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You Can’t Facilitate What You Don’t KnowDecember 10, 2014

My Zen teacher, Genpo Roshi, once told me a long time ago, “You can’t work with a voice that comes up in the room if you don’t know that same voice in yourself.”

What Roshi meant is that anytime you are facilitating a group of people in a dialogue or group process, and a participant expresses a thought, a feeling, a perspective or “voice,” you as the facilitator need to quickly locate that same experience in your own interior awareness; that is, if you want to remain present, congruent, and trustable in front of the room.

This idea is not an entirely new idea in human development circles. Jung pioneered the idea of shadow work, which is the psychological practice of bringing the unacknowledged, marginalized, or shameful parts of experience into awareness. The same phenomenon occurs in forms of Tibetan Buddhist practice and in many shamanic rituals.

Likewise, philosopher Ken Wilber has repeatedly emphasized in his writing that anyone who wants to fully awaken should not not only meditate, but also find a method for including the difficulties of conditioned existence and acknowledge the disavowed “shadow” elements of his or her mind and life.

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The Universe planted a dream in your heart, like a bread-crumb marking the path to your own growth and liberation. Whether your heartfelt dream is a red-convertible, writing a novel, or world peace (the sky is the limit!) you can leverage the energy of your desire to attain your dream AND propel your evolution.

Some of us may have learned that desires can be unhealthy or distracting, and many of us have experienced the upsets of becoming too attached. While there is wisdom in being unattached, there is also wisdom (and power!) in our innate tendency to attach, desire, or simply to want something.

Big or small, there is a gap between where you are now and what you want. The space between now and your heartfelt dreams is where the magic is! This is where the growth opportunities live. Navigating this gap is about breaking through obstacles (outer) and resistance (inner) and becoming more You in the process.

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