The Dialogue Program
This dialogue program is an invitation both to those new to dialogue and those who have participated previously. It is a journey together, without leaders or followers. Registrants and convenors enquire as co-participants, as we explore the movement of conscious mind and touch into what may lie beyond.
Each week a presenter will offer a brief introduction to a dialogue theme. Group dialogues of about two hours will follow. All convenors will participate in each session. Through this series, our weekly introductory focus will progress—beginning from (1) a general overview, then moving to (2) self, (3) the other, (4) the group as a whole, (5) silence and (6) the dialogic field. In practice, however, our intention is that every session may bring in all these aspects and that we explore without boundaries, in freedom.
Topics and presenters are listed below, each followed by a quotation/quotations by David Bohm that touch on the week’s focus:
Week 1 – Dialogue – A Journey Together – with David Schrum
What is it to discover the roots of our common human consciousness? Through David Bohm’s approach to dialogue, we will open an enquiry into this question as we begin our journey together.
The object of dialogue is not to analyze things, or to win an argument, or to exchange opinions. Rather, it is to suspend your opinions and to look at the opinions—to listen to everyone’s opinions, to suspend them, and to see what all that means.
I suggest that there is a potential for self-awareness of thought—that the concrete, real process of the movement of thought could be self-aware, without bringing in a “self” who is aware of it.
Week 2 – The Art of Listening – with David Schrum
Deep listening is a transformative process for the listener. As we listen to both the voices of others and the voice within, we enter into an exploration together. Through intimate listening consciousness flowers, to reveal its inner structure.
If you see other people’s thought, it becomes your own thought, and you treat it as your own thought. And when an emotional charge comes up, you share all the emotional charges, too, if they affect you; you hold them together with all the thoughts.
Week 3 – Suspension and Moving Together – with Manfred Kritzler
Through suspension of assessment and judgement, whatever thoughts are arising in me have the same value as the thoughts of others. This gives us the opportunity to move together beyond the limitation of thought.
If each of us in the room is suspending, then we are all doing the same thing. We are looking at everything together.
Accordingly, a different kind of consciousness is possible among us, a participatory consciousness….Everything can move between us. Each person is participating, is partaking of the whole meaning of the group and also taking part in it. We can call that true dialogue.
The point of suspension is to help make proprioception possible, to create a mirror so that you can see the results of your thought. You have it inside yourself because your body acts as a mirror and you can see tensions arising in the body. Also, other people are a mirror, the group is a mirror.
Week 4 – Facilitation – with Sally Jeffery
This process of dialogue, as David Bohm proposes it, is not easy. Perhaps there are ways to support its emergence. It begins with seeing the need for this kind of dialogue.
On the whole you could say that if you are defending your opinions, you are not serious. Likewise, if you are trying to avoid something unpleasant inside of yourself, that is also not being serious. But in dialogue you have to be serious. It is not dialogue if you are not—not in the way I’m using the word.
Week 5 – Silence and Listening – with Caroline Pawluk
The beauty of silent listening is that we just watch and listen, doing nothing about what we observe.
But in a participatory view, the suggestion is that we have the unlimited as the ground of everything—that our true being is unlimited.
So we can see there is no “road” to truth. What we are trying to say is that in dialogue we share all the roads and we finally see that none of them matters. We see the meaning of all the roads, and therefore we come to the “no road.”
Week 6 – Sensing the Field – with Beth Macy
Listening intently to the silence that is beyond our personal thought, what seeks to emerge from that field of common consciousness? What inklings of new meaning are arising?
I am proposing, however, that the field of thought is limited. I am also suggesting that there is the “unlimited,” which contains the limited. This “unlimited” is not just in the direction of going to greater and greater distances out to the end of the universe; but much more importantly, it is also going into more and more subtlety.