As the plane took off into the stormy skies over Brussels, I leant back in my seat and felt the familiar lurch of joy in my stomach. We climbed into the clouds, and I began to think about the journey I was embarking upon, the one that came into my life through a series of totally random coincidences, and felt my heart melt open with longing.
It had been half a year since my last experience of authentic relating work; too long. Too long without being in the physical presence of my tribe, those others who are also dedicated to this work, to whom I have the strongest feeling of kinship I have ever known. A feeling of relief washed through me, and tears came to my eyes. A tingling sensation came over me, and I knew with absolute certainty that the weekend would be hugely important for me.
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The workshop I was headed to was a practice called “Circling”, led by Sean Wilkinson and John Thompson of Circling Europe. Circling is an “Authentic Relating” practice, also known as relational (or interpersonal) meditation. It involves a group of people coming together to practice a high level of presence on a personal, interpersonal and transpersonal level, as well as conscious communication and embodied awareness.
It’s a tool that can be used to build trust and community, as a self-development practice, and even as a shared spiritual practice; when we practice deep presence and open-heartedness with others it becomes a spiritual practice and access to other states of consciousness can be facilitated and shared. One of the most beautiful aspects of Circling in this regard is the ability it has to bridge the gap between spiritual practice and regular life – what Thomas Hübl refers to as “Bringing spirituality into the marketplace” so that our every action becomes imbued with the practice of mindfulness.
The personal development possibilities inherent in this practice arise from the contact with others in combination with deep presence. We can use not only what arises from the contact, but also other issues that are triggered; when we speak “from” something rather than “about” something, what we speak of is present – as are the accompanying emotions. There is a different quality to this kind of communication; it feels ON, real, alive. And because it’s there in that moment, it can be changed, played with, experimented with, explored, and healed.
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How amazing it is to find yourself in a room full of strangers for whom you feel the most compassionate love. It was as I expected, a hugely soul-nourishing experience for me, and several things have come out of it in terms not only of personal growth but also a few very concrete decisions…more news on those soon!
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I really think this practice has the power to heal our world.
Yes, that huge. If you do one evening of this, you will come out changed. If you do several your whole way of showing up in the world, of relating to people, will change. We are social creatures; our connections to other people are the most important aspect of our lives. We pay the greatest attention to each other so the ripple effect potential of this practice is enormous, which is why it’s impact could be so huge.
I invite you to try it.