Images live in our space. All day long and all night long we consume a diet of images which feed different parts of ourselves. These images facilitate a connection with different aspects of the archetypal or spiritual world. These images also feed the community and the collective consciousness.
When we eat food, we break it down and make it a part of us, drawing on the life and forces within it for energy and nutrition. It becomes easier and easier in our time to see in people the kind of food they eat. We take on the qualities of the food we ingest. We become what we eat. It plays itself out in us. If we eat a lot of junk food, our body feels it, and we might get cranky, but it otherwise does not impact the people around us.
With images, this assimilation process works farther. The images we “eat” or take in – from nature, media, books, the environment – not only become present in our personal space, they live in the space we share. They become a part of our collective environment. They feed the community and the collective consciousness. They enter the elemental or psychic world we share.
On a personal level, images can strengthen us or deplete us, depending on where they are sourced. Receiving the rich images of a forest environment can give us the sensation of being plumped up energetically. We can feel an expansion in our space – more breath and light. When we say things like “this sucks”, “this never works”, “this always happens”, we imprint something image-like into our space. Giving ourselves a lot of violent or other kinds of stimulating images can weaken us. It can feel like overeating or bingeing on junk food – we are overwhelmed by all we have to digest. We stimulate or excite our senses with these images, which can seem to amplify a sense of being alive. Consistently feeding ourselves such intense images can make us numb to the effect that images have on our soul. We may then need more and more intensity in order for our senses to experience or feel something. In order to protect itself from the toxicity of intense images, the soul will shut down or de-sensitize our “sense” of image. This can also neutralize the positive effects of, or the taste for, healthier images.
When children see us walking to our car, going to 7Eleven, stepping into the classroom, or cooking supper, they do not see us but the images that live in our space. Children are becoming more and more sensitive to the presence of the images around us. They do not always make their experience of these images conscious but these images nevertheless feed them. Their behavior may even reflect the images we bear in our space. We may even have the experience of them “reading” or seeing these images around us.
Most of us modern humans take in hundreds if not thousands of images before we leave the house in the morning, mostly through our cell phones or other media. This can have a crowding effect on our space. When we wake up in the morning, we feel refreshed, connected to our environment; our awareness feels expanded and our senses more tuned to the life around us. This sense of connectedness can become stifled, cut off, or replaced by the images we collect as soon as we open our phones. We can close ourselves off from the environment that refreshed us.
One of the portals or core languages which the spiritual world uses to communicate with us is image. Some people receive images for what they need to do next in their lives or a direction they need to take. Some people wake up full of dream images and some people receive images of what they will meet that day, in a kind of “fore-seeing”. If we gorge on junk images, we make it harder for the cosmic nutrition of healthier images to feed us. It can even kill our appetite for nutritional images like nature landscapes, the behavior of animals, the movement, the smile of children, the qualities of plants, a forest or garden. Because of the “heavy taste” stimulation of media images, other images can go unnoticed or ignored, because the senses in us that could meet them have shut down. We then cannot receive the messages or guidance life may be trying to offer us.
We are not going to stop using our phones, but we can become aware of our diet of images. What part of us are we feeding with what we are looking at – the part of us that likes junk food or the part that is seeking a path of transformation? Can we notice the effect it is having on us? If so, can we consciously balance out this effect with other kinds of image?
We can remind ourselves that we have a choice when, what kind, and how many images we consume. There are forces that want to crowd our space, creating disconnection and distance from the the world around us. But these forces are there to wake us up to our space and help us to remember that our space is another way we can meet or reveal something more.
Images have an archetypal, even transformational, power on the soul. Every image in the world also lives in the soul of every human being. By wakening to these images, we can connect to what lives within us and to its archetypal source. We can become the image; it can become an active, empowered part of us. Healthy images can put us in touch with something bigger than ourselves. We see this potently in Kindergarten children, as they spend the day becoming, embodying, and acting out the images of their world.
Children at different ages will seek specific kinds of images for their own development, sometimes working with one image for a long time until they make it fully a part of them. Before they can freely enter this image world, they sometimes have to work through and digest the images that we, and the community around them, have placed into their space.
Just as overweight and obese children are more and more common, we see a lot image-overwhelmed children. Their life body has become stiff. They seem full, anxious, restless. They become impulsive, disruptive, allergic, and can experience digestive disorders. They can be so full of junk images and so busy digesting them that the healthy images that are seeking them, and that they are seeking, cannot find them.
Soon there will be as much talk about our image diet as about our food diet, as we more and more awaken to how we feed our community and the collective consciousness through the images we take in.
Image sense exercises
There are also ways we can cultivate or strengthen our “sense of image”. Here are some exercises for strengthening our imagination and our image “sense.”
- If you have a life question, dilemma, or challenge you are facing, you can go “image fishing.” Take the question for a walk and let the images of the world speak into it. They can be the actual images you will see on the walk or they can be images that are awakened through the activity of willfully moving into the natural world of images. We need to be mindful here not to project upon the image or the world but to receive as clearly, neutrally, and objectively as possible what is there. Idle fantasy or quick associations can easily co-opt our image-fishing intention.
Any difficult time, intense moment, or moment of beauty in life can be an opportunity for asking the image world for an image for this experience. This is the path of poets: to find an image for their experience, which gives the experience more objectivity and distance, makes it less personal, and may reveal an archetypal picture, new perspective, or learning behind it.
- 2. Asking the space between you and someone else for an image. Every relationship in our lives may have an image-like quality or character. Is your experience of the relationship with a close friend like a soft, cozy pillow or a prickly cactus?
- Every image that exists in the world corresponds with an aspect of the human soul. The world is a macrocosm of the human being. When we wake up to an image, we wake up to an aspect of ourselves. We see ourselves more clearly. What are your image preferences? What kinds of images or particular qualities in images attract you, draw your attention, or come up in your speaking or your projections of others? Some people live in a kitten world, like to put bows on things, find inspiration in a wabi sabi look, or thrive in an intensely busy environment. Understanding your preferences helps to see a possible one-sidedness, subjectivity or filtering of the image world. In a similar way you may find it valuable to notice the kinds of images you avoid. What images do you turn away from? What aspect of your inner life are you blocking from your perception?
- We might feel the weight of something image-like in our lives – like a heavy, dark cloud around us, or feeling on top of the moon. Sometimes naming this image gives us a greater sense of freedom within it. Sometimes you may need to seek a balancing image by going into nature or observing an animal or by inwardly cultivating an image in your inner space that could create more balance. If you feel stuck, you may find the presence of a stream helpful to get things moving again. What kind of image would help you now or create more balance? We are sometimes aware of the kind of food our body is needing. In a similar way we may sense an image our soul is asking for. We may become keenly aware of such an image when we see it and suddenly feel a sense of nutrition in it – “oh, I needed that!”
- We can often experience a repetition of images in our lives. What image keeps coming to you recently or do you become aware of? Noticing these images can help you build a picture for the conversation that the (image) world is having with you. They can help you to read the book of your life. Reading your life in this way can help to deepen your sense of life, open a path for more images to speak to you, and strengthen you for reading the presence of less visible images.
We can also observe this phenomenon in children. What image is a child returning to again and again in their play and what does it reveal about where they are in their development and what they may be needing from it? What is speaking through them?
- Choose an inanimate object and describe it in its context: a doorknob attached to a door, a crumpled tissue in a corner, a lamp hanging from a ceiling, a cigarette butt squashed on a roadside. Speak out the exact wording of the image in its context. Experience in your speaking out the relational quality in it. Now add the two words “I am” in front of it. “I am the apple core surrounded with mold.” Speak this out and notice how true you may experience this sentence to be. What experience opens up to you through speaking from the perspective of that image?
- Many meditations and verses use image or a sequence of images for making a connection to the archetypal power behind them. They can become vehicles for cosmic nutrition and the spiritual forces our souls may be hungry for. Look through verses or mediations and ask yourself: which one is my soul most hungry for now? What kind of image do I need? You can make the verse part of your daily image diet, speaking it or inwardly seeing its images; breaking it down and digesting its life. After some time you may feel that you have fully united with the image. It has become an active, living part of you. Then you can look for the next image you may need. However, it is also of great value to continue with a verse for a long time, as many dimensions of the images begin to unfold over time.
- Many images want to enter our “house”, our inner and collective space. Once we strengthen our sense of image we can become aware of how this image world is constantly weaving into us, willing to speak with us. We can begin to discern what is a living, health-bringing, nutritional image, and what is a distracting one. When you become aware of an image in your space, notice how it works on you, what qualities it awakens. What is your inner movement like; what direction or thickness does it take? Is there an archetypal image behind it? A man holding a small child may wake up in himself the image of the Madonna, or the mother archetype. Noticing our hand slyly picking fruit from a market stand may stir a sudden image of the hand of a thief; or, if it has an eager, quick tempo, perhaps the archetype of a pig lurching for his food. We can notice if the presence of an image in our space is more conceptual, dry, and objective, or whether we sense some inner movement, color, mood, or quality. This quality may feel like a full body sensation. What would allow the image to come more alive for you? You can try taking whatever image you are experiencing into movement. You can walk it, let the sense of it move your body, or sense a gesture form itself from it. If the image were a character, how does this character walk, look at the world, turn around, speak, listen. You can also start with a character and ask for an image for it. Which image brings a sense of this character most alive for you? You can try out different images for the character and let the character choose.
Fantasy vs. Imagination
Fantasy images may leave the residual feeling of idleness, distance, a slight contraction and disconnection from the environment. We may feel thin and somewhat tired afterwards. Notice the effects after an extended moment of “daydreaming” and the transition required to re-enter reality. “Oh, where was I?”, we might say when we come back to ourselves.
We might explore a scale of images, revealing different qualities and after-effects. Junk images that most of our media offers we can easily recognize as having a dulling, stupefying, glazing, hypnotizing, mesmerizing, drying out effect. In extreme cases it may look like being in a coma. We become passive consumers. Fantasy may be higher up on the scale – a little moment of escape. Writing poetry still higher – calling a sense of language into the process. What makes a living image? In its most inspired encounter, an image wakes us up to the inner life of something. A being awakens to another being; perhaps they even wake up to each other. “Here I am,” we seem to say to each other. A sense of something greater than myself working through the image and through my encounter with it. We feel a profound sense of connection, maybe also humility. We may also feel a sense of awe for the mystery of life and feel an awareness for the less visible images working behind and around it. It opens a new path of perception or, as Goethe suggests, a new organ of perception.
- We can create images in our spaces. A carefully organized group of flowers or an arrangement of stones or crystals can feel like soul food to look at. A well-set table, a colorful meal, a garden or lawn, even a polished and cleaned car, can be a thing of beauty to behold. We transform ourselves when we re-create a space. The image we create also feeds us. We are creating ourselves. We become it.
我們可以不必停止使用手機，但是我們可以更有意識去覺知自己攝取了什麼圖像。去覺察我們正在觀看的內容餵養了我們之中的哪一部份——是喜歡吃垃圾食物的那個自己，還是尋求轉化之道的那個自己？我們可以感知到這些圖像影響力嗎? 假如可以，我們可以有意識地讓其他類型的圖像來平衡這些影響力嗎? 我們可以提醒自己，我們可以選擇在何時、接收多少、哪些種類的圖像。有些力量想要塞滿我們的空間，在我們和周遭世界之間帶來距離和斷裂。但這些力量也在喚醒我們對空間的覺知，幫助我們用另一種方式憶起我們的空間，那種方式讓我們可以遇見更多或是表達更多。
1 假如你現在正面臨了生活的難題、挑戰、進退兩難。你可以試著做 「圖像釣魚」。在散步時，心中帶著你的問題，讓這個世界的圖像和你的問題對談。這些圖像可能是在散步途中所見的實際存在，也可能是我們在散步活動中愜意悠游於自然世界之中，而我們心裡升起的圖像。
The Art of Yielding
By David Anderson
“Yield and maintain your integrity, be whole and all things come to you.”
– Tao Te Ching
The moment we enter a space, especially if it is a space new to us, we might observe some micro-happenings. What happens? First, my senses sharpen and tune into what is there. They make a scan of who is there, what’s happening, the tension and qualities of the atmosphere, dynamics between people, whether or not I feel safe. In this first moment, like all first impressions, I take in perhaps a hundred pieces of information. My senses are “‘a tiptoe”, as Shakespeare says. Once I’ve assessed all this, my senses relax (if the space allows for that). In an emergency situation, my senses might stay at or even intensify the heightened state of awareness. But usually I settle into the environment. Unconsciously or overtly, I seek: where can I get comfortable or have a little taste of what’s familiar? At home, I plop on the couch, unless I identify an urgent need in the house. In the social field, I might move towards someone I know – someone who will most support my presence there, most accept my everyday habit self. My body is drawn to a place in the room where I don’t have to work too hard.
In these moments of falling back into my safe and familiar self, I notice my senses grow passive and dull. They stop taking in new things and they reheat the old meal of known impressions, judgments, and feelings. I go to sleep a little.
Sometimes life demands a more sustained and focused attention of my senses. I enter a space and meet an upset partner, a conflict situation, an emergency. A situation that requires effort. If I resist this demand, I feel exhausted by it. If I welcome it, say “yes!” to it, I feel exhilarated and enlivened. If it challenges me, I might grow through encountering it. My senses awaken a new capacity of response-ability. If I fail to meet the challenge, I also get learning. I see what doesn’t work.
Even without a demand from life I can choose to sustain this heightened awareness of my senses. When entering a beautiful landscape, observing a flower, experiencing a piece of art or a moment in poetic time, I choose to engage my senses. The beauty or the well-spring of life inspire my interest.
Sometimes, without any obvious reason, outer provocation, or a recognizable catalyst from the world, I stay in there. I keep perceiving, even without a focus point or a central object for my perception. As if something in me were asking: what is this? What is here? What is speaking? I inwardly lean in to the symphony of sensations and notice how they assemble themselves – how they organize and coalesce into a picture or wholeness or meaning or insight. No longer seeing, hearing, or sensing what is tangibly there, an intangible yet objective perception emerges.
This seems only possible after my senses have alighted in the space, become present within my body and within the body of the space. I have to be there first. I show up. My senses lean in. Then I can pull back and give space to what wants to emerge from these perceptions. Without retreating to a passive comfort zone, I stay present in my sensing but I yield to what speaks through these perceptions. I am as present as I was before, but I give space to the intangible qualities, movements, and meanings. In this it can feel like an expansion of presence, an enlarging of the field of my perception. If a hint of passivity or laziness enters this, these perceptions can become full of fantasy, illusion, projection, or desire. If I can sustain this yielding without filling it with my own habit responses or judgments, the senses can go beyond what they have sensed before. They seem to evolve. Borrowing from Goethe, a new organ of perception awakens. It is an organ for this unique revelation of presence at this moment in time and space – something like discovering a new star in the firmament. It was always there, I just hadn’t developed a capacity to see it yet.
My interest in this process can allow it to become more objective and scientific. Subject and object, space and time, come into dynamic relationship, each working with the other, both contributing to what unfolds or comes to consciousness between us. Together we open a curtain for the light of a new star.
This process has a kinship with the soul movements we can experience in speaking. If I let the sounds of my speech find a fully-embodied and pure presence, with the right amount of my offering will, a space is born. The sounds and the life of the words create a space. If I yield to that space, together the space and my attendance create a vessel or perceiving organ for revelation. Something can enter the speaking that wasn’t there before. A sense of living Word may emerge.
I might experience this as joining hands with what is perceived. I am not fixed on the object. I let my attention soften without letting go of the activity of sensing. This vessel, created by the subject and object in tandem, holds the space for another level of perception. I actively give over to its voice.
This process is familiar in preparing for meditation or artistic practice. I show up in the space, sense all the outer and inner traffic and noise, perceive the tensions in the body. My sensing alights upon all of them. My awareness fills the form of my body. I lean in to what speaks. I likewise engage with the space around me. The space becomes an extension of my body. Then I gently pull back and make space. The space inverts.
When the space inverts the soul experiences a surrendering; a giving over. Where I had been holding the space before, now I let the space hold me. In the body there is a release of tension that I was not aware of before. The body softens.
Sometimes I get stuck to some experience and it won’t let go. I get entangled. Sometimes I back away so far that I fall asleep. But in the dynamic middle is a sweet spot. I am there, not so much there as to crowd the space but not so little as to be passive. I actively yield to a space that opens at the intersection of my perceiving senses and what is perceived. I surrender to that inter-relational space. This convergence and inter-relationship beget a new field of phenomenology.
The next time we enter a new space together, rather than passing through these micro-events at the threshold, let’s stay awake to them and sustain their processes of perceiving. Let our senses reach out, unite with what is there, and then patiently, humbly, receive what would be born from that union. Let’s attune to what lives between us. Open our senses to the dynamic field and inter-play of our togetherness, full of infinite potential for unfolding and empowering intangible presences, in this space, at this time.
The Unified Field
By David Anderson
The expression “the social field” is gaining more and more parlance, especially in group processes. As a community of human beings striving to evolve the world and develop ourselves, this makes sense. We are beginning to recognize the opportunity and potential we have as creative, spiritual beings to cultivate the social climate, soil, and growth of what happens in our collective spaces. We see that what happens in our social settings impacts the wider world. Of course, this brings a sense of responsibility as well.
Rudolf Steiner describes the social art as the highest of arts. In the social setting we don’t normally think of ourselves as artists. It is usually a place where we experience our habits, where familiar thoughts, the me-story or inner narrative, and comfortable feelings emerge, where our likes and dislikes find expression.
Like all the arts, the social art has earthly elements and transcendent elements. Meaning, there are tangible and intangible aspects. There are levels of human experience that go beyond what my body, mind, or soul can register. In artistic processes we raise up what strengths we have in the body, mind, and soul as an offering toward a kind of divine intervention. Sometimes in our artistic practices we might seem to be hovering on the earthly plane with our talents (rehearsing our scene, moving our brush around, playing with the clay, chatting), and sometimes we might feel “kissed” by something eternal or evolutionary. We then feel inspired by another source that transcends body, mind, and soul.
In the social field many intentions can work. We unite with others around visions or plans or experiences. We seek to understand each other and sometimes to come to common ground. We make agreements. We bring all individuals under one umbrella or picture, seeking to call upon the creative engagement of each one present. “Do we all feel good about this?” “Can we stand behind it?” We strive to unite on a soul level.
In recent decades we have spent a lot of time understanding the laws and best practices for social processes. Techniques have even developed for how to interact and speak and listen to each other. We have learned to follow these social protocols and hope for the best outcomes. However, we have all been in meetings where we felt inspired on a soul level – maybe it even felt like “a moment” or “a happening” – but the reality of that experience did not extend behind that encounter. The inspiration was born and lived out its life within the time we were together, but did not live beyond that moment.
However, if we wish to work with the social process as an art, the social field can become an offering toward another level of an emerging and sustainable future. How do we lift it up for something more enduring to speak into it?
There are other dimensions of presences in any given social situation that transcend what may be perceptible in the social field. This spiritual level may be called the unified field. It unifies the social field with another dimension of experience. As it is less tangible than other dimensions, it may not be tangible on the physical “sensible” plane or even in our soul experience. And yet, when we expand our awareness and our “sensing” further into the social field, this unified field may be experienced as an inversion of the space. As our sense of space moves out and expands, there appears a corresponding leaning in from the archetypal world.
We do have “senses” to perceive the laws and leanings in of this more archetypal world, but these senses are not body, mind, or soul based (in the ordinary sense of soul as being my personal self with all of its habits, emotions, and preferences).
When we are touched by something beautiful, there is a physical, outer experience and something behind it that whispers in or shines through. We often struggle to find words to express what is happening to us, as the experience seems beyond words. In such moments we see how our labeling the experience (which can filter it), how our understanding or enthusiasm for what is happening, may get in the way of truly perceiving what is there. When we are moved in this way, beyond the purely soul experience, we recognize how, on a certain level, our familiar soul set itself aside. An experience lights up in us that might feel more connected to the world soul or to an archetypal experience. Although it is happening to me, and registers in the soul on a certain level, the experience is larger than me. It has a universal character.
The way our senses alight upon these experiences can feel like a grace or revelation. Something inside us seems to resonate with something more than itself. For a moment we go beyond our personal selves. We transcend the purely social field. Something comes to flower in the field which we did not expect. Perhaps we didn’t even see it coming. Perhaps it had nothing to do with the intention that brought us together. Our plan or stated goal was merely the physical body for what incarnated through it. The rich field we have tilled together suddenly reveals a seed from another place.
In such moments, though it is hard to describe what happened to us, and we may not even talk about it with the others (or we say “what was that?”), we sense something has changed. This change goes with us. It unites us. We may even have the experience that this was not for us but for the earth itself, or for the wider world. When we later see the people who shared the experience with us, the atmosphere or presence of the experience may still be perceptible. We meet a kind of knowing in the other’s eyes. It is still present, and perhaps even growing, in the social field.
To cultivate the potential for such experiences, we would need to develop the senses through which we experience such phenomena. A sense of beauty is one gateway. There are others. In our research we explore different, mostly will-based, exercises for connecting to the laws and processes of the unified field, this dimension that interpenetrates the social field but also works above, beneath, and around it.
This level of presences is seeking us as much as we may be seeking it. Our interest in it helps to build the relationship. Out of this interest we can look at what kind of practices invite these presences to work, what gets in their way, and what sacrifices and/or inner activities can we engage in to open this unified field.
A healthy, open social field supports us to make this connection, but it is not an absolute prerequisite. Grace can blow through any door, but we can’t count on it.
We often start with a few core senses. With all of these senses we begin with a physical experience of them, and through the physical we listen into the soul experience, then from a soul experience, for a more transcendent, universal, or archetypal experience.
A sense of upright came for most of us around our first year. Our whole being engaged with this process until the eternal presence of upright came to consciousness within us. Once we mastered it, it became unconscious, and we slowly put our own personal signature on it. Our habit upright developed. When we began walking, the archetype of walking walked us. We developed enough balance and strength and coordination and then the universal principle of walking could take up these developments and unfold itself.
These archetypal steps of human development are the training ground for archetypal sensation, as in them we recognize an eternal presence or principle. Rekindling a conscious relationship to them helps us to reconnect to the laws and principles behind them.
The senses of movement, speech, balance in space, impulse, and connection (among others) follow closely behind. A sense of circle – the forming of a circle of people in space, once developed as a sensation, becomes a source of strength, a resource and holding vessel for the unified field. To experience a sense of circle I have to give up enough self awareness that my awareness can extend beyond me to all the members in the circle with me. At the same time I perceive their awareness extending into me. The circle then is sealed. This sealed vessel, to borrow from Shakespeare’s Boatswain in The Tempest, becomes “tight and yare and bravely rigg’d.”
We begin awakening senses by physically orienting ourselves under the star of the sense we want to cultivate and, when we do this with enough sense of form in our body, our soul comes into alignment with the forces behind it. Michael Chekhov calls this the psycho-physical connection. Our physical presence tunes into the psychology or soul sensation that lives within it. This soul sensation becomes the seedbed for archetypal experience.
If we develop these senses as inner muscles, they become available to our social spaces and can become the perceiving organs for what transpires there. Am I speaking or listening from my upright? What’s the quality of movement within the conversation? What’s its color, shape, sense of gravity or levity, its musicality? My sensing starts to transcend the more personal soul experience and becomes attuned to dimensions that may also want to speak through the vessel we have created. Then, through our awakened senses, the social field can become a space – a unified field – for universal principles to grow on the earth. We can manifest our highest ideals. “As above, so below.”
The Unified Field 統一場
作者：David Anderson安大為 翻譯：黃秋燕 校稿：薛碧雯
＂社會場域(the social field)＂這個說法越來越被廣泛使用，尤其是在群體發展的過程中。作為一個努力在推動世界進化和發展我們自己的人類社群，這是有意義的。我們開始意識到，我們作為具有創造力的靈性物種，我們有機會和潛能來培育社會氛圍、土壤以及在我們集體空間中所發生的事情的成長。我們看到那些發生在我們社會環境中的事情，其影響擴及了整個世界。當然，這也為我們帶來一種責任感。
在任何特定的社會情境中，臨在的其他維度都超越了社會場域中所能感知的。這種靈性層面可以稱為統一場（the unified field）。它將社會場域與另一個經驗維度統一在一起。因為它不如其他維度有形，它可能不是物理有形的”感知”層面，或甚至是在我們的靈魂經驗中。然而，當我們將自己的意識和”感知”進一步擴展到社會場域時，這個統一場可能會被作為空間的反轉體驗。當我們的空間感向外移動和擴展時，就會出現一個與原型世界相對應的傾斜。
運動感、言說、空間平衡、衝動和連接（以及其他）的感官緊隨其後。一種對圓的感知——在空間中人形成圓圈，這種感覺一旦發展起來，就成為力量來源、以及互持統一場容器的資源。為了經驗一種圓圈的感覺，我必須放棄足夠的自我意識，這樣我的意識可以超越我，擴展到圈內所有成員與我自己。同時，我感覺到他們的意識延伸到我身上。然後，這個圓圈被密封了。這艘中密封的船隻，借用莎士比亞(Shakespeare)的<暴風雨中的水手長> (Boatswain in The Tempest)一詞，變成了「緊繃，堅毅和勇敢的操縱。」
Some Principles and Practices for Goethean Conversation
adapted and expanded from Marjorie Spock’s essay
by David Anderson
“Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of you.”
TO WATCH OUT FOR
LISTENING – (4 KINDS OF LISTENING)
7 PRINCIPLES OF GENERATIVE LISTENING
MEETINGS AS A LIVING ART
THE ART AND POWER OF NAMING
THE THREE SPACES
BRAVING THE VOID
Many people have some form of conversation everyday, though these conversations may not elevate to the level of an artistic experience. But we feel the potential that, when two or more gather in a fluid exchange between each other, it may be possible to transcend the personal experience and to invite the presence of something unifying and light-filled, where the air feels enlivened by a substance.
Goethean Conversation, or the art of conversation, has been a vital part of our Drama and Inner Development course. It is a way to strengthen our inner muscles, expand our senses, and apply them to the social field through a generative process. It works from the understanding that the spiritual world wants to be known as much as we want to know it. We cultivate a social soil for the work of spiritual beings and/or archetypal presences. Another picture for the process is that we become midwives for the conversation that wants to be born and find its own life between us. This humble seeking and invitational gesture creates an atmosphere like the sacrament of communion. The group becomes a vessel or chalice for revelations of the spiritual world.
The conversation engenders a living organism, every part essential and in balance, emerging out of necessity. Goethe: “here is necessity; here is art.” Our contributions paint upon the canvas of our collective attention, achieving more and more dimension and relationship. When it works, it becomes a conversation with the spiritual world as well as with our fellow human beings. In inspired moments, I may not notice if I was the one who said something or someone else, as my voice has become a part of the shared voice; the stream between us one life.
This sounds like a high task. But like all arts, it takes practice. We hone our skills, sharpen our senses, find new points of discipline and sacrifice (habits, preferences, attachments, thoughts I had before), and evolve our listening. Marjorie Spock’s essay on “The Art of Goethean Conversation” helps to build a picture and understanding for the potential of Goethean Conversation. Borrowing from this essay and other experiences, here are some guiding principles and practices for entering this realm that is “more quickening than light” – for conversations that enliven the soul. As this is an evolving art, this list is not complete or prescriptive, but perhaps something to steer by.
- A strict timeframe and opening and closing ritual empower the inner, outer, and social space for the “right invitation” for what wants to happen there. This engages us all as equally responsible and conscious co-creators of what unfolds.
- We have found it helpful to prepare a lit candle and flowers in the center of the space. Other considerations for preparing the inner, outer, and social space can be found at the end.
- Begin and end exactly at the pre-determined times. You may decide to create a policy that anyone who arrives late will have to sacrifice their participation for this round. Likewise, if someone would need to leave early. This let’s our higher selves and the spiritual world know that we are firm in our commitment to hold this space for them. Generally, we have found that 60 minutes is a good timeframe for holding the process. As the end time approaches someone can have the task to give a 5 minute notice by silently reaching 5 fingers into the space.
- Begin and end the conversation by everyone standing behind their chair and speaking together a spiritual verse or text that all participants know or have learned before. This can help to call upon the highest in us and invites the spiritual world’s participation. Entering and leaving your seats together effectively opens and closes the space of the conversation.
- We sit into the circle, offering our upright presence, with eyes open, and engage all of our senses with the life in the space.
- There is no leader. We share a common center of focus and speak to and listen from this center. We don’t address people personally or direct our speaking to any one person. If we need help to understand what someone has said, we can say “I need help to understand what Peter said” and not “What did you mean, Peter?”
- No side-talking or chatting or phones in the space. As soon as we enter the space, we are holders of the space, and a deep listening is called upon.
- Silences tend to have a life, a kind of shape, thickness, quality, tone and sometimes even a clear movement or gesture. Being interested in the life of a silence, perceiving its “voice”, dynamic, and dimension, allows its contribution to be felt more by others and for its contribution to work more effectively in the space.
- The conversation is not a discussion, debate, speculation, a recounting of an experience, giving opinions, sharing our knowledge, or reporting. It is a sharing of perceptions, impulses, and experiences that arise out of the space and process we have created. This sharing can reference thoughts and feelings or experiences we have previously had, if they emerge out of a living relationship with the context of the conversation.
- We strive to suppress all previous thinking but if thoughts do come that we have had before, and they belong to this moment, these thoughts will naturally emerge differently in this new context. As we speak we attend to the form and weaving that these thoughts want to have now. We speak and listen simultaneously.
- We bear witness and name or speak that which is given us to see and speak. Starting can be difficult, like any initiating. It can sometimes feel like breaking the seal of the gathered force of our listening. Sometimes a long silence will temper the space before the first impulse is felt. As we are all co-responsible for the process, it can be a wonderful opportunity to move beyond our comfort or habits: if we speak a lot, to hold back; if we are shy to speak, to take a step.
- Each person who has an impulse to speak connects and weaves their contribution into the stream of what was spoken before.
- Leaving a little space after each offering can help us and the space to receive fully the movement and direction of the contribution. Although this is not required, especially when the conversation begins to take on its own life and flow or movement, it can be helpful. The life of the conversation begins to reveal its own rhythm and qualities. It is probably obvious that we don’t interrupt someone’s speaking. We are listening together to what needs to be said, or not said.
- We listen to how our offering lands in the space. Did it create further forward movement among us or did it fall flat or die on arrival? Did it stop the stream, put a hindrance in the stream’s path? Did it arrive vibrant and full or thin and personal? Was it connected to what was previously said? Did it emerge organically from the flow that preceded it? We are not the creators or shapers of our thoughts but the placeholder for them to live out their nature. As Rudolf Steiner points out, in these experiences a “god becomes the creator of the thought.” (See passage quoted near the end.)
- Questions can be more helpful than answers and are particularly potent activators of the space and the stream. A fully asked question opens the space for beings to enter. “Ask and you will receive; knock and the door will be opened.” Not all questions are asking for answers but we want to acknowledge and speak into the question that enlivened the space. It is important not to ignore a question or any contribution. It is equally important not to answer directly a question that is spoken, but to seek how that question can be deepened or further reflected upon.
- Each contribution does something. If it seems to pull us off-track or feels disconnected, we can sense into what it did to the space. Our objective perception and willingness to see it may allow its significance to be revealed.
- We don’t agree or disagree or vocalize approval or disapproval of any contribution. This would make the contribution, and our attachment to it, personal.
- The primary attention is: what is needed? What is called for? If a silence has gone flat or stale, this may be a necessary composting or it may ask for something to be named.
- We are seeking to call upon three levels of consciousness: Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition. Their presence can be experienced as capacities of our thinking, feeling, and willing forces. By Imagination, we do not mean fantasy or idle daydreaming but pictures that reflect realities of the spiritual world.
TO WATCH OUT FOR
- Obstacles to catch: being eager to speak can get in the way of listening to what is truly needed just now. This can be wonderful to catch because it presents us with a point of sacrifice. Knowing what I want to say or coming prepared with a particular contribution is another. Can we sacrifice all we know for a collective process of knowing?
- For people who have the habit of chatting or connecting on the personal level, if not through words then through eye contact, it may feel like an exhilarating liberation to have a form that gives them freedom from that habit.
- Don’t be too careful so as to hold too tightly onto the space; to be too hesitant or labored in speaking. This can dry up the space and create a feeling of stagnancy. Free movement is necessary to start or sustain the stream and to offer a flow that others can enter into. We might feel our contribution came too early, too late, or landed awkwardly, but perhaps it simply nudged the process back into movement again. Like learning how to drive, our steering can be choppy and awkward at first, until we can let the car drive smoothly.
- Not all that comes to us asks to be shared. Discerning whether what has come to me is personal or belongs to the collective process is the heart of the art.
- Don’t quote anyone who is not in the room. Drawing on the words of others not present or referencing outside authorities or experts or spiritual teachers draws our attention away from the life at hand. It can be possible to represent pictures from others as you understand them: “some traditions describe experiences of reincarnation like this…”
- Rather than knowledge being a tool for our thinking, we are instead a thinking tool for knowledge.
The conversation is rooted in deep, will-full, full-bodied listening. Our listening can be as powerful as our speaking. When the listening builds substance between us, it can feel like a voice. We don’t want to interrupt this voice but listen for when a speaking is called from within it; a speaking born out of listening.
To warm up our listening capacities, we often borrow from Otto Scharmer’s Theory U approach, which looks at four kinds of listening. We practice these activities in order to understand their unique quality and contribution:
- Downloading listening: reconfirming what I already know, staying with myself. I agree or don’t agree; like or don’t like what is said. I have an opinion about it. It reflects the past. I listen from inside myself. I in me.
- Open mind listening: object, details focused. “Oh, look at that!” What are the essential facts or vital information. We notice what is different or what contradicts what I already know. I suspend my voice of judgment. I in it.
- Empathic or open heart listening: I connect to the feeling behind what is spoken. I see through the eye’s of another’s experience. I want to understand how they feel. My attention is with the other. I still receive the essential information with my open mind but I add my awareness of what is living in the soul of the other. I listen from the field (of another’s experience). It reflects the present moment. I suspend my voice of cynicism and allow myself to be vulnerable. I in you.
- Generative listening or open will listening: I listen from the emerging field of the future. This listening connects with something larger than myself and, through it, we together generate the highest possible future that wants to emerge. I am changed by it. Through it I have a sense that something shifted in me toward who I really am. It works with the understanding that we have a common future and I will help create this future through my listening. I become the vision that is shared. The way great teachers listen to their students, not seeing the student as they appear now, but the emerging possibilities and potentials that live and are burgeoning within them. When this listening is present, often new ideas come through the speaker, a new commitment to action is aroused, and we feel that we are more than we came with. I suspend the voice of fear. I in the becoming now.
Generative listening requires a fuller body presence. We place our whole being, with all senses tuned, at the disposal of what wants to emerge. Fully to stand with what is speaking means activating enough body awareness and sensing that I effectively become what is spoken. My inner movement moves with the rhythm, tempo, and life of the movement of the conversation. I embody this emerging life. It creates a very powerful sense of future potential, not only for what is coming, but for my capacity to carry it out. I embody not just what is spoken but I empower this human being in a process of becoming whole.
Also worth exploring and reflecting on is where we listen from in ourselves. Do we mostly tune our listening to the thoughts of others, a meaning they want to convey; do we mostly experience what’s going on in the other’s feeling life, or are we listening with a desire to know what the other wants? Are we quick to judge or to understand, or do we prefer to linger in what was said, to ruminate. Do we make sounds as we listen, inwardly or outwardly, or do we hold a stillness? If we listen closely to our listening, we might recognize a familiar gesture or habit in it. Do we grab, sponge, sieve, wade, penetrate, spin off into associative fantasy, mash it into what we know or believe? Is it needy, caressing, inviting, tasting, waiting? Is it more passive or active? Is there usually a whiff of doubt or fear or distrust in it? Do we recognize more sympathy or antipathy? Are we super-conscious of what the other says, are we in a pre-set mode, even a default physical habit gesture (as if to say “this is how I listen”), do we “team” listen – all my listening says “I am on your side, with you, on the same team”, or do we tend to be lightly attentive to the actual words? Of course, different people inspire different forms of listening in us. We might listen to an officer who pulls us over on the road with a different quality than our partner during dinner or our child before sleep.
Such honest self-reflection can awaken interest and intention to bring a different quality or gesture to our listening. It can raise awareness for the power and the process and the many layers of experience that this sense of listening brings.
Rudolf Steiner offers the picture that if we can open and free the space of our thinking, angels can work there; if we can open and free the space of our feeling, archangels can work there; if we can open and free the space of our will, archai can work there.
7 PRINCIPLES OF GENERATIVE LISTENING
Adapted from Matthieu Daum’s work, which can be found on YouTube under Generative Listening. These can be helpful practices for daily life exchanges as well, like going to the gym strengthens the muscles we need for the work that we will do later.
- Slow down; unite with the tempo of the conversation; if it feels unnecessarily fast, I can allow my tempo to slow down as a gesture toward balance
- Listen with all my senses; embody the listening
- Listen to the words/images chosen; stay with and honor those images; be literal and exact
- Listen to the feelings of the speaker; tune into that tone of voice, pace, use of silences
- Suspend judgement; avoid liking or not liking, it’s good or bad; avoid assumptions about why they are saying what they are saying (“he says that because he’s …rich, …a man, …conservative, …a teacher”)
- Notice what I don’t understand; did I really understand what they said?; notice what am I responding to when I am interested or when I am bored
- Notice what I am feeling or how I am moved or affected by what is said; if I notice this movement, I am less likely to react
“…the initiate-speaker has to leap in two directions, and both leaps are a kind of listening. The speaker, like language, stands at the intersection of the manifest and unmanifest worlds, whether ‘unmanifest’ refers to the unconscious, the spiritual domain or just to the unknown. If preconceptions, assumptions and the tendency to be judgmental have been sufficiently released, the initiate-speaker stands mostly in ‘not-knowing.’ One can then listen into what wants to be said, for which one must leap toward the manifest, the social context. Both are difficult leaps, but if accomplished, the speaker allows those two worlds to touch in and through the words.”
– from The Speech of the Grail by Linda Sussman
Seeking to create a temple-like atmosphere, a communion, as if we were approaching the spiritual world, supports the experience of a tangible boundary or threshold. My personal self and habits have less room to enter the space and act up. It also supports a mood of supernaturally attentive listening. In this atmosphere the group becomes a chalice or vessel to contain the life that wants to come. The group becomes an organ of perception. There awakens a sense of wonder and “not-knowing.” A wakeful, divine uncertainty fills the inner space and the shared space.
We are not passive, however. We are calling forth a fullness of spiritual life through the fullness of our attentive senses. We are creative spirits in the ongoing creative process of the cosmos. Our contributions are in relationship to the contributions of other beings. We perceive the larger context of this happening.
The conversation takes place across the threshold, in the etheric world, where thoughts are intuitions. We listen to our fellows as if listening to the spiritual world, making our souls a seedbed for their germinal ideas. If a contribution feels not true, we don’t correct it but listen in a way that the truth can be heard. The listening and the presence of the spiritual world can then offer its own reflection to what was spoken. This is the practice of great teachers: they don’t need to correct something if the truth stands strongly enough with them. The student then sees how their work is reflected by this presence.
Acting teacher Michael Chekhov describes atmosphere as “the soul of the theater.” In a similar light, Goethean Conversation may experience atmosphere as “the soul of the conversation.”
The theme is set in advance and, ideally, meditated upon by the participants. We prepare as if preparing for a festival of light that our shared intentions and questing will summon into being. Many thoughts and feelings may grow out of our preparation, but we are willing to sacrifice them, in order to clear the scene for fresh illumination. The preparation is like going to the gym. We practice becoming spiritually active with the theme, attuning our intuitive perception to it.
Other ways to school ourselves in etheric thinking: meditation, studying Rudolf Steiner’s The Philosophy of Freedom, and steeping oneself in fairy tales and great poetry. The spiritually rich content can quicken and activate our inner resources.
Choosing the theme together can be a valuable process for preparing our inner muscles for the conversation. We often invite people to share burning or living questions that they have. For those who have a question, they speak them out and let them sound. As they begin to articulate what lives in them, they may adjust their wording to convey most effectively their experience. It can already be a powerful exercise to go around a circle and invite people to speak out the question most living with them at the moment.
Then we invite people to vote with their eyes closed for two themes that most compel their interest. People who voiced questions are invited to repeat their question, with the option of adapting it again, if they wish. Often sharing the question the first time will start a process in their relationship with it. When they speak it again, it may have changed. Sometimes the theme that the group most alights upon will be obvious in the first round of voting. Sometimes further rounds are needed when themes share the same amount of votes. The themes are spoken out again and every person has one vote. Occasionally we have merged two popular themes into one theme. Then we speak the chosen question or theme together to light the way for the conversation to come.
Sometimes the theme is in the form of a question; sometimes an objective naming of a subject or concern. Occasionally it has felt necessary to modify the wording to allow the theme a fuller naming or to make it less personal to the one who brought it. Often the conversation will reflect into and incorporate other questions and themes that were shared but not chosen.
We have found it valuable to have a review of the conversation, after at least one night of sleeping. This supports a rich harvesting of how it went, when it came alive, when it bubbled or flowed, when it felt thin, what qualities or atmospheres joined it. Without naming any person, we can share our experience of the life, shape, color, musicality, or dynamics of the conversation’s movement or lack of movement.
It is always interesting to notice when people shift their sitting position or breathe out suddenly, especially when several people do it at the same time. In such moments we may perceive a little uneasiness or discomfort in the group, or that before this moment we had gotten overly-comfortable.
It has been helpful to remember: whatever happened, however it happened, we all created the circumstances for it. We all share responsibility. Even if it seemed like one person’s reaction strongly colored the experience, we created the context for this happening together. We can ask ourselves: what did I do or not do that allowed us to seem to veer off track or take a sudden turn?
It is also helpful to remind ourselves that we are learners in this process. It is important for it not to be easy and not to go well, especially at first, when we meet the internal habits and resistances that naturally come up. Often what needs clearing out, what stands in our way, comes loudly to the surface at the beginning, allowing us to see where our work is. However, it is not uncommon to receive a graceful first experience, which builds trust and faith in the process.
From Awakening to Community, by Rudolf Steiner, page 82:
“Nowadays we have to exert purely human forces, work in a purely human way, to develop thoughts. But once we have made the effort and achieved thoughts free of any taint of egotism, self-seeking, subjective emotionality or partisan spirit such as colors thoughts with prejudiced opinions, once we have exerted ourselves as human beings to experience thoughts in the form they themselves want to assume, we no longer regard ourselves as the creators and shapers of our thoughts, but merely as the inner scene of action where they live out their own nature. Then we feel the largeness of these selfless and unprejudiced thoughts that seem to be our own creations, and are surprised to find that they are worthy of depicting the divine; we discover afterwards that thoughts that take shape in our own hearts are worthy of depicting the divine. First, we discover the thought, and afterwards we find that the thought is nothing less than the Logos! While you were selflessly letting the thought form itself in you, your selflessness made it possible for a god to be the creator of that thought. … That is our scientific ideal.”
MEETINGS AS A LIVING ART
A meeting is a form of intentional community. We could see it as having two tasks:
- Create plans, projects, programs, policies; make decisions; build pictures and visions. These aspects could be seen as its outer body.
- Create an atmosphere or context or environment that invites the spiritual world to work into our shared space, and into the world. This aspect could be seen as its more expanded, invisible body.
We have all attended meetings that came up with a great plan but the plan could not be realized in reality. A piece was missing. It could not stand up or manifest. We have also experienced meetings where what was eventually achieved went far beyond our planning. What was present or different about these two experiences that made the outcome so different? When it doesn’t work, we can point to many outer “reasons” like timing, resources, money, the right people, etc. But perhaps we did not invite enough presence or inner “content” to help it to stand up. We know that we cannot do it alone. Whatever we create on the ground needs inner sustenance to stay alive.
So what supports a meeting to become a living form? What can I bring to that form to support its enlivening? What raises a meeting to the level of an art? Perhaps a first step toward evolving what a meeting can do is to ask: am I willing to change how I show up and participate in a meeting? What would such a change look like? What step could I take to strengthen this vessel we are creating together so that the spiritual world might lean into it? How could I evolve my listening and support a richer quality of atmosphere?
In 100 years all the plans and projects the meeting created will be gone. We will leave them behind. But whatever transformation I brought to the meeting – whatever I gave up, sacrificed; whatever habit or judgment I set aside; whatever virtue or ideal I developed – that goes with me. Whatever inner development I achieved endures.
How we meet each other determines what forces come to work with us. How we speak and how we listen shape the space. In these two activities – speaking and listening – we are both sculptors and inviters of substance. These activities in every moment point toward the personal, smaller experience of self or to a larger more eternal picture. They are full of knowing or not-knowing; movement or stagnancy. If we gauge them by these sensations present in us, then we can make an honest assessment of the direction of these activities. My sensation tells me whether my speaking and listening is for my little me or if it is pointing toward the eternal.
When I become an observer or judge, I can feel the space cool and I become more distant, closed off. When I can follow the movement of the conversation and the movement in those who are present, I can feel something weaving between us that is warm and full.
If we look at speaking and listening (listening being the other part of speaking) as vehicles for revealing the spiritual world, we can see three parts:
- The sounds of speech. They sculpt the air and shape the space. If they have enough form and life, these sounds can give presence to the forces working behind them. We could see them as the outer body. If the listener is attending to the sounds, the listener empowers them. The listening provides a shaping garment to them, a holding body.
- The meaning of the words and the intended meaning of the speaker. This may be seen as the soul aspect. The life and pictures behind the words. An attentive listening may draw out a deeper sense of meaning and help the speaker to see aspects they did not see before, to speak in ways they had not spoken before. The listening witness is co-creator of the meaning experienced.
- The atmosphere created by the speaking and listening. This always reflects the inner activity present. If the speaking is from a more personal place in the soul – defending, debating, arguing, making a point – and the listening is distracted or shut off, the space hollows out and feels barren. If speaker and listeners are active in their senses and are bringing focused attention to what is unfolding, the atmosphere thickens and becomes a body for the gods to dwell in. This spiritual aspect, called upon by inner sacrifice and inner activity, has a feeling of creating space and dimension. Then the atmosphere can be felt as sacred or holy. We remember why we really come together. The outcome of the meeting, what is executed as a result, tends to take on some of the light of this atmosphere, like an invisible body around it.
THE ART AND POWER OF NAMING
If I can successfully say a person’s name in a way that they feel recognized and called upon, they light up through the recognition. Sometimes they become more upright and present. Some people can call our names but we don’t even turn around because we feel like they are calling someone else. We all remember as a child how a beloved grandmother or elder said our name like no one else and our heart was always warmed by it. Perhaps we had a teacher who said our name in such a way that it felt like they were calling on our future selves, our becoming self. They didn’t name what was in front of them, but the future potential they saw emerging.
Naming can bring things alive. A lot of research has been shared about the power words have to effect the very cell structure of matter. Negative words have a deteriorating effect; positive, encouraging words have an enlivening effect. Naming calls what is named into focus or enlivened presence.
In a conversation or a meeting, naming plays a major part. We are naming our experience, feeling or thought, and we can feel, after speaking, whether our words reflected our experience truthfully or not. We have all felt when someone was able to articulate a problem or tension in the space and how it helped the space to feel more free. The conflict was called forth, which allowed us all to see it. We also clarify a picture or vision through naming, and understand the past. We articulate the future. We name what is between us, what is in our way, what has left us, what is coming toward us, what we are looking at, the process we are seeking. Naming is always a process of calling into place, into the space with us. We acknowledge the invisible contributors to the conversation or meeting.
The art of naming skirts a fine line. It is not looking at the situation as if through a glass as an outside observer. It is not labeling or giving pet names. A living sense of naming grows out of being completely embedded and participant in the experience being named. It is a leaning in, allowing what is being named to find its reflection within us. As we become more present to what is there, what we name becomes more present to us.
We can name things too early or too late. If I name an experience too early, I may prevent it from ripening into its fullness. I name it before it has fully realized itself. For example, if I name a crisis, conflict, or a feeling before it is fully present, I may scare it off or steal its glory. If I name it after its moment has passed, my recognition of it may awaken a sense of learning from it. However, if I name it too late, the opportunity of learning from it in the same way may be gone. I may diminish its presence, reducing it to an idea.
When I can really name someone, I notice so many levels of letting go. I let go of my understanding of who this person is, my agenda or my desire to move on, my fear, my projection, my distraction, my sympathy or antipathy, my unnecessary playfulness. I find myself in a process (full of not knowing how to do it exactly), of entering the other’s space in such a way so that I become the other enough to speak as if from within them. I don’t lose myself but I offer my senses to their space. A wonder and humility attend this process, if I can find it, as I become aware of encountering a spiritual being.
As a teacher, if I can find this gesture in my naming of a student, then I don’t need to “teach” them. I stand in invitation to their emerging being. I hold the door open to the future. I bear witness. The steps they need to take can now emerge from within them.
In a conversation, naming has a similar task. It calls in our co-creators and partners, the invisible beings whose communion we seek, and we give space for their working.
THE THREE SPACES
In Goethean Conversation we recognize that three vital spaces co-create the life of the conversation: each individual’s inner space, the outer space we share as the physical body for the conversation, and the social space. At the intersection point of these three spaces is where the conversation takes place. Each of these spaces may bring its own atmosphere, so aligning these spaces and their atmospheres in a shared intention may require some preparation.
What enlivens these spaces? Every person may have their own process for preparing and opening these spaces for a conversation. Every group can develop their own process together.
We have found it very helpful to work as a group to prepare the outer space. We create a ritual that involves cleaning (we call it freeing the space), attending to what and how things are arranged in it, removing unnecessary things, and doing all of this silently with a rhythmical ease-filled tempo. We pay attention to the physical, touchable space, and to the invisible space between the walls, floor and ceiling. You or your group may develop your own form of ritual.
We borrow from some cultural traditions. We bring in water. Water is part of many purification rituals. The presence of moving water alone does a lot to enliven a space, especially if we listen to the sounds it makes. With buckets of cold water and a cloth for everyone, and listening to our contact with the water and the cloth, we wipe all the upward-facing surfaces that are reachable. We only move as fast as our souls can follow and fully attend the process. If we move too slowly, it starts to feel like daydreaming. If we move too fast, we move past the space we are intending to unite with. We look out for neglected places – difficult to reach corners, garbage-filled crevices, behind furniture – that we see and want to ignore. We especially want to attend to the places that we see but would rather not see (cobwebs, dead flies in a window sill, smudges on the floor, etc). By bringing our whole body awareness to this activity, we unite our will and our body with the space’s body. This has the effect of preparing our inner space as well. What we do outwardly we are doing inwardly. We tune our actions, our feelings, and our thoughts to the space that will nest our intentions. And because my thoughts, feelings, and actions are united in one direction, it presents an opportunity to observe myself, when a distracting thought or sabotaging feeling begins to pull my attention. In observing this, I can re-direct my attention toward the space, which strengthens my will, my holding of the space, and makes the space less porous.
We then clap the space free. For about a minute, or as long as necessary, we free the space of any elemental beings (different cultures have different names for the beings or forces that can gather in a space) through all of us clapping throughout the space, into corners, toward the ceiling, behind curtains, under pianos, etc. We encourage whatever has gathered there to move on, letting them know that we want to penetrate the space with our awareness for other forces and beings that we wish to invite into it. A stagnancy, density, or shadow-like quality will often dissipate through this activity.
We work with the understanding that when we enter a space, we enter a body. This body has a presence, a being, and we engage with it as a co-creator of what happens in it. If we want to hold this space for the conversation and we want the space to join us in this holding, we need to cultivate it and our relationship to it. By turning our attention to it, we “look it in the eye” and call upon its participation.
We also acknowledge that when we enter a room or a space, it is changed by our presence. We have an impact on it. We notice this profoundly when we enter a cave, a holy place, or an abandoned old house. The space reflects the awareness of human presence, not just in the shift of acoustics, the echo of sounds, the new play of light and shadows, but it seems to pick itself up a bit, the way a cat turns its ear to some noise in its hearing, as if roused by our presence. How the space changes is determined by the inner activity that moves into it, by what we do, feel, or think in the space.
Linda Thomas’ book Why Cleaning Has Meaning gives helpful insights for deepening our relationship to our outer spaces. Theater-maker Peter Brook, in his writings, also offers useful fruits from his research creating open, living spaces.
The social space can also become cluttered or neglected. Before a Goethean Conversation can be freely entered, a group may need to “clean house” in the social space. This could mean a “checking in”, facing something that is in the way, or simply listening together for what is needed in order for everyone to be available for a free and living conversation together.
We have often seen a Goethean Conversation become like a house-cleaning, teasing out things that have gotten stuck or begun to fester in the social field, airing them through the movements of the conversation. Whatever tension or block was living dormant under the surface emerges and co-opts the conversation. The theme or focus then shifts to this bigger, more immediate presence, often guided by emotions. The attempt to enter the conversation revealed what was in the way of it.
But a healthy, nurtured social space, especially a social space that has been consciously cultivated, becomes a fertile soil for the seeds that the spiritual world may be waiting to bestow for human and world development. The three spaces, working together and creating a united force, become an offering for a unified field – a dimension of experience that may be felt as an inversion of the united spaces; a turning inside out.
BRAVING THE VOID
Once we settle into the three spaces – once we arrive and open our inner space, connect with the environment, and tune into the social field, all of which takes a process in which we meet our desires to chat or get comfortable, get busy, or to organize things – then something happens. When we have set ourselves and our habits aside, we face a void. This awkward, unsettling, shift in the space lets us know that we are approaching something unknown. A discomforting space where we don’t have answers or names for it – where we arrive at an abyss. The temptation to fill this void – to relieve the awkwardness – is great. Accepting the first flavor of this silence, letting ourselves be touched by it, opens a path for what stands behind it.
The whole process of letting go and tuning in was meant to help us to show up at this void. If we can bear it and not try to fill it with something known or comfortable or familiar, the other side of the threshold may reveal itself. Something from the spiritual world may may lean in, may present itself. A seeing, a sounding, a tentative articulation may begin to emerge, and we follow it like a trail that has just opened up in a dense and dark forest.
It may ask for courage and patience and perseverance to brave this transition and all of its discomfort, but knowing that it is part of the process, a threshold we must taste and cross, can help.
1 + 1 = 3
Another perspective from Rudolf Steiner, from “Brotherhood and the Struggle for Existence” (https://www.waldorflibrary.org/images/GoldenBlade_2004.pdf):
“This principle is general for all life. Five people together, who think and feel harmoniously together, are more than 1 plus 1 plus 1 plus 1 plus 1; they are not just the sum of the five, just as our body is not the sum of the five senses.
Men’s living together and within one another has the same significance as the living together of the cells within the human body. A new higher being is in the midst of the five – yes, even among the two or three. ‘Where there are two or three gathered in my name, I shall be in their midst.’
It is not the one, or the other, or the third, but something entirely new that springs from the union. This new entity arises only when the one lives in the other, when the single individual person draws strength not only from himself, but also from the others.
But that can happen only when each lives selflessly in the other. Thus, human associations are the secret places where higher spiritual beings descend in order to work through the single individuals, just as the soul works through the members of the body.
(…) People who work together in a brotherhood are magicians, because they draw higher beings into their circle. One no longer has to call to witness the machinations of spiritism when one works out of brotherly love in a community. Higher beings do manifest themselves there. When we give ourselves over to brotherhood, this giving, this merging into the totality, is a steeling, a strengthening of our organs. When we then act or speak as members of such a community, it is not the single soul that acts or speaks in us, but the spirit of the community.
(…) Everyone would like to know how one unites struggle for existence with brotherhood. That is very simple. We must learn to replace struggle with positive labor, to replace combat with the ideal.
What that means is little understood today. People do not know which struggle they are talking about, because they talk about nothing else: the social struggle, the struggle for peace, the struggle for emancipation of women, the struggle for soil, and so on.
Spiritual science strives to replace the struggle with positive labor. He who has immersed himself in spiritual science knows that in any field of life, struggle never leads to true results. Try, without fighting the opponent, to introduced into life, to assert, what you in your experience and through your cognition have found to be correct.
(…) You will see that we develop our talents best when we live in a brotherly community, that we live most intensively when we take root in that totality. To be sure, we must wait till what has taken root in the totality ripens into fruitfulness, through silent inward meditation.
And we must not lose ourselves in the world, because what the poet said is true in the highest spiritual sense: one has to be quiet within oneself that one’s talents may unfold.
Those talents, however, are rooted in the world. They strengthen us; but to improve our character, we have to live with and within a community.
Therefore, if man lives in accordance with the real, true principle of brotherhood, he is strongest precisely within the struggle for existence; and he will find in the stillness of his heart his greatest powers, as he develops his entire personality, his entire individuality, in union with his other human brothers and sisters.
It is true: a talent develops in tranquility. But the following is also true; character, and with it the entire human being and all of mankind, develops within the currents of the world.”
作者/ 大衛·安德森 中譯/ 林韋苓 校稿/ 陳寶珠
聆聽 (四種聆聽方式) 氛圍
『歌德式對話』，或對話的藝術，一直是『戲劇與內在生命發展』課程中重要 的一部分。這是一種強化我們內在肌肉、擴展感官並透過創生的歷程而運用於 社會性領域的一種對話方式。我們需要了解，靈性世界希望被認識，如同我們 想要認識祂一般。我們培養一種社會性的土壤讓靈性世界的存有或原型存在得 以工作。另一種圖像就如助產士一般，協助一段想要誕生的對話在我們之中， 找到它自己的生命。這種謙遜找尋和邀請姿態，創造出一種如聖餐儀式般的神 聖氛圍。團體，成為靈性世界示現的器皿或聖杯。
這種對話帶出一個生命有機體，每部分都是必要且平衡，出自一種必然。歌德 說:『這是必然，這是藝術』。我們的貢獻就像畫布上的集體創作，促成了更 多的面向與關聯。當對話發揮作用時，是與靈性的對話，同時也是與我們人類 夥伴的對話。靈感來臨的當下，我們也許不會注意到，我是說話的那個人，還 是其他夥伴，我們的聲音成為共享的聲音;彼此之間流動著一股生命之流。
這聽起來是一件崇高的任務。但如同所有的藝術，都需要鍛練。我們訓練技 巧、磨銳感官、找到紀律、做出犧牲(個人習慣、喜好、依附和舊思維)、發 展聆聽的能力。瑪悠芮·史伯克 (Marjorie Spock) 的『歌德式對話藝術』一 文，幫助我們建構圖像，並認識歌德式對話所具有的潛力。引用文章中的內 容，加上我自己的經驗，這裡提供進入歌德式對話── 能活化心魂的對話方式 ── 『靈動迅疾更甚光』領域內的指引原則和實作練習。如一種開展中的藝 術，下列指導並不是完整的或唯一的形式，但或許是我們前行中的一種指引。
l 嚴謹的時間架構、開場與結束儀式允許內在、外在以及社會性空間形成一 種『合適的邀請』，讓事物得以發生。每一位參與者責任平等，也都是帶 著意識的共創者。
l 訂定明確的開始和結束時間。也許可以規定，遲到或需要早退的人就失去 參與那一輪的機會。如此，我們的高我和靈性世界知道我們信守承諾地為 他們護持空間。一般來說，一次流程進行六十分鐘是合適的。在結束前五
l 對話的開始與結束時，每一個人站在自己椅子後方，一起念述一段大家熟 悉或已經學過的靈性禱詞或文字，有助於召喚我們的高我並邀請靈性世界
不會針對任何人發言或將對話引導到任何一個人身上。如果我們需要進一 步理解某個人說的話，我們可以說:『請協助我了解彼得說的話』而不是 『彼得，你說的是什麼意思?』
l 不在空間中說悄悄話、私下閒聊或講電話。一旦我們進入了這個空間，我 們就是空間的持有人，召喚深層的聆聽。
l 靜默往往具有生命力，一種形狀、厚度、品質、音調，甚至有時候是一種 清晰的律動或姿態。對靜默的生命力產生興趣，去感知它的『聲音』、動 態和向度，容許它的貢獻，使我們更有感受、更有效率的工作。
l 對話不是討論、辯論、推測、重述經驗、建議、分享知識或提出報告。對 話是分享我們從這個共創空間與過程中獲得的覺知、動機和經驗。這種分 享，透過充滿生命力的對話內容會連結到過往的思考、情感和經驗。
l 我們致力於放下舊思維，但如果它們仍然在屬於它們的時刻出現了，這些 思維在新的環境下，自然地會以不同的形式呈現。當我們說話時，關注於 思維當下的形與波動。我們同時在說話和傾聽。
l 我們承擔見證、命名或言說因為我們被賦予了看和說的能力。萬事起頭 難。有時候，我們感到那透過傾聽所聚集而成的力量瓦解了。有時候，在 尚未感受到第一個脈動前的漫長靜默，讓空間沈寂緩慢。因為我們共同擔 負整個過程，這是跨出舒適圈和舊習性的好機會:如果我們通常說得多， 現在保留一些;如果我們羞於發言，那就向前跨一步。
l 每一位想要發言的人連結和編織自己的話語，將其貢獻到已然存在的對話 之流中。
l 在每一個貢獻*之後，留一點點的空間，讓我們以及空間完整地接收這個 貢獻的動態和方向。但是這不是必要性的，尤其當對話開始展現出生命力 與流動，顯現出自己的節奏與品質的時候。很顯然地，我們不會打斷他人 說話。我們一起傾聽該說和不說的話。
l 我們會傾聽我們說出的話如何進入空間。它創造了前進的動力嗎?或著它 直接落地失去生機?它停止了流動或阻擋路徑嗎?它活躍而飽滿還是單薄 而個人化呢?與先前說過的有關聯嗎?它是有機地從流動中浮現的嗎?我 們不是思想的創造者或形塑者，而是為思想保留空間並使其活出本質。魯 道夫·施泰納指出，在這樣的經驗中『神成為了思想的創造者』。
l 問題比答案更有幫助，能特別有效地活化空間與流動。一個完整的提問， 打開空間讓存有進入。『提問你就能接收;敲敲門它會開啟』。並不是所 有的問題都等待解答，認可並深入問題將會活化空間。很重要的不要輕忽 問題及任何的貢獻。同時也不要直接答覆問題，而是試著深化問題或引導 進一步反思。
l 每一個貢獻都有所作用。如果它看似離題或無關聯，我們可以去感受空間 因此有什麼改變。我們客觀的感知和覺察的意願，也許能揭示它的意義。
l 對任何的貢獻，我們不去同意或反對，也不用口語去認同或否定。這變得 太個人化了。
l 最主要的關注在:需要什麼?要召喚什麼?如果靜默變得單調或無氣息， 它也許是必要的、如堆肥般的養分或它等待著人們能辨識出它。
l 我們試圖召喚三種意識層次:觀象、靈感、直覺(Imagination, Inspiration, Intuition)。我們能夠以思考、情感與意志的能力來經驗這些意識層次。 觀象所指的並不是幻想或空洞的白日夢，而是映照出靈性世界真實的圖 像。
l 需注意的阻礙:過度急切的發言阻絕了聽見當時的需要。注意到這一點會 是很好的，它促使我們做點犧牲。知道我想說什麼和準備好給出特定的貢 獻是兩回事。為了成就知的共同歷程，我們能否犧牲我們所知道的呢?
l 有聊天習慣或容易產生個人連結的人，不用語言而只是透過眼神的交會， 會讓他們得以擺脫習性，獲得令人振奮的解放。
l 不需要過於小心以致於過度緊繃的掌握空間;不要太過躊躇或費力的發 言。這會使空間變得乾枯，散發一種停滯的氣息。自由的流動是啟動或維 持對話之流所需要的，也創造流動讓其他人能夠加入。我們可能覺得自己 貢獻過早、過晚或方式很尷尬，但或許因此將過程推回到流動中。就像學 習開車，我們還沒有學會如何把車開得很平順前，操作方式也很不自然。
l 並非每一個想法都期望我們分享出去。藝術的核心在於分辨出哪些點子是 屬於我個人而哪些共屬於群體。
l 不要引用任何不在現場的人的話語。引用不在現場的人、某位專家或靈性 導師的話語，會轉移我們對現場生命力的關注。但也許可以利用你所了解 的圖畫來傳達:『在某些傳統文化裡，再度入世的經驗有如這般…』。
對話根植於深層、充滿意志、全身性的聆聽。聆聽可以和言說一樣強而有力。 當我們之間的聆聽建構出要點，聆聽就有如聲音。我們不會干擾這個聲音，而 是仔細的聽著從中浮現的話語;從聆聽中誕生的話語。
為鍛練聆聽的能力暖身，我們引用奧多·沙曼 (Otto Scharmer) 的U型理論，其 中提到四種聆聽的方式。我們會練習它們獨特的品質和優點:
Ø 下載式聆聽:確認本來已經知道的，維持原我。表達認同或不認同;喜歡 或不喜歡。我有一個想法，這想法反映過去。我從我的內在聆聽。我在我 之中。
Ø 事實式或開放思維 (open mind) 聆聽:聚焦於主題和細節。『噢!你 看!』什麼是必要、重要的資訊?我們注意到了與我過去所知不同、矛盾 的部分。我放下評論的聲音。我在它之中。
Ø 同理式或開放心魂 (open heart) 的聆聽:我連結話語背後的情感。我透過 別人的眼光看見他們的經驗。我想要了解他們的感受。我的注意力在人們 身上。我仍然是透過開放的思維接收訊息但我也關注對方的心魂生命。我 從對方經驗的場域中聆聽。它反映出當下。我放下譏諷的聲音，允許自己 變得脆弱。我在你之中。
Ø 創生性的或開放意志 (open will) 的聆聽:我聆聽未來的領域。這種聆聽 連結比我遠大的東西，經由它，我們共同創造最崇高的未來。我受到改 變。能感受到自己的內在更接近真實的我。我們共享一個未來，透過我的 聆聽，我幫助創造未來。我成為這個共享的願景。偉大的老師會聆聽學 生，不是看著學生目前的模樣，而是看見學生內在萌芽中的可能性和潛 力。當這樣的傾聽存在時，說話者經常會產生新的點子，承諾新的行動， 而我們會感到更有自信。我放下恐懼的聲音。我在成為的過程中。
創生性的聆聽需要更完整的參與。我們全然投入，調和所有的感官，準備接收 即將產出的。啟動身體的覺察和感知，與訴說同在，真正地成為說過的話語。 我內在的律動就是對話的節奏、步調、和生命。我體現了這個發展中的生命。 它創造了有力的潛能，不僅是即將發生的，更包含我實踐的能力。我不僅體現 說過的話，更賦予力量讓這個人成為整體。
我們自己從何聆聽，也值得探索和反思。聆聽時，我們大多關注人們的想法或 他們傳達的觀點嗎?我們大多經驗人們的感受或經常渴望知道他們要的是什麼 嗎?我們很快的批判或理解，或反覆琢磨、反芻著說過的話?我們聆聽時會在 內在或外在發出聲音嗎或維持安靜的狀態嗎?如果我們仔細聽著我們的聆聽， 有可能認出熟悉的姿態和習慣。我們抓握、吸取、篩選、玩弄、潛入、衍生出 幻想、或混雜已知的訊息?我們的聆聽是匱乏的、撫觸般的、邀請的、試探的 或等待的?它比較主動或被動?通常有那麼一點點懷疑、恐懼或不信任嗎?比 較多融合感或離斥感呢?我們對別人說的話非常有意識或者我們出現一種設定 好的模式，甚至是預設的慣性體態(如同在說:『這就是我在聽的樣子』)， 我們會選邊站嗎?我的聆聽都是『我在你那邊，我跟你在同一國』，或是我們 傾向聆聽實際的用語和內容?當然，不同的對象啟發我們不同聆聽的形式。我 們對一個攔下我們的道路警察、共享晚餐的伴侶或入睡前的孩子，也許都是不 同的聆聽品質。
引用 Mattieu Daum 的創生性聆聽 (Generative Listening)，相關影片可在 YouTube 上找到。應用於日常生活中也是相當有幫助的，如同上健身房強化肌 肉一樣，我們需要以下的練習為接下來的工作做準備。
The Art of Atmosphere 氛圍的藝術
Archetypal atmospheres as balancing forces for our time
Looking at one of our human capacities: the ability to create atmosphere
檢視人類潛能之一 : 創造氛圍的能力
Atmosphere is the soul of a space 氛圍是空間的靈魂
A “sense” of atmosphere 氛圍的”感知”
Atmospheres for the actor 演員的氛圍
Personal Atmosphere 個人氛圍
Objective Atmosphere 客觀氛圍
Atmospheres create gestures in the space 氛圍創造空間的姿態
Co-creating atmospheres 共創氛圍
12 Action Steps toward creating a stable, supportive culture of nutritional atmospheres
7 Archetypal Atmospheres worth cultivating for nutrition and balance培植滋養與平衡的7大原型氛圍
“To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”
– Henry David Thoreau
“Atmosphere is the soul of the theater.”
– Michael Chekhov
We live in an unique time where most of the world is united in an atmosphere or mood. In some parts of the world this atmosphere presence may be more colored in fear and anxiety, in other parts more strongly colored with uncertainty. But this collective experience works on all of us, even if we do not feel directly affected. We may wake up in the morning and feel a quality of uncertainty or anxiety in our bodies that does not belong to us personally but feels connected to what lives in the collective consciousness of the world just now.
Children pick up on the atmosphere in their community even if they never see an image or hear a word about what is happening. They absorb what is present in their space, in their community, in their world.
Because an atmosphere is invisible, it is easy to overlook its presence, and the impact of this presence – how it informs what we think, what we feel, and how we act. In turn, this thinking, these feelings, these actions empower the atmosphere, or they create a field of invitation for the highest possible future that wants to emerge (to borrow a phrase from Otto Scharmer). They can build an invisible garden bed for the seeds of the future.
因為氛圍是肉眼看不見的，其存在很容易被忽略，它的影響有: 知會我們該如何思考、如何感覺、如何行動。也就是說，這些思考、感覺、行動會增強氛圍，或是創造一個場域的邀請，邀請想要從中浮現未來更高的可能性(引用自奧圖.夏默Otto Scharmer)。它們可以為未來種子們搭建一個隱匿的花園溫床。
If we are in a smoke-filled room and we don’t like breathing in smoke, we might leave the room, open a window, or see where the smoke was coming from. An atmosphere can work just as deeply into us as smoke. We breathe it in through our senses. It can color our experience, obscure our vision, or be a holding space for incubating our vision. One aspect of atmosphere is its ability to unify all within it.
At this time, creating health-supporting atmospheres can help balance, harmonize, or mitigate the effects our current world situation is having on us and especially on our children. For a child, a healthy atmosphere can be as powerful and nutrition-giving as the food they eat. Forces work through the atmosphere and feed the child’s relationship to themselves and to the world. These forces can work like an antidote or remedy for an imbalance or sense of overwhelm. A healthy atmosphere can act like a second skin, a buffer or safe holding space for their learning and growing. Spending more time inside, we now have an opportunity to cultivate new life in our spaces (our inner space and the spaces we share). We might understand our current situation as inviting us to do this.
至此，創造一個支持健康的氛圍，可以幫助我們平衡、和諧、或緩和現今世界情勢對我們、尤其是孩童所造成的影響。對孩子來說，一個健康的氛圍，就等同於他們吃進有力量及滋養的食物。趨力的動能透過氛圍在工作，餵養著孩童與自己、與世界的關係，這趨力，扮演著失衡或全然不知所措的解毒劑或解藥。一個健康的氛圍就如同身體的第二層皮膚、一種緩衝、或一個安全的保護孩子學習與成長的空間。再更深入看，我們現在有機會在我們的空間 (內在的空間和共享的空間) 培養新生活，我們或可將我們的現狀理解為，它正在邀請我們做這樣的事。
The archetypal world, or the world of forces that work with the human being and into human experience, manifests or expresses itself in different ways. In drama we look at archetypal gestures, sounds, and colors, for example. We engage them in order to connect with universal creative forces, with a power that transcends the personal experience; to create a bridge to that divine world. Another way we can invite this world to stream its strength and support into our experience and into our spaces is through working with atmospheres.
The space between us can veil a sense of divine presence or can illuminate it. As human beings we have an unique power to create these possibilities through how we engage with atmosphere.
What are the archetypal atmospheres a developing human being is hungry for? How does my personal atmosphere contribute to the collective atmosphere and to a child’s experiences? How can we cultivate atmosphere?
發展中的人類渴求什麼樣的原型氛圍? 個人氛圍如何塑造集體氛圍，以及如何影響一個孩童的經驗? 我們要如何培植氛圍?
Atmosphere is the soul of a space or the enveloping mood garment of a person, space, or situation.
I once went to a performance of Twelfth Night on Broadway. Before the play the audience stood in line, joined the hustle and crunch to enter the theater, found our seats, and sat down. We were all strangers sitting together in a dark room facing the same direction. The curtains opened and light, warmth, sound, and energy filled the stage and poured over us and into our attending senses.
Hours later the last word was spoken, we sat in silence a moment, reluctant to move, as if to drink deep from this mysterious well of life, and then gradually began to applaud. We were all filled with a similar sensation that felt beyond words. I looked at the stranger next to me, who no longer felt like a stranger, and, though we did not say a word to each other, we knew: we are united in this shared experience. We were reminded of our shared humanity, on this earth, at this time. We have created a community together. As we all began to leave the theater, the tempo was different: slower, more solemn, digesting, as if after a large feast or a religious rite. Our eyes had a steadiness and stillness. I didn’t hear any of the chatting or commotion we entered with.
幾小時後，當最後一個字被說出口，我們安靜的坐了一會，還不想動，如同深醉於神秘的生命之泉，然後逐漸開始鼓掌。我們全都沉浸在語言無法表達、又相似的感知當中，我看了坐在我旁邊的陌生人，我不再感覺對他陌生，雖然我們彼此沒有交談，但我們都知道: 我們被這個共享的經驗結合在一起了。我們被提醒著此時、在地球上、我們共享的人性。我們已經一起創造了一個社群。當我們全部的人開始離開劇院，節奏變的不同了: 更緩慢、更莊重、仍沉殿中的，就如同剛結束一場盛宴或宗教性儀式般。我們的眼神有著穩定及靜定，我並未聽見任何談話聲、或任何剛進入劇院時的騷動。
As we slowly spilled back out into New York City, I could feel this invisible membrane that we had formed together stretch out over the city and get thinner and thinner as it began to weave the light of this community into the fabric of the city. On the subway, moments later, we could still recognize each other. Our luminosity was obvious to each other. We could even nod our heads in knowing.
Of course, we owe some of this mysterious and alchemical happening to the quality of the performance, the beauty of the language, the naked human speech, the live music, even the candlelight they used. But our attendance also contributed to what revealed itself in the space. The atmosphere we shared was beyond any one person’s personal contribution. It was born out of our collective attention.
A “sense” of atmosphere
If we look at our experience of atmosphere as a sense or sensation, where is its organ of perception? From where in us do we perceive it? When we open our eyes, we see, and the colors of the world appear to us. We touch something and the texture of the world touches us. Some of these experiences are archetypal. The color red or blue, for example, speaks to a part of us where that color lives. Though I may have a personal association with red or blue, they also have a universal, archetypal quality which has a counterpart in me. Beyond my likes and dislikes or any association of red as being connected to love or anger or passion, it has its own objective force. I can live in my experience of my projection upon red or I can also attune to its universal power. When I do, the archetypal force wakes up its counterpart within me and they resonate together. The archetypal world comes to consciousness within the human being and works into the world. We feel enlarged by this eternal presence.
如果我們以一種感知或感官的經驗去看待氛圍，那麼這接收的器官在哪裡? 是內在哪一部分在感知呢? 當我們睜開眼睛，我們就可以看，世界的顏色會呈現給我們。當我們碰觸某樣東西，世界也在碰觸我們。某些這類經驗是屬於原型經驗，例如紅色或藍色，與存在於我們之內的紅藍對話著。雖然我可能跟紅或藍有個人經驗的連結，但它們在我身上依舊會對應到共通性的、原型的品質。在喜歡與不喜歡背後，或是將紅色連結到愛或憤怒或熱情的背後，紅色仍舊有它自己的客觀力量。我可以依照自己對紅色的投射經驗活著，或是我也可以調合它的共通性力量。當我這麼做的時候，原型的力量會喚醒我內在所對應的，並產生共鳴。原型世界進入人類的意識並走進世界工作著，這個永恆的存在擴大了我們的感知。
With atmosphere, the organ of perception is harder to locate and the clarity of its experience may be harder to assess than with other senses. Yet we can recognize the presence of an atmosphere. When it is strong in a space, say in a place of grief, in a community living in fear, in a graveyard, or in the reverential wonder of a kindergarten, its presence is obvious and easy to feel. Other atmospheres may be more subtle.
An atmosphere can be seen as the enveloping soul or invisible garment of a space that our other senses grow and breathe within. Though its qualities resonate in our body and in our soul – they can induce sweating, agitate or calm our breathing, create a feeling of heaviness or lightness in the body – our senses perceive it around our body. It can appear to have a life of its own but, as it lives in the air around us, we are connected to it and it unites us within it.
Like all senses, the sense of atmosphere is a breathing organ. We breathe it in and enhance it with our out-breath. It may be possible to breathe in an atmosphere, especially if it is a destabilizing or shadow atmosphere, and begin a process of transforming it through what and how we breathe out into it; by how we move and speak and think within it (as forms of out-breath).
如同所有感官，氛圍的感官是個呼吸的器官，我們吸入，並透過呼出來增強它。吸入一種氛圍是有可能的，特別是不穩定或陰影氛圍，透過呼出的內容與方式進入該氛圍，即開始進行氛圍轉化的過程；藉由我們在其中移動、說話、跟思考的方式 (以呼氣的形式) 來進行。
Events can generate atmosphere. A wedding, a funeral, a birth, a death, an accident, a conflict, inspire atmospheres that have an infectious influence on our feelings and our perceptions. They can color how we perceive the world and our relationship with it.
Nature offers perhaps the most harmonizing atmospheres for feeding the soul, if we can open our senses to them. Its archetypal power can work on us only if we can enter its influence and breathe it in through our senses. Perhaps you have had the experience of walking into a forest and feeling as if the invisible hand of the atmosphere were reaching out to welcome you into it. “Let the healing begin.”
Different times of the day reveal different qualities or moods. Perhaps the most outspoken or profound “voices” of the day are at dawn and at sunset, two powerful transitions. When we turn our senses over to these presences, we can feel there is a quality of energy emanating through the play of color and light. We feel a corresponding movement in our soul.
When we offer our senses to an atmosphere, we can perceive tempo, thickness, weight, temperature, smell, tone, qualities of harmony or discord, of texture and light, and even taste. Every sense can tune into the unique expression of the atmosphere of a space. This perceiving awakens a sense for its qualities. These qualities create a kind of “voice” or presence, a sense of its wholeness.
All that we perceive through the senses is a kind of light. Our perception enlightens it. In experiencing atmosphere, we recognize qualities of light, even when the atmosphere is heavy or dark. A willingness to perceive it – not to resist it – allows qualities of its light to be revealed. These qualities have a corresponding force within us. We can move in harmony with that force, we can resist its presence, or we can bring a transforming gesture or intention to it.
Although children are remarkably vulnerable to experiences of atmosphere (our four-month-old will instantly reflect a new atmosphere with a body and soul response), adults, in moments of openness and attention, can also experience this soul language. But as adults, we can seek activities, filter, protect ourselves, or engage inwardly with balancing forces in order to navigate and make sense of what is happening to us and around us. Children are not able to filter out or buffer what their senses ingest. Like a sponge, everything goes directly into them. In times of intensity or confusion or sensory overload, it becomes more necessary than ever to create spaces where children can digest what they have taken in.
Babies are such powerful creators of atmosphere because they so purely reflect the atmosphere around them. As their consciousness is not completely in their body yet, we can experience this magical aura of light and warmth in the space around them. They highlight or awaken awareness for the presence of the divine in their space.
When we tune to or connect to the presence of a healthy atmosphere, our soul connects to an archetypal soul language. Connecting to a universal principle in this way unites the soul with forces beyond the personal. These forces expand a sense of who we are and what we are a part of. We transcend our personal experience and open ourselves for the enlivening presence of the archetypal world.
Atmospheres for the actor
Michael Chekhov, who created the Chekhov method of acting, describes two kinds of atmospheres: a character or personal atmosphere (with subjective individual feelings), which is particularly revealed in the space around a character, and an objective atmosphere (with objective feelings), which all characters live in. In drama we create atmospheres to enhance an artistic picture or experience. It adds dimension and depth to a character or a scene. Both kinds of atmospheres are sources of inspiration.
My character may have the personal atmosphere of a dark heavy cloud but then step into the objective atmosphere of a busy train station or a quiet library. Both have a presence with us. Their interplay can create dynamic and complexity. If we can radiate these sensations or reflect these presences through our sensing, then the audience wakes up to their presence. The archetypal power works into their experience as well.
Every play has an atmosphere and every scene has an atmosphere within a play’s larger atmosphere. Each scene layering atmosphere upon atmosphere until the larger feeling of the play’s atmosphere is created. Although objective atmosphere unites all within it, we all contribute to it, even adding dimension to it, consciously or unconsciously with our personal atmosphere.
Atmospheres can inspire feelings. We may all have a different personal feeling in a busy train station, but it doesn’t take away the reality of its atmosphere and the possibility of our experience of it. A character with a bright personal atmosphere may move into feelings that do not align with their personal atmosphere but still maintain a connection to their personal atmosphere.
Similar places can reveal different qualities of atmosphere. We have all seen a seedy mechanic’s shop and a mechanic’s shop that was meticulously clean, or the messy, full bookshop and the open-space socially-buzzing bookshop. Because atmospheres are space-derived, they have an objective power. They surround and inform us with qualities and, potentially, archetypal presence.
“But atmospheres are limitless and to be found everywhere. Every landscape, every street, house, room; a library, a hospital, a cathedral, a noisy restaurant, a museum; morning, noon, twilight, night; spring, summer, fall, winter – every phenomenon and event has its own particular atmosphere.”*
– Michael Chekhov
We are mostly unaware of our personal atmosphere. Although people who seem to live in a heavy, serious tone, for example, may be aware of how they impact others with their presence. A light or funny person may be aware of how others become brighter when they are around. It can feel like the air around them has a different color.
Artistically, this is fun to work with, as we can add imaginations to our personal atmosphere. We can imagine a sphere just around our body filled with dark clouds, full of effervescent little bubbles, or with little tickling feathers floating within it. This can engender a wonderful sensation that can enhance our experience of a character and our relationship to the scene.
In a busy and full life, we do not see our personal atmosphere as contributing to the life of a space. However, when we come home with a strong personal atmosphere, our children become aware of it right away. They immediately tune into what we bring into their environment. If this personal space is a deep habit or a fixed reflection of our personality, the children are already inwardly shaped by its presence and respond accordingly. If it is light-filled, they are attracted to it. If it has a more shadow-like quality, they learn how to protect, hide, negotiate or work with it. Some children seem to present a gesture of healing toward such personal atmospheres. Such children never tire to try and bring light into the presence of darkness.
This is not necessarily the same thing as a soul mood, although they can work together. My habit personal atmosphere may be humming with active, busy energy but on a day when I experience a serious conflict at work, my mood may change, though my personal atmosphere is still there.
Many factors contribute to our personal atmosphere. Parents, background, life circumstances, biography, attitude, the nature of our work all shape what we present to the world. Generally, a personal atmosphere tends toward a polarity or one-sidedness, as it is in this unique expression of our humanness that we can recognize the freedom to transform it out of ourselves – to bring it to balance. Artistically, we might call this striving toward neutrality, so we can be available to inspiration. A strong personal atmosphere, like a strong personality, can be an obstacle to new experiences.
If we can recognize what is our unique expression of personal atmosphere, we can already begin to sense what kind of balancing or harmonizing gesture we can bring to it. For the hustle and bustle atmosphere, perhaps doing things slowly and deliberately or consciously. Or introducing moments of physical stillness where I allow my “aura of busy-ness” to become still and quiet. Or it could be a soothing bath, a camomile compress, or applying a lavender massage oil. Any moment given to such home remedies contributes significantly to atmosphere.
If we can see this contribution we make to a space, it already begins to change. The light of our awareness acts like a yeast in the dough. If we take up working with it, a sense of freedom follows closely behind. We are not stuck in one expression but can create a context for something different.
Virtues create their own personal atmosphere and can influence the collective atmosphere. We all recognize the quality of kindness, humbleness, or generosity in the air around people who have developed these virtues.
It can be fun to go for a walk and, while strolling along, glimpse into the windows of houses – how different each living room seems to be! In our neighborhood here in Taiwan, the living rooms may all have similar kinds of furniture or wall decorations or a similar kind of shrine, but, often, there is a quality that can be very different. It could be a kind of darkness, or chaos, or luminosity, or warmth, or gentleness, or goodness. The objects may be similar but the space surrounding them is different.
We know archetypal atmospheres in a temple, an emergency room, a baby’s room, a restaurant’s kitchen, a meadow, a forest, a seaside. Even the mention of them may produce a little familiar movement in you – a sense memory. Even if you haven’t had a profound experience of these atmospheres, your body knows the experience. As with all archetypal experiences, they reflect a quality that exists in the human being. As every human being has all archetypal characters in them as potential, every objective atmosphere has a soul counterpart. This correspondence may light up as a feeling or a physical sensation. We all recognize the inner experience of a desert, even if we have never been in one.
At this moment in our time we can recognize a collective objective atmosphere in the world. It is fed by media reports, gossip, social network feeds, and all the little inner and outer movements we bring to it. The spaces we live in can be colored by this presence, as the collective environment can work into all spaces, like weather. And, like weather, we can receive it, move with it, react to it, or we can bring a counter gesture toward it. When it gets very cold, we can light a fire or turn on a heater. In the heat of the summer, we seek the comfort of shade.
Objective atmospheres affect our experience of the world, how we experience ourselves within it, and how we relate to it. An atmosphere full of chaos may close me off and I may be less likely to unfold myself within it. Whatever lives in me is held back and cannot come to expression. If it is an embracing, supportive atmosphere, filled with soul warmth and holding and care and attention, what lives in me is invited into it. Whatever gifts or contributions I have come with can work into the world.
For children, atmospheres create the environment not only for their learning but also for their growth and development. A child that lives in a chaotic atmosphere will often reflect the atmosphere in their movement, behavior, attitude, and even in the quality of their skin and the light in their eyes. An atmosphere with a lot of pressure, stress, or conflict can likewise impact how the child enters their body and trusts the world around them.
Atmospheres create gestures in the space
We have all been in atmospheres that seem to make a gesture toward us. Whether it suffocates, stifles, pushes, opens, lifts, or buoys us, we can feel this presence do something to us. We experience the will of an atmosphere – it wants to contract or expand us, lift or suppress us, for example. A reaction to this gesture can make the presence more intense and powerful. Our reaction and the atmosphere come into conflict. Like in any conflict, both sides step in more strongly when challenged. If we can meet an unpleasant atmosphere out of as much recognition, even appreciation, for it as possible, perceive its qualities, see the value in its presence and the lesson it is imparting, it can more easily come into movement and possibly move toward transformation.
We have all experienced how Feng Shui principles build powerful atmospheres. Every object carefully contributes a gesture or sense of movement or balance to the space. We may have also experienced an outwardly-perfect Feng Shui environment, like a business lobby, that was devoid of an atmosphere that should match its physical appearance. Because it is a used space – a space for passing through, not for filling with life – and other gestures have dominated the space, it feels soul-less. Its gesture feels empty.
In our striving to create atmospheres in our spaces, we are supporting a gesture of holding or embracing in the invisible field around the developing human being. This gesture enables the life and light that seeks that space more freely to enter.
What is the gesture your spaces are making toward you?
Cultivating nutritional, healthy atmospheres is not a matter of doing the right outer thing. A friend of mine was fighting with her husband in the kitchen when their child came home from school. Hearing the door open, although in the middle of the fight, they stopped talking and calmly went about their kitchen business. When the child walked in, he suddenly stopped. Sensing the atmosphere, even among the outwardly calm, welcoming, and well-mannered behavior, he said: “Stop it!”
培育滋養健康的氛圍不是做外在正確的事。我的一位朋友，孩子放學時剛好在廚房裡與她的先生爭論著。聽到大門一開，雖然是在爭論過程中，這對夫妻馬上停了下來，安靜的繼續廚房的事務。當他們的小孩走進來時，他也突然停了下來，感覺到之前的氛圍，即便當時外在環境是安靜、歡迎且好聲好氣的，這個孩子說道 : ”停”!
Cultivating atmospheres requires conscious intention and cannot be faked. A faked atmosphere is another form of hindrance for a child, creating a different kind of stress. It is its own kind of atmosphere. Creating healthy atmospheres takes effort but much less effort than we may think. As with any gesture toward health, it takes an application of will. As soon as our will shifts in alignment with a nutritional atmosphere, it begins to work with us, as if we stood a little closer under the star of it. What kind of shift of will invites a healthy atmosphere presence to work and fill the space with its substance? How do we engender a healthy atmosphere?
If we are interested in them and open enough, they can reveal themselves like Grace, suddenly filling the space by the virtue and alignment of inner and outer circumstances. For a regular visitation or for establishing a culture for an atmosphere, we can cultivate an invitational gesture through how we bring our senses and attention to the space, and how we organize the space. We have all felt how cleaning and reorganizing a space changed its atmosphere and at the same time shifted our inner experience. How we use our voice, how we listen, what colors and pictures are in the space, how the space is lit, how happenings are structured – if they have a clear beginning, middle, and end, if a strong rhythm shapes the day and the week, all contribute toward welcoming a nourishing atmosphere to work in a space.
In the theater, the set, positions of objects, lighting, costumes, music, tempo, quality of speaking and quality of movement all contribute to the atmosphere created in the space. We can begin to look at these contributors as we create spaces for the atmospheres we wish to work in our spaces. An early question may be, like in tidying a room: what do I need to remove from the space, what is in the way? Inwardly this translates as: what do I need to give up? As soon as we sincerely ask this question, we can feel a part of us respond. Somewhere in us we know what is in the way, and as we look toward the light of an atmosphere, it helps to show this to us.
在劇場，場景、物品的位置、燈光、服裝、音樂、速度、說話的品質、移動的品質，所有這些會一起營造出空間中的氛圍。當我們在空間中創造我們想要的工作氛圍時，我們可以開始去看這些要素。一個先前的問題是，例如在整理房間時: 我需要移開空間裡的什麼? 有什麼不恰當的地方? 在內在，這問題將被詮釋為: 我需要放棄什麼? 一旦我們真誠的提出這個問題，我們就會感覺自己的一部分作出回應。有一部分的我們知道是什麼不恰當，而當我們望向氛圍之光，將會幫助我們看得更清晰。
We cannot force or manipulate an atmosphere but we can coax or invite it to work. We don’t make it; we open a space for it; we create a context. The world evolves toward the archetypal. If we are present to the atmosphere we are in, if we yield to it, say “yes” to it, we open the door for the atmosphere needed. As soon as I am aware of an imbalance, the remedy presents itself.
Yielding to any atmosphere makes everything new. Familiar objects appear in a new light. Even our familiar sensation takes on new dimension and depth.
We can begin by sensing what atmosphere is currently present. What qualities or sensations can I discern? How am I contributing to these qualities through my inner tempo, my thoughts, my feelings, my voice and movement, by what I do in the space, and, especially, how I do it?
我們可以從感知現有的存在氛圍為何來開始，我可以辨別出何種品質或感知? 我如何以內在節奏、思想、感覺、聲音及移動投入到這些品質裡? 我在空間中做了什麼、尤其是如何做的?
It could be helpful to ask ourselves: which atmosphere do I have a strong relationship with or is easily accessible in my spaces? Which one could I grow or develop? What atmosphere is needed? What kind of outer step would growing that harmonizing atmosphere require?
自我探問或是有幫助的: 何種氛圍與我的連結性較強，或是在我所在的空間中更容易親近? 哪種氛圍我可以在其中成長或發展? 什麼樣的氛圍是需要的? 為了和諧氛圍所需，外在的何種步驟可以發展?
12 Action Steps for creating a stable, supportive culture of nutritional atmospheres
- Slowing down; doing any small or large action with deliberate slowness; slow meals, slow play, slow listening.
- Listening in a way that lets your listening breathe into the space, as if you were listening to music; sensing what is there (as Chekhov says: “sensation is the vessel into which your genuine artistic feelings pour easily and by themselves; it is a kind of magnet which draws to it feelings and emotions akin to whatever quality you have chosen…”**); yielding to it gives its presence a voice in the space and allows its will for transformation to be heard; if necessary, when breathing out, let your out breath fill with a more supporting or balancing quality.
用以下的方式聆聽；讓你的聆聽成為與空間共融的呼吸感，如同聆聽音樂一般，感知在那裏的有什麼 (如同契可夫所說: “感知是一種容器，你的真實藝術感受得以簡單並獨立的注入其中；感知就像是一種磁鐵，吸引了趨近於你所選擇的感覺與情緒…”**)；臣服於它便是給它的存在成為空間的一種聲音，並允許它轉化的意願得以被聽見；若有需要，當呼出時，讓你的吐氣充滿著更多的支持與平衡的品質。
- Adjusting or tuning your voice to the atmosphere you seek; using fewer words.
- Inviting a quality like calm or care (or any other desired quality) into a very simple movement, like lifting an arm, and then extending this quality into other movements.
- Changing or reorganizing the space, its lighting and color expressions, its warmth, reducing clutter and unnecessary things, to suit the atmosphere you wish to invite. Simple and quiet are atmosphere enhancers.
- Creating a ritual or conscious transition (before meals, before bedtime, before setting out into the day) for invoking a quality to join us.
- Speaking a verse or prayer conjures qualities into the space. Poems can also elicit atmosphere through language, rhythm, and image.
- Singing a song unites us in a common mood.
- Schooling your “sense of atmosphere”; going to places with different atmospheres, sensing their unique life qualities, to awaken creative feelings, expand and deepen your inner vocabulary and inner flexibility. Speak a poem into the atmosphere and notice how your voice will begin to tune into it.
- Avoiding or reducing atmosphere destroyers: gossipy energy, media, unnecessary activities, meaningless idleness or casual, loose attitudes (which is different to meaningful idleness, like day-dreaming, and moments of rest together).
- Doing something with a sense of beauty. Beauty is a best friend to atmosphere. Setting a table, making a bed, arranging flowers, watering a garden, cooking a meal can all deepen the art of creating atmosphere. They can also inspire a culture of appreciation.
- Going into nature gives an easy to access atmosphere that can work on us even if we have no energy for creating atmosphere; the soul readily sings in alignment with a nature environment.
7 Archetypal Atmosphere presences worth cultivating for nutrition and balance
- Reverence – an experience of the divine in all things, in all places, in all moments. A sense of holiness or of the presence of God. Temples and churches can give presence to it. Technically, it often starts with a change of tempo; slowing down, widening our sensing, and softening our attention. Exercising gratitude opens a door to it. Reverence could be seen as the inner gesture we bring to all atmospheres, the starting gesture toward any space and our relationship with it. If a child builds a relationship with reverence, it builds a fortifying foundation in their inner lives. This foundation, if established, will later bear fruit as a capacity to bless – to change the quality of a space or situation through the light of their presence. Reverence awakens an awareness for form. Our outer preparations, which could include other ritual-enhancing details like lighting a candle, preparing a child’s bed, adjusting our voice, create the invitation. Reverence, which can be experienced both as a feeling and a mood, may also inspire awe and wonder. It is a counterforce to indifference and carelessness. (See reverence exercises at the end of this essay.)
- Play – this can include free play on their own, which is a great resource for digesting and processing experiences, play-time with others, and wrestling and roughhousing with parents and siblings. It is the foundational atmosphere for developing imagination and connecting with the archetypal world through characters, images, and soul moods. A sense of ease and adaptability may also be discovered here. It is a counterforce to boredom, idleness, or fixed ness. “If a child has been able in his play to give up his whole loving being to the world around him, he will be able, in the serious tasks of later life, to devote himself with confidence and power to the service of the world.” – Rudolf Steiner
- Solemnity – certain events often call upon the presence of solemnity: visiting someone in the hospital, standing at the grave of a relative. But also the quietness of an evening spent reading a book, or a late afternoon spent sitting on a garden bench. Solemnity, like reverence, enlivens a sense of form. It helps to develop strength in the face of adversity, tragedy or hardship. It is a counterforce to overwhelming heaviness, insincerity, and dishonesty.
莊嚴—某些事件需要莊嚴的存在，如醫院探訪、站在墓園裡一位親戚的墓 旁，還有一個安靜看書的下午、或是傍晚時分坐在公園的椅凳上。莊嚴，如 同敬虔，使人充滿形式感，它有助於在逆境、悲劇、或困境中發展力量，它 是全面性的沉重感、不真誠及不老實的反作用力。
- Peace – comes through inner and outer quietness and inner and outer stillness. It is also a powerful soul force that we can experience inside us but also in the space between us. It can be potently felt after a battle, upheaval, or conflict. A certain quality of light between the eyes of people, between the bodies present. Tranquility and calm move into a space of peacefulness. “My peace I give to you,” Christ says to His disciples. It is a counterforce to agitation and anxiety.
和平—來自內外在的安靜與寂靜，它也是我們可以在內在、及彼此的空間中經驗到的一股強大的靈魂力量。它可以在一場戰役、動盪或衝突之後被強烈的感受，在眼神中、身體中存在著特定質地的光，寧靜與安定進入和平的空間， ”我給你我的平安” 基督向祂的弟子們說道。它是激動和焦慮的反作用力。
- Joy – often found at meal times, in community, and at moments of celebration. Joy gives us a relationship to levity, to a sense of beauty, lightness and freedom. The soul experiences a fullness but also a sense that this quality is not only felt in my soul but is a shared atmosphere. Generosity and gratitude and enthusiasm also open a path for joy. It is a counterforce to restlessness.
- Warmth – perhaps this could also be called an atmosphere of embracing community. If we understand it as a sensation of connection and interconnectedness, of being woven into the fabric of something, a feeling of belonging, of knowing my boundary among other boundaries, then we might approach a sense for it. It strengthens a sense of being held and supported. Love, security, contentment, and a sense of wholeness also cultivate in warmth and community. It is a counterforce to isolation and loneliness.
- Listening is the gate-keeper to all atmospheres. As soon as I engage listening, I open to a sensation for atmosphere. Although it sounds more like an activity than an atmosphere, when one person starts to listen intently, it can contagiously catch on and build a substance in the shared space. Just before a concert is a perfect moment to experience this atmosphere. It creates anticipation and a gesture of welcoming. It is a counterforce to chaos. If I can listen to chaos, I begin to see its outline and shape, and I sense its movement, direction, and potential for change.
聆聽是所有氛圍的守門員，當我開始聆聽，我便對氛圍打開了感知。雖然這 聽起來比氛圍更像是一種活動，當一個人開始專注聆聽時，即會在共享空間 中開始傳染並建立某種內涵。音樂會開始之前，就是一個完美的時刻體驗 這種氛圍。它創造了預期以及歡迎的姿態，它是混亂的反作用力。如果我能 聆聽混亂，就能開始看到它的輪廓和形狀，並感覺到它的移動、方向和變化 的潛力。
These atmospheres, and a sense of atmosphere, can be strengthened through external supports like nutritional baths (with milk, egg, and honey), lemon foot baths, chamomile or other compresses, and body oiling (with rose or other soothing oils). See the website DevelopingTheSelf.org on the page “The Care and Development of the Senses.”
這些氛圍，以及氛圍的感知，可透過外力支持來增強，如滋養性沐浴(含牛奶、蛋和蜂蜜)、檸檬足浴、洋甘菊或其它濃縮物、和身體用油(含玫瑰或其它舒緩油)。請參閱網站DevelopingTheSelf.org 中 ”感官的照護與發展” 。
This selection of suggested atmospheres is not a complete list of health-supporting or balancing atmospheres. It is a beginning; a starting point. Perhaps you can suggest others or you have other names for these. It is enough that we bring awareness to this realm of our creative presence that might be easy to overlook. One aspect of the presence of media and the time we give to it is that it is an atmosphere destroyer. We have all seen cellphone-touting tourists trample the atmosphere of an old village or a temple. We know what they can do.
This is not to demonize media and phones. They have a helpful role to play as a tool. But they are not the only voices. As technology is soulless, they can do nothing to support a living atmosphere. “What has no soul cannot create soul. Only soul can perceive soul.”^ This perceiving between us and a living atmosphere is a mutual exchange between souls. Giving ourselves media “downtime” gives space for the potent workings of this conversation.
Our attention to atmospheres may be a first line of protection for our spaces and for our children as we strive to invite archetypal nutrition and the sense of greater connection our health and evolution ask for.
Atmosphere is arguably the most important archetypal teacher in a child’s first seven years. Each atmosphere has a role to play for a child’s learning and contributes a gesture toward their development. Rich atmospheres during story time, family meal times, before bedtime, build the foundation and the invisible home or sheath for the life of their feelings, which will come into clearer and clearer expression. In later years, camaraderie, intimate love, and other nutritional atmospheres will enter their soul landscape.
Archetypal atmospheres create a protective membrane, a cocoon-like substance out of which feelings are born and an inner life is developed. Our capacity to pay attention to, to sense, to observe, and to affect atmospheres becomes a child’s greatest support in this development, as they naturally follow the movements of our soul. How we look at the butterfly, touch the petals of a flower, bend down to the fallen bird are huge little “lessons” we give them.
In the same way that adults need to cultivate the right mood for the wholeness giving pictures and experiences in meditation to work into the soul, a child needs the right atmospheres for cosmic nutrition and a sense of connection to feed its soul.
Reverence Exercises (inspired by Michael Chekhov exercises)
The exercise can be adapted to any atmosphere
- Slow your tempo; let your senses widen and begin to breathe. Let your attention soften.
- Notice what is in your environment: how the objects are organized, the distance between them; the quality of light, air, sound, temperature, the thickness and weight of the air. The tone of the space. Let your breath also breathe with these presences. Allow a poetic eye to see them. Yield yourself to their atmosphere. As you open to the space, the space opens up for reverence. You might begin to sense how generously this context has been given to you for your presence. You may have a feeling that it has been waiting for you.
留意你的環境 : 物品如何被擺設以及它們之間的距離；光的品質、空氣、聲音、溫度、空氣的厚度及重量、空間的調性。讓你的呼吸也把這些存在一起吸入。允許詩樣般的眼睛看見它們，臣服你自己在這個氛圍當中。當你對這個空間敞開，這空間即對敬虔打開。你或許會開始感知到這整個存在是如何因著你的存在而被給與，你或許會感覺到它一直在等你。
- Notice anything in your body or soul experience. If anything speaks up inwardly, notice it in relationship with what is present around you.
- Move a part of your body slowly in relationship with this constellation of presences. Observe what happens. You can do another simple movement of the body, inviting a quality to work with it. You can say: “I move my arm with… calm (or reverence or another balancing quality).” Sense the impact of this movement on the space. Allow your movements to be in harmony with the atmosphere surrounding you.
與存在星座連結，慢慢的移動你部分的身體，觀察看看會發生什麼。你可以另做一些簡單的動作，邀請一種品質進來一起工作。你可以說 : “我在安靜…中移動我的手臂(或敬虔、或其他平衡性的品質)”。感知到空間中這個移動的影響，允許你的移動與周遭的氛圍是和諧的。
- If necessary, you can softly but clearly speak the sentence sequence: “I. I want. I want to experience. I want to experience reverence.” Notice any after-movement in you or as a resonance in the space. Is a sense of reverence there?
若有需要，你可以緩和但清楚的說出下列句子 : “我。我要。我要經驗。我要經驗敬虔”。留意你內在之後的任何移動，或是空間的迴響。有感知到敬虔在那兒嗎?
- Notice how the body drinks this in; how this quality opens up an inner landscape in the soul.
- If desired, you can speak a text or verse. Allow your voice to tune to the atmosphere. Like with the movement, whether you find this alignment with the atmosphere, or not, either way you are in relationship with it.
This is the same sense of nourishment that children experience when we can invite this presence into their space.
Simpler versions: Yield, Imagine, Move, or Name.
簡易闡釋 : 臣服，想像，移動，或命名
Yield: Surrender to the atmosphere present in a space; submit to its qualities. A relationship begins.
臣服 : 屈服於空間中的氛圍；服從於它的品質。一種關係的開始。
Imagine: Imagine the feeling of the desired atmosphere spreading around you, enveloping you and all things in the space, filling the air with its qualities. Play with it.
想像 : 想像你想要某種氛圍的感覺就環繞在你周邊，攏罩著你和空間中所有的事物，空氣中也充滿著該品質。跟它一起玩。
Move: Lift your arm. Lower it. You have made a gesture. Now make the gesture but color it with a quality like carefully or calmly. Be careful not to act or perform the gesture. Repeat several times. The quality begins to permeate your arm and radiate into the space around you. Add other movements.
移動 : 抬起你的手臂，放下你的手臂，你已經做出一種姿態。現在做出某種姿態，呈現一種小心或安靜的品質。注意別落入刻意作為或表演的姿態，重覆做幾次。這品質會開始滲透你的手臂，並放射到你周圍的空間。再加入其他的移動。
Name: Speak out the atmosphere you wish to invite, conjuring its life through the power of your speaking and naming. The gesture of speaking is not demanding but invitational.
命名 : 說出你想要邀請的氛圍，透過你說話和命名的力量來施予它魔法般的生命。說出來的姿態並非是要求性的，而是邀請性的。
* and ** are quotes taken from Michael Chekhov’s book To The Actor
^ from Dawn Langman’s book The Art of Acting: BODY – SOUL – SPIRIT – WORD: A
Practical and Spiritual Guide