Insight Dialogue

09 Sept ME

Most of us have experienced relaxed conversations that just seem to flow, perhaps in a setting where nature is on view like the one in the photo or around the kitchen table. Peace descends and we feel whole and seen.

Often, however, we lose track of that potential for peace. Avoiding getting stuck cycling on issues that concern us can be difficult enough when we are on our own. Maintaining calm awareness while interacting with others can be particularly challenging.

Insight Dialogue provides support to bring tranquil awareness to the interpersonal domain. First one person speaks on a designated topic while the other listens silently without commenting and then the roles are reversed. There may be an additional timed period with no separate speaker and no separate listener. Pausing allows time to discern what would be beneficial to say and to truly take in and gain new understanding from what is said.

Insight Dialogue’s guidelines create the safety needed for evolving trust and authentic sharing from the heart: Pause, Relax, Open, Attune to Emergence, Listen Deeply and Speak the Truth. It becomes clear we are all vulnerable and that we also have great power to support each other just by how we listen.

This video of Phyllis Hicks facilitating an Insight Dialogue practice shows this supportive energy. You can see the openness, authenticity and caring connection in the responsive body language of the participants. More of Jeff Klein’s sensitive videography can be seen at his website.

Gregory Kramer developed Insight Dialogue. This website includes information on each of the Insight Dialogue guidelines as well as opportunities to experience online drop-in sessions, and face-to-face practice.

The Insight Dialogue guidelines honor dignity; attentive listening meets disclosure for all participants. That makes it easier to truly show up and pay attention to what is said including by oneself. Participants are better able to perceive the preciousness of our sensitivity to each other and learn how to bring greater compassion to themselves and others.

Because of the vulnerable investigation of experience, difficult emotions may arise at times. David Treleaven provides guidance for recognizing and addressing adverse reactions that can arise with any form of mindfulness practice.

In my experience, most of those who try Insight Dialogue appreciate the careful attending that goes well beyond the normal rushed and distracted quality of much everyday interaction. With practice, I found I could bring that same supportive energy to any conversation, and that brought a whole new ease to my life.

Blueberry Memories

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Blueberries are tough plants. They like the acidic gravelly soil with lots of sun exposure that is found on tops of mountains in New England and other places where they grow wild. They thrive when they are burned or eaten back by animals as this stimulates new growth underground. Knowing they are good for you does not take anything away from their wonderful color and sweet acid taste after a hike up a mountain.

As my siblings and I hiked up Pine Mountain’s easy ascent with our parents and their friends, those friends would tell Scaramapoodles stories. Scaramapoodles looked for children who were chewing gum. They would keep the gum and spit out the kids. We loved it. Those stories were clearly meant just for us kids.

July when blueberries are ripe is a perfect time to be camping in the mountains of Hew Hampshire as my family used to do most summers. Even when I did not feel like climbing a mountain, I was willing to climb Pine Mountain. It had blueberries and spectacular views of the Belknap Mountains from the top. I had also noticed garnet crystals glowing magenta from some of the granite ledges.

Anita has different memories of blueberries. In New England where she now lives, she has happy memories of buying them at farm stands. But in Central America, where she is from, they did not know about the fruit.

When I asked what she might like to contribute for a gathering to share tea and dialogue in my tea hut, Anita suggested blueberries. She has special memories of her grandfather who loved pies made from the fruit that was sent all the way from North America to Honduras. Here she tells that story in her own words. This video was made by Jeff Klein. You may visit his website here.