Martin Ramstedt

Martin RamstedtMax Planck Institute, Leipzing, Germany.

After I received my PhD in anthropology and social psychology, I have been a researcher at several international research institutions (International Institute for Asian Studies in Leiden, NL, Royal Netherlands' Academy of Science in Amsterdam, NL, and currently Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, D) for the past eleven years. Besides, I have been a practicing Buddhist since 1979 (student of Taisen Deshimaru Roshi, Lama Yeshe and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche) and am currently participating in a two-year personal and professional training trajectory of the Wisdom @ Work Institute, founded and led by Irini Rockwell (former faculty at Naropa Institute in Boulder and student of, among others, Chögyam Rinpoche and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche).

Mindfulness & Space Awareness in Intercultural Communication Authentic intercultural communication, any communication for that matter, is only possible when we become aware of the deeply entrenched, unconscious dispositions to perceive, feel and judge our world in specific ways. We have acquired these dispositions that make up our identities during our socialization into particular national, local, religious and political cultures, social classes, family contexts, occupations and gender roles. In order to be able to truly engage with members from other cultures and contexts, we need to let go of what we hold as “common sense”, the familiar truths that constitute our sense of safety and sanity. The practice of mindfulness in sitting meditation and meditation-in-action can help us to perceive the relativity of our dispositions, and to stay with the uncertainty this perception brings. Space awareness that comes as a fruition of such meditative practice enables us to not get swayed by the destabilizing influence of the alien presence of members of foreign cultures and contexts. It allows us to rest in openness and to not withdraw into the narrow-mindedness of our comfort-zones. I will discuss concrete examples of how a meditative approach to intercultural communication can enhance our chances of success in mediation, conflict resolution and dispute management from my own experience as lecturer at Islamic theological schools in Indonesia and as mediator between Indian and Balinese Hindus in both India and Bali.