August 10, 2010

Learning To Listen

“I would not look upon anger as something foreign to me that I have to fight...I have to deal with my anger with care, with love, with tenderness, with nonviolence.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames
Robotson and I have had so many great conversations while reading Anger.  His ability to understand and relate our reading to other things in his life amazes me.  I considered writing a separate post about the connections he made between watering negative seeds, and Anakin Skywalker.  Instead, he'll be doing a guest post soon.  I am so proud of his insights.

Yesterday, we were reading the chapter on compassionate communication: the ability to listen deeply to another person so that they really feel heard and understood.  It's also listening without judgment; something I can and should be able to do for my children.  Robotson immediately loved the idea, and suggested we put it into practice when Dimples came downstairs crying.  She didn't really want to talk, but we tried.  A little while later, I had a chance to listen to him as he recalled an incident with the boys down the street.  The mom part of me had a hard time stifling the urge to give advice, but he seemed relieved to be heard.

Each time we read, I feel like we are really connecting with each other.  We are both recognizing our problems with anger, and the other negative "seeds" within us.  Together, we are learning to accept that anger is a part of who we are.  And we are gaining a better understanding of each other in the process.

I'd really like to explore more Buddhist principles here, as I learn them.  I don't think I'll ever consider myself a Buddhist, but I like the concepts of mindfulness and connectedness.  I want to write more about non-religious parenting again, so I think it ties in rather nicely.


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  2. I've requested a copy from the library. Thanks for the recommendation.