I have been asked to write and explain what I feel will be of benefit to young adults when engaging in dialogues. Here goes…
The greatest tool we all have at hand is the ability and hence capacity to investigate and enquire into whatever we wish to fully understand, whatever it may be. Sadly, this ability has been, for far too long, lain dormant in most young people, not of their own doing I might add. It is irrelevant outlining or detailing why this has happened because we are all aware of the education system and its mechanism. Instead, let us direct our energy, use communication skills, and willingness to learn to explore together the deeper aspects of life and living by having regular dialogues on matters that effect not oneself but are common to everyone.
Let us take an example of what might happen in a dialogue session:
– The session will have a main theme such as fear, relationships, art of listening, inner conflict, beliefs and ideas, meditation etc. and this theme may run over for several sessions and create new topics for future dialogues.
– The main theme will generate a few questions and as a group we would select the questions which, not only link up but allow for deep enquiry. If the questions initially appear too theoretical, as the dialogue progresses it is important to direct it slowly towards a more deeper enquiry by asking all to use the session as a mirror to reflect upon their own life.
– the facilitator is also enquiring in these dialogues, therefore no one person is an authority on any topic. The fundamental principle is that all attendees, including myself, are exploring together whatever is being talked over.
– during these sessions the art of communication, the art of listening, the importance of respect, and observing ones own resistance, beliefs, emotions, ideas, and reluctance becomes apparent to oneself. This awareness is key to the study of all aspects of life.
– sharing, exploring, enquiring, questioning, investigating and communicating are all essential to the sessions but at the same time no force, effort, requirement, prerequisite or expectation is placed on anyone. All communication comes naturally, freely, respectfully and topic related.
– agreement, disagreement, judgement, criticism, anger, fear, resistance, reluctance, tears, joy, excitement, disappointment, understanding or lack of it, patience and impatience are all aspects of this explorative process. These and much more bring us closer to understanding ourselves without judging, condemning or rationalising.
– openness, a feeling of being ‘at home’ in the group will exist.
– love, compassion, creativity, passion and intelligence can be areas to talk over at a later date. Previous dialogue session will have allowed for these topics to be of interest to then be discussed.
– meditation, silence, quiet time and peace can be fully understood as something not to be attained but already within. This quality may be already felt by those who are serious about the dialogues.
– any member can set a topic for discussion for the following session and in the meantime each reflects on the topic in between session.
– as a result the group becomes a unit, collectively exploring aspects of life which we are afraid to look at individually. Seeking in books, or from others is secondary to direct exploration.
– finally, having studied oneself fearlessly, love, compassion, empathy and affection are felt naturally.
I hope this outline encapsulates the vision that is possible from these dialogue sessions and the necessity of them in today’s technological society.