Tuesday, October 04, 2005

the fifth practice?

orb spider in web
Originally uploaded by the view from in here.

With our upcoming Open Space practice workshop taking up much of my reflective time, i have, of course, been dwelling on the practices even more than usual. And one of the things that seems to be emerging out of all this, is that perhaps there are actually five practices, not four. The four practices emerged out of a blend of the work and thinking of Angeles Arrien (Four-fold way), Ken Wilber (Brief History of Everything, etc..), Harrison Owen (Open Space Tech), Michael Herman and Chris Corrigan (Open Space Tech: A User's Non-Guide). The four-fold nature of the maps used in uncovering the practices don't explicitly name the fifth dimension, but it is present in all of them--the centre/perimeter.

As we explore the interconnections and watch carefully for the essential practices for growing the capacity to open space, we have noticed that the quality of the centre/perimeter is stillness. And that inner stillness can sure come in handy in many situations that arise when we work with others. The centre also can be the symbol for mystery and Spirit. Two other things it's good to remember and think about as we work in open space.

Here's an excerpt from an article in a series called Peaceful Practices that i wrote about five or six years ago. It addresses the first essential practice for peaceful living.

We begin by taking time to stop—by sitting quietly and beginning to observe the inner and outer dimensions of our lives. We take time to look at our busyness, the constant distractions around and within us. We can begin to observe the thoughts that flicker constantly through our minds and how we react and feel towards them. When we stop, we encourage our minds and our bodies to relax. We learn to be still and to slow down. When we begin from stillness, from the place of stopping, our actions become more effective—we do more things well, more peacefully.

Some practices i know of that support inner stillness are meditation, yoga, and prayer. Do you know of others?

And what do you think? What has your experience been? Is stillness at the centre the fifth practice?

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