Comments: All Behavior Makes Sense

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Trime Persinger, Lexington KY     08/08/04
Author's reply to David McCain
In your message you ask, "How do you practice this perspective in real time? How do you reframe your internal judgements that are portrayed non-verbally to others? What words allow this type of life-giving connection?" This is a very important question. It's one thing to know it and quite another to do it. First, I meditate daily. That has helped me to see myself and others with more clarity and also more compassion. I more easily see where I'm fooling myself, where I'm harsh, where I'm stuck. I have been a student in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition for 17 years--see Second, I practice the skills in low-stress situations. When I went through my own training at the Justice Institute of British Columbia, I was a realtor. I started using the skills I was learning in ordinary conversations with clients, with colleagues, with friends. I would repeat back what someone had just told me. I would ask an open question instead of a closed question. I started really listening to what people were trying to tell me. Starting with low-stress situations achieved two things: first, it gave me a skills base to call on when I am in conflict and my mind isn't working well (there is a negative correlation between stress level and mental function--when one goes up the other goes down), and second, it altered my world view. I started to learn things about my world that I had never known before. It softened me and helped me to really see things from others' points of view. It was amazing. I became both more humble and more curious. I realized how much I had been hiding in my own view. I started to open up. So it's not just about reframing internal judgments. It goes back before that, to seeing the judgments themselves as judgments and not as the truth. It's also not about choice of words. It's about "getting out of the way", really listening to the other person. The greatest gift we can give someone is to see him as he sees himself. I hope that this is helpful. Trime Persinger

David McCain, San Diego CA     06/29/04
You are singing my song, Ms. Persinger!!!
I love it. This article resonants with my value of connecting with others where they are rather than where I want them to be around the mediation table and around the dinner table. A coupled questions: How do you practice this perspective in real time? How do you reframe your interal judgements that are portrayed non-verbally to others? What words allow this type of life-giving connection? A tool that I use to practice the "all behavior makes sense" worldview is called Non-violent Communication (NVC). This communication model gives a four-step process focused on sharing and hearing observation, feelings, needs and requests. When we are able to connect to another's needs (which are the same as our own) we are more able to see the "sense" behind the behavior. This strengthens our ability to be compassionate and non-judgmental and effective as mediators human beings relating to other human beings :) Dave *For more information, please look at the website ( or shoot me a mail :)

MEM , Wilmington DE   06/29/04
Loved your article. I think it took courage and daring to write it. So much of what we do focuses on skills. What I hear you saying is much more about use of self and self consciousness, which is always the most challanging part of mediation and relationships. Thanks for surfacing traditional roots of negotiation and relationship and would like to hear more from you. Mary Elizabeth Mical