08 June 2010

Dharma Quote of the Week from Snow Lion

I thought this was an interesting way to look at amateur instructors...

"Many spiritual seekers are not yet ready to become the disciples of spiritual mentors. Their present levels of commitment may suit working only with Buddhism professors, Dharma instructors, or meditation or ritual trainers. Even if they are ready to commit themselves to the Buddhist path and to spiritual mentors, they may not yet have found properly qualified mentors. Alternatively, the spiritual teachers available to them may be properly qualified and may even have shown them great kindness. Yet, none seem right to be their mentors. They feel they can relate to them only as their Buddhism professors. Nevertheless, the Kadam style of guru-meditation may still help such seekers to gain inspiration from these teachers at the present stages of their spiritual paths.

Unless our spiritual teachers are total charlatans or complete scoundrels, all of them have at least some good qualities and exhibit at least some level of kindness. Our Buddhism professors, Dharma instructors, or meditation or ritual trainers may lack the qualities of great spiritual mentors. Still, they have some knowledge of the Dharma, some insight from applying the Dharma to life, or some technical expertise in the practice. Our teachers are kind to instruct us, even if their motivations contain the wish to earn a living. If we correctly discern and acknowledge whatever qualities and levels of kindness that our professors, instructors, or trainers in fact possess, we may derive inspiration, through guru-meditation, by focusing on them with conviction and appreciation."

--from Wise Teacher, Wise Student: Tibetan Approaches to a Healthy Relationship by Dr. Alexander Berzin, published by Snow Lion Publications

03 June 2010

mediation is like ATS

A few months ago, I took a 40-hour course in Mediation with Community Boards in San Francisco. The idea is that if all the mediators know what the outcome is to be-people in conflict create their own resolution-and they all use the same "tools." The mediators can come together without knowing each other or ever having worked together, and facilitate a resolution for the parties in conflict.
Impossible you say? Not really. I realized that it's like ATS. We have steps and formations that everyone agrees to, music that is a familiar format, and we all want the same outcome-a great show.
Today I participated in my first Mediation. There were two experienced Mediators to work with. We met 15 minutes prior to the start of the session. We got the case history 5 minutes prior to the parties arrival..sound familiar?
Piece of cake, really. We Mediators agreed as to who would be "points person", who would do "the welcome", who would do "confidentiality agreement", etc. Then we just "hit play" and the show started, as it were.
I was a bit nervous, being my first time, but it actually went really well. We were able to work with the parties and brought them to resolution.
It was like ATS. We all knew what we wanted to achieve-a favorable outcome for all involved-and we simply used the common "tools" and "vocabulary" to bring it about.

I'm hoping to use this new skill to offer a new service, Tribal Counsel. I'd like to make myself available to dancers (troupes, individuals) who are "stuck" and need help with business consultation, developing healthy troupe dynamics and tools for resolving conflict.

Talk to me.