Simply connect

30/06/2011 § 4 Comments

How to describe yesterday evening’s dialogue session? As usual mere words can’t do it justice. But I will try anyway. Another potshot at the moon….

There was plenty of silence this time. It was nice to have a group of sufficient maturity that we were able to sit in comfortable silence for extended periods. This was so even though most of the participants hadn’t attended previous sessions.

I reminded the group that you could actively participate in dialogue even if you didn’t say anything.  Scooter proved the point by saying not a word but still finding a way to quietly connect with us all.   But then, dogs don’t generally have the hang-ups that we humans do.

I really enjoyed all the silence although I admit to occasionally having felt a nagging responsibility, as the convenor of the gathering, to ensure something more would “happen”.

One participant dropped a heavy weight into the space at the outset. She’d read in the last few days that the oceans are well on the way to collapse, resulting from a combination of climate change causing acidification of the oceans, pollution and over-fishing. This seems to have pushed her over the edge somehow. She could no longer kid herself that life on earth, as we know it, could be saved. She let go. To her surprise, the result was that she has been drawn back to the religious teachings she learned when she was growing up – love one another, celebrate life, share. This is how to live a life.

This struck a chord with the group and we explored what it might mean to “let go”. Did it mean stopping “doing”, or should it rather mean letting go of old pre-conceptions, old patterns of thinking and behaving. It may even mean we do more but we’ve dropped the need to do, the need to work towards any particular goal. Instead our doing flows naturally out of our being.

We went on to explore the tight link between language and culture. If we are going to move into new ways of being, we need a new vocabulary.  Someone observed that sometimes words just aren’t sufficient to describe the feelings or energies that we encounter. I mentioned “The timeless way of building”, a semi-mystical book ostensibly about architecture by Christopher Alexander, in which he talks about the “quality without a name” that the best buildings and spaces have.

Near the end I had what felt like a major insight. I had picked up a card from those I had scattered on the floor, as a prompt for reflection. The card I chose, when I turned it over, had “Communication” written on it. I wondered what it signified. Then I recalled that the word communicate comes from the root “commune” as in community. It struck me that I’ve been obsessed for years with the notion that I have to communicate what I feel about the changes that are happening in the world. Yet I have completely misunderstood communication – it is not about telling, informing or persuading anyone of anything.  It is simply about connecting. End of story.

Actually that’s not the end of the story. I am going to continue convening these dialogue events – it feels like they still have plenty more to give me and others. I just need to find somewhere cheaper to hold them (or free).  Do let me know if you know of somewhere.

Next week – my blog will be entitled “There is no progress without constraints”. It may include a mention of compost loos. I am looking forward to it already 🙂


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§ 4 Responses to Simply connect

  • Finn Jackson says:

    Reading this I realise that community and communicate not only have the same root, but that commune is both a noun and a verb.

    Usually we use ‘commune’ in the meaning of ‘community’.

    But we also go “to commune with nature.”

    I sense that this combines the meanings of be with and communicate with (listen) that we were talking (communing) about last night.

    We were, indeed, modelling the being together, and the doing.

  • Margaret G. says:

    Lovely posting Patrick – I love how you seem to have kept faith with the silence – and from it came some lovely communications (in the new sense of the word)

    It made me wonder about your dialogues and what they actually are – are they like a quaker meeting?

    • Dear Margaret,

      yes, I was definitely reminded of a Quaker meeting (I attended a couple this year for the first time). Near the beginning I suggested to everyone that like the Quakers, we should only speak when we were “quaking” with the need to share something. And I smiled to myself sometimes because Dasha teases me that I would like to have my own ashram, and at times yesterday I felt a bit like a priest, leading a silent prayer meeting!

      Otherwise it is hard to describe the meetings – what do you call a community of souls come together to share and connect?


  • Love this Patrick – thank you.
    Reminds me of the Findhorn (Kathy Tyler & Joy Drake) Angel Card, Surrender:’The ability to be with what is going on rather than remaining preoccupied with what migt,s hould or could happen. Let go of the need to manage life and deepn into the peace of acceptance’.

    Sounds like you had a very powerful evening. Wish I could have been there in community with you all.

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