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    Session Seven -- Adam Curle s Tools for Transformation Adam Curle is an international mediator deeply influenced by the Quaker and Buddhist traditions. His
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 4, 2004
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      Session Seven -- Adam Curle’s Tools for Transformation


      Adam Curle is an international mediator deeply influenced by the Quaker and Buddhist traditions. His mediation efforts included encouraging a dialogue between the two sides in the Nigerian civil war (1967-1970).  (Jags NOTE I Lived in Nigeria for part of this conflict!!!) Here are some provocative quotes from his 1990 book, Tools for Transformation.


      Quotes & Questions for Discussion:


      1. Whether people are ordinary citizens or heads of state, they are equally capable of manifesting the great quality of wisdom and compassion and, the insidious venom of ignorance, hatred and greed. The former impels us to sensible and humane actions. The latter impels into creating conditions that weaken awareness and smother kindness and generosity.

      These “poisons” give rise internationally as well as personally, to extremes of physical violence, persecution and famine.

      . Can you give examples of these extremes in today’s world?

      . Have you experienced them?

      . How did you respond?


      2. The task for would-be peacemakers/ listeners must be on two levels. They must dig out the roots of un peacefulness within themselves; the blindness, the illusory sense of “I”, the cravings, antipathies, and guilt. Without this effort, however partially successful, they can never hope to have any real effect on others.

      . Do you think we have any of these roots? How would you “dig them out”.

      Do you think this is an once-in-a-lifetime job - or needs to be done many times?


      . How do these “roots” affect our listening?


      3. Listening, then, (working for peace) is working for the transformation of the world.

      This is not arrogant or foolish - if we… remember that everything we do or say has a universal impact. ... In this context to do NOTHING is to do SOMETHING.

      Listening mediation is a psychological effort to change perceptions, both of the conflict and of the “enemy” … to the extent that both protagonists gain some hope of a reasonable resolution and so are prepared to negotiate seriously.

      . How does listening change the speaker’s perceptions? Why do you think that would happen? In answering this, refer to your experiences of being listened to.


      4. Of his mediation work, Adam has this to say, which I believe applies equally well to Compassionate Listening:

      Quaker mediators have adopted a particular approach and style to their work. Its main characteristics are that it combines psychology with diplomacy and it tends to last a long time, years rather than months.

      Wars may drag on because each combatant has so distorted a perception of the other’s character that a non-military resolution seems impossible. That is the reason — when the time has come — we tell each side about the grievances and suffering of the other side — this is our attempt to bring about a change in understanding and includes continual interpretations of what the other side is saying, explanation of their attitudes, therapeutic listening and the development of a personal relationship of truths and friendship with the people we listen to on both sides. By such means tensions from hostility and anxiety may be reduced to a point where cautious hope prevails.


      . Do you think you can develop a trusting relationship with some one with whom you totally disagree - or can you find evidence of truth in both sides? How would you go about it?


      Adam Curle quotes Paolo Freire in helping us to understand this important treatment of oppression: The oppressed must not, in seeking to regain their humanity, become in turn oppressors, but rather restorers of the humanity of both.

      . How might your listening help the oppressed to reconsider the humanity of the oppressors? Do you have the patience to wait?


      7. Again Adam refers to Paolo Freire:

      However unpropitious the circumstances may seem to be, it is necessary to maintain a relationship with both sides. To maintain contact with the oppressor neither condones their actions, nor weakens support for and commitment to the oppressed: “to work for the liberation of the oppressed can be helped by communicating with the oppressors, for our goal is also to free the oppressor from the degradation in which they are trapped, and it cannot be realized unless there is contact between them.”

      . Do you think you could maintain a relationship with an oppressor over a long period of time? What would you need to sustain it?


      8. No one can pretend that non-violence is easy.

      It goes against all conventional habits of mind to love our enemies, to separate bad actions from those who commit them, to dissolve resentment and resign the prospect of revenge in an all inclusive love. But attitudes of violence are simply bad habits superimposed on a mind that is eternal and universal. Fundamentally the doctrine of non-violence is more natural than the dismal teachings of vengeance and retribution.

      . Do you believe this is true, that violence is a bad habit? What does Adam mean to you when he says these habits are “superimposed on a mind that is eternal and universal?” How might you define the cause of violence? How would you eliminate this bad habit? (If you think you have it?) Can you accept Adam’s definition of violence? Do you have another one?


      Homework and Class Exercises



      The ideal way is to select a street in your town to listen to. Take a few blocks.

      Ask a friend to go with you. Each of you should take one side of the street. Check with one another from time to time.

      Then you ring doorbells. You explain to the resident that you are doing a survey  in Compassionate Listening and you would like to ask them a few questions about suffering in your area.


      Here are the questions:

      1. What kinds of suffering do you see in our town today?

      2. What do you think our city should do about it?

      3. What personal action do you think citizens should take to help?

      4. (If it seems appropriate ask) How do you handle your suffering?

      5 Report back to your class.




      Here are some exercises that will help you start expanding your capacity to hold conflicts more compassionately, beginning with material from your own life.

      . Can you write a letter of appreciation to a politician with whom you disagree strongly?

      In the course of life we can come to see that even the most painful experiences can have deep lessons to teach use, or deep strengths to evoke from us.

      . Can you write a love letter to a person you hate? Describe to them what they did that felt hurtful. Then, how would you tell the person what you have learned and/or how you have grown?

      Can you thank them? How does it feel, stretching yourself this far?


      That's the Seven lessons

      I hope they have been of benefit


      In Lak´ech


      I received this from a Lovely lady back in March when I first shared this series - Marcia - Thanks Marcia

      Here's an interesting cyber conversation with God.

      God: Hello. Did you call me?
      Me: Called you? No, who is this?
      God: This is GOD. I heard your prayers. So I thought I will chat.
      Me: I do pray. Just makes me feel good. I am actually busy now.
      am in the midst of something.
      God: What are you busy at? Ants are busy too ...
      Me: Don't know. But I can’t find free time. Life has become hectic.
      It's rush hour all the time.
      God: Sure. Activity gets you busy. But productivity gets you results.
      Activity consumes time. Productivity frees it.

      Me: I understand. But I still can't figure out. By the way,
      I was not expecting YOU to buzz me on instant messaging chat.
      God: Well I wanted to resolve your fight for time,
      by giving you some clarity. In this net era,
      I wanted to reach you through the medium you are comfortable with.

      Me: Tell me, why has life become complicated now?
      God: Stop analyzing life. Just live it. Analysis is what makes it

      Me: Why are we then constantly unhappy?
      God: Your today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday.
      You are worrying because you are analyzing.
      Worrying has become your habit. That's why you are not happy.
      Me: But how can we not worry when there is so much uncertainty?
      God: Uncertainty is inevitable, but worrying is optional.
      Me: But then, there is so much pain due to uncertainty.
      God: Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.
      Me: If suffering is optional, why do good people always suffer?
      God: Diamond cannot be polished without friction.
      Gold cannot be purified without fire.
      Good people go through trials, but don't suffer.
      With that experience their life becomes better not bitter.

      Me: You mean to say such experience is useful?
      God: Yes. In every term, Experience is a hard teacher. She gives
      the test first and the lessons afterwards.

      Me: But still, why should we go through such tests? Why can’t
      we be free from problems?
      God : Problems are Purposeful Roadblocks Offering Beneficial
      Lessons to Enhance Mental Strength.
      Inner strength comes from struggle and endurance,
      not when you are free from problems.

      Me: Frankly in the midst of so many problems, we don't know where
      we are heading.
      God: If you look outside you will not know where you are heading.
      Look inside. Looking outside, you dream.
      Looking inside, you awaken. Eyes provide sight. Heart provides insight.
      Me: Sometimes not succeeding fast seems to hurt more
      than moving in the right direction.
      What should I do?
      God: Success is a measure as decided by others.
      Satisfaction is a measure as decided by you.
      Knowing the road ahead is more satisfying than knowing
      you rode ahead. You work with the compass.
      Let others work with the clock.
      Me: In tough times, how do you stay motivated?
      God: Always look at how far you have come rather than how
      far you have to go. Always count your blessing, not what you are missing.

      Me: What surprises you about people?
      God: When they suffer they ask, "why me?" When they
      prosper, they never ask "Why me".
      Everyone wishes to have truth on their side, but few want
      to be on the side of the truth.

      Me: Sometimes I ask, who am I, why am I here. I can’t get the answer.
      God: Seek not to find who you are, but to determine who you
      want to be. Stop looking for a purpose as to why you are here.
      Create it.
      Life is not a process of discovery but a process of creation.

      Me: How can I get the best out of life?
      God: Face your past without regret. Handle your present
      with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.

      Me: One last question. Sometimes I feel my prayers are not
      God: There are no unanswered prayers.
      Me: Thank you for this wonderful chat.
      I am so happy to start the day with a new sense of inspiration.
      God: Well, Keep the faith and drop the fear. Don't believe your
      doubts and doubt your beliefs. Life is a mystery to solve,
      not a problem to resolve.Trust me. Life is wonderful if you know how to live.

      Best wishes for a good day.

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