Mindfulness Practices cultivate our mind’s and hearts, and bring deep awareness about our own habitual ways of thinking. But sometimes, we need mindful practices that we can do in community with each other in order to help us to connect with each others and cultivate deeper relationships. In addition, communal mindfulness tools can help us to become more deeply aware of the biases we hold within groups of people and in our own communities. We need these intentional relational practices in which we can practice the art of conversation, deep listening, creativity with each other, and movement with others to form connection. The following are mindful community practices that Aarti uses in her training.
Deep Mindful Listening
Holding open space and deeply listening in a mindful way can help us to cultivate deeper relationships in our lives. It can also be a tremendous gift we can offer to our loved ones. We can train ourselves to hold space for others. Often times, when we listen, we form opinions about what the other person is saying to us. By practicing deep listening, we can begin to notice our own habits of when we don’t listen, or when we listen in a limited capacity. Once we understand how we listen, we can begin to learn how to let our own biases go, and hold open space for others. Deep Mindful Listening comes from Otto Sharmer’s 4 stages of listening from Theory U and Adam Lobel, a senior instructor in the Shambhala tradition.
Interplay is a fun, interactive way that allows us to unlock the wisdom that is present in our own body as well as wisdom that exists in a community. It is based in a series of incremental forms that lead participants to movement and stories, silence and song, ease and amusement. Interplay focus on the language of fun and play within a community, allowing connections to form and allowing new collective wisdom to emerge in surprising ways. You not have to think of yourself as “creative” to do Interplay. Interplay is for anyone and is tremendously beneficial in helping communities work together through the art of play.
The Art of Hosting
The Art of Hosting is a suite of methodologies and tools that can be used to host conversation in various settings. Tools include peace circles, world cafe, and open space technology. You can click here to learn more about the art of hosting and its suite of tools.
Restorative Justice and Peace Circles
My training in restorative justice and peace circles comes from Kay Pranis. Peace circles, originating in First Nations cultures, are gaining wide acceptance in the modern world. They are being used in schools, the justice system and other arenas. Circles are a way of holding space and bringing groups that are impacted together so that everyone in the circle has a chance to fully speak their feelings. They are a tremendous way to work through differences, find solutions to conflicts, and get to know others in the communities we are part of.