Principles and Practice of Dialogue
The following notes come, with my own adaptations, from [Sue Miller Hurst]'s workshop, Dec-96. One of my earliest experiences with a teacher teaching practice explicitly. This page has three sections: (1) Principles, (2) Practice Disciplines, (3) Reflections.
Listening as the fundamental revolution... beyond learning, dialogue, learning organization, etc... safe to care about the whole, safe to listen (to others, the whole)
Principles of Dialogue
Applications of Dialogue Practice
- individual thinking changes... new beliefs, flexibility, insight, ambiguity and paradox embraced
- dialogue principles... intentional practice fields, large groups practice, one-on-one conversations
- circles... speak to center, inclusion, notice how every conversation includes others
- inquiry... disciplines
- leadership, interviews, coaching
Some Beginning Questions (from Sue)
- who are you and how did you get here?
- what's that about? where did that come from?
- what are the biggest questions inside of you now?
- what is your learning edge this year? this moment?
- how has who you are brought you to this point?
- what is(are) the most significant moment(s) in your life?
- who have been the most influential people in your life?
- what would you do if you knew that could not fail?
- when was a time that you were truly heard?
- when have I been heard by myself?
- why did that come out now?
- also, from richard bach: where were you born? where are you going? where have you been? ...ask these every so often and watch the answers change
What is Dialogue
- beyond talking together... dia+logos... through meaning, meaning moving through
- a substantial inquiry... first about what, then about why it's coming up, dig in for meaning... in a large group (20-50) in which personal insight and group insight give rise to creative action... can't plan or describe insights... i am only a slice of the collective
- insight... can't plan, hard to describe, here all along when we get it
- action... emerges, gives rise to action, can't plan for it, make it happen
- krishnamurti... seeing and action are same thing... no action is no seeing... when we really see poverty, the chair on fire, anything else... action is immediate... we know what to do... when we truly see then action arises.
Guidelines for Dialogue
- sit in a circle... leaderless, leaderfull
- speak to the center of the circle... make it real for everyone, rather than one-to-one across the circle
- listen with respect... looking again, looking anew
- watch the periphery... pay attention... do some things i do keep others from getting in?
- practice disciplines
- agenda-less, leaderless
- create a safe container... what is undiscussable? be the other to society
A Snapshot: From Fear to Security
- armed conflict => verbal conflict... attacking persons => fear
- argument => discussion... attacking ideas, name calling, still aiming to win
- generative conversation... to know more about subject itself
- dialogue... to know more about you through the topic
- metalogue... to know about us and how we are => security
- the "soft stuff" is really hardest... what is harder, to build the house or to cultivate responsibility for it? and what more valuable?
The Texture of Dialogue
- respect (even for the outrageous) and reverence for people
- space between words and speakers, fullness, and profound insights... wow!
- sense of whole beyond the group, dialoguing for whole world
- action arising from collective, collective knowing, seeing
- to have adventure, explore, fun
- fragmentation, sense of overwhelm, return to whole
- dynamic complexity, no right answer, need collective thinking, seeing, knowing, perceived best solution
- narrowing range/scope of discourse, we have less and less to speak about with people, we do indifference when we can't do love and don't want to do hate
- problems with thought, need triple loop learning, learning about learning, thought≠me, i can challenge thought without hurting... first loop is behavior, second loop is structure, third loop is intention... why, what's that about, where does that lead... fourth loop... (must be about heart!)
- traditional structures are not working, how to reinvent institutions
- new management skills are needed
- address possibilities of implicate order, quantum science, new story
- who says so? indiginous peoples... oneness. david bohm, krishnamurti... thought, social therapy. martin buber, carl rogers, scott peck... listening, community, not fix people but learn from them. chris argyris, what's undiscussable? korzybski, the map is not the territory. heidegger... linguistics. glick et al... quantum chaos. senge, miller hurst, MIT... organizational learning.
- Discussion (to win) => Dialogue (to see)
- Monologue (i'm important) => Dialogue (we)
- thought => thinking (new)
- felt => feeling (present tense) don't need to be public speaker to do this
- knowledge => insight
- performing => learning
- projection => suspension
Disciplines of Dialogue Practice
- to self, other person, collective, and up for the new thing nobody knows yet
- anyone who listens is fundamentally open... without openness there is no genuine human relationship
- carl rogers... used to listen so hard he'd break a sweat, making a place for you to leap out, all of you
- seeing the other person into being
- carl rogers' essentials for relationship
- contact... being there makes a difference, show up, need to welcome and be welcomed to this place
- congruence... gut, heart, brain need to know that what's said is the truth, speak your truth
- acceptance... unconditional positive regard, respect... willing to look again, open to outcome
- empathy... understanding the ground out of which you came...pay attention
- requires the capacity to be silent, to make a space in one's self, to remain open to another, to acknowledge the space between listener and speaker, making a space to hear what's coming to me (from the speaker) as brand new info/insight
- listening from descending (ever deeper) levels of consciousness
- shadow (old wounds)
- thought (old scripts and stories)
- disturbance (what bothers me...)
- impulse (body propreceptivity) what is your body telling you about waht to say, when to speak, how to listen
- being... can't remember anything but loving you
- the way we listen to ourselves is how we listen to others, too
- tensions, vibrations, (pulsations?)... life/death, silence/work, doing/being... tension, balance, life
- LISTEN... leads to safety
- what are those ideas that you'd be willing to be in a fight about?
- suspend = wonder, separate from belief, willing/able to examine, separate from self
- become approachable, meeting each other in love, more important than being right
- why should wonder be associated with a lack of intelligence?
- how does doubt become dangerous?
- who taught us to be afraid to be authentic as if we were not enough (cf mary oliver)
- SUSPEND... backs up from what's given
Hold the Space for Difference
- where age, race, pace, etc cross various levels of consciousness listed above in listening section, is when it gets tougher to hold a space for difference
- HOLD SPACE... allows difference(s) to come up, out
Slow Down the Inquiry
- SLOW DOWN... happens naturally, out of respect, celebration of difference
Speak from Awareness
Reflections and Quotations
Key Points Remembered
- what's that about?
- listen, suspend certainty, hold space for difference, slow the inquiry, speak from awareness
- dialogue as inverse of OpenSpaceTechnology, one emphasizes container in which individuals find themselves, the other emphasizes the individual and community emerges
- passion over certainty... don't argue about importance... what's your passion?
- krishnamurti... the seeing and the action are same
- i'm dissolving
- the inside is the outside
- i am not my thoughts
- meaning happens in the space between us
- am i listening to myself
- stop preparing. do who you are this moment.
Quotes about Dialogue and Listening
Thus the task is not so much to see what no one has yet seen, but to think what nobody yet has thought, about that which everybody sees. --Schopenhauer
We do not know very often what we say. If we want to listen to the still, small voice that is always speaking within us, it will not be heard if we continually speak. --Mahatma Gandhi
We are faced with a breakdown of general social order and human values that threatens stability throughout the world. --David Bohm
I am suggesting that the very means by which we try to solve our problems is the problem. The source of our problems is within the structure of thought itself. --David Bohm
The only way out is through. --Goethe
Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when it's the only one you have. --Emile Chartier
Listening is a rare happening among human beings. Listening is a primitive act of love in which a person gives himself to another's word making himself accessible and vulnerable to that word. --William Springfield
All things and all people, so to speak, call on us with small or loud voices. They want us to listen, they want us to understand their intrinsic claims, their justice of being... but we can give it only through the love that listens. --Paul Tillich
The intelligent man who is proud of his intelligence is like the condemned man who is proud of his large cell. --Simone Weil
If you can only see what everyone else can see... you are not just a representative of your culture... your are a victim of it. --Daniel Quinn? Ishmael?
Our past is not our potential.