Do you ever feel like you and someone else—a romantic partner, family member, friend, co-worker, or someone else—just aren’t hearing each other? Our relationships will never be better than the quality of our communication. My guest this week is Oren Jay Sofer, who is passionate about helping people to improve their communication abilities through what he describes as a mindful approach to nonviolent communication.
Topics that Oren and I explored in this area included:
- Why mindful presence is essential for communication
- How to foster presence amid constant distractions
- Mindfulness as balanced, clear awareness
- The effect of mindful presence on relationships
- Violence as any avoidable impairment of fundamental human needs
- Meeting needs as the primary intention of nonviolent communication
- How Marshall Rosenberg developed nonviolent communication
- The link between language and our willingness to enact violence on others
- The humanizing power of recognizing deeper needs that underlie apparent disagreement
- The need for inner silence in order to truly listen
- The fear that holds us back from really hearing another person
- The need for practice to make new communication strategies sound natural
- Needs as the link between events and emotions
Here’s a link to the case study that Oren described in which the Minnesota state legislature transcended party divisions to pass effective child custody legislature.
His book is available for purchase on Amazon and elsewhere: Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication. (A portion of each purchase made through this affiliate link will be used to support the podcast, at no additional cost to you.)
Oren Jay Sofer leads retreats and workshops on mindful communication at meditation centers and educational settings around the United States.
A graduate of the IMS-Spirit Rock Teacher Training Program, he holds a degree in Comparative Religion from Columbia University, teaches in the Insight Meditation community, and is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner and a Certified Trainer of Nonviolent Communication.
Oren creates mindfulness training programs for a number of organizations, including Mindful Schools, Kaiser Permanente, and 10% Happier. He lives in Richmond, California.
Find Oren online at his website where you can sign up for his newsletter and receive a free e-book and guided meditation series. Or, text the word “guided” to 44222.