Wednesday, August 20, 2008

7 parts of self - part 1

7 parts of self
(a peace-building tool)

threatened part

this exercise is for those involved or engaged in peace work and working in areas where diversity has become a challenge to deal/live with. following are the instructions for the 1st part of the self - the threatened part. it is best done with a skilled facilitator (in group learning processes) guiding through instruction and drawing attention.

step 1: relax, sit comfortably, be conscious of your breathing, value this turning-in period, observe your thoughts and what the mind is doing, be conscious of your breath, ask yourself this question.

"when was a time when i felt threatened and shaken by imminent danger or death?"

allow the mind to scan, recollect, remember an event or episode where your life was under threat.

then, when you are able to remember, please ask yourself

"how it felt to perceive threat to one's very existence? what was/is the support needed at such a time upon reflection?"

note down how your mind thought through about the danger or threat and the conclusion to which it came on what was the support needed.

step 2: share it with other members of the group and listen to everyone, including self.

step 3: reflect on - what have you learned from the individual reflection and group sharing about the kind of support needed at a time when one feels threatened by imminent danger or threat to life?

step 4: we could imagine about human interventions that would address the need to feel secure, protected and knowledge that the potential for threat has been dealt with, which implies some kind of action.

so what kind of actions will create conditions to feel secure, un-threatened and a sense of ordinary and normal life.

step 5: what are other kinds of threats we have experienced in our lives - threat to rights, land, freedoms, entitlements, language, culture, values... can we imagine or re-imagine how we perceived the threat and actions we engaged in or planned to overcome a undesired situation.

step 6: can we now bring to our collective consciousness histories of people vanquished for resisting, for desiring and living free. can we imagine groups that were erased out of our memories. can we imagine the millions who died in genocides and holocausts, invasions and enslavement.

step 7: can we now understand what that feeling is, to stand at the precipice of existence, when someone has the power to erase you out of existence, because you are different? can we now understand what one feels when one is pursued by a self-righteous and violent crowd that wants to mutilate and gut you?

you could write down any thoughts or feelings that arise now.

step 8: (this could be a group discussion on the following lines) now the final part is to come to some common understanding on how it is in everyone's interest to know, understand and accept the other. and that the other does have a part that feels threatened, is a reality that needs to be dealt with. in such conditions what can all parties do to reduce the threat levels felt and perceived? can we develop more humane responses for we do not want to be either the victims or the oppressors?

step 9: relax. let your mind wind down. be conscious of your breathing... thank each one for their sharing, for insights gained and learning you valued.

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