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On Cultivating Open SpaceJuly 18, 2014

A question came to me recently from a student in the Integral Facilitator®  program who is facilitating a conversation among members of a classical music orchestra who are looking for ways to evolve their work together. He says that as a facilitator, he wants to create an open space for all perspectives to be presenced in an atmosphere of genuine inquiry.

But often, he says, people are not as elegant in their conversations as they are when playing music together. He says that they express themselves emotionally and dogmatically, pounding out their opinions in one repetitive note: the “I am right” tone.  In their assertiveness, they turn a deaf ear to the silence, to the space, to the new, unknown possibilities that come from a depth of listening.

It is ironic because musicians are probably some of the best trained listeners in the world.  And yet, this quality of conversation is often common among all kinds of people, regardless of their ability to hear, when change is afoot, when values are being discussed, when conflict arises, or when new risks must be taken together. In fact, paradoxically, any time anxiety levels rise in a conversation, so do the black and white tone of certainty and unpleasant sensations of dogma. (more…)

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