Relational Presence is an ongoing practice that can be part of living more consciously every moment of every day. As Facilitators of Speaking Circles we apply this amazing process to help people transform their fear of speaking in groups, but we are also introducing people to a new way of being in the world. Many participants soon realize the value that RP has beyond the reduction of their speaking anxiety. One specific and challenging instance where we can apply this new-found ability to be with another person is in conflict situations.

In our groups, we instruct our members to simply be with one other person no matter what the discomfort is. We guide them to be gently available for connection and to listen with an appreciation for the essence of another. By allowing words to emerge at their own pace, people find that their expressions have more depth and honesty. By “speaking into the listening” what they have to say can be delivered in a way that can be heard.

The basic RP instructions when remembered and implemented during times of conflict can facilitate greater understanding between two people who are in a disagreement as well as two countries that are at war. We first need to be willing and committed to stepping into RP regardless of the emotions that may be arising. Not trying to change them, but to be with them and with the person who might be triggering those unpleasant sensations is the goal.

Since we believe that a positive connection among all things already exists, we can stand in that knowledge and treat it as a possibility, even though we are tempted to disengage and blame or accuse or fight. Come back and keep coming back to presence and trust there is a channel of connection that is there…somewhere. A positive regard will unfold as you learn to listen with appreciation in your heart for the essential self of the other person.

From this open, expansive place of which is the source of Essential Speaking the right words can be like a healing balm that soothes and calms the frustrated and agitated self. The soul can then be remembered. With insight, a new clarity is achieved, forgiveness is possible, and peace is realized.