Dialogue groups are offered in the afternoon during retreats, and also take place outside of retreat, usually on Tuesdays or Saturdays. They are an open forum for exploring anyone’s questions, observations, or insights.
Dialogue is a way of looking and inquiring together—of wondering and being curious about what is here right now. It is different from a discussion group where we share what we already know. The spirit of group dialogue is that of exploration and discovery, of being open to the freshness of not knowing.
We gather together in silence, in the same spirit as quiet meditation—waiting to see if there is something that wants to be spoken. There is no expectation to say something—you may participate in group by being silent.
The emphasis in group is on the discovery of listening, of really hearing each other as we speak. Listening to the resonance of a person’s voice, feeling the essence of what is beneath the words, sensing into what they are experiencing and expressing.
And also listening inwardly to what we are experiencing. Sensing what is emerging here in response to another’s words, including reactions, judgments, and emotions. And when we are speaking, we can listen to our own words—being curious about what is going on in us as we speak.
One of the wonderful things about group dialogue is that we are relating in a group situation within the spaciousness and silence of retreat. There is space to be curious about what happens when we talk and interact with one another. We can be with the emotions and conflicts that arise, and become aware of our habitual reactions and projections. We can look into to all of this, perhaps discovering new possibilities for relating—in all of our relationships.