It can be hard to communicate effectively and sincerely with our partners and those around us, yet this is exactly what we are called to do to create and sustain relationships and satisfying lives.
This is a mindfulness based exercise in couple communication designed to facilitate a deeper form of communication and intimacy in a couple relationship.
1. Intention: say with clarity and kindness what it is you want to say in this conversation. This will be framed in a mindfully compassionate way, even if it is your intention to separate, mindful dialogue can be used to do this in a more constructive and compassionate manner (e.g. consider the lessening of trauma on children if separation and divorce can be handled mindfully and not reactively).
2. Pause: breathe and connect with the present moment and set aside thoughts about the past of future, breathe into a mindful presence, relax into your body’s breathing and open into silence. Anchor point: (name of person in front of you) wants to be happy. Just like me.
3. Speak: each of you take a turn to speak with compassion and authenticity to the other, own your experience and be fully present with difficult feelings-feelings of hurt, aversion, grasping and state these as your truth, not “The Truth” or “the facts” . do not get involved with blame or recrimination.
4. Listen: both of you take a turn to listen with mind and body, deeply, to the others words, their story and their suffering with acceptance and connection. Can you radically accept what is happening right now? Remember acceptance is not agreeing or condoning, but learning to deeply empathise and be present with your experience and that of your partners. It is deepening your connection.
5. Inquire: take part in a kind inquiry, an opening and deepening into what is happening e.g. “how is this for you” or “what is the experience of having these thoughts/needs/etc like?” or “where is pain felt?” or “how can I help this person connect more fully with their experience?” or “what is happening in my body right now?”
6. Liberate: let thoughts go like clouds in the sky, letting go of any liking or disliking; accept their partners position(s) without judgement
This is a six stage process, yet not necessarily a linear one.
If you find you get distracted or lose your way simply go back to intention and pause, bringing yourself into a present moment awareness, relax and focus back into the conversation.