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I’d love empathy to become a household word.
Shantigarbha, the author of our new release I’ll Meet You There: A Practical Guide to Empathy, Mindfulness and Communication shares his passion for Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and inspiration for the book in an interview for NVC-UK. Shantigarbha is an experienced teacher of both NVC and Buddhism; he is also a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order. He was given the name Shantigarbha, which means ‘seed of peace’.
How did the book come about?
In about 2004 I attended a social change session with Marshall Rosenberg – I think it was at the International Intensive Training (IIT) in Bangalore. He asked us to create a 20-year social change plan. Mine was focused on sharing NVC more widely in the world. I chose writing as my medium, as I had previously been a publisher and editor of an arts magazine.
What was your inspiration?
Rumi says, ‘Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.’ That’s where I got the title of the book from. In Rumi’s field, we get connected with each other in the space that opens up when we let go of our ideas of good and bad, right and wrong. When we feel safe and connected to ourselves, we don’t need to use these labels. When we are connected to ourselves, we are also connected to the people around us.
How long did it take to write it?
I spent the first few years writing preparatory articles for magazines, to develop material. In 2008 I began writing something of book length. It took me several ‘false starts’ and a process of clarifying that empathy was my topic area, but by 2011 I had a book to show. It got recommendations from several trainers and prominent Buddhist teachers.
In 2013 I found a publisher – Windhorse Publications. Working with various editors took another four years, until finally the manuscript was ready in 2017. Windhorse set June 2018 as the publication date.
How do you feel now that the book is out?
In one way, I feel exhausted to realize how much of my energy has gone into this. At the same time, I feel elated and amazed to hold the book in my hands! Here’s a video of the first moment when the books arrived :)
What do you wish for the book?
I’d love empathy to become a household word. I’d love the book to contribute to a more compassionate world. And I’d love to hear your feedback, when you’ve read it!
Buy the book at local bookshops, or through the publisher’s website, which offers paperback and eBook formats.
You can read the first chapter using the above link.
Would you like to to know more about Shantigarbha and his life? Listen to his interview on BBC Radio Bristol.