Mediation is a process by which disputes can be resolved—often by settlement. Often there are existing lawsuits, but there need not be.  Mediation’s purpose is to make the way forward when parties cannot come to an agreement by themselves. In a mediation process, there is a mediator—sometimes more than one–who gently tries to help the parties to come to an agreed solution. As with negotiations, there is often compromise. Unlike many negotiations, there can be new, out-of-the-box, and creative ideas for solutions.

Often the parties are isolated from each other for all or part of the time and discuss issues through the mediator. Sometimes the parties have their own lawyer, sometimes not.

There are at least two kinds of mediators. The first one is a person who tries to find out what the parties want or think they want, and then tries to help them come to an agreement, partially by each party understanding and sympathizing with what the other one really wants or needs, as well as his/her/its own desires and needs. Empathy is often regarded as important and the mediator may facilitate its achievement. 

Another type of mediator does many of the same things but then tries to formulate, if necessary, a new, objective, realistic solution, and invites both parties to consider it. Mediators are not advocates for either party, but they might advocate for his/her “mediation completion idea.”

Sometimes, the mediator will, as a last resort, advocate for a completely new solution. Both overall techniques often succeed.

More than two parties can be involved; these are sometimes called “multiparty mediations.” These can be especially helpful under the right circumstances.

A balanced life is a good life and maybe the best kind of life. No single value can always do the needed work to make life flourish.  There are two additional problems. alas. It is not easy to find what is balanced, and it is difficult to maintain balance without dedicated practice, and not even they succeed all the time, party because most of life’s tendencies tend to drift and change. The only values that are unassailable and permanent are love and beauty. Wisdom, if one has it,  is often a good thing, if one can recognize it.

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