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Mindful, Communicative Kindness
Transcript of Mindful, Communicative Kindness
Remember that the more you experience a mind or heart state, the more you cultivate or nurture it. The more you experience a state, the easier it will be to generate and the more you are inclined to experience that state spontaneously in the future (mind and heart states are a matter of habit).
Mindful, Communicative Kindness
Cultivate the Wholesome
The Buddha used the word "bhāvāna" to describe what we think of as meditation. "Bhāvāna" actually means "cultivation." To the historical Buddha, meditation was about cultivating the wholesome and abandoning the unwholesome (or not allowing it to arise in the first place).
The Aspirations of
Mindful, Communicative Kindness
wholesome mind and heart states and
beneficial circumstances in society and the world.
Wholesome Mind and Heart States
Wholesome, or skillful mind and heart states are often referred to in a way that implies the absence of unwholesome states (i.e., non-hatred, non-greed, and non-delusion). You can also think of these in a positive way:
openness and generosity, &
All helpful mind and heart states arise
(or the absence of their opposites).
Unwholesome Mind and Heart States
Unwholesome mind and heart states include (and arise from) greed, hatred, and ignorance. These unwholesome or unskillful ways of thinking and feeling lead to suffering. Moreover, they result in speech and action that is harmful.
Each person's consciousness has the potential for many different mind and heart states, ranging from happiness, joy, equanimity, generosity, openness, and love to sorrow, grief, stress, greed, aversion, and hatred. According to Buddhist psychology, the more you experience a state, the more it becomes a habit of mind and heart. This is an aspect of what modern neuroscience calls "neuroplasticity." Each potential state is like a seed that can be nurtured or neglected. You can change and train your brain.
A presentation by Clay McLeod
Owner and operator of
Advocacy & Educational Fieldwork
Mindful, communicative kindness is
when both speaker and listener work together in mutual awareness to deliberately share meaning with one another in ways which support truth and wisdom, unclouded by ignorance, in order to reduce suffering, for speaker, listener, and others, from a perspective of profound respect for, and a sense of communion with, one another and all phenomena.
Mindful, communicative kindness incorporates an understanding of the profound interdependence of phenomena, and it derives from a wholehearted aspiration to connect with others and cultivate wholesome mind and heart states in oneself and others, as well as beneficial circumstances in the world.
Let's unpack that rather
Speaker and Listener Together
The word "communicate" is related to the words
"communion" and "community."
Communication implies seeking the common:
sharing and unification.
Communication is sharing meaning.
This is an antidote to the ignorance that stems from the prevalent modern Western worldview of separation, competition, and alienation.
True communication can be connection & integration in action.
Mindfulness can be defined as
"the moment-to-moment non-judgmental scrutiny of present physical and mental experiences, including intentions, perceptions, sensations, emotions, feelings, and thoughts, through calm and focused awareness."
To communicate clearly, it is helpful to be aware of what you're really thinking, what the best way to say it might be, and how the other person seems to be feeling when he or she hears you. When you are aware of these things, you are more likely to understand the other person and have him or her understand you. This kind of awareness improves connection and reduces the chances of misunderstanding.
A Pāli term often translated as "suffering" or "unsatisfactoriness." It can also be translated as stress, sorrow, affliction, pain, anxiety, dissatisfaction, discomfort, anguish, misery, or aversion.
It manifests in the world as illness, violence, war, discrimination, oppression, exploitation, poverty, marginalization, and ecological degradation.
The intention of mindful, communicative kindness is to reduce suffering.
Communion and Interdependence
"It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality. Did you ever stop to think that you can't leave for your job in the morning without being dependent upon most of the world? You get up in the morning and go to the bathroom and reach over for the sponge, and that's handed to you by a Pacific Islander. You reach for a bar of soap, and that's given to you at the hands of a Frenchman. And then you go into the kitchen to drink your coffee for the morning and that is poured into your cup by a South American. And maybe you want tea: that's poured into your cup by a Chinese. Or maybe you desire to have cocoa for breakfast, and that's poured into your cup by a West African. And then you reach over for your toast, and that's given to you at the hands of an English-speaking farmer, not to mention the baker. And before you finish your breakfast in the morning, you've depended on more than half the world. This is the way our universe is structured, that is its interrelated quality. We aren't going to have peace on earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
In fact, all people and things are fundamentally and profoundly interconnected and interdependent.
We are profoundly connected to one another.
This means that the reduction of suffering for one means the reduction of suffering for all.
When you look at the facets of each jewel in Indra's net, you see all the other millions of jewels reflected by those facets.
As Thich Nhat Hanh puts it,
"the one is present in the all, and the all is present in the one."
Because of our fundamental interdependence, our mind and heart states have an impact on the mind and heart states of others; the quality of our presence, including thoughts, words, and actions, has implications for others. When we train our brains, the impact isn't limited to ourselves!
Moreover, wholesome mind and heart states lead to beneficial circumstances in the world, so when we train our brains, we are taking care of the whole world.
It is kindness in action when one is mindful of the impact of one's thoughts, words, and actions, as well as the circumstances of the person that one is communicating with. When one is mindful in this way, kindness naturally arises.
When one adds to this kindness in action an awareness of the connection one shares with that other person and the interdependence all people share with all things, that communication becomes a powerful force for good in the world.
Putting effort into generating and strengthening wholesome and skillful mind and heart states in oneself and nurturing them in others reduces suffering and makes happiness and peace possible.
The energy that arises from these kinds of interactions has the potential to change the entire world for the better.
The hall at Birken Forest Monastery (Find out more at http://birken.ca/)