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Culture of Empathy Builder:  Jesse Wiens

Jesse Wiens & Edwin Rutsch: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Zen NVC

Jesse Wiens is an internationally recognized Center for Nonviolent Communication Certified Trainer and the founder of ZENVC, an approach to the practice of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) that integrates meditation, mindfulness, and inner work. He has a passion for bringing the best of Eastern and Western wisdom to bear on the problems of today, supporting individuals, couples, and communities to come back into wholeness. In this, he draws from seven years of living and practicing in Zen monasteries, as well as training with NVC founder Marshall Rosenberg, Center for Understanding in Conflict co-founder Gary Friedman, and BayNVC's Restorative Justice program at San Quentin State Prison.
From 2006 to 2007, Jesse sat on the Ethics and Reconciliation Council of San Francisco Zen Center, where he co-wrote the guide for resolving conflicts internally within the community. More recently, he has been the creative force behind, a global resource for tools and information about empathy, and home base for the International Day for Empathic Action.

How to build a culture of empathy?

  • Create opportunities for people to share and bear witness to each other's celebrations (gratitudes) and mournings (grief/despair/sadness) in a group.
  • Create opportunities for people to share silence together, and bear witness to their own breath.
  • Familiarize yourself with the many ways that people are disempowered in our culture, and understand how the two suggestions above empower people; use these understandings as a springboard to raise questions and spark critical and creative discussions with others
  • Jesse says empathy is like a rubber band. It gets stretched out and that's fear, anxiety, disconnection, etc. It automatically comes back into  the natural shape.
    Sub Conference: NVC







Jesse Wiens & Edwin Rutsch: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Zen NVC





  • 00:00 Introduction

  • (transcription pending)

  • (Video Transcriptions: If you would like to take empathic action and create a transcription of this video, check the volunteers page.  The transcriptions will make it easier for other viewers to quickly see the content of this video.)