This is Council. It's an indigenous practice that people have been doing for millennia. It's very old. There is a center inside a circle of people. The speaker holds a talking piece that focuses our attention. Like an invisible rubber band, the talking piece attaches to the center and to each person's heart. Council is the practice of listening and speaking from the heart so as to awaken connection with self, others and the natural world.
When I first started participating in Council circles, I was struck by how close I felt to the people sharing the circle even though those people had been complete strangers an hour ago. There is something magical about this process that transforms people and creates community.
Council is a Transition Pasadena project and one of our offerings in the realm of Inner Transition. I facilitate this Council circle on the 1st Tuesday of every month from 7pm to 8:30pm. We'll have a center but, instead of a roaring fire, there will be a candle and a variety of interesting objects to focus on.
I want to explore the inner dimensions of living on Earth today. How it is for us members of industrial society as we cope with current events and the background of environmental degradation? What does it all mean? I envision this monthly Council as a safe space for people to come together and express how life is for them. Primarily, I was thinking about the crises facing our world but it's open to whatever subject participants bring.
I do create a plan each month but I am ready and looking to follow what participants have spoken about and move in directions spontaneously. Often, poetry is a good route to introspection. Wendell Berry, Rumi and Rilke have served me well.
I invite you to come to a Council circle. Hear other people's stories and share your own. You will experience connection and community. I know it's not easy, in our busy lives, to create a space for Council. There are many benefits once you have sat in the circle. Like meditation, the benefits are not obvious until you have finished and are sitting at the end of the meditation. Sometimes it is indescribable, but beneficial nonetheless.