Spiritual Safety Outline

As a new, spiritually safe, community paradigm is held in mind by more people each day, the idea of uncovering a more vital space, that nurtures honest Human connection is being formed. The purpose of this article is to foster this new idea, by directing more attention to the subtler elements of relationship and healthy interpersonal connection. In other words, regarding the purpose of this writing, safety is supported by simply noticing a COMMON intention for coming together; for example, to connect with one another, to learn and grow in our understanding of that connection and in the process of change which brings us closer to that experience. In the truth of EQUALITY, each Human is contributing to the overall standard of the community space. The attributes, characteristics, and general quality of a community space are formed by focusing attention on the INTENTION of the choices made that define the space. A space of compassionate empowerment develops around community members as they accept and support a COMMON INTENTION and choose how best to meet the needs of individuals (including their own needs) while honoring the ACTUAL CHOICES made by individuals. *Holding the common intention in mind first, and then choosing to witness the actual choices of individuals (the latter in the light of the former), provides a superior viewpoint from which many life-affirming perspectives are available.
Certain qualities of a healthy community space support connection, emotional safety, and comfortable learning among us. Please, allow the following three examples to guide your understanding:
1. INCLUSIVENESS (where each person is invited and given the space to be heard, where your needs matter as much as my own)
2. AUTHENTICITY (where I vulnerably express my own feelings & needs as best I can)
3. EMPATHY (where I strive to hear feelings and needs no matter what is being said, where I give each person plenty of space until that person has been fully heard without judgement, without making right or wrong, without demands)
*The conditions that I just mentioned are worth restating now:
“Without judgement, without right or wrong, without demands” ; these aspects of
communication can be points of departure from honest clarity, depending on the sense with which they are used. So, a verbal expression stated “without judgement, right or wrong, or demands” has a better chance of being accepted and validated, in other words, “truly heard”.
**A quick way to determine whether an expression is a demand or a request: the qualifier in both cases is the emotional reaction.
DEMAND -an ultimatum in which a specific outcome is expected, required, or insisted on; AND if any other outcome will trigger a negative emotional reaction (like resentment, anger, shame or guilt) I call this a demand.
REQUEST -if a specific strategy is suggested, and it’s ok if it doesn’t happen right away, or if an alternate strategy is acted on and if there is no negative emotional reaction to this, I call this a request. If a person asks for something and is ok to wait indefinitely with no negative emotional reaction, then I would call it a request.
Honestly fulfilling a REQUEST feels good to everyone involved, as true compassion is naturally enjoyable; conversely, meeting the conditions of a DEMAND feels odd to some, wrong to others, and feels contrived in general due to the inherent disrespect involved.
As the treatment of requests/demands, in this article is simply understated, an anecdotal flashback might help to expose their subtle, transmutable, and distinguishing essences. Once upon a time, my long lost and estranged great uncle Sammy, in need of nourishment, expressed an eloquent, clear request to his friend for some “left-over roast beef, ..please.” This was all he needed to have done, to have made a true request. Unfortunately, Sammy got mad after hearing that the leftover roast beef was going to be made into sandwiches for the children, and attacked his friend with a nearby fresh baguette… Thus changing the nature of his expression from a request, into a demand. Sammy fell into the shifty request-demand-dichotomy boobytrap, through his unconscious habit of valuing self-importance, as he defended his situation of dissatisfaction with an impulsive lashing out. *Ironically, Sammy was from France where bread is pain.
Next, I will attempt to clarify an inconvenient communication hazard. “ASSUMPTIONS”; these ideas give us the opportunity to make ASSES of ourselves.
One way to think about an assumption is in the light of “the scientific method”. An hypothesis that is taken for granted as certain truth and even thought of as a “general theory”, without specific current context is often an assumption. Presumptions, extrapolations and inferences are only three among a long list of logical processes that can keep assumptions operating, and often outside of awareness. Many assumptions are implied unintentionally, and some are embedded into expressions for convention. A shift in communication style, toward a more intentional use of language, is one approach to clarifying any problematic ideas being expressed; particularly if assumptions are involved in the difficulties of understanding. Assumption, in its many forms, has been a favorite imponderable subject of many philosophers, ancient to contemporary. Don Miguel Ruiz, author of “The 4 agreements”, invites readers to “make no assumptions”; An assignment that leads many of his more faithful students to conclude that assumptions, at some level, cannot be avoided. “Assuming” that this is a common conclusion, one reasonable idea is to agree in advance on as many assumptions as necessary, for clearer communications.
The following list was provided by the Center for Nonviolent Communication, and adapted to suit the style of this article. While learning NVC, Human Beings study personal relation, levels of connection, the language of true intimacy, and modes of authentic empathy, in order to resolve conflict with respect and equanimity. CNVC recommends mindfully choosing to make only the following 10 assumptions:
1. All human beings share the same needs:
We all have the same basic needs, although the strategies we use to meet these needs can differ greatly.
Conflict occurs at the level of strategies, not at the level of needs.
2. The planet Earth and the world of Humanity, together, offer sufficient resources for meeting everyone’s basic needs:
Among the Humans today, any perceived lack of resource is due to a current systemic limitation, a crisis of imagination, or a lack of skills for fostering connection.
3. All actions and all movements are attempts to meet needs:
Our desire of necessity, whether conscious or unconscious, stimulates the motion of Human life. 4. Feelings point to needs being met or unmet:
Feelings may be triggered by, but
not caused by others.
Our feelings arise directly out of our experience of whether our needs SEEM, TO US,
unmet in a given circumstance.
5. All Human beings have the capacity for compassion:
We have an innate capacity for compassion, though not always the knowledge of how to access it.
6. Human beings enjoy giving:
We inherently enjoy contributing to others when we have connected with our own and others’ needs and can experience our giving as coming from choice.
7. Human beings meet needs through interdependent relationships:
When others’ needs are not met, some needs of our own also remain unmet.
8. Human beings change:
all of us are dynamic processes, not static entities.
9. Choice is internal:
Regardless of the circumstances,
we can meet our need for autonomy by making conscious choices based on awareness of needs.
10. The most direct path to understanding is through self-connection: …period.
Now I thank you for generating the courage required to read this article. Spiritual safety is created with this same courage.



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