My understanding of NVC Consciousness and OFNR
What is NVC consciousness and OFNR to me?
NVC consciousness is about intentions. With what intentions am I approaching my environment? If I am approaching a situation with the intention to connect, it is NVC. If I am approaching my environment with the intention to only look after myself, it is not NVC. If I approach a situation to honor both my needs and another person’s needs, it is NVC. If I am ok with not all needs being met, I am practicing NVC.
NVC to me is all about connecting with others. Connecting with others is possible only if I am fully connected to myself. My entire self — good, bad, ugly, beautiful everything. It is not about rationalizing. It is about experiencing and accepting my entire self at the bodily level.
OFNR is the framework that helps in manifesting the above consciousness. Both feed into each other. NVC consciousness strengthens OFNR. A strong OFNR helps in getting established in NVC consciousness when there is a storm on my senses from the environment.
The human body is designed for survival. In that narrow sense, it just keeps running towards safety and away from threats. All of us operate from these needs. They are universal and there is nothing good or bad about them. NVC consciousness helps put this in perspective. If all of us are doing the same, can we honor those needs and do it collectively? Through this intention, I see myself in everyone and everyone in me. It makes life less of a race and more of a journey.
Observations are raw things I experience through my senses. Senses of touch, vision, audio, thoughts, smell, and taste. There is absolutely no interpretation. However, the way the human body is designed, interpretations of the environment and self are very quick. They help us survive. Interpretations are not bad, just instinctive.
The one job of NVC consciousness is to increase this time between observation and interpretation. NVC consciousness help’s me to just stay with my raw observations and be curious about the intentions. It helps me to reach out to others and myself and discover intentions and co-create interpretations of the observations
Example: I hear a man say, “All Muslims are Taliban”. I instantly interpret that he is a jerk. OFNR asks me to just be with what has hit my senses as it is. No desire to change it or interpret it. When I do this, I realize that I observe his words, I hear his sharp tone and I notice a trembling sensation in my body. This is it. I stop here. At deeper levels, I also observe my thoughts of judgments towards him. They also say something to me about myself.
Our senses are grounded in a context especially our sense of Mind. Thus Observations land differently on different senses. They are unique to each individual. The core characteristic of Observation is not that they are objective, it is that they are neutral(devoid of any charge of interpretations). Observations don't change. When I try and get in touch with them multiple times they still remain the same. Interpretations would keep changing.
To elaborate on the above example, my sense of hearing may pick up the sharpness in the tone of man’s voice more precisely than others and thus may trigger more ripples in my reservoir of energy than others. When I am in the observation state, I just honor the precision of the sharp voice.
Feelings and Needs
All of this triggered some feelings and needs in me. These needs and feelings are 100% my responsibilities. Everyone who would come in contact with these words from the man will have their own unique version of feelings and needs and thus they are 100% property of that individual.
The internal timing between an external object coming in contact with the body and these feelings and needs getting triggered is minuscule and thus we often give the causality to the external object. We blame it for our feelings and needs. NVC consciousness and OFNR teaches us to differentiate between external objects and our Feelings and Needs and thus encourage us to take 100% responsibility for our feelings and needs.
Needs are the quality of being or the natural/inherent energy in our being. The external objects and their observations do create a tremor and ripple in this energy and thus this energy generates a motion. This energy in motion is called emotion or feelings. We all are born with and have our unique reservoir of energy (Needs) and it has a unique way of flowing (Feelings) Our body is just a carrier of these needs and feelings.
In the above example, when I hear the man and my thoughts, my feelings of concern, disgust, and fear get triggered in my body. When I honor these feelings as it is, I get in touch with my need for peace and understanding.
Requests are the pragmatic tools that ground NVC consciousness in the practical world. Instinctively we keep desiring for things to change. Survival makes us run towards safety and away from threats. Thus we keep placing our demands either on ourselves or others. When we do this, we put all responsibility on one side to fulfill our needs and feelings.
However, when I am grounded in NVC consciousness of connection. I recognize that I live in a co-created world. I call out what is the unique impact on me of the observations. I accept my unique reservoir of energy and the way it flows in my body. I engage with the external environment or myself from this impact.
In the above example, I tell the man that I feel concerned and afraid when I hear him say this. I have a need to understand why he thinks all Muslims are Taliban. I make a request to him to tone down his voice and clarify his words. I make a request to myself to engage with him. If I am able to understand him, and engage with him my energy reservoir will restore its original nature.
Thus through requests, I can practically engage with my objects and have conversations with them and build a peaceful world for us.