Greetings—please read this whole introduction before you join. Do not do so if you can’t get to the Mt. Airy/Chestnut Hill/Flourtown area. I’ll be wanting to talk to you personally before you come to any meeting.
This meetup is for people of different political persuasions, and who consider them valuable enough to share, at least under certain conditions. Those who might consider themselves “far” one way or the other or otherwise “independent” in perhaps valuable ways that few of us appreciate are encouraged to join.
You must also, however, be concerned with civil society—enough so to participate in efforts to regain harmony and good conduct for the sake of one’s family, community, country, and for ourselves. You must believe in that possibility.
“Deep Listening” means patiently hearing someone with an attitude of openness, with all our usual ideas and judgements suspended. Just as we “suspend our disbelief” to enjoy a good science fiction or fantasy production, we suspend our judgements when listening to another human being. In fact, not only do we give that person the full benefit of the doubt regarding our views, but we are even willing to admit that we ourselves could be changed! That must be a possibility for you, however small.
Doing this takes discipline. We must slow down and take the time to notice what our minds do under certain conditions—when we start losing control, get hot under the collar and start speaking more loudly, interrupting, etc. This will be discussed in more detail when we gather.
The format for our meetings will involve four parts: 1) welcome and brief informal socializing, 2) explanation and deep listening process, 3) more relaxed deep listening, and 4) conclusion and group/individual affirmations. Part 2 will constitute half the meeting and involve a mandatory 15-second pause between statements, for contemplation. It is not a conversation in the usual sense—the idea is to respect the speaker and take the time to really HEAR them—to sense “where they are really coming from.”
Within the bounds of basic manners and decorum, you will really get a chance to say what you want to say—even something challenging, if you want. People will be forced to really listen, however much they may not want to at first.
In my experience, most people join meetups very causally, some of them being so far down their list of priorities that they never attend. This one is different. I will need to screen everyone who joins, in order to 1) to ascertain your real level of interest, 2) to see where you’re coming from politically, and 3) to more fully explain the process. Obviously, any one political orientation should not be overly represented.
Please feel welcome to join! You’ll be getting an email from me in order to set up a time to talk.