September 6, 2006
The Compassionate Listening Project, a non-profit organization based outside of Seattle, Washington, promotes and teaches powerful listening skills of peacemaking, helpful for families, communities, job sites, and for social change work locally and globally. These skills employ speaking and listening from the heart, even in the heat of conflict. The Compassionate Listening Project is dedicated to empowering individuals to heal polarization and build bridges between people, communities and nations in conflict.
Gene Knudson-Hoffmn and others from Quaker, Buddhist, and Jewish backgrounds founded the Compassionate Listening Project based upon a belief that compassionate listening is a key to transforming the world. Committed to world peace, this project has sent teams to try to understand the most isolated and conflicted figures worldwide. They visited Mu’ammar Qaddafi in Libya, listened to all sides of the warring parties in Central American revolutions, given their ear to the most challenging factions in Asia and the Middle East. In Alaska, compassionate listening brought two sides of the whaling controversy together for deep listening. Their belief is that through compassionate listening to the sorrows and predicaments of others, these conflicts will change.
"Compassionate Listening is a process rather than a product. It is healing precisely because it does not pretend to 'have the answers.' Rather, it engages the participants in processes that have each side seeing the humanity of the other, even when they disagree." Rabbi David Zaslow, Ashland Oregon
The Tao calls this “listening with the heart so that we can find the Way.” Compassionate listening embraces our own struggles as well as our neighbor's. It is possible that deep listening is a vehicle to awaken our heart’s amazing capacity to hold all that is human, even what we previously may have considered incomprehensible. A sobering appreciation for others emerges with the realization that we are all That.