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