about getting what you want, itís about creating a compassionate
connection. If you have a need and you donít get it met - this can bring the
pain - the grit that makes the pearl.
Accept / mourn that at this moment this need will not be met with this person in
this way = hold the need with care, that doesnít always bring up pain, but when
it does, that is where hidden parts are coming up for recognition.
If someone can press your buttons = youíre not healed, but thatís ok, because
life is a process - stay with it - connected with consciousness, this is the
path to liberation, to be free from grasping and to own your own feelings
whatever they are.
Ways we can misunderstand the Heart Sutra : all comments on Sutra : the
notion that reality is not fixed. Dangers of trying to understand the Heart
1. One is to know precisely what is being negated. It is not negating
the taste of the raisin, the enjoyment, the desire of wanting another one. It is
negating the fixedness, the grasping, the addiction. Wrong to think it means you
cannot have what you want.
2. The second mistake is to reify shunyata, to make shunyata a concept
that is comforting to you. Emptiness is also form.
3. To make it holy, a mystery, make it more profound than it is, and
pretend that it is so profound that I cannot understand it - so you make a
distance - Buddhism wants you to connect.
4. Use it as an escape - I have feelings that are very painful but they
are emptiness - to dismiss your experience.
Dalai Lama: the scriptures state that the wisdom (direct perception: flower:
itís just a flower / seeing things as they are without the overlay that the ego
wants to put on it) that realises emptiness is the one true door, the only way
that we can become completely free from the grasping of ignorance and the
suffering it causes.
NVC & Buddhism like to relieve suffering, shunyata delivers you from the
fictions of the ego.
ChŲgyam Trungpa: cutting through our conceptualised versions of the world with
the sword we discover shunyata : nothingness, emptiness - absence of duality and
conceptualisation, best known teachings - are prajnaparamita, Heart Sutra
Use the concept of shunyata to wipe away - concepts of being / not being - and
end up wiping away shunyata.
It doesnít mean you deny attainment, it means you donít get stuck there
No arriving! - always the next step, always open to the next growth, pulls the
rug out from under, the growth potential of human beings is infinite.
ChŲgyam: in the lower yanas, we develop lots of idioms and terms, and that makes
us feel better because we have a lot of things to talk about, such as compassion
or emptiness or wisdom. But in fact, that becomes a way of avoiding the actual
naked reality of life = feelings and needs
With prajnaparamita we can overcome fear, falsity and deception (self-deception)
- giving in to core beliefs.
3rd turning of the wheel - joy and celebration - youíre experiencing
yourself / appreciating yourself, but without attachment.
3rd turning about letting go of ego attachment. Said to be a totally
Anger is based on hurt - get in touch with hurt, so anger doesnít have the
Notes from another notebook, which must fit in the middle somehow of those taken
Strong posture. Only instruction: follow the breath. Breathe in by itself.
Out breath: let thoughts go. Become aware of space around - mix the mind with
the space around. 100% corporal. Meditation is not about gaining anything, itís
about discovering what we already are and accept what comes as being our own
If you feel relaxation on coming out of meditation, then youíre holding the
meditation too tight.
Take the mind down to hara - middle of belly inside.
Western version of suffering: wishing things were different than what they are -
stops you appreciating the natural richness of what you are.
Follow your breath 100% with no concentration and mix the mind with the space
around. Lips apart to release habitual tension around the mouth - doesn't matter
if you swallow saliva, that is natural.
When you relax and mind and body become whole you become aware of life force,
just being present - things come up that you havenít been aware of before.
Experiment changing the gaze - lots of thoughts: close to, being connected with
breath: raise and look about.
1st step: mourning. Itís natural to feel the sadness of having an
unmet need. Feel the sadness and pain.
2. Say: I have a need that is not being met. Connection: wow, what a lovely
need, appreciating the beauty of need, even when it is unmet. In this moment
there is a transformation. Mourning from lack / poverty / poor me ŗrecognise it
is a universal need, that everyone has - a certain richness comes to you - I am
a human being. Itís beautiful because itís a life force, a reason to survive.
3. Remember a time when it was met - even as a child, even though we feel
richness we still feel sadness. This is when tears come: healing tears, not poor
Last step is acceptance: the more you connect with the sadness of not having the
need met, now, the more likely you are to have the need met in the future.
Marshall Rosenberg says there are only two needs: safety and nurturing
Tools of NVC - knowing what our own feelings and needs are (connected to
yourself), and out of that knowing the feelings and needs of other.
Jackal : separation
Giraffe : connection
Big heart means you know what your feelings and needs are, then youíll feel
NVC - lack of spirituality, so tendency to grasp after needs.
Buddhism - mistaken idea that if you are egoless you have no needs.
Buddhism works on the basis that you're already fully connected with the
material world. You have to be somebody before you can become nobody.
You can become addicted to 12-step programs, seeking out feelings and needs.
So once youíve found the needs and accepted them, mourned them, you say: So
what? and move beyond.
If you honestly acknowledge your needs and mourn them, then we donít have the
Watching the breath is a technique for awareness. Once you get to be able to
mix mind and space, the technique can fall away. Touch the technique and go -
itís not a question of holding on to technique or feeling bad when you forget
the technique. If weíre sitting upright and more or less following the breath,
there canít be a bad meditation. Never beat yourself up because you canít do it
Motivation very important, examine it carefully and deeply: can tie into
feelings and needs. The question is: how shall we live?
1. We might like to be happy and feel we're not always confused and suffering:
2. Join with / help others in the world - Mahayana vehicle.
3. Like to achieve full complete enlightenment, feel so connected to the rest of
the world you want to dedicate yourself to benefiting others.
4. Tantric tradition - youíre completely spacious, wholly energy.
With that perspective it is important to examine own motivation.
4 reminders / 4 thoughts that turn the mind to Dharma - helpful to have when
thinking of motivation.
1. Precious human birth (in Buddhism, not personal reincarnation)
2. Impermanence: all conditioned things are impermanent, death comes without
3. Recognition of samsara, cycle of endless distraction.
4. Karma: cause and effect.
In NVC - knots in our body of emotional pain, rejected parts: dry ice -
condensed vapour. Our experience is vapour, such as when we are children, when
we receive a no - condensed from the vapour of painful experiences that we could
not process in the moment. The way to release it is to feel the pain, releasing
karma through the body by looking at it, weeping and healing. If your parents
are unable to tolerate seeing someone else's pain because they have their own.
Unprocessed dry ice crystals. If you think this is just the way it is, that's
how I am, these are frozen unconscious core beliefs. When we work with NVC we
allow the pain to become conscious. If, as it becomes conscious, we can avoid
projecting it out and blaming someone else to avoid pain because it is bad.
NVC: pain - without analysing, without projecting
NVC: feeling the pain without blocking it is healing, opening to unpleasant
experiences whether theyíre outside or inside. This is mourning, allowing
rejected, buried experiences that we had no way of managing when we were little
- everybody has them.
If we are attracted to spirituality: never take on the belief that no self / no
ego means not to have feelings or needs, nor be influenced by advertising /
others. World where there are great forces that press us to repress positive /
negative. Thatís the world we live in. To enjoy life fully - learn to express
our feelings and needs skilfully, using Buddhist wisdom and compassion to tame
Crying is good as long as we donít judge it. Being able to be present with
ourselves / someone else feeling deeply.
Do not allow yourself to think a teacher is any way better or less than you.
Whenever you judge someone as better or less than you, something inside you is
not being recognised. Something you know you donít have, take it as inspiration.
Empathy is not: diagnosing
not taking care of our own self
When I practise empathy, I feel there is no one home in here. I have no agenda.
Iím not going to say, now you must address your needs. Not leading anyone. Just
acknowledging what is. Just pacing the person where they are. Try to avoid using
the word ďIĒ when giving empathy. Marshall Rosenberg always reflecting back
ďyouĒ. Although empathy is an inquiry, it is important to remember it is not an
4 components of empathy (1-3 internal / in silence)
1. Bring yourself with an intention: recognise the intention is to
2. Presence: you bring yourself forward.
3. Focus: feelings and needs of the other person.
4. Confirmation, where you might say something. You say, yes, I hear
what youíre saying. I hear you saying that youíre feeling sad. Is that right? It
doesnít matter if you guess wrong, because youíre moving forward, showing your
intention to connect.
Unexpressed fear is seen as aggression.
Emptiness - nihilism, the extremes. Itís not existence thatís being negated.
Itís concepts - the solidification.
So, the middle way.
Emptiness wants to take away the veil of conception - the empty part is only the
veil of conception.
Impermanence is the medicine for the eternalist trap.
Feelings and needs is the medicine for the nihilistic trap.