Walkin' and Talkin'
In Oren Sofer’s great work on mindful communication, Say What You Mean, Sofer highlights the need to acknowledge the mutuality of dialogue - that we are in dialogue with someone. We can bring mindfulness to dialogue, he points out, by shifting our awareness from inside the body, where we are tuning in to our own experience, to outside the body, where we can tune in to how our interlocutor is experiencing the same conversation, and then back again, to our internal experience. By moving attention back and forth in this way, we can stay very present and deepen our connection, improving the odds that we fully hear what our counter-party is trying to communicate and the odds that we are heard.
Shifting attention like this takes some courage and some practice. One way to build the skill is to hone it when we are not in dialogue: specifically, combining walking meditation with this practice of internal/external awareness.
How do we do this? As we’re out for a walk, we can begin by paying close attention to the sensations that arise in the body from walking: the contact of feet with the ground, muscular movements that enable walking, air entering the lungs, the breeze or sunshine on the face…. And then we can shift our attention to what we notice in the environment around us: sights, sounds, and smells…. And then we shift attention back again to sensations and emotions present in and on the body…. And then outward again.
In this way, we begin to build our comfort and ease with moving our attention back and forth between our inner experience and the world around us, so that when we apply the technique while in dialogue, it feels more natural.
We invite you to give this a test run this week, while you’re out for a walk and then while you’re conversing with someone.
May all beings everywhere feel a sense of connection with the world and the people around them,
Your friends at CMP
This Week's Session Schedule
We hope you can join us at one of our community sits this week. All sessions are free and open to the public, suitable for new meditators and people with an established practice. There is no need to bring or wear anything special, and all sessions offered in libraries are done in chairs unless you prefer to bring your own yoga mat or meditation cushion.
Monday 6:30 PM - Ridgefield Library, 472 Main Street, Ridgefield
Monday 7:30 PM - Sama Yoga, 45 Grove Street, New Canaan
Tuesday 1:00 PM - Ferguson Library, 1 Public Library Plaza, Stamford
Wednesday 12:00 PM - New Canaan Library, 151 Main Street, New Canaan
Thursday 12:00 PM - Waveny Park, 677 South Avenue, New Canaan
Saturday October 5th 9AM - 4PM: Fall Silent Retreat at St. Paul's on the Green in Norwalk. We hope you can join us for a day of guided meditations. Visit CommunityMindfulnessProject.org for information and to register.
Update on Darien Library Sessions: Darien Library sessions are on hiatus until January 7th as the library undergoes some renovation. In January through March, we will meet every other Tuesday evening at 7PM. Until January, if you normally join us in Darien, we hope that you will join us the first Monday of each month in Fairfield (First Church Congregational, 7PM), or at Sama Yoga in New Canaan every Monday at 7:30 PM.
We Need Your Support
CMP thrives on donations. All of our weekly sessions are free and open to the public, but donations are essential to our sustainability. CMP is a licensed charity in the state of CT as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Checks, cash and credit cards are accepted and donations are tax deductible. Visit our website (www.CommunityMindfulnessProject.org) to donate by credit card. Checks can be given to facilitators at our weekly sits or mailed to Community Mindfulness Project, P.O. Box 1713, New Canaan, CT 06840.