Wisdom (or story) circles draw on the work of Dialogue (David Bohm). They are always conducted in an unobstructed circle and are convened in order to share knowledge, deeper insight and to co-create wisdom and understanding. This method of communicating is very different than the common mode of conversing, which is generally like a debate. Here are some guidelines:
- We talk about what's really important to us and about ourselves.
- We really listen to each other. We see how thoroughly we can understand each other's views and experience.
- We acknowledge one another as equals.
- We slow down so we have time to think and reflect; respecting silence should it occur.
- We say what's true for us without making each other wrong.
- We see what we can learn together by exploring things together.
- We avoid monopolizing the conversation. We make sure everyone has a chance to speak.
- We refrain from 'cross-talk' - addressing individuals through questioning, agreeing or challenging!
The primary activity of circle is the interaction of speaking and listening. The three practices of council remind people of the quality of attention that the space invites:
- We will speak with intention.
- We will listen with attention.
- We will tend to the well-being of the circle by remaining aware of our impact and contributions.
For additional information on Wisdom Circles see http://www.wisdomcircle.org/format.html
For additional information on Dialogue see http://www.co-intelligence.org/P-dialogue.html
Sample Wisdom Circle Exercise
- Reflect, silently, on your personal experience with _________________ (the issue being assessed).
- Round 1: Share a time when you felt 'different 'or 'excluded'
- Round 2: Share a time when you felt 'included'
- Whole group debrief on key learnings