Skillful Communication

A Zen Approach

Taught by Diane Musho Hamilton

Regular Price: $199.00

Special Price $97.00

 - Online Course

Often the people who are closest to us are the ones we most struggle to communicate with. How can we connect to each other when we aren’t always on the same page? Can we make real and empowering connections with the people in our lives—both those we love and those we barely know—regardless of our differences?

Diane Musho Hamilton, a Zen teacher, professional mediator, and author of The Zen of You and Me, thrives in the space where sameness and difference meet—and she wants to help you thrive there, too. Through video talks, readings, and practices, you will explore many of the subconscious forces at play in your relationships: the implicit “me versus you” mentality that can arise in situations, the fraught storylines that seem to repeat themselves, and the impact of certain relational dynamics on your nervous system. You’ll learn practical tools to help you engage with skill and openness, express yourself clearly and intentionally, create space for others to do the same, and unlock the power of connection in your own life and beyond.

Course Materials

10 video talks by Diane Musho Hamilton, each 20 to 50 minutes in length, with transcripts and audio versions available

Practices to help you integrate the teachings into your daily life 

Selected readings from The Zen of You and Me by Diane Musho Hamilton

Unlimited access on your computer, mobile device, or tablet—learn at your own pace wherever and whenever works best for you


This course will help you:

  • Cultivate greater self-awareness—a necessity for personal growth
  • Explore how your communication patterns are affected by your experience of unity and diversity
  • Learn key skills for helping people feel heard when they talk to you
  • Discover how to appreciate your own uniqueness and bring it forth more actively
  • Engage the wisdom and communicative power of emotional states—while also appreciating them as fleeting
  • Learn how you are responsible for creating the dynamic in your relationships—and how you have more power than you may think
What You Will Learn in Each Lesson

Lesson 1
Unity Consciousness and Awareness of Diversity

Our true home is our spiritual nature, a place of safety and ultimate equality. From this original source, we have so much in common. At the same time, our capacity to acknowledge our differences, to be willing to explore them, and to include diversity of opinions and styles within our relationships and communities is a sign of health and vitality. In this lesson, we’ll explore our own embodied experiences of sameness and difference.

Lesson 2
Sameness and Difference

Studies in human development reveal that our focus on our similarities or differences changes throughout the course of our lives. In other words, we are caught in the tension between the comfort of the status quo and the exciting encounter with difference. In this lesson, we’ll explore this contrast, which is a constant on the path toward greater awareness and growth.

Lesson 3
Mindfulness Practice: Engaging Safety and Excitement

The practice of mindfulness improves our concentration and enables us to be more open and mentally flexible. We learn to stay present to difficult emotions and feeling states, and over time, having cultivated nonjudgmental awareness, we can simply observe our interior landscape without incessant self-criticism. In this lesson, we’ll explore ways in which we can begin to develop this ability to approach situations in our life with openness and clarity.

Lesson 4
How the Ego Divides Us

We are groomed by evolution to focus on protecting ourselves whenever we sense a threat to our well-being. In our modern context, we may not be physically threatened. But in our highly social and emotionally complex world, threats to our ego or self-concept can feel every bit as perilous. Our strategies for self-protection range from avoidance to fighting to sarcastic humor to drug addiction. In this lesson, we’ll explore how we can cultivate greater openness and flexibility in the face of intense feelings of threat.

Lesson 5
Listening as a Unity Skill

Listening is the powerful, soothing agent of all communication. Listening is the best tool there is to lower anxiety, diminish division, and open into sameness, into togetherness. Listening will help almost anyone who is triggered to calm down. In this lesson, we’ll learn how to improve our listening skills.

Lesson 6
Expressing Our Uniqueness

If listening opens up the wide territory of sameness, expressing difference catalyzes conversations. Self-expression stimulates and energizes. Our differences distinguish us from everything else, giving shape to our uniqueness and setting us apart. In this lesson, we’ll learn ways we can become more skilled at honest, open verbal expression and sharing our unique perspective.

Lesson 7
Feelings as a Form of Diversity

Every emotion is a state of consciousness, an experience composed of thought, mood, and bodily sensations. We refer to them as “states” because they come and go. They are not permanent, but rather pass through the body and awareness like a blustery storm in winter or a light breeze on a spring day. The problem with our emotions is that we often don’t relate to them as states. We hold onto them if they feel good, or we chase them away if they feel painful. In this lesson, we’ll learn some tools for both harnessing the intelligence of our emotions and releasing them when they no longer serve us.

Lesson 8
Becoming Wholehearted

Compassion is a natural outcome of waking up. As our awareness opens to include more, our heart naturally expands. We feel deeply for the challenges and suffering of others—those who are like us and those who are different than we are. In this lesson, we’ll learn how we can be present to the suffering of others without undue stress or anxiety coursing through our system.

Lesson 9
You and Me, Us and Them

Our desire to understand different perspectives, to listen, to question, and to doubt ourselves varies at different levels of adult development. As our ability to take perspectives changes, our view of the world changes, and so does our way of communicating about it. Using an adult developmental framework to look at differences can show us real possibilities, and also limits, in relationships. In this lesson, we’ll learn about this framework and consider how it affects the way we interact with others.

Lesson 10
Endless Practice

Meditation takes practice. Relationships take practice. Whenever we are consciously aware of whatever we are doing right now, we are practicing. When we lose here-and-now awareness, we are practicing getting lost and then regrouping. But as the old adages say, you cannot get off the path. In this final lesson, we’ll contemplate what our path of practice is as we conclude the course.

What Participants Are Saying

“Even though I have been on the Buddhist path for many years—decades, in fact—I have found many things in this course that were very helpful and refreshing. I discovered new perspectives both in terms of looking at my spiritual practice as well as my relationships and how the two are, of course, inseparable. At the same time it is helping me to discover how to give spirituality a place in my daily life that is authentic and real and more than just a slot for formal practice in the morning. I really appreciated how the course brought things together and offered more than just some communication skill set to be followed. It was much deeper than that. For myself, its value lies in offering me a perspective that is very wide and inclusive. I am grateful to you for offering this and glad I found it by accident. Thank you.”

“I liked the pace and the opportunity to do short practices along with the lectures. I also enjoyed hearing what the students had to say, and the fact that they were there—the video was not simply a lecture, but a dialog.”

“I liked the clarity of the talks and readings; [there were] many examples given. [I enjoyed] the unscripted interplay between Diane and the students, revealing their struggles and also their learnings.”

Praise for Diane Musho Hamilton

“Now, more than ever, our world needs Diane Hamilton’s insights on difference and on how we can find our way through our judgments into a more balanced view that recognizes and appreciates both our sameness and our differences.”—Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara, author of Most Intimate

About the Instructor

Diane Musho Hamilton

Diane Hamilton is a Zen teacher in the White Plum lineage and has worked with Ken Wilber and the Integral Institute since 2004. She lives in Utah, where she established Two Arrows Zen, a center for Zen practice, with her husband, Michael Zimmerman, a former Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court. In 2012 she cofounded Integral Facilitator, certifying practitioners in a developmental approach to group facilitation.

30-Day Satisfaction Guarantee

If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, please e-mail us within 30 days of registering for the course, and we will promptly refund your purchase price.

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