"3Chairs" Conversations Project
A Critical Mass of People in the World Practicing Empathic Communication This Decade
What is meant by “empathic communication” at this great scale of humanity? For me it is communication based in awareness, awareness of language that shapes consciousness into a “world” of disconnection, separation, suffering and violence; and it is awareness of language that brings us into a different world or reality, the world of our natural state of empathic connection — experiencing our commonality underlying our differences, feeling part of a larger wholeness together and the natural caring, kindness and cooperation that flows from this, particularly in how we respond to conflict, fear, hate, injustice and violence.
A vivid image flashed through my imagination — U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s famous speech pointing to the moon and saying we’ll be landing there by the end of the decade. Seemingly impossible. Breathtakingly bold and electrifying, to declare this vision as if it was already a reality, and then to fully commit the country’s resources to making it happen.
It suddenly struck me — a critical mass of people in the world with the ability to communicate empathically this decade. This coincides with what scientists, environmentalists, and social leaders are telling us, that we have this decade to make radical reductions in how much carbon is in the atmosphere, and more generally to reverse the collapse of Earth’s ecosystems, before we cross a potentially irreversible threshold to an unlivable planet.
I believe a critical mass of people with awareness, language, skills, and ability to communicate empathically is a missing and essential piece for humanity to be able to work together to respond to the many enormous and daunting social-environmental challenges before us. And I believe the way we get there is through seeing empathic communication as an integral part of health and wellness, creating a healthy and sustainable world for all people and all life on our planet. Given the direction politics is now taking, this feels even more impossible than flying to the moon. But let us, this generation in this decade, discover again that soaring inspiration, imagination, and groundswell leadership to come together to make the impossible possible.
I call this a "3Chairs" Conversations Project because I see being in this quality of conversation — empathic conversation — as embodying our unfolding journey through the "duality" of opposing and often conflicting perspectives (two chairs) held by our capacity to experience a "nondual" awareness (third chair) of unifying wholeness and new emergent possibilities. In essence, it is conversation based in mindfulness and language of Observation, Feeling, Need, and Request. My hope is that these conversations will inspire you to engage in such conversations, and that you will inspire others.