Sunday, July 10, 2005

Conversation as peak experience

I came across this quote from Anais Nin yesterday:

"The value of the personal relationship to all things is that it creates intimacy and intimacy creates understanding and understanding creates love."

This connected to some thinking I have been doing about peak experiences, flow, and emergence. I was lucky enough to have a conversation with Chris Corrigan on Wednesday about sensing the emergent, that flowed from this comment in his blog:

I find myself more and more focused on finding the questions that help us discern these two subtle presences: the seed of the emergent future crossing the abyss back to our present moment, and the place where our feet fall on the other side of that abyss, the place where our hearts are all ready present in that desired future.

The emergent in this case is being encountered in facilitated conversations. Chris referenced Otto Scharmer's U-Theory and the practice of 'presencing'. As I am currently understanding it, the emergent is encountered in a state of flow--or no thought--when moments and actions are not separated by thought, but rather are connected by something more subtle (soul or spirit?). In order to engage with emergent thought we often use the practice of conversation. I started wondering what the quality of conversation would be that would fulfill the no-thought requirement.

Several of the peak experiences in my life have been conversations. The only common characteristics of these conversations have been that they were with intimate friends and they were about emergent understanding or thoughts. The experience of these conversations verged on one-mind. Where the emergent thought was all--centre stage--egos disappeared in its service. Thought-speech was all of a piece, flowing--not without effort--but with a quality of inspiration and immediacy. There was a sensation of being transported--pulled up out of the normal self--almost like descriptions of channelling.

So, I further wonder, if these conversations exemplify the kind of conversation necessary to engage with the emergent, is an intimate relationship a necessary precursor? Which brings us back the the Anais Nin quote. Intimacy creates understanding creates love. For me the concept of love has always stretched to include the unseen force of the Absolute (or Spirit or God or Goddess or Brahman or whatever makes you happy) and serves me as a cypher for the action/information of the Absolute as it acts upon/influences the manifest. To me the emergent is all about sensing the presence of the Absolute and engaging with (or downloading) the information being made available.

So, to rephrase Nin, intimacy creates the conditions for peak conversation (deep understanding and trust; sympathy) which creates the conditions for the presence of the Absolute to be sensed which is the condition necessary to engage with the emergent. Implications...a lot of us are relying heavily on the internet and other technologies to connect us to have these essential conversations (you know about saving the world and all...), but can these technologies provide the necessary intimacy that seems to me to be prerequisite? Or do we still need serious face time? If that is so (and i *am* willing to be wrong about it) do we need to pay more attention to creating co-learning, co-living space for those who need/want to engage in these conversations? What is the necessary level of intimacy? What conditions and skills support the development of intimacy? Or is it all in the emanations of the Absolute? ;-)

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