Thursday, September 29, 2005

ecology of thought

I am just digging into William Isaacs, "Dialogue" and if possible i am growing even more excited about this path i am on. The potential for transformation inherent in bringing people together in meaningful dialogue about what matters is immense--and the reality of becoming an ever more skillful host of these conversations is compelling. With every page i turn my sense of delight and joy increases. Here is my favourite bit from today, talking about the underlying atmosphere that is critical to whether we can talk together well or not:

This atmosphere within our own consciousness is generated, very simply, by the ways we think and feel--the levels of internal freedom we allow oursleves, the inclusiveness we are able to sustain, the authenticity we are able to muster, the flexibility of perspective we are able to take, and the stability and spaciousness we have in our hearts.

Of course our atmosphere is not separate from others. Our feelings and habits of thinking are part of a complex web that links us all together; it is our "ecology of thought." This ecology is the living network of memory and awareness, one that is not limited to any single person but is in fact held collectively. It is the matrix that informs us the world is a certain way and that problems can be solved in only a certain way. Out of this ecology comes the collective atmosphere in which we all live and work.
I find the four practices reflected strongly here. The capacity for spaciousness in the heart and internal freedom--opening; inclusiveness and authenticity--invitation; flexibility of perspective--holding; stability of the heart--the still centre; and the fourth--grounding--is implied in the capacity these others create for learning new behaviours.

Gonna be a lot more of this one quoted here in the next few weeks, i'm thinking....

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