At today’s meeting Barry Nobel presented on the topic of mindfulness-based conflict resolution as it applies to the work Rotary is doing in seeking peace.

Here are a few highlights from his presentation:

  • Nationally, there are more than 500,000 divorces per year.
    • 40% of births are to unmarried parents.
    • 50% of all children will live with a single parent at some point.
  • Lane County Family Mediation assists more than 1,200 parents per year.
  • We may fall victim to Confirmation Bias:
    • “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” – Anais Nin
    • “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” – Daniel Patrick Moynihan
  • The Fundamental Attribution Error comes from the idea that if you don’t agree with someone, they must be evil (corrupt), crazy (wing nut), stupid (naive), or selfish (greedy; lazy).
  • Fight or Flight reactivity may be life-saving.
  • Blaming can backfire.

Mindfulness-Based Conflict Engagement (MBCE) focuses on:

  • Mindfulness – the value of training attention
    • “…the faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention over and over again is the very root of judgment, character, and will…education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence.” – William James
    • “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The later procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular.” Carl Jung
  • Empathy
    • “Who sees inside from outside? Who finds hundreds of mysteries even where minds are deranged? See through his eyes what he sees. Who then is looking out from his eyes?” – Rumi (13th century)
    • “Seek first to understand and then to be understood.” Stephen Covey
    • Connection before correction.
  • LifeView
    • “The unlike is joined together, and from differences results the most beautiful harmony, and all things take place by strife.” Heraclitus (6th – 5th century BCE)
  • Authentic & Compassionate Action

3 MBCE Tips for Engaging with Conflict

  • Speed Kills
    • Develop mindfulness (especially of the body)
    • “Catch it early”
    • Take a conscious breath or a time-out
  • Connection before correction
    • Listen; listen longer; listen for needs.
    • Paraphrase & summarize.
    • Look for the nod of agreement
  • Say only that which is honest, respectful, AND effective.
    • Focus on areas of agreement first.
    • There’s enough to meet everyone’s needs.
    • Encourage incremental change with self-compassion!