“Coming to know together,”
is the real accomplishment of dialogue—
the knowing that reveals our kinship, our wholeness,
our union in relationship, and our desire and ability to create the new.
We all have experienced times of deep connection that describe what is referred to as dialogue in A Course of Love.
Dialogue, as described in A Course of Love, is about finding ourselves, and finding a way to share who we are IN OUR OWN WORDS. I must share in “my own words” what I’ve experienced, felt, and known, in the way I know it. So must you. This is how all that you and I have gained expands into the world.
The Invitation of our Mountain-Top Experience
You and I are invited to share, along with those who have also encountered this experience of the mountain, “a happening” that is critical to our future, and that is nearly impossible to navigate alone. Like in crisis, like in times of grief, like the coming together that happens in any concerted movement for change—connecting with one another is a lifeline. Like on an actual mountain climb, you can’t do it alone. This is the symbolism of the mountain top and of the journey together to the “higher” regions. We gain a new knowing with which we must return to life on the ground.
You and I are asked to carry what’s been given as “a pregnant woman carries her child” . . . and to give it life.
START FROM WHERE YOU ARE
We’re not guided to focus specifically on A Course of Love. The big hurdle that’s being overcome are those props that shield us from simply sharing; sharing ourselves and what we’re feeling or wondering about in the moment. Those with the intent of helping us have, at times, kept us from starting from where we are in our humanity—kept us from listening; from engaging; from daring to reveal our ideas; our fears of intimacy or the unknown; our insights or revelations.
The practice of dialogue
As the practice of dialogue begins, some may wonder why there is a “requirement” of having “been to the mountain” at all. Dialogue can be considered common, or an already known way of relating. So here we do encounter the “difference” of ACOL’s way of dialogue.
A Course of Love’s way of dialogue is closer to the companionship we offer when someone is in grief than it is to David Bohm’s way of dialogue, but there’s some of David Bohm’s way in it. It may be more like our ordinary, heartfelt sharing than it is to Margaret Wheatley’s call to conversation and stories, but there’s some of Wheatley’s way in it. It is not, in my view, particularly spiritual in the usual sense that “the spiritual” has come to have, although there’s something of the spiritual way in it. There’s no instruction or hint that prayer or meditation, quotes or candle burning are needed. . . even if some may want them.
WHAT DO I KNOW?
Many of us have come from a culture that has left us asking ourselves, “What do I know?” We’ve been trained to believe someone else has the right information, the wisdom, the answer. This call to dialogue is about laying all of that aside to realize what we know; to come to know that we know. It’s about knowing and being known—knowing ourselves, and increasingly, knowing that which we are newly—through our own new, and crucial, and transformed ways of knowing.
RELATIONSHIP is not one thing or another but a THIRD SOMETHING
“Coming to know together,” is the real accomplishment of dialogue—the knowing that reveals our kinship, our wholeness, our union in relationship, and our desire and ability to create the new.