This topic is an import of an email exchange starting September 5, 2018, from @Tom_Murray, subject line: “Insight tele-dialogue exploration—logistics—rsvp by 9/11”
Maybe a starting question is "how do you IMMEDIATELY enter into a trust situation? without social bonding, territory claiming, attachment to identity…belonging needs, etc… Maybe that could be the meta-text/ meta-cognitive awareness we all aspire to from the get go?
I am there!
But in my experience, sustaining the trust situation is the next challenge. Our personalities have a way of creeping back in. Some structure and shared practices help. It is also a matter of individual commitment. But there is a “building trust” or “meshing” process that takes time.
And I am learning (very imperfectly) the art of small gestures of immediate trust, which repeated become a more enduring field that makes it easier not contract into personal defenses, like when you realize it’s OK and nobody is going to kill or humiliate you for speaking your mind, and it’s also OK mostly to listen and not really know what happens next.
Starting point determines everything, though. It’s a good question.
Hey I am looking forward to this and appreciate what’s been said so far. I feel less concern about the trust available in this group context than in what might be present given that the conversations are to be recorded, broadcast into the internet/social media sphere and viewed and commented on in that fluid and unknown context. It’s a bit like a live conversation which always to me has the potential to diminish depth and intimacy. Just naming this, not to add energy to it, but to make it explicit.
The question of trust is one that came up in a conversation I had earlier this week with Marco on a call, and I like his sense that a real process of “building trust” or “meshing” takes time—just like forming real interpersonal connections does. Personality is a factor EVEN when the field has a transpersonal resonance that seems to circumvent the need for traditional bonding. Substituting the personal with the transpersonal is a key ingredient of cultic environment bonding as I’ve been reading about a lot lately. And, no, I’m not throwing around the word “cult” with any kind of reference here—just coming from my past experience inside one, a quick learning dive that has changed my relationship to subtle field and facilitation practices forever.
I’ve been thinking about this while preparing as the main event organizer of the Jean Gebser Society conference coming up mid-October. We are going to ask participants to do things like engage movement at times or read poetry at an open mic (to enact the mythic and magic structures of consciousness). To do these things at the beginning, before the field is “structured” or “set” or before the grooves of containment have been laid down, would lead to a “colder” read of the field, I imagine. (Thinking of this now, too, as I start the semester with 60 new freshmen in my classes who don’t have previous experience in the field of UCCS as a college, in the field of college living and identity more generally, and then also in the field of my courses and writing classes in particular.) At Gebser, leading with (something other than conventional forms of) movement or embodiment without first establishing the set and setting for the conference might open people up—to energies and connections. But perhaps it doesn’t do that in a way that builds trust or is supported when the contraction to the personal is felt again the next morning. I’m also aware that a field can be set but not enlivened fully through the contents of real contact over the course of a single weekend. Some of the members are multi-year attendees, and some will be there for the first time. How will these fields intermesh? Is this what makes an organization sustainable or growable or “trust”worthy, when the contacts amongst members of the field are distributed complexly? I’m interested in the fluidity of the field’s boundaries and what constitutes good containment for practices we’ll be doing/sequencing throughout the weekend, vis a vis the idea of real relational contact that seems to build a lasting, sustainable, “deep” environment, where actual safety seems to be more possible because people show up in their full, somewhat dinged and bruised containers of Self.
I’m also interested in some of these same questions for facilitating in traditional environments, where I am attuned to subtle dimensions, but where I can’t reference those things in a meta way. I wonder about the “doubleness” of my facilitation in this environment, which is not as transparent. What creates “trust” in that case? For me, the Self as a resonating medium is at least part of my thinking about it.
Chris Bache says, as facilitators, the previous spaces we’ve initiated/shaped/facilitated are accessible by those in current or future classes (4D facilitation? ), and the learning possible in the field is accelerated—especially if it’s the same type of field as previously shaped (like learning in an intro course facilitates future intro course learning, but less so with advanced courses…).
I think a primary way that trust is built is through sharing of vulnerabilities. This means adopting a more 1st and 2nd person perspective(s) rather than sticking to the stereotypical ultra-abstracted 3rd person perspective that seems to be fashionable and safe in the Integral community. I think the Integral community could take a cue from the Authentic Relating folks. Neither insights nor transpersonal fields mean much if they’re not grounded and embodied in the personal and interpersonal.
I’m feeling happy to have landed in this conversation that has quickly zoomed in (pardon the pun) on precisely my own key inquiry - “immediate trust” / “safe space” and inviting first and second person perspective. I use the term “creating relational space” to describe this. For me creating relational space is a precursor to any intelligent work a group can imagine/do together. My own way of delving into this has me as ask (as a practice) how we can “gesture attunement” and what else is needed for that in the online space. Without such gestures of attunement, I believe, we can’t get to the more important question of “what can we accomplish together” and instead remain in polite monologue.