Conversations on the Edge of Silence
Over the years I found my work with people resembling more and more a kind of conversation, sustained by deep listening – a ‘conversation on the edge of silence’.
The term ‘conversation’ acknowledges the importance of content, whether we speak of supporting emerging insights in the person or resolution of persistent impasses he or she has been facing. But in our ‘conversation’, this content comes into relief against the revealing backdrop of silence.
As our exploration of content unfolds, the backdrop of silence becomes lively in the one accompanied, in the one accompanying, and in the space between them.
When what we are exploring finds itself reflected in the simple mirror of shared awareness, miraculously, resolution and insight arise.
The simple silence, in which the new emerges, becomes increasingly present in the lives of the one exploring and the one accompanying.
This is the nature and gift of a ‘conversation on the edge of silence’, which can be one-on-one, or with couples, small groups, or in larger teams, organizations, and systems.
While ‘Conversations on the Edge of Silence’ (in short COTEOS – or Co-Theos, with the Divine) describes this process quite well, we see it as both a way into and a form of ‘Generative Dialogue’.
The roots of the word ‘dialogue’, from the Greek ‘dia logos’, imply ‘through words’, pointing to an emergent meaning via shared speech (conversation). This is quite different from a discussion or debate, which suggests confrontation or contest among points of view for one of them to prevail.
Generative Dialogue, in contrast, involves attention to more than conversational content. It signifies attention to how we are communicating and what is implicit or assumed in our communication. It also entails attention to how our interaction is unfolding against the silent backdrop of shared awareness.
‘Generative’ coupled with ‘dialogue’ implies, too, that there is something inherently creative in the nature of such a dialogue. In dialogue, shared exchange yields a one-ing of minds and meanings, in which differences are acknowledged and the new can emerge.
Generative Dialogue is not something new. It denotes a simple way of relating in couples and in groups that has emerged in similar ways around the planet over time, and then often been lost, as its simplicity gets complicated or forgotten.
Dialogue has been described very well by quantum theorist, David Bohm, much as we are using the term here. ‘Generative Dialogue’ encapsulates Peter Wrycza’s work since the 1980s with ‘coherent groups’, with roots in the ‘Structural Coherence’ work of Gene Early and a number of other seminal influences.
What It Is
We offer something different
Conversations on the Edge of Silence and Generative Dialogue offer something different from either coaching or therapy.
Unlike coaching, there is little emphasis on a goal or outcome, to be realized or met. Rather, in this approach we allow the process to unfold.
Allowing direction to emerge naturally
Ultimately, direction is not something we consciously choose.
It is something unknown that emerges naturally as the process unfolds, in the space between us. It leads to a natural ‘aha’.
A gift from inner wisdom!
Unlike therapy or counseling, there is no sense that this approach is primarily oriented to resolving past hurt or trauma.
The process may be deeply healing both for individuals and for groups, but this is not a primary aim. Rather it is a by-product of the inner intelligence of the individual or group, as it reveals itself to itself.
Healing happens naturally
As the deeper truth emerges in the space between us, healing naturally happens, together with insight into the way forward.
Peter is a world-recognized facilitator, mentor, coach and coach-supervisor, a published author, speaker and creator of the Conversations on the Edge of Silence approach.
For the past 45 years, Peter has been exploring the prerequisites for deep transformation and natural awakening working with individuals and groups in Europe and Asia.
Out of this work (in collaboration with friend and colleague Jan Ardui) has emerged a unique holistic approach to personal and organizational development – ‘the Way of Unfolding’.
He is the author of Living Awareness, and co-author of Moksha and Living in the Spirit with Luh Ketut Suryani. Co-author of When Performance Meets Alignment, with Jan Ardui, he is currently writing about his experience with ‘innerdance’, in collaboration with its founder Pi Villaraza…