This article was written to present a very brief explanation of my passionate conviction about the little known connection between Marshall Rosenberg’s ‘Nonviolent Communication’ (NVC) model and the mandala model of mind and mental functioning that we find in Buddhist tradition. It is the first post in a series of articles on the closely related themes of Marshall Rosenberg’s ‘NVC’; and Eugene Gendlin’s ‘Focusing’ (a self-empathy/self-enquiry model) – and which can be found under ‘NVC/Focusing’ in the top menu.
I have also incorporated reflections on these themes into several of the articles in the introductory series on meditation and self-enquiry (under ‘Meditation’ above) – and in the other categories also. Summaries of those NVC/Focusing-related articles in other categories are available here.
One of my greatest inspirations has been the work of the late Marshall Rosenberg (October 6, 1934 – February 7, 2015), who wrote Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life. Rosenberg, and the world-wide community of students who have worked with him, have created an inspiring communication skills and self-awareness model that is deeper and more challenging than anything comparable. Marshall trained as a clinical psychologist, but worked outside the medical and academic mainstream. In using the term Nonviolent Communication (NVC for short) as the name of his model, he was consciously identifying himself with the intellectual tradition and with the struggles for social justice through nonviolent direct action, of Dr Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi.
Another Spontaneous Expression of the Universal Mandala-Wisdom
From my point of view, as a student of Consciousness and archetypal psychology, what makes NVC so interesting, is its obvious similarity with the mandala-wisdom that we find in Tibetan Buddhism, in Carl Jung’s archetypal psychology, in the Native North American ‘medicine wheel’ traditions, in the four ‘elements’ of Western Astrology, and in numerous other places. It is of the nature of the mandala archetype, that the same wisdom appears in many different cultural forms that have evolved entirely independently of each other. It seems that wherever, and whenever, individuals are seeking spiritual truth, we frequently see the emergence of this mandala-form wisdom, and in my view Marshall Rosenberg and the NVC tradition have made a profound and very practical contribution to that body of wisdom-knowledge.