People are afraid of conflict: it is something "bad" that must be managed and resolved. In the face of conflict we focus only on facts--who's at fault and who should be punished--rather than seeking to restore harmony. But conflict is inevitable and presents an opportunity to establish deeper connections with others. By learning to speak honestly and listen devoutly, we can overcome our culture's hierarchical and punitive approach to conflict. We can learn to relate to each other in a sacred manner and create relationships and communities that are egalitarian, liberating, and transformational.
Revealing that we are all peacemakers at heart, Steve Beyer details how to approach life with a listening heart and create a safe and sacred space for communication: the peacemaking circle, centered on the talking stick. Whoever holds the talking stick gets to speak. There are no interruptions, no questions, no challenges, no comments. People speak one at a time, honestly from their hearts, and they listen devoutly with their hearts to each person who speaks. And, as Beyer shows, the effect can be miraculous.
Exploring the shamanic roots of the talking stick practice, the author extends the lessons of the healing circle and the listening heart from our homes, schools, and communities into our relationship to spirit and the Earth.
Stephan V. Beyer, Ph.D., J.D., is a well-known writer and speaker on shamanism and spirituality. He is also a community builder, peacemaker, and carrier of council. He has been trained and certified in many areas of circle processes, mediation, and nonviolence and has offered peacemaking workshops to a wide variety of audiences, from therapists to theologians, and at Montessori, charter, alternative, and public schools. He has served as a Lecturer in the Department of Criminal Justice at Chicago State University, teaching undergraduate courses and graduate seminars in restorative justice and in the theory and practice of nonviolent resistance. He lives in Chicago.
Acknowledgments Pa r t I The Heart of Peacemaking 1 Toward a Sacred Way of Being with Others 2 The Geography of Hierarchy 3 The Components of Council 4 The Intentions of Council 5 Ensuring Safety 6 What Is Council About? PART I I Applied Peacemaking 7 Stories 8 Advice 9 Conflict 10 Dealing with Anger 11 Harms 12 Revenge 13 Apologizing 14 Forgiving 15 Healing Circles Par t I I I Walking t he Peace Path 16 Why Council Works 17 The Invisible Talking Stick 18 Walking the Peace Path 19 Setting Out on the Peace Path Appendix A. Council Variations Appendix B. Warm-ups Appendix C. "Moe Sits in Council" Index