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Convening in Circle

Circles, by Hafiz

The moon is most happy when it is full
And the sun always looks like a perfectly minted gold coin
That was just polished and placed in flight by God's playful Kiss.

And so many varieties of fruit hang plump and round
From branches that seem like a Sculptor's hands.
I see the beautiful curve of a pregnant belly shaped by a soul within,

And the earth itself, and the planets and the spheres.
I have gotten the hint: There is something about circles the Beloved likes.
Hafiz, within the circle of a perfect One there is an infinite community of light.

***

The circle, or council, is an ancient form of meeting that has gathered human beings into respectful conversation for thousands of years. It has served as the foundation for many cultures.

When gathering in Circle, we often gather as a microcosm of all of humanity - with all its potential issues and personality, background, and economic differences. 

The intention of convening in Circle is to transcend these differences and share and listen in conscious dialogue - spirit to spirit, heart to heart.

There are many ways to come together in Circle. The following addresses some of these ways.

Synchronistic Flow

The ideal is to come into stillness and spaciousness (with alertness, clarity, aliveness, and trust that we are in the right place at the right time) in which we are fully present, in the moment, in a state of receptivity, and allow for the “impulse of evolution” to flow through us with intuitive promptings and inspirations that move us to say or do something at the right time. Following such "guidance" allows for synchronistic flow in a circle process and can result in inspired sharing. 

As stated by Lao Tzu "Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?"

As Eckhart Tolle expresses in his book A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life's Purpose

"Inner purpose concerns Being and is primary. Outer purpose concerns doing and is secondary." 

"Your primary purpose is...to enable consciousness to flow into what you do." 

"Awakened doing is the alignment of your outer purpose, what you do – with your inner purpose – awakening and staying awake. Through awakened doing, you become one with the outgoing purpose of the universe. Consciousness flows through you into this world. It flows into your thoughts and inspires them. It flows into what you do and guides and empowers it. Not what you do, but how you do what you do determines whether you are fulfilling your destiny. And how you do what you do is determined by your state of consciousness."

A guidance when convening in circle is to bring at least as much attention to process as we do content

A way to exercise the muscle of present moment awareness that allows for this creative, evolutionary impulse to move through us into awakened doing is an Awareness Circle.

Council process using a talking stick

The Talking Stick is about the process of facilitating open, honest and trusting conversation. It brings empowerment to all conversation participants (both speaker and listener), enabling them to be heard or simply hear another.  

The Talking Stick has a rich history as an ancient Aboriginal tool originally utilized for healing relationships through the process of learning to listen to others and speak one’s truth. It has also been used for centuries by many American Indian tribes as a means of just and impartial hearing. It has been commonly used in council circles to designate who has the right to speak. When matters of great concern came before the council, the leading elder would hold the talking stick and begin the discussion. When he finished what he had to say, he would hold out the talking stick, and whoever felt moved to speak after him would take it. In this manner the stick was passed from one individual to another until all who wished to speak had done so. The stick was then passed back to the leading elder for safe keeping. 

Some tribes used a talking feather, peace pipe, a wampum belt, a sacred shell, or some other object by which they designate the right to speak. Whatever the object, it carries respect for free speech and assures the speaker s/he has the freedom and power to say what is in his/her heart without fear of reprisal or humiliation. 

Whoever holds the talking stick has within his/her hands the sacred power of words. Only s/he can speak while s/he holds the stick; the other council members must remain silent.

The speaker carries within him/herself a sacred spark of the Great Spirit, and therefore s/he is also sacred. If s/he feels s/he cannot honor the talking stick with his/her words, s/he should refrain from speaking so s/he will not dishonor him/herself. When s/he is again able to be mindful of his/her words, the stick will be returned to him/her. 

The Vistar Circle Method for Evolutionary Circles

The Vistar Circle Method for Evolutionary Circles provides a new spiritual technology that helps evolve a group circle process entering the Sacred Unified Field. It provides a structure that helps facilitate evolutionary conversations and deep listening based on fields of resonant energy. This structure is based on three roles and four guiderules - that provide a gentle way of putting the ego aside, build the resonant field, and connect the group with the "impulse of evolution". 

The three roles are: Leader, Support, and Participant

The four guiderules are:

1. Raise your hand to contribute.
2. Contribute on the Topic - contributions should be between 1-3 minutes.
3. No questions during the Circle.
4. No Cross-Talk.

For more information, go to the following links:

http://www.vistarfoundation.org/vistar-method/about-the-vistar-method
http://www.vistarfoundation.org/vm-applications
http://www.vistarfoundation.org/vistar-method/rolessections
http://www.vistarfoundation.org/vistar-method/guiderules

Wisdom Circles

http://www.wisdomcircle.org/format.html

PeerSpirit Circle Process

http://peerspirit.com/gifts/PeerSpirit-Circle-Guidelines.pdf


***

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.”
mevlana jelaluddin rumi - 13th century