Open Dialogue International Community Forum

Language, psychology, philosophy or culture?

(Rex Barker) #1

I wanted to share something with you all following an interest I have in the broader use of dialogue. I have been reading a book by Lars Muhl entitled “The Law of Light - the secret teachings of Jesus”. In it he explores the Christian message that has been distorted by religious interests, homing in on the earliest writings discovered in the Middle East. These very ancient documents are written in Aramaic, the lingua franca at the time in the civilised world. What captured my interest was the paragraph

In the West the various languages are connected to the psychology that runs through the Latin and Greek language family. One can say that Latin, and the psychology that lies behind it, is masculine,cerebral, rational, pragmatic, scientific and exclusive; a psychology and a language that distinguishes itself by being precise and able to compartmentalise. In that way Latin is unique and indispensable. But there is another, almost forgotten language, based on a completely different psychology and for us an unfamiliar view of mankind and a forever fresh (holistic) approach: The Aramaic language. … The Aramaic language is feminine, intuitive, visionary, empathetic, poetic, spiritually based and inclusive. A concept in Aramaic, as a rule, has several layers of meaning: up to five, six, seven or more".

This was followed soon after by

“Aramaic can only be spoken and understood through the heart. An intellectual person without heart contact won’t, therefore, understand the languages innermost law, which is the Law of Light. The intellectual person’s need for control always feeds fear, the fear of losing, but the Aramaic heart-person knows that one cannot own something unless one is ready, at any given moment, to let it go.”

This has made a significant impact on me, not least because it also seems to sum up the attitude and “psychology” that anyone undertaking work with dialogue must possess and demonstrate. I would be interested to know how this “feels” when you read it and what, if any, impact it has for you? I have been cautious in sharing it wider because of the obvious possible reactions to both the context and beliefs that underpin Lars Muhl’s work. For me it is not about learning some new language, just learning to open up to many more interpretations of words.

Best wishes Rex

Dialogue and Aramaic language
(Kevin) #2

Hi Rex,

One thing my experience has reinforced in me is the conviction that heart, though essential, is not enough. We also have to be competent at what we do. Just as tempered steel makes better instruments (thus powering our creativity), being able to harness our yang as well as our yin - our apollonian, as well as our dionysian, makes us effective at what we do.

When I was in my twenties, I spent time nurturing my more intuitive side, I also learned not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

(Rex Barker) #3

One reason I had for putting this topic onto the forum was to explore how we can use dialogue when communicating on the forum. I appreciated the reply from Kevin because in many ways it shows how far we have to go in using dialogue in our lives. I felt misunderstood and dismissed by the reply, which I also appreciate was not the intention, and yet it is also the point of our usual communication process. What was assumed in the reply, what did the reader feel, what did they think and was there a difference between these as they read the post? I am not a professional, nor an academic, just a carer and one with a deep and abiding desire to help all. My life like everyone else’s has been a mixture of joy and trauma and at any moment I can have strong feelings and thoughts, some I would seek to share. In dialogue we have to live with the uncomfortable and open the issue further to really understand what is in the speaker/writer’s mind/soul. To challenge feels to me to be the issue we need to reflect on, and rather than challenge, notice what arises in us and explore where the common ground is to sustain the dialogue. I do not mean or intend to be offensive in this response, I would appreciate others views on this too.

(Vincenzo Giordano) #4

Dear Rex,

This is so interesting and extremely true in my opinion about language and heart. I have studied a bit of language origins in my Liceum (many many years ago) and I totally agree that language is the expression of where we live and the perceptions we have since we are born that then are transposed into a communicative tool which is language.
What you have shared is, for me very powerful and to be explored more. And I want to read this book! Utterly fascinating!
Have a peaceful end of this year and a good start of the new one.
Panta Rhei… as Heraclitus said.

(Louisa Putnam) #5

What you have shared and written resonates with me deeply and your words and their sense are a present coming to me at the end of our Christmas day. I would love to dialogue about this subject. Sharing it with our group would only make our relationships more intimate. To learn to speak “Aramaic” again…all of us.

(Rex Barker) #6

Dear Louisa, I have asked Nick how I might change this to a topic and share it with the others. Re-reading Alan’s topic - pondering Block 3 - also links well with this issue, although at a more academic level, so I am sure there may be some opportunity for more views. I know that time and the subject matter creates a degree of stress for many during the module and yet I wondered if we might agree to having a “dialogue” about language and meanings at some point during the next session. Before or during would be good for me.
I am delighted that my message was received as a present! in Love, Rex

(Rex Barker) #7

Dear Louisa,

I have just written to Jaakko about this subject and whilst doing so I realise that the issue isn’t the language but rather the “psychology” associated with words. We each ascribe meaning to what we hear, and what we often don’t recognise is the sheer content of what has been communicated, we miss the tone, volume, pitch and colour of the sounds as well as the accompanying images that we unconsciously pick up too. The setting and who else is there, the energy surrounding us and so much more. To do so we need to be what is termed fully present, and this is so often absent for many people. There have been times when I have appreciated what it means to be fully present, and times when I have existed in this state for some weeks. The need to be at least aware of what this means is part of dialogue, and Mia has been the closest example of this for me during our sessions. The gradual diminishing influence of religion in the West, and especially the rise of corrupted religions has a major impact on our culture and awareness. It feels so strange to feel even more aware and passionate about the need to change, and recognise that dialogue is a way ahead for many reasons. I hope what I have been going on about makes sense. As a carer it has been profound in my thoughts about how we care for others, with the recognition that my feelings affect my energy and they can be overpowering for others too. Just sharing as it seems still a strong message that I am unsure how to handle at this moment.

Love Rex

(Louisa Putnam) #8

Can you say more about your uncertainty how to handle the strong message? I am listening carefully and feeling the connect as I read your words and can visualize you speaking. You are communicating. I am imaginging that you have always been on the Path and have had challenges communicating your visionary and pragmatic understandings and consciousness into the language and social structure we were born into. I encourage you to keep writing. Has this been your life’s work? Hearing about your work on the boat, I sense you are accomplishing your intention. All for now. I promised to study for an exam coming up.
what word i he used in German.
Jung used the word, “consciousness,” becoming conscious or perhaps his translator did. I wonder what word i he used in German. I first read his “Man and His Symbols” when I was 16 and then aspired and vowed to become conscious. Awareness is another beautiful “pointing out” word…the Tibetan Buddhists use a word, “rigpa” which translates as the awareness of being aware , also as naked awareness. This we are to practice 24/7.
blessed Boxing day.

(Rex Barker) #9

Dear Louisa,
Please don’t feel the need to respond until after you have completed your studies!! I need to write now so that I don’t lose the thread or opportunity.

It seems that I have been “on the path” since the age of four when I realised for the first time that we create our own reality. I also realised that the boundaries we or society set are movable according to our own feelings of dis/comfort. At various other stages in my life I have been aware of being guided, and much like Castaneda’s Don Matus advises, I have reflected on my life and appreciate the key moments of change and growth. In parallel I spent much of my early life bullied because I was apparently different. I have also made profoundly positive changes in every position where I had responsibility and accountability, and they have resulted in my removal so that a “bully” can take over and run it the way it should be run - through fear. All in all I have lived with this dual aspect, which is hardly surprising given I have been in reality both a warrior and a victim. The puzzle is why I took on the victim roles as it seemed I learned less from this perspective, although it did encourage me to never adopt the autocratic aspect when leading people. In the end this is probably the underlying reason why I am reluctant to talk with others about my passion and views. In you I have always sensed someone who is open and receptive to such messages. I have written about my experiences but not shared them, simply as a way to remember what happened as it always occurs without warning. I don’t think this is anything special, just what happens when you are open to all things in life. In the end I need to explore the dialogue process OD offers so that I might find a way to communicate what I know to more people. I am familiar with “being present” but rarely longer than a short period, 24/7 is a serious challenge that I will work towards, although there is another view - that we should change our beliefs to accept that we can do it 24/7.
So there is always hope! In love, Rex

(Rex Barker) #10

A story about where I am and why I struggle with myself.

Some years ago I attended the summer school of Byron Katie in Germany. I find her work inspirational and a valuable resource. During the week we practiced the simple process she created, known as The Work. The four simple questions get deeper and deeper into the issues we confront and uncovered truth and release for many there. One day she asked the men to leave the plenary session and wait outside. For over an hour we waited and many men got angry at being excluded. Eventually she came out and explained that many of the women were there because they had suffered trauma at the hands of men and were anxious being in such close proximity to men. The group also contained a small number of middle eastern women in Muslim dress who were survivors of conflict. She said she had got them all to agree to a simple process and they were now standing in a large circle in the hall. Knowing this we were asked to go into the hall and participate in a musical chairs game with dancing. As we went in the music would be playing and we should circle the group on the inside and when it stopped, without speaking, invite whoever was close to us to dance/engage or communicate with us in any way without speaking. The music would then play for a while for us to dance or do whatever had been “negotiated”. When the music stopped we should continue to circulate until the music started when we should again engage/negotiate with another woman. We were also told that those who were really anxious about men would sit on the floor or chairs outside the circle and we should not approach them. All went well for many breaks until the circle became untidy and broken in places. At this point I forgot about the injunction not to engage those outside the “circle” and approached a woman sitting on the floor. I did this because it seemed she would appreciate it, so I gestured to her if she would like to dance. She got up and danced with me and I thought nothing more of it, and even invited others “outside” the circle to do so with many, not all, accepting. At the end nothing more was said and we left for the evening meal.
The following day after the first session Katy suddenly asked all the men to come forward and step on the stage. The group was some 400 of which around 150 were men. For some reason I felt very strongly that I did not deserve to go on the stage so I crept around to the rear and stood behind the platform. Katy then thanked all the men for being so caring and gentle with the women the day before, and asked the women to applaud this. As they clapped I broke down in tears feeling an utter and complete fraud, as if I was not the person they thought I was. The other men looked behind and down at me shocked and puzzled why I was sobbing my heart out. After about 10 minutes of tributes from the women, which included an expression of gratitude from the woman outside the circle that I had invited to dance, we retook our seats, with me still hiding amongst others to be “invisible”. As I sat down a small cluster of women surrounded me and put their hands on my shoulders as I continued to weep, still not knowing why. A woman from the group then went to the stage to say how she felt as the event the day before unfolded, talking about her own sense of shame and unworthiness, and as she did so I felt that she was saying what I needed to express but couldn’t. I never have solved what happened, and yet it replicated what my father always said about himself. He was an orphan and never knew his parents and felt unworthy to be alive, and somehow I carry the same feelings. The reality was that my father was truly loved by all who met him, but he could never acknowledge this.
It is not surprising that sharing this brings the feelings and emotions flooding back and yet can also help as it is not something I find easy to do. It exposes a vulnerability that is difficult to admit or acknowledge, and yet as I write about it I wonder what the underlying cause is for all this? I feel as though I am in another period of transition and as before I have little control over when and how it unfolds. I have felt your energy and presence since we first met so your replies do not surprise me and feel as if I am replying to myself as none of us are separate beings but part of a whole we have yet to understand. I have experienced many different steps as I travel the road of understanding who I am and what we are all alive for, and I have written about them in small stories or poems to myself. To say I have experienced my own birth, death and unification into the oneness that is spoken of is true, and yet I still feel separate - which is the myth I struggle with. I have experienced channeling an incredible intensity of energy, as though a thousand million universes pass through me in an instant, and yet am fearful of using my own “power” because of the awareness how easy it is to misuse or abuse it. This is in contrast to the reality when it seems I can create the most harmonious and joyful environment for work, transforming it from an oppressive and cruel fear based regime. The paradox is obvious and yet I cannot resolve it.

The good news is that I have recently found someone who can help and it feels as though peace will soon find me, and acceptance of who I really am. I look forward to seeing you again in January. I hope your studies are going well, you don’t need luck for the exam, just an openness to what you already know and the courage to express it to them.

Best wishes


(Louisa Putnam) #11

Dear Rex,
I am just reading this beautiful story of your time in Germany with Byron Katie and you puzzling over your weeping and feeling an orphan and also the paradoxes of being both powerful and a conduit and also being an orphan, feeling at one with all life and also at times alone and abandoned and separate. I am thankful you are writing about all this and I am listening. You say you have found someone to help you and I hope this has born the medicine you need. I will look forward to being with you in a few days. We arrive again on tuesday at Jury’s Inn but last time we collapsed and slept as we are 7 hours later than London time. Thank you for sharing your heart and vulnerability. Your doing so even in this anglo saxon type language, makes me feel safer in our group. A gift. Thank you.dear Rex.

(Rex Barker) #12

Dear Louisa, Each of your replies touches me deeply and reaffirms my belief that we are all connected. Whilst some are caught up in the material aspects of life there are those delightful few who are courageous enough to speak from the heart, and it is so soothing. My contact did help somewhat with my journey of understanding, and yet the Genome exercise has stirred up more than I expected. It has brought some clarity in some areas and concerns in others as it seems so “rational” and “scientific”. I have had spontaneous shifts into another state during my life. Never fearful, apart from the initial shock of finding myself there, but always enlightening and full of compassion. These experiences have played the major part in my development and yet there is no place for them in this exercise as they are not “real” or reproducible. I am also intrigued by Kevin’s recent flood of thoughts, always in an intellectual and academic tenor, as he grapples with the concept of dialogue. I want to comfort him in his struggle with these issues but the forum doesn’t seem to be the right medium to do this as, once again, context and meaning are everything. I am looking forward to seeing everyone again next week. In the meantime do look after yourself, rest and relax during the flight and what will be will be. Thank you Rex

(Alan Hendry) #13

Hello Rex. And so I have just read all the posts in this topic. I think I may have glimpsed your original post at a busy time and then passed on. I wanted to let you know I have read the posts and can relate both to what you say about language and to the more personal experience of shame and being overwhelmed by this. On the occasions this has happened to me it feels as though we are living in a cosmos of wonderful beauty and wisdom and my egotistical boots are treading all over it without regard. There is also a feeling in me that this wonder in which we live, and of which we are made, is a gift that is being continually created despite our actions. However I mohave a concern that it could be diminished (or at least our access to it could) if we do not make the effort to lift ourselves to behold it in its true glory. This effort is, I believe, somehow connected with the living reality of being behind language. When I use the word “behind” I think of it as a backward direction within me, not beyond something in front of me (in so far as it has a spacial dimension at all).

I read a lecture by Rudolf Steiner the other day where he spoke of the relationship we bore to the great spiritual beings closet to us. To paraphrase, he said that just as we are related to our perceptions of the world outside us, so are they perceiving us from within ourselves. Thus our thoughts, feelings and actions are continually visible and there is nowhere for us to hide them. Holding this in mind can induce shamefulness, but also a feeling of responsibility to fully become part of the living cosmos as an individual who attempts to sense it, and act in it, fully - and as harmoniously as possible. Ethics, beauty and truth can converge if one “gets it right”.

I think you may have touched on the fact that writing like this is exposing. One can experience different perspectives: the writing of it from one’s centre; and the reading of it back. And so I end with your question: how will this be experienced by others?

I have no words to sign off with but the feeling is a positive one.

(Louisa Putnam) #14

Dear Rex and Alan, I notice my body responding to your words here Alan…tears welling up and a “felt sense of connection”…a resonance with-“Thus our thoughts, feelings and actions are continually visible and there is nowhere for us to hide them.”

I also am noticing, as I go to find words to respond on this forum, a fear arising that I may respond in a way that others will judge or criticize. A fear arises within that I won’t do it “right” and therefore may not be “acceptable,” “smart” enough,…and all that currently goes with that… well enough dressed, the right kind of person to do this OD work, or present this OD work. I reality test these feelings. Am I being paranoid? No, actually I am not.

Then I turn within and look deeper into what I can understand about how I set up this challenge internally. I see and hear my father’s voice in me who criticizes and always was looking for whether we/I were “smart” enough. I know he was also looking and wondering whether he too was smart enough to pull off his demanding work in a competitive world. HIs father called him “Damn Fool Putnam.” Publically. His initials were DFP. HIs dad and his grandfather only went to grammar school and then to work. No high school. No college. No graduate school.
My mother, silently, was torn between wanting to accept my “differentness,” creativity, me as an artist, a seeker after truth, my wild nature,- but also had a deep intergenerational terror of being shamed, of her children disgracing the family. She both wanted us to shape up and fit in, be successful in the social and professional world and also not to become “one with it.” ( Anais Nin, “The artist is here to change the world, not ot become one with it.”) This confused me. What were my instructions for how to be? Caught in a double bind which said, “Be free. Be yourself. Risk it because that is where greatness lies, where real contributions to the world lie” and also “Danger! If you are yourself, you will disgrace me and ruin our family’s reputation and create disaster.” My mother and I couldn’t or didn’t talk about this conflict. I wonder if we ever had if, she could have owned her ambivalence. I am seeing how these inner voices around the struggle to be my/oneself, authentic, honest self and at the same time be societally acceptable, graceful, polite, correctly dressed, “smart enough,” appropriate, accepted and acceptable, as you and Steiner say, Allan, “Act in it, fully, and as harmoniously as possible.” And if, I can “get it right,”-“Ethics, beauty and truth can converge…” What a tall challenge that is, still for me. I then feel instantly that I should have gotten this together by now, healed myself up and be able to function skillfully in the inner and outer worlds. "Be a success."
Taking a deep breath, feeling grateful to be able to unpack these inner conflictual instincts for survival and actualisation and thinking of you two now, Alan and Rex, with gratitude for you both and your offerings here. I offer mine as I go to work on an article I am struggling with, knowing “there is more work to do…”

"A night full of talking that hurts,
My worse held-back secrets.
Everything has to do with loving and not loving.
This night will pass.
Tomorrow there is more work to do. "

Alan’s: “Thus our thoughts, feelings and actions are continually visible and there is nowhere for us to hide them.” from the “great spiritual beings” inside us and you great beings reading this post.

(Rex Barker) #15

How can one not be moved by the thoughts and feelings expressed in this continual line of communication. I am struggling to move between the need to undertake the writing for the accreditation and contributing to this dialogue, which seems far more real than the intellectual exchange required to show a level of competence in dialogue. This challenge is increased when I read more of Krishnamurti’s (K) works, especially “As one is”. The more I am asked to express opinions on a variety of philosophical and intellectual works the more I find myself limited by their narrow isolated view. Where is the compassion in scientific dialogue? We stand on the shoulders of those in the past, and yet in going deeper and deeper into a rut find ourselves missing the essentials of life. I am struck by K’s comment - Can we put an end to naming, because when we name a feeling we create suffering. Envy is bad, love is good, fear is bad happiness is good, and these create suffering because these states affect our desired needs. This is not well expressed but I hope you get the point. It takes courage to express our deepest feelings and yet when we do the trust that emerges as we touch another with our honesty can change the subsequent relationship. There is a difference between saying something that you think will create empathy, and a profound expression of truth. Others will “see” through the first and sense the latter for the truth expressed. I prefer the notion that the sponsoring intention between the two determines the outcome, for it recognises the non-verbal communication that is so difficult to hide. Maybe that is why I find it so difficult to read others preferences of one concept over another or why x is better than y when neither express the relationship or context to life as lived.
So far the thread between these contributions takes me to Kahlil Gibran who would begin his writings with the word Beloved, much as Rumi and other writers of their tradition would. It feels the same when I read the other entries, and for me this is true dialogue and as Alan and Louise have both written “Thus our thoughts, feelings and actions are continually visible and there is nowhere for us to hide them.” from the “great spiritual beings” inside us and you great beings reading this post. When the great spiritual beings inside us are active and give voice in response it touches us deeply. In OD my sense is that those suffering gradually discover the liberation they feel when expressing the previously unheard/unexpressed thoughts that create suffering.