”The first circles were made by our ancestors around the fire. Even today, the center of the circle is a place in which our differences can unite to create fertile new images. In order for this to happen, we need to develop the ability to speak with eachother instead of against.” – Vivian Dittmar, founder of Be The Change Deutschland
A commonality that we have found in AcroYoga and during our experience living in an eco-community is the circle way. In the circle way the group collectively creates a healing space in which everyone is seen and heard and more can evolve than the sum of the individuals present – a space in which everyone feels safe and held, a space in which many ”I’s” become one ”WE”. In AcroYoga the group comes together in a ”wisdom circle” to share their experiences. Insights gained, especially those from an emotional level that transcend the rational level of awareness, can be shared so that the individual experiences unite to create a collective wisdom.
In our retreats we love to cultivate the circle way through practicing ”council”, either with the whole or smaller group as well as one-to-one, as well as having smaller groups build ”clans” or students get in pairs with a ”check-in buddy” so that more oppoortunities for deeper and genuine connection may arise. ”Council” gives us the opportunity to deeply listen and on the other end to receive the gift of being truly heard. Every person has a fundamental need to be listened to and understood. In the practice of sharing and listening we try our best to uphold the values of non-violent communication.
Non-violent communication is a concept formulated by Marshall B. Rosenberg, but which finds itself as the basis of in any form of loving communication. Through non-violent communication we aim to find common ground and cultivate trust, joy and connection. It is very important to remain with ourselves and our emotions and needs rather than looking for the weak spots or mistakes in others. By showing our appreciation for the other person we can find creative solutions for cooperation and problem-solving during a conflict. Sometimes non-violent communcation is also referred to as the ”language of the heart”.
There is a beautiful song about non-violent communication with a text by Marshall Rosenberg:
”See me beautiful, look for the best in me,
That’s what I really am and all I want to be
It may take some time
It may be hard to find
But see me beautiful
See me beautiful, each and every day
Could You take a chance?
Could You find a way?
To see me shining through
In every thing I do
And see me beautiful”
Circles may be used for solving a conflict, for sharing with eachother, for celebrating, for healing, and also for brainstorming together. We also love to hold ”foodcircles” before each meal during our retreats for blessing the food.
By practicing the circle way and preferring to work witheachother instead of in competition, we make a valuable contribution to a gentle revolution of the global consciousness.
The circle way also has much in common with the term ”Satsang” (sanskrit), which comes from the spiritual tradition of India. Satsang means to come together with kindred spirits who are on the spiritual path. ”Sat” means truth, the highest Self, while sang is derived from the word sangha which is a community of spiritual seekers who meet to listen, talk, think, reflect and meditate on the highest truths. Satsang means to „become one with the truth“.