Conversation on Yoga and Mediation


A CONVERSATION BETWEEN CINZIA PANDIANI AND I, MAY 2012
Francesca
One evening, during one of the mediaperitivi events that In Media regularly organises, Cinzia, you came to me with a sheet of paper in hand and said: “I’d like to do something with yoga, meditation and mediation”, and gave me your paper with the draft of what would subsequently become Medi(t)ation, yoga at the service of mediation.
I can’t remember exactly what I said to you on the spur of the moment, but I must have raised an eyebrow and furrowed my forehead because – and this I do remember – I wasn’t sure I understood what you were saying to me.
Cinzia
Well, yes, it was something new after all, never seen before: meditation, yoga and mediation all together.
Francesca
There’s a lot of talk at the moment about civil and commercial mediation, about Decree 28, mediation bodies, caucuses, reports. Your idea seemed so unorthodox that...
Cinzia
It breaks old patterns!
Francesca
Exactly! It breaks old patterns! But I have to say that it wasn’t this that convinced me to propose your lessons.
 Cinzia
So what did convince you?


 Francesca
It was when I asked you what link you saw between your practice of yoga and the fact of being a mediator, when you said that there wasn’t a single aspect of yoga that had proven to be without use in mediation too, and vice versa: there wasn’t a single aspect of mediation that could not be a resource in yoga too. It was this that convinced me: the fact that you had a story and experience of what you were proposing, and that you wanted to share it with others.
 Cinzia
I never told you that a few years ago, after practising yoga for over five years and with a legal training and professional practice in the same sector, I felt the need to combine the two (the word yoga means ‘union’), and I was given the opportunity to test both experiences in mediation. This is why it doesn’t seem strange to me; it seems natural. I realise that it doesn’t seem so obvious to other people.
Francesca
I must also say, or rather confess, something else. There are fewer things that are further removed from me, because of how I am, because of my cultural upbringing and social extraction, than yoga. How to put it… yoga are I are two very different things!
 Cinzia
Excellent, so break the old patterns and come and do some yoga!
Let me give you an example: think of all those people who find it find to do yoga barefoot; those who when they arrive, say: “I’m keeping my socks on”. Know what I mean?
 Francesca
Yes, but what has the fact that I am a mediator got to do with the fact that I cannot or do not want to take my socks off for the yoga lesson?
Cinzia
If you can’t take your socks off outside your home, how can you abandon your mental habits, your way of thinking and so enter and see someone else’s world and so help him mediate?
Francesca
Isn’t that a bit extreme? Do you want to found the “Order of barefoot mediators”?!
 Cinzia
Yes, sure, the “Order of barefoot mediators” is a bit far-fetched and besides – even if I wanted to do so, which I don’t – it would create a new framework. That’s not what I want to do. I would simply like to be able to share with others, and specifically with the members of In Media, these fantastic tools I have discovered in doing yoga.
 Francesca
In presenting your lessons, we said that you would work on some aspects peculiar to the activity of the mediator. What do you mean, exactly?
Cinzia
Let’s start, for example, with active listening, one of the fundamental skills required by any mediator. How can you listen to someone sitting at your mediation table and, before this even, how do you listen to anyone if you cannot listen to yourself in the first instance? Yoga and meditation help you listen first of all to yourself, starting with the body, physical sensations; it starts with the base, let’s say.
 Francesca
How?
 Cinzia
In order to listen with compassion, we need to open the heart chakra each of us has, just where the heart itself is located. It is the chakra that mediates between the lower and upper triangle and is thus at the middle of every other chakra. There are specific exercises and meditations that help open it.
Francesca
The heart chakra is a bit like our own personal mediator?
Cinzia
Exactly!
Francesca
The subtitle of your lessons is: technology at the service of mediation. Some people have muttered about this subtitle, perhaps misunderstanding the significance of the word “technology”.
Cinzia
Yes, I know.
 Francesca
That really surprises me. We should give up thinking that mediation happens when “you are lucky” or when “you are good because endowed with an innate ineffable capacity” and so on… If you’ve been endowed with an innate ineffable capacity since birth, so much the better for you, but I think that we should be thinking along different lines and learning to discover the technology of peace, the technology of relations and so on.
In other words, it’s time to stop this idea that we mediators spend our time futilely debating arcane points.
We have and should have a technical (technological) knowledge guiding our work as mediators, and it is the correct application of technology that, we might say, facilitates the “magic” of the mediation and “luck” too.
I don’t believe in luck at all, but I do believe in down-to-earth proverbs. “Heaven helps those who help themselves” in my opinion is an aphorism that says much about luck, magic and the application of technology, don’t you find?
Cinzia
Great, great! Absolutely!

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