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. 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 as well as time to take in and gain new understanding from what is said.
The 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. his website, InsightDialogue.org, includes information on each of the Insight Dialogue guidelines as well as opportunities to experience it yourself.
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 all interaction.
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 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.