LL Forum 2014

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Marieke van Vugt

Non-silent interaction meditation

If you are anything like me, you spend a good deal of time interacting with other people. Is it possible to integrate meditation in your interaction with others, and if so, what does it feel like? The attitude cultivated in meditation is one of openness, softness, and spaciousness. You can focus on the other person just like any other focus of meditation. This means that you are not focussing on something else, which is actually exceedingly rare these days. This in itself is already a large gift to the person you interact with, because we really see the other person, and don't we all spend a large portion of our time trying to be seen?


In addition to simply paying attention, we can develop our sense of kindness and empathy with the other person. We can see the other person as another "me", focusing on their needs and feelings, rather than our own. Instead of planning out our future, what we'll have for lunch and what errands we need to run (these are some of my favorite distractions), or contemplating what we're going to say next, we can just be with the other person. Instead you can try to really hear what the other person needs, and feel a sense of connectedness. I have heard that some meditation masters such as the 16th Karmapa were able to make everyone they met feel like they were the most amazing person he had ever met. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could make others feel that way? I think practising meditation while interacting with others could make a contribution to that.

What implications does this form of meditation/communication have? Of course it first and foremost changes the quality of the interactions we have with others. But on a larger scale, it may have implications for how we see ourselves. We construct our sense of self largely based on our relations with others and with the world. If we construct this sense of self less on our wants and needs, and on wanting to be heard, and more on how we are, this may make us more stable and happy. We then become less dependent on the outer circumstances, and may feel more connected to others. We no longer have to be so afraid that we are not good enough, or that we do not have enough.

A large portion of this blog was inspired by writings of and conversations with meditation teacher Gregory Kramer, who is a developer of Insight Dialogue, a form of relational meditation.

Comments   

 
0 # Liz 2013-10-31 18:03
Thanks for posting this, Marieke. I did a retreat with Gregory Kramer and I would highly recommend this opportunity to all who practice meditation. In fact, I hosted Gary Steinberg of Metta.org last year here in Burlington, VT and will be bringing him back for a one day retreat on Feb. 1, 2014. Insight Dialogue is powerful stuff and will really fire up your practice!
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