Mountain Xpress Interview

Am I right or am I right? The spirit of compassionate communication

Posted on July 1, 2014 by Jordan Foltz


Xpress spoke with Jerry Donoghue to get a deeper perspective into his work with compassionate communication:

Xpress: What is at the root of people’s difficulty communicating compassionately?

Donoghue: We are conditioned within the right/wrong paradigm to make judgements and analyze others instead of expressing how we feel and what we want/value in any given situation. When judging others, we are often experiencing discomfort of some sort and are less inclined to want to empathetically connect with what the other is feeling or wanting/valuing. For example, if a friend calls me on the phone and spoke all about her exciting news and had to go before I got a chance to share my news, I could easily make the judgments: ‘she’s inconsiderate,’ or ‘she’s so self-centered, or ‘it’s all about her.’ But instead, I could express to this friend that I feel frustrated and want to be mutually heard. I could also acknowledge that she felt excited by her news and wanted to be heard. Once there is this need-based conection where nobody is wrong, we can think of ways to get both sets of needs met. More

Using Nonviolent Communication On A
Buddhist Graduated Nondual Spiritual Path

by Jerry Donoghue

(pdf download)

The work I present in the Inner Empathy book and basic NVC courses resides in a much larger nondual context. For me, there is tremendous value in using the NVC model as a navigation tool to do nondual spiritual work on a graduated path. Below is my understanding of how the NVC needs fit into a graduated path inspired by the Buddha. The path I lay out uses the four refutations of Nagarjuna’s tetralemma or fourfold path. Nagarjuna is one of the greatest Buddhist philosophers who founded the Madhyamaka school of Buddhism. He refutes the various positions we hold about ourselves and the world. I plugged needs-based language into his refutations to inspire understanding of how emptiness can be applied in very practical ways in our daily lives. More

My Personal Experience With The Language of Compassion—Nonviolent Communication

by Jerry Donoghue

(This article appeared in January 2006 issue of The Spirit In The Smokies magazine).

Many years ago I discovered Nonviolent Communication (NVC), the work of Marshall Rosenberg, PhD. The goal of NVC is an empathic connection through which all people’s needs can be met. From connection and mutual understanding, resolution, peace and harmony all happen naturally––and often effortlessly. The impact of this work in my life has been dramatic.

The NVC model is simple. It consists of stating an Observation, expressing Feelings, expressing the Needs associated with those feelings, then making a Request. I remember feeling frustrated when I first started practicing Nonviolent Communication, however, because what seemed simple on paper was very challenging for me. More