butterfly

How to Get Good Judgment

It may seem to be common knowledge that the Alexander Technique teaches you to have "good" posture to remedy the disadvantages of having "bad" posture, that's a misconception. Why would you want to replace one set of "bad" habits with another set of "good" ones - how do you know what is "good" for you? Any fixed idea about moving a certain way you thought was "good" can become "bad" for you later on.

Preventing stress adapted reactions from causing trouble has been said to be beneficial, but how is this actually done? Wouldn't it be handy to undo your own self-imposed limitations? What a discovery to learn something new about the way you carry your intent into your actions by merely moving differently! Imagine having a new measuring stick to show you how to get from wherever you are now toward the direction that would allow indefinite improvement. Better posture is a side benefit of Alexander Technique, but the more important gain is clearer thinking, perception and judgment.

Our bodies might complain for a number of reasons. We might demand too much specialization from a particular muscle or group of muscles. We may ask unsuitable parts of our bodies to take the brunt of a job, when we're not designed for it. We may have outdated ideas about how our bodies are structured that cause us to move ourselves in eventually painful ways - such as the folly of pretending to have an extra joint in the middle of our backs. We may have imitated the bad posture of someone we admired. We may urge ourselves to "try harder," when "trying differently" would have worked better. We may unknowingly leave out a range of motion that's frustrating us because it later has become essential for improving a favorite sport or art. Or maybe we injured ourselves and kept protecting the spot, even though fully recovered.

Here's what happens: our sense of effort that judges what is and isn't necessary to move, (called kinesthetic perception) gets habitually blunted by adapting to our habits.

Adapting to a habit gradually disappears sensory perception for determining what is necessary. This drawback operates most obviously in gradually limiting the capacity to move. It also works insidiously in gradually narrowing the ability to reason and to deliberately apply priorities in thinking.

Adapting is actually a useful feature that allows us to "get used to" almost any physical compensation. It also works against us. Because of the blessings of adapting, our sense of what exactly is extra unnecessary physical effort quickly disappears.

We can start innocently enough and accelerate into having a problem quickly. For instance, while learning, our correctly sensitive kinesthetic sense decides we might require a new kind of extra effort. We may learn to do an activity because of this effort we used; but maybe the extra effort wasn't really necessary. We might learn the skill successfully in spite of the unnessary overcompensating, rather than because of it.

Now we'll associate this brand of effort with performing the skill. Maybe as we get better at it, we learn to subtract the wasted effort. Then again, more likely we don't. It is often (and understandably) expedient to be satisfied with much less efficiency than is needed. In either case, we will probably feel that the effort we used before is now customary, comfortable and "feels natural" when we perform the skill.

Losing our natural ability to feel subtle adjustments is totally blameless and very insidious.

For instance, if a person often carries a bag on their forearm, he will later find himself holding up his arm when the bag is not on it. If someone is afraid while learning, adapting can mean he will most likely continue doing the skill fearfully. If someone has healed from a temporary injury, a habit of wincing in anticipation of pain can be automatically continued indefinitely, even though pain has healed. Due to rapid growth, teenagers often move their own bodies based on inaccurate assumptions of their size and structure.

Being in any particular position doesn't intrinsically create pain or pleasure, nor does repeated motion; it's over-compensating while getting stuck that creates problems. The really good news for people who have been told by a doctor to stop doing some favorite activity is that they can learn to move without hurting themselves more. In this situation, moving easier will take the stress off problems, but that may not help to change the damage that has been done. Using the least amount of effort and getting the most of what we value out of it makes bodies feel better, and sometimes it will help healing.

Of course, this won't be true if you hold the conviction that getting a certain benefit that requires an excessive amount of effort is somehow justified or valuable. If you ask yourself, "why use so much effort?" and you happen to enjoy massive effort for its own sake... I'd ask, "for what purpose?" and "for how long?" As my teacher has said, "Everything requires effort, it's the kind of effort and what the effort creates that's important." Why pull yourself into a state of dynamic isometric tension when you can just stop what you've been doing to pull yourself out of shape?

If you feel "bad," and you stop what you're doing that causes feeling "bad", it will feel "good." The trick is discovering what are you doing that is why you feel "bad" in the first place in a very physical sense, the way you went from "good" to "bad." Then stop doing it to yourself. The secret has been buried by a habit you trained yourself to do in the past and then forgot about.

Our culture will often trivialize "good" and sensationalize "bad." So it's tricky to remember that "good" feels so subtle, it can slip by under our old standards of what should make a difference. If you give yourself an order to do something and follow it, it will usually always lead you to your original automatic and emotional solutions. If you want to change the result, you must change the process.

If moving effortlessly is so fun, how do we go wrong in the first place? How could we miss something that feels so good?

The way out of our dilemma is to use a different measuring stick for deciding how to subtract what is unnecessary effort rather than doing what "habitually feels right." What makes it tricky is that your habits have become innate.

The big difference is that you would now judge improvement on how easy it felt, after you tried your experimenting. After experimenting is the important timing to look for the differences.

The surprising thing is that improved freedom and ease can feel very unfamiliar; even positively wrong. But if it does feel easier, it's what you want to continue doing. Because of adapting, you can get used to anything, remember?

This is why it's so handy to have an Alexander Technique teacher who is trained properly to help you out with this journey of uncovering habitual limitations. Most people would like help in determining what exactly is the most useful type of "unfamiliarity" that's constructive for their purposes. But it can be done alone by merely taking the time to expose your own habitual assumptions and moving beyond them.

The entire Alexander Technique addresses these issues - and more. Even if you never take an Alexander lesson I hope you've already learned some useful information from F.M. Alexander's principles that you can experiment with from now on. Let me know what happens!
Taj

What I Hope For

I hope someone gets something out of the benefit of my observations. I thought if I could make what I wrote enough of an experience, rather just a report of results, perhaps someone else could use it.

Not sure that this is possible, but I've always hoped that I could bring some sort of insight to someone else's existence, just so they wouldn't have to slog through the morass of what I've covered. I guess that's what every parent hopes for their kids, usually to no avail. Everyone has to go through what they learn for themselves, I guess.

Anyway - I'm going to be traveling for a couple of months or so if things go right. I'll be back and forth to get away from sneezing so much, visiting friends before I take off to HI to visit my sweetie. If I have time before I go again, I'll write here. This means I'll be writing with paper and pen rather than typing on a computer.

We'll see, won't we? But fear not, this blog can be post-dated. So if you come back you'll be able to read about my adventures later.
lagoon

Speak Up, Please!

Someone was talking about why they never usually speak up in Dialogue. it seems that they couldn't think of something unique enough to write or say because they would just agree with whatever was being communicated.

Betting on that there are more than one of those people who don't speak up out there, I wanted to tell those people who are such great listeners that if you could even restate in your own words what you understand that someone else is saying, that will let them know what it was
they said that reached you. Often when we talkers/writers write something or talk, we don't really know the effect on others - or what exactly brought about that effect. We're just communicating and hoping it reaches someone somehow.

I see agreement as a a signal of resonance between people - that someone is following trains of thoughts and the associative jumping around that people can do. Lots of times in a dialogue group, a subject is being talked about and you'll want to say something, but if you hang back you'll find someone else bringing up the same point.

Another reason to speak up is that in some situations, people will come to the same conclusions from completely different circumstances. It's always fascinating to know what those specific circumstances were, for me at least.
alpine

Proprioception

Suspension in Dialogue is very similar to a willingness to feel strange during practicing and learning Alexander Technique.

Let's assume the situation of person who has trained themselves to do certain actions to fill a need they define is reasonable or necessary. The habit they've trained themselves to do becomes integrated into their automatic responses. After they learn it, they are not even conscious of the "doing" of it - it can happen every time the situational "trigger" presents itself - or anything similar to the
trigger. An interpretation of meaning is now a reaction that will make the behavior go unto action.

This can be a habitual movement, as in the training of a skill. It can be as innocent as training your arm to hold up a purse - or something you find yourself doing habitually as a mannerism that gets exaggerated the more you repeat it, such as stretching your lips and tensing up your neck or clenching your jaw for no apparent reason.

Then, some time later, another situation comes along that causes the same person to address a second concern, which requires the training of another habit. Let's say this situation requires an opposing movement, opposite from the old habit. Because the first habit has become innate, they've forgotten that they are even doing it - and the sense of them doing it has turned off because they're always repeating it.

The way bodies are made, to make a motion some muscles need to be flexible and others need to be contracted. We're only in change of the "contract" order, in most cases. If someone has trained themselves to always tense up to fulfill a certain imperative or standing order, it can't be so easily undone when it needs to be flexible when flexibility is optimal for doing that opposing motion. The ability to "undo" at will would be a handy thing to (un)do - that's what AT attempts to teach.

So the person finds themselves unable to turn their head if they always tense their neck up and they don't know why they have to move their entire body around to do that thing other people do by turning their head. Or they find that it hurts to turn their head because they're habitually holding their arm up when a purse isn't on it; what they don't feel is how they're also crunching their head into their neck as they hold their arm up. They may have put this habit in place for various
reasons, some of which may be questionable later on. How can they change their mind at this point, once the habit is in place?

It's very tricky to stop what you don't know you're doing. Because people have forgotten they're doing the first habit, they usually just strain themselves, using more force to get themselves to do the second. Essentially, this is one of the most common ways how people pull themselves apart, get old quick and die younger.

If you want a way out of this, it is to re-awaken proprioception that has been shut down from repetition. In Dialogue, David Bohm talks about how Dialogue provides some sort of proprioception of thought.

The way out is to observe, contrast, compare and ask yourself what happened and to experiment often. Usually you don't know what happened because your senses unreliably only register gross differences.

The trick is to use something from your environment to cross-reference what is really happening so you can tell when you have just started to do that old same thing again. Like biofeedback training, only without the equipment. You use the world to help you untrain your awareness that you're doing the habit again - and you stop doing it. You don't substitute anything else - just stop what's in the way. The system will "reset" itself to the extent you can stop the interference. The body heals if you get out of the way and stop tearing it up.

You learn to observe and describe stuff about movement such as quality, sequence, direction and timing of the motion you just made. You leave off the conclusions and judgment, and just learn to describe if anything new happened - after you tried the experimenting.

In Alexander Technique, we do things really slow so the habitual reaction that's looking for a reason or need to go into action gets really impatient. If you keep going v-e-r-y slowly, the fast, speedy habit that wants to go off and "help you" will give up altogether for a time. Sneaking by it, you can do the steps of the action without the habit in the way.

It's a really wierd experience, moving without the habits. Feels easier though - that's how you recognize you've moved differently - the lack of effort. Then you see how long you can suspend the habit and go with the strange sensations of moving so differently. You start to cultivate a tolerance and even a joy for feeling wierd, unfamiliar, and strange.

So - if I were to apply this re-awakening of proprioception in the physical sense to thinking as David Bohm suggests...?
butterfly

Magic Words Again

Today I'm thinking about the "evoke experience" strategy that many people use. This is where someone notes a state of mind by using a phrase or a word the experience evokes. Then they seem to attempt to create a sort of internal filing system or anchor for the experience. When they would like to re-experience what they had experienced before, they say those "magic words" and the state comes back - sort of like a hypnotic suggestion that is designed to trigger this part of their brain to engage and give them the experience, or like a filing system. You might have to say the "incantation" or phrase in a certain sequence, coupled with a motion, etc.

In Alexander Technique, this retrieval strategy is an example of "end-gaining." Since in AT you're learning something new, if you to for new results with this "evoke" or other habitual strategy, rather than following the newer steps - it won't work. Your old "Magic Word" strategies are something to be avoided, mostly because it doesn't work so well when applied to new experiences and an unfamilar process.

Have to say that I'm not making a value judgment on how this works or it's effectiveness with my next observation. It's just that I've just noticed, as people use this process and get some results, then they use it in places where it could be wildly useless and somehow they "believe it's working." It has the effect of being a superstition. People are convinced it's use give a quite a powerful example of "positive thinking" for them. I think the reason this works so well is there's actually a part of the brain that begins to do something as soon as you think of it - and this is why visualization works and why you can "practice" doing something by merely thinking about it.

I've also watched people do this by telling me what something is "not." Their idea that if they leave open what it is they want, whatever it isn't will be allowed to happen on its own. That's part of Alexander Technique too - prevent what's in the way and the right thing happens as if by itself. The use of this idea as a guiding ideal of life leaves a little to be desired, I think. Without their specifying exactly what it's not, they hold the not-specifying it up as a sort of superstition. If they specify it, it will be limited and thus not a surprising enough or gratifying enough sort of experience for them.

It's sort of an interesting phenomena that I'd like to investigate more.
Taj

End-gaining and Matching Strategies

I'd like to outline some of what I've noticed is happening for people who are end-gaining.

The best well-known motto for an endgaining definition in Alexander Technique is the same motto for being clueless: "Repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Or: "A crooked man walks a crooked mile."

Endgaining describes how quick-starting directly toward a goal usually triggers off the most familiar ways a person knows of getting there. Usually, the more imperative the desire, the more a habitual the urge to perform the action answers the desire and will be compounded in relation to the intensity of the desire. If the set of skills and means that determine success are familiar and just need to be recombined, focused or clarified, then relative success can happen. If the necessary means and skills are unfamiliar or below an ability to command them, then it doesn't work so well to encourage willpower or desire to "go for it."

To answer this issue, Alexander Technique teachers advocate temporarily suspending a goal, often by creating a circumstance of a willingness to experiment. It is also why Alexander teachers advocate giving directions without expecting results and often refuse to evaluate prematurely. A surge ahead in learning will feel as if a student's body is changed strangely out of proportion. Curiously, when some students are making gradual progress, they may not be able to sense progress at all. Paradoxically, it seems to be difficult to feel and tell the difference between these two factors!

Whether someone's experience becomes useful or not depends on the process they go through to make their generalizations and how they practice. This starts with how they prefer to abstract experience so they can recall or recreate it for later use so that it can be practiced. I think it pays to articulate these favored thinking strategies of recall and abstraction.

I've noticed a couple of themes to what people tend to do. The first is that people can favor a sort of "matching" computation, tending to "collapse" experience into familiar, easily retrievable bite-sized chunks. This means disappointment when the next experience is not identical to what they envisioned. Using this sort of matching activity to categorical extremes means a person tends to ignore or skip over sensory or memory information that doesn't fit their expectation.

An unfamiliar experience tends to be indescribable precisely because it doesn't categorically match previous experience. So because of this, it pays to notice what are the tiniest differences that are often missed. It is these tiny differences that makes a tremendous difference over time. This is because the effects of your actions become magnified over time. Of course, whatever you practice, you get "better" at doing. So, be careful what you let yourself repeat!

This matching strategy has some problematic assumptions. First, expectation itself tends to guarantee disappointment. It assumes that humans are built to register absolute differences. It seems that human senses are built to merely register relative differences.

To the extent a person is changing, so changes their ability to measure and calibrate what happened. So, by following a slightly different means, you really never get to the same goal or duplicate experience. Instead, even if you're willing to do something new, you can only get a little closer to the direction you imagine that you'd prefer to go. This may feel strange because it's new.

This has been a way around endgaining that I've emulated from seeing it used on myself and others with success - other than just forbidding endgaining after identifying it. I'd love to know some more ways from teachers here.

I have watched quite a few learners doing an alternate strategy that is just as much of a problem. Perhaps it is a misuse coming from the popularity of Visualization. People put their experience into words as a sort of magical tag filing system. They hope that saying the magic word (the one they uttered after the notable new experience) will magically evoke the desired re-creation of it later. While this "filing system" process may work in some situations, unfortunately, this approach doesn't work when applied to trying to duplicate new and unfamiliar experiences.

Because of this tendency, many teachers find it educational to have students at least attempt to describe what the teacher can tell the student is missing from their awareness. This can be a sort of coaching to use describing or evaluating in another way instead of the "magic word" problem.

Rather than trying to duplicate or copy previous successes, contrasting to reveal differences works better when learning because it is an exploring activity. The sequence of when you describe is important - observe conditions first, experiment, then describe what you noticed after experimenting. Descriptions of new effects used this way will help to mark that something new has happened. Curiosity about what new means that will launch a person into new territory is very useful. It's risky to head out into the unknown, but it sure does work well to go out to uncharted territory to uncover some new discoveries.

I'm always looking for more unique and useful thinking strategies suitable for differing circumstances. Of course, now I've been generalizing! But only in the interest of perhaps getting people to tell me of exceptions to what you read here. What do you think?
alpine

Showing Respect by Listening

I'd like to explore this idea that talking or listening are two ends of the stick of how respect is shown. Because I'm not so sure that this it true. Sometimes it's respectful to be the one who does all the talking - because the other person wants to listen! Sometimes it's respectful to interrupt - because if you don't, the other person will just keep talking indefinitely because they feel awkward if nobody is talking - or because they're used to being an entertainer.
I think that what is respectful depends on the situation at hand - and it is different for different people.

I think that it's true that for there to be a relationship - someone has to be listening. But I'm not sure that listening is so much better than talking - I think they're equal. Of course, if you listen, you end up getting a whole lot more than if you're talking, usually. So in the realm of giving and taking - the giver is supposed to be the more ethically valued one in our culture and the givee is supposed to be devalued because they're on the receiving end - but the situation needs the givee. So how is the listener, who is the givee, is deemed to be the more desirable one when it comes to talking?

People weren't used the the fact that those of us in the dialogue were interested in what they had to say. Mostly people are only interested in when you're going to stop talking so they can talk, or at least, that's the situational competition of the real estate of the time available.
It's a circumstantial competition - we only have a few hours together, mostly, until people disappear for another month off into the woodwork. So, having all the attention of all the other people in the dialogue was ...strange for most people. Then they had a lot to say to everyone, never having been in the circumstance where people wanted to hear what they had to say. Then as time would go on, the need for having things to say would die down sort of naturally. It was an interesting process to watch in a newcomer.
Me

Making Sense of How People Talk

As I listen to someone speak or write, I'm first listening to how they put the building blocks of language together - what they associate, how they jump from one subject to the next, how they tag similarity and difference; where they go when they make these associative leaps.

I threatened to continue the conversation I started about Whorf's work. In Hopi, there are only two forms of the verb - objective and subjective. Meaning, it's built-in to not tell a lie in Hopi; everything is presented as your point of view (POV) as if it is an intangible that you are referring to. You'd use the subjective when what you're talking about is not able to be seen by both people. In Hopi, it is the built-in structure that always says "it seems to me that..." This structure is in what you did yesterday or what you intend to do next. As you talk in Hopi, the past, the future, etc. is all brought to the present moment. The reason you're bringing it to the present is inherent in your motives for saying it. (Actually, there's alot of teasing that goes on in Hopi that speculates and assigns humourous "shameful" motives. )

In Hopi, instead of conjugating verbs, there is a huge category of adverbs that talk about direction, duration, qualities, sequences - it's these many, many adverbs that some say make Hopi regard the world
from the POV of physicists and superb observers. To the Hopi, the world is made up of actions that are internal or witnessed; these relationships are described, not defined.

You can try, but you cannot really say "from my point of view" in English. It's always a qualification, a frame, an add-on uttered in an attempt to modify the rest of the what you say. It relies on the the other person to compensate for whatever you say that follows.

So saying it implies that the other person has the ability and also does know how to add the frame in to modifiy the meaning of what follows. In fact many people cannot do this brain-work, because they have little practice at suspending, which is what's required. A Dialogue sort of suspension is what I'm asking someone to do when I'd qualifiy something that I say with the phrase, "from my point of view." Since that's what I'm asking people to do, now I specifically ask them to do that and teach them how to do it instead of just using the paraphrase.

Every time we open our mouth or write in English, there's a larger implication that we are adding to or defining POV globally - we are saying what reality "is" as if what "is" is an affirmed, shared set of
"facts." The repetitive teen expression of "like" seems to try to compensate for this in English. It means, "as if" but not yet quite committed to whatever follows. It's tricky to describe relationships
in English, because to describe something, you almost have to exaggerate the characteristic.

What English seems to do better than any other language is reflected in using the direct object - giving the cultural impression that people can "do something" to another thing and affect it, control it. To some extent, you can, so that's why English has become more popular worldwide. English is also useful for gratuituous reordering - you can change the sequence of words in English and still be understood by those other people who order words differently than you do.

Anyway - this is some of what I'm looking at when I think about how language affects people.
alpine

Core Experiences

I've had some success with other "difficult" people by continuing to ask them what experience or set of experiences was the foundation of how they became convinced of the "rightness" of their convictions. Asking, of course, from the point of view of genuine curiousity and your ability to build on what they might relate, (rather than to try to find a way to "shoot down" the validity of their experience.)

To set up the circumstance when you can do this is tricky. You usually have to put up with some degree of them repeating their conviction again and again before they understand what you are asking them for. There is always some disbelief that you are indeed interested and questions about what your motive is for wanting to hear their history. For them, there is some degree of risk in sharing a tender core belief story, stories which sometimes make no sense but are a largely emotional conclusion from sometimes a mysterious set of circumstances.

Also I'm sure that the risk is real; most people in this situation have had others plead for their story. If they dared to tell it or hint at parts of it, those more skilled debate advocates merely tore into the validity of what they had experienced. They were left with disillusionment without getting anything from the exchange to address their needs that the conviction provided. Also, to the extent they had to defend themselves from self-doubt, (which doesn't feel very good,) they may have invested a great deal of energy into "shoring up" their position - and may need to do more if they reveal their precarious ways of assigning meaning.

So because of this, some people will not, under any circumstances, risk telling you the truth and you cannot blame them. Many people cannot risk the truth from a various list of: too paranoid, too wounded, too unfamiliar with the ideals of dialog, not articulate enough to describe their own experience in hindsight or merely stupified that anyone would have asked.

The solution for these situations is to find many ways to reassure the person until they finally believe that you are going to, at least, not attack them if they tell their story - and, at best, once they can trust that you are in concert with them, maybe they will dare to accept some new exploration or interpretation of their story to revise their position once the two of you mutually define some new, more consciously chosen criteria to address these "essential needs."

However, some people do not know how they came by their conviction, so they have no "story" or definite experience to relate that they remember. The concept that people have an experience that leads to a conviction isn't something that has ever happened to them consciously yet. Or perhaps people may need to go back privately and think about their core belief experiences in a new way before they have anything to say about it as a story.

However, all this takes energy and time. For most people, it's better to just stay away from the topic entirely and not bother to open the "can of worms." Usually, most people just don't have the skills to deal with the history any better than the person who with which they sympathize with who is directly "under fire." So that's why people do not want to know other's problems.

The other reason, is sometimes when you do speak up, the upset people turn their attack from each other into ganging up on you! At least, this is what other people say is why they do not speak up in a group situation.
spinning

Personal Agenda

My dialogue group came up with an interesting agreement concerning the authorship of ideas as content for dialogue.

It was quite common at that time that someone would, in effect, throw out an idea into the center of the room to see if other people wanted to talk about it - as if it was an idea that came from nowhere, as if they had not claimed it directly as “their idea.” Apparently, just having read someone’s book was commonly being used in this group as shorthand for what a talker wanted to say - often demanding a little synopsis of the content of the book that was being cited.
Doing that functioned a little like name-dropping sometimes, which was a problem for some people who had not read the book that had been mentioned. If they did talk about the book, dialogue was pretty easily turned into more of a book report or info dump rather than a conversation between peers. It divided the room between those who knew the book and those who didn’t and made dialogue more like a classroom.

Evidently people thought it appropriate to mention the books and ideas of authors because they saw it as a way of talking about the ideas without admitting it was “their idea.” It was also a sort of shorthand for being able to skip over explaining ideas. It seemed that this particular dialogue group regarded speaking from your own personal experience as evidence of “ego attachment.” Ego displays were, of course, to be avoided at all costs. It meant people were avoiding having a suspect motive for bringing up the experience that they feared looked too much like a personal agenda of something they wanted the group to do. This was how they were carrying out David Bohm’s directive that Dialogue needed to remain free of “personal agendas.”

The group decided that many author’s ideas were all valid, but really, why not admit why you are bringing them up and where it came from that made you hold them to be valuable? Essentially, we discovered as a group that people were being avoiding admitting authorship of their own values. There was a cost when the experience of how you came by your idea was not a logical one. The fear was that it could irreverently be picked apart if it was yours; you’d be in the position of having to defend it. The advantage was, if it was written by another author it was their idea and not yours.

Then the question came out of what exactly does someone have to lose by revealing your core values to a group in dialogue? Together we realized that talking about “other people’s ideas” was motivated by a fear that we may be attacked!

So we decided to “dare” to reveal core experiences. We began to define as a group what sort of behavior was “attacking” and what was considered “investigation” and where this boundary was. This evolved into a quite codified ideal of what the group was going to put up with and for how long from people who had no clue what dialogue was.

This was a quite tolerant group, so there was little “rule-making” other than someone would ask for another topic when two people would get into an argument and another person would suggest a stop to the arguing. People in the group would come to the defense of someone they believed was being “attacked.” We identified common debate tactics that discredit the speaker such as name-calling or using barbed examples that inferred the motives of what the other person was saying. We began to just ask if we didn’t understand someone.

When we finally got around to talking about our conceptions and assumptions of motives behind our actions, what evolved was a very interesting series of observations. Many members of the group concluded to resolving to risk more personal stories of core experiences behind the various beliefs they held...and this has continued into the Dialogue group that we have going on today. It changed the content of Dialogue to a much more personal one, but much more interesting content.

Our open Dialogue group meets the first Wed. of each month at Open Secret Bookstore, on "C" and "4th St. San Rafael, CA Come join us!