Mediation vs Meditation
Imagine the scene, I am at a party and the canapés are being offered along with glasses of Asti, which the host is passing off as champagne. The conversation between the guests is slowly becoming more and more animated, as a result of it being fueled by the free alcohol which the mingling guests consume faster and faster. I make my way round the room, putting on one of my most sincere smiles, which I am told looks like a grimace. I decide to approach a couple, who look more interested in the content of their champagne flutes than each other. “Lovely party. How do you know the host?” The wife stood in silence and her husband said he was a work colleague. I introduced myself giving my name and the couple reciprocated in the usual way. As with all these conversations, I was asked the question, “What do you do?” I replied by saying that I was in the mediation business. At this point the wife turned and asked if I ran yoga classes as well, as she had always wanted to try it. I replied, “Me-di-a-tion”, thinking that the background noise of the party had caused the misunderstanding. “I know, I heard you the first time.” I decided to smile and said replied that flexibility was very important in life and that sadly I did not run such classes and that she should to try her local leisure centre.”
Resolving Conflict in Mediation
I want to start by saying that I actually do both – mediation professionally and meditation in the quiet of my home. The career I have chosen is one that faces conflict on a daily basis and that is not always easy and therefore meditation is essential in helping me maintain my own personal balance. I see my role in mediation as also keeping a balance between personalities and emotions. If one takes over, the mediation will falter, and it is my duty to step in to restore the equilibrium that is required for constructive conversation to take place.
The flyer for our firm has the words from the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, printed in bold, “Dialogue is the most effective way of resolving conflict.” When the words have stopped between parents or separating couples the lives of the people concerned go on hold. My aim as a mediator is to restart the conversation and help the people in the mediation room re-establish their voices in a safe environment. Mediation and meditation are not so far apart, as both these skills are essential in life; however, on a personal level I probably would benefit from attending yoga now and again!
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