Can you think of a time when you read a few pages of a book then realized you didn’t remember anything? Where was your mind? Or a moment when you were engaged in conversation with someone but realized you had not listened to what the other person was saying yet you seemingly heard everything they said? The mind has a tendency to wander off, sometimes to the past or future taking us away from the present moment.
Effective regulation of conflict requires paying attention to the present. In the IM Campus webinar linked below, Dr. Ran Kuttner breaks down the concept of mindfulness and how it relates to effective conflict intervention. In the very wholesome session, Dr. Ran includes practical mindfulness exercises that will leave you feeling calm, relaxed and ultimately offset the practice of mindfulness during mediation and conflict intervention.
Definition of Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a conscious awareness of the present moment with regard to our feelings, thoughts, sensations and actions. Leonard Riskin in Mindfulness: Foundational Training for Dispute Resolution describes it as a systematic strategy for paying attention and for investigating one’s own mind that is cultivated through meditation then deployed in real life. Practising mindfulness involves deliberately being keen at the moment and becoming aware of our physical, mental and emotional processes.
Practicing Mindfulness During Conflict Resolution
If a mediator fails to be mindful in the process of conflict resolution, he/she risks failure to acquire sufficient information of the present conflict from the parties. It’s also highly likely that the mediator might rely on certain deep assumptions based on old habits, ethnic practices and personal beliefs rather than allowing the present circumstances to guide the process. The practice of mindfulness leads us to get out of our own self-centred focus and get to understand others in a more compassionate and non-judgmental manner. This is a powerful tool that mediators need to possess during the process of conflict resolution. Mediators can encourage mindfulness in conflict intervention through re-framing, summarizing and asking rhetorical questions to encourage reflection and self-awareness.
The IM Campus Webinar on Mindfulness Based Relational Approach To Mediation And Conflict Intervention With Dr. Ran Kuttner.
As Dr. Ran explains, mindfulness is linked to the relational approach to conflict rather than the self-interest based approach. The relational approach involves dialogue geared towards co-constructing meaning socially as we interact better stated by Dr Ran that, “ Don’t look for meaning in dictionaries look for meaning as we co- construct it in a shared space.”
To learn more about the mindfulness-based relational approach to mediation and conflict resolution please check out the webinar below with Dr. Ran Kuttner. He is an Associate Professor of Dispute Resolution (expert track) at the University of Haifa, where he teaches in the International Graduate Program in Peace and Conflict Management Studies. He is a certified mediator and mediation teacher in Israel and consults to organizations and community mediation centers that work towards a more dialogic Israeli society in implementing collaborative conflict engagement approaches.