General Interactional Intentions = Mindful Dialogue1

We want to transfer the mindful presence that we cultivate in our formal practice to our group interaction.

Before entering the space check in with your energy. What keeps you from being fully present? Can you touch that mindfully so you are aware?

General Guidelines

  • Pause between shares. Allow silent gaps in the space so you can notice what is arising in you.
  • Cultivate deep listening without planning what you will say. Embrace uncertainty or whatever comes up doing that.
  • Practice sharing inner thoughts and feelings without too much philosophizing or long stories.
  • Try to be on point as much as it is accessible for you so that others can follow you and there is enough space for everyone.
  • Do not offer advice unless you are asked to do so.
  • Keep confidentiality of what others share in the group. Share only what is yours.
  • If you do not want to speak, say “I pass”.

Email Protocols

Use email for administrative tasks/practical communication, not for resolving or processing difficult situations and emotions.
“Reply all” only when referencing meeting times or other administrative tasks, otherwise blind carbon copy (i.e., ‘bcc’) to protect privacy.

Tension and Conflict Management

  • We acknowledge that tension and conflict can arise even when we do our best due to unknown triggers, cultural differences, unconscious biases, and many other things.
  • When we experience a sense of tension, hurt, or conflict we are vulnerable.
  • When we speak up to address the tension, the other person is also vulnerable.
  • Therefore we want to acknowledge the vulnerability in cultivating the following principles:

Principles and Allowances in Challenging Interactional Situations

  1. We want everyone to feel as safe, respected, and heard as we can.
  2. Everyone who is experiencing tension of any sort is invited to speak up. Acknowledge that there may be tension between addressing issues in the moment and following an Agenda.

Approaching Conflict Resolution


  • Maintain 60 (inward) / 40 (outward) attention
  • Use RAIN (i.e., Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture)
  • Attune to others’ possible feelings and needs

In the group:

Mindful inquiry and non-violent communication for peer groups

  1. Ask whether the group is willing to have the conversation – name the elephant in the room.  If not, discuss other options for resolution.
  2. Clarify the topic of the conversation – What are we talking about?
  3. Pause to remember guidelines for skillful speech
  4. Speak about objective facts and then discuss impact on the speaker. 
  5. Pause again, remembering guidelines for skillful speech.
  6. Reflect back what you have heard and ask if you have heard correctly. Ask, “Is there anything else?”
  7. Discuss feelings and needs in response, if appropriate, allowing for back and forth to include all who have been impacted and want to engage to raise issues, feelings and needs.
  8. Make Requests: Notice the difference between a demand and a request: requests honor agency. 
  9. Allow for the possibility that not all steps will be necessary or effective: call for help when needed and consult the facilitator.


  1. This document was inspired by and modified from Interactional Agreements for MMTCP Peer and Mentor Group by Judith Escobar, Amelia Govina, Juliana Lima, Ester Schram, Sungmin Rho, and Zhang Jin Huang (ZJ)  ↩︎