I’ve written previously about the four essential practices of Open Space Technology:
- Opening Heart
- Inviting Attention
- Supporting Connection
- Grounding the Energy
When I first applied this view to my work, after 10 years of opening space, I found they made everything easier. I could do opening heart, during set-up. Then I could invite attention to start the meeting, and so on. One step, one task, one practice at a time.
In my latest facilitations, however, my learning progresses. I am finding that all I really need to do is the first practice, opening heart, and the rest happens almost automatically. This feels more like a river current carrying me and the rest of the event along.
I can see the other practices go by. I know that I’m doing them. And not doing them. At my best, they are becoming more like things that go by in a river, rather than goals or tasks I swim toward, accomplish, or do.
As I rest, relax, and open the space that we might normally refer to as heart, I find that the mental and physical state that arises leads naturally into the next thing, inviting attention. That attention allows supporting connections. Energy flows in and from the connecting and conversing, and automatically seeks ground in some tangible (real) action or product. And those actions and products, however large or small, become the foundation for deeper rest, relaxation and opening.
I find it easiest to start with heart and opening, but I suppose we can start anywhere, as long as we’re willing to be carried through all four seasons or dimensions of practice. If I can’t relax my heart, I can go back to past results, or back further, noticing whatever supporting connections I might have available. But more and more, it is the physical sensations of heart that tell me most clearly where I am, when is right, and what to do.
I’ll be gone on retreat for the next couple of weeks, resting in practice. Find me again here in March, or join us in April!