— David Bohm, On Dialogue
The incredible power of suspending certainty
The enormity of what we had just experienced was apparent to us, but it was almost beyond belief and words for us to express it other than to say, "Wow!"
Suddenly and without warning, new ideas and concepts that were previously unknown flowed from us. It was a shocking and surreal experience, as you can imagine!
That happened eight years ago, so my memory is cloudy on all the details. But I had just returned from a weekend workshop led by Joseph Jaworski and Susan Taylor with Generon International.
While the workshop focused on entrepreneurship, we spent a lot of time learning and practicing dialogue guided by the work of David Bohm, whom Joseph had met and learned from.
We didn't view it this way at the time, but in hindsight, we've since realized we were "dialoguing on dialogue."
While discussing dialogue, a high-bandwidth connection opened up the source of all knowledge. It gave us instant new understanding and knowledge beyond anything we knew before we started the conversation.
Perhaps the best description of what we experienced comes from David Bohm in On Dialogue:
We can just simply share the appreciation of the meanings; and out of this whole thing, truth emerges unannounced — not that we have chosen it.
This described what we experienced perfectly. You can't cause it to happen. You can't expect it to happen. But by sharing meanings in a space of suspended certainty, we create the conditions for it to happen.
The "truth emerges unannounced" sums it up brilliantly. It has to be one of the most intriguing wonders of the universe that we can experience.
What's the value of learning how to dialogue on dialogue?
Once you learn how to open up a channel to knowledge beyond the mind by gaining a greater understanding of dialogue, the possibilities for applying it elsewhere in your life and work are unlimited.
Beyond the obvious benefit of accessing greater knowledge, there is an unexpected secondary benefit.
By developing your capacity to connect to higher levels of consciousness, this capacity carries over into all areas of your life and work, even outside the dialogue.
My good friend and colleague, Marc Hanlan, PhD, is a walking and living example of the "dialogue effect" in action.
In a recent paper he shared with me, he tells the story of applying "don't [do] anything visible" leadership to solve a challenging labor relations problem at a large GE manufacturing facility. Marc shares in the article the dramatic story of how he used his presence and saying nothing to bring together two fractious groups within the company.
Marc has been a tremendous guide and mentor to me in my work. We've spent many fascinating hours together dialoguing. His advice has been instrumental in giving me an appreciation of what I do, which has enabled me to bring more of this capacity to my work.
"Bill Fox has a gift for identifying, connecting with, and helping the rest of us understand the leaders of tomorrow, today. The wisdom of Bill Fox is the incredible ability to help others define their own wisdom." — Marc Hanlan, PhD
(If you'd like a copy of Marc's paper, please don't hesitate to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org; he'd be happy to share it with you.)
Learning to dialogue on dialogue
Are you interested in learning more and practicing real dialogue?
The way we start a dialogue group is usually by talking about dialogue – talking it over, discussing why we’re doing it, what it means, and so forth. — David Bohm
If you would like to schedule sessions for your team or organization, please email email@example.com to let me know or ask any questions.
Alternatively, suppose you are interested in leading dialogue on dialogue sessions. In that case, our new Space Beyond Boundaries Card Deck allows you to innovatively engage in key dialogue concepts with your team or group.
I hope I have fascinated many of you to explore and develop your capacity to engage in a real dialog!
— David Bohm, On Dialog