BePeace™ is a practice that combines a scientifically proven method for "feeling peace" with a clear path for "speaking peace" that creates an authentic, compassionate connection. As we learn this practice, we are empowered to pass it on, to "teach peace".
This program has been taught widely in schools in Costa Rica since 2004 and is now moving into the United States. Rasur Foundation International aims to train educators in schools in BePeace™ who can then train other teachers, students and parents in their school community. Offering the BePeace™ program in schools equips students, teachers and parents with the skills to resolve conflicts in a non-violent manner and provides life skills for making positive choices that enrich life.
Two skills are essential for achieving nonviolence as a way of life:
- Feeling peace, defined as the ability to remain peaceful under stress (emotional skill).
- Speaking peace, or the ability to communicate empathically and honestly (social skill).
Perhaps the best way to explain how these two methods work together in BePeace is to share how it was used by a trainer with one student:
I used the BePeace practice with a sixth grader named Jose, who came to one of our Saturday mediation training sessions. He was very restless and was having a difficult time paying attention. As the day wore on and Jose began to grasp what we were teaching, he calmed down.
As part of the last exercise of the day, we asked Jose to describe a conflict he had experienced earlier in the week. He said that he had failed an exam and after he found that out, he dragged a young girl across the playground by her hair. I began to process this event with him, using BePeace.
First, I guided him to a state of peaceful coherence in his heart using the HeartMath method. Then I began using NVC to guess what Jose’s feelings were around this event. In the process, we discovered that he was feeling angry because he had failed the exam. As we dug deeper, he realized that he was feeling despair for having failed many exams. He also expressed that he was very lonely because he didn’t have many friends.
We then looked at the needs underneath those feelings: needs for learning, achievement, belonging, and a greater sense of connection with his classmates. As we touched upon those needs, a big tear slid down his cheek. At that point, I knew that his heart had opened through my empathy and Jose was now in touch with himself.
After the session was over, I asked him, “The next time you fail an exam, do you think you’ll still want to pull a girl’s hair?” Jose said “No, because now I can find my feelings and needs.” In the future, instead of projecting angry feelings out as violence, this student will have a tool for owning them and growing from them. He will be able to connect with his feelings and name his needs so that the strategies he comes up with for meeting those needs will be much less likely to include violence.
Passing the skills of “feeling peace” and “speaking peace” from generation to generation.