What is Harmony Restoration?
Harmony Restoration is the process we use when we find ourselves stretched and overwhelmed. We seek harmony when we need to center our hearts on the basic foundations of dharma, in order to extend our kindness and compassion to others. When we are unable to settle ourselves from our own side, that is, when we are faced with a problem or “challenge,” we can go through the Harmony Restoration process to once again find our center.
How can it help us?
When you find yourself stretched and overwhelmed it can be difficult to know what to do. The Harmony Restoration program, based in dharma, gives you guidance. This program will provide you with new communication skills which focus on dharma. These skills will help you overcome the feelings that stretched and overwhelmed you. Applying them to your challenge will allow you to settle yourself and restore harmony with others.
Why Should I Participate?
Experience has taught us that it is difficult to sit and talk with someone we don’t like. How we handle uncomfortable situations, especially when we aren’t feeling our best, comes down to what skills we have. Harmony Restoration builds on the meditation skills you already have, while teaching you additional communication and listening skills. Like all new things, it will take time to develop these skills. As you practice them, you will find yourself stretched and overwhelmed less and less.
Introduction to Compassionate Communication
Compassionate communication is how you communicate from the heart. It is an intutive thing, but requires awareness. Developing this awareness is a process and the following steps can help you do so. First, take a moment to reflect on what happened. What circumstances brought you to this point? Take another moment to reflect on what is happening right now. Look at the other person or people here with you—what is their body posture? Notice what is going on around you. Where are you? Try not to judge what you observe, just explore and describe as best you can.
Next, notice how you feel. What are you feeling right now, in this moment? Anger? Fear? Sadness? Hurt? Excitement about a resolution? Your feelings may be complex and confusing. You may be hurt and angry at the same time. That’s ok. Take a few deep meditative breaths. It is important to take a few minutes on this step. Most emotions only last several minutes, so as you breathe, your emotions will change.
After you have a sense of what you are feeling, then you can work on forming a statement about what you need or desire. This can be difficult. Expressing your needs is an opening of your heart and showing a part of yourself to others. You first need to open up compassion to yourself. Compassionate speech begins with how you speak to yourself and express your needs to yourself.
It is important to be clear. Use short simple statements. To start with, avoid the words, “and,” “because,” or “for instance.” Reflect on how your statements are both compassionate towards yourself and towards the person you are speaking to. Remember, you are compassionately formulating your needs at this time.
Now that you have your statements of needs, remember them or write them down. In a few minutes there will be further instructions on how to communicate them to the other person.
A few suggestions
- We listen with more than just our ears, so sometimes we need to pay attention to how something is said, or how someone looks when they say it. Likewise, it may be more important to listen only to the words. If you see one message and hear another, ask if you understand correctly what is being said.
- Take your time! Applying a new skill is not an easy process.
- “I need you to know I feel angry.” This is a needs statement that can be communicated with compassion for both yourself and the listener.
- “I feel sad” is very different from “I am sad.” You cannot be sadness, however you can feel sadness.
- Solutions may involve the broader community or may take time to implement.
Start communicating compassionately with each other. One person starts by expressing the needs statement they formulated earlier. Only express one statement at a time. If you need to, flip a coin to determine who should go first. While listening, listen compassionately. Hear with your heart and respond with a statement in your own words that compassionately expresses what you understood.
Communicate Again, and Again…..
Repeat the process above for each need statement, and then for each party. Understanding and bring yourself back to center is the most important thing. It is possible that you have found yourself back at your center, and still have a practical issue to solve. That’s ok, Now that you and the other person are centered, using compassionate communication, finding a solution to this challenge is within your reach.
Sit and meditate together.