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Adam Blatner, M.D., TEP

Posted, April 18, 2011 
(This webpage is a suppl
ement to a workshop given on April 28, 2011 at the annual conference of the American Society for Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama in Clearwater, Florida.)

    About the Concept: Spiritual Journey”      Action Methods Applicable to the Spiritual Journey
     Definitions of  “Spirituality” and “Religion"
    On Warming-Up and Building Trust
    The Implications of Individuality
    Spirituality Overlaps with Other Roles
    A Religion of  Encounter
     Identifying Spiritual Concerns
    Inner (spiritual) Social Atom
     Diagraming as an Action Technique

The Spiritual “Journey”

For some people, spirituality is not only an activity of developing a relationship with the Greater Wholeness of Being (or "God" or however you imagine or name the object of your relationship), but it expands into being a multi-episode, event-fulled process that becomes one of the threads you weave into the tapestry of your life. Certain parts may come to a provisional completion, only to be re-awakened as a new challenge in the course of life’s events. I expect this to happen as I grow older and face my own mortality, that of others who I care about, and other inevitable role shifts.

Depending on your phase of the journey, your spirituality may be more or less integrated with the development or maintenance of other life roles. Indeed, as you grow towards more integration, that itself is an interesting aspect of the journey: So this it turns out fits with that. Well, well.

This whole endeavor overlaps with a re-visioning of life-as-education, a process also called androgogy, to differentiate it from pedagogy, which entails theories or approaches to educating children. Adults, in androgogy, develop their own curriculum. It is not for others to dictate what must be learned or in what sequence. Indeed, both for life-education and hobby or recreational or vocational selection or for spirituality, the theme of individuality and its corresponding need for individualization becomes a prominent theme.

This also overlaps with the journey of differentiating what the psychoanalyst Masterson calls the true self from the false self. Actually, you can’t define such categories, but you can ask yourself whether a role is true to how you sense yourself or whether you’ve been playing that role so you can keep what you imagine to be the respect or support of family or social networks. That itself becomes a many-decade process, because there are subtle edges here and there that crop up. Perhaps it’s a little like weeding a garden every year, with the exception that this is also cultural: What I mean is that what were taken as basic assumptions a generation or two ago are now being questioned, and such questions often bring to the surface of people’s consciousness issues that had remained unquestioned previously.

Back to spirituality, then: It turns out that people have a very great diversity of journey-paths. Some leave their religion only to re-discover it in new ways. Some change religions, and some do this repeatedly. Nor am I inclined to make any judgments here, is if there were anything wrong with not getting it right the first time. It’s not for me to assess what’s right or not. I do have some bias towards valuing people more consciously at least questioning their assumptions, but it’s mild. I live in a community where I know too many people for whom religion is a fixture in their life, they do it, they live it to varying degrees, and they’re really nice and reasonably happy people. So I don’t assume that the unexamined life is not worth living—as Socrates was supposed to have said. I think that’s elitist. However, to speak of being on a journey does imply a degree of questioning and a sense of exploration, of questing, of wondering, discovering, having insights, there’s a story there.

But it’s not a story that I think anyone else can or should judge: It’s remarkably varied, speaking to how the individual relates the relationship with the Everything or Higher Self to other role dimensions; how the person conceives of or names that God or Tao or whatever; what supports or blocks this process; and so forth.

The more elements in a system the more one can compare them. Regarding religion and spirituality, the more different paths are learned about, the more one becomes aware of common denominators, and from that, in turn, one can begin to wonder what many or at least several different processes have in common—especially as it is experienced by the person involved rather than from the standpoint of an outside observer.

Another point here is that the spiritual journey is a story. There are episodes, allies, this or that noble adversary or stimulating nemesis. It’s very varied, and it touches very deep. I think these stories make for the most wonderful literature or drama. Well distilled, with the highlights slightly dramatized, stories of your spiritual journeys are better than fiction.

Action Methods as Applicable to the Spiritual Journey

There are thousands of ways to promote spirituality, from different kinds of rituals to dances, prayers, types of meditation, songs, mantras, bodily postures and movements, diagrams, sand paintings, ingesting psychedelic plants, and so forth. This workshop simply adds a few others that are more in line with activities of contemporary psychology and psychotherapy. Some of these techniques transcend the social activity of aiding people in the sick role to gain relief or healing (i.e. “therapy”), because, as Moreno pointed out in his opening line to his magnum opus, Who Shall Survive (1934, 1953), “A truly therapeutic procedure cannot have less an objective than the whole of mankind.” I take this to mean that good tools often have applications in many domains of human endeavor.

In this workshop we’ll explore the value of assessing your own feelings and thoughts in comparison with others through the use of the spectrogram and “step-in” sociometry. We note the use of generating diagrams which can be enacted or simply drawn, such as the time-line and the social atom focused on those relevant to one’s life regarding spirituality or ones inner spiritual role. Dialogues with the imagined other in the empty chair and role reversing with this other also adds the value of encounter and surplus reality to the process. Sharing amplifies the actual power of the group to offer fresh ideas and generous support for the journey.

About the Words: "Spirituality" and "Religion"

Spirituality is defined here as an activity, not a state of being, not an achievement. It is an active doing. If you’re not doing it, well, you’re not doing it. Spirituality is an activity of deepening your sense of connection with or developing your relationship with the Greater Wholeness of Existence, also known by many other names—Tao, Nirvana, Brahman, God, Goddess, and so forth.
     Spirituality as an activity transcends the specificity of what is imagined as the object or other in the relationship—it can be personal or impersonal, named or beyond naming.

Religion, by slight contrast, is the social organization of the spiritual impulse. It is necessary as a socio-cultural phenomenon. As an analogy, life requires material form for its expression, and spirituality, whenever two or more agree on the activity, becomes the beginnings of a social organization—i.e., religion. The problem with religion is that as a social organization it is vulnerable to all the problems attending social organizations —that is, it is composed of people, human beings, with frailties and limitations and a tendency to overly rigidify the spirit of things. So that two people can agree, there must be an idea, an image, something in words (left brain) that they agree about, but whatever it is, these images and ideas must fall far short of the actuality to which they refer. Nevetheless, people tend to fixate on these formulas, images, descriptions, dogmas, and as associated elements, the “truth” of the scriptures that describe them or of the authority of the people who transmit these ideas. As a result, religions are highly diverse, according to historical and regional divergences, just as languages and dialects tend to diverge.

In our contemporary world, marked by international travel, sharing studies, relationships, friendships, professional endeavors, more than ever the idea that one religion is true and all the others falls begins to ring ever-more hollowly. The challenge then is to seek beyond the claims of separate religions. It is not necessary for people to give up their religious tradition if it works for them, but they can also find it possible to support others in the underlying dynamic of finding some kind of relationship with “The Every-everything.”

Religion for some people has fairly little spirituality—it’s just for them what one does to keep up with family and local social norms.
And there are many who are neither religious nor spirituality. This whole category is rejected or bypassed.

There are some who are spiritual and religious—they find the process of religion for them to be a structure for and an invitation to relate to the Greater Wholeness.

There are some who are spiritual but not religious—their quest has found no collective organization that yet speaks to their way of seeking to deepen their connectedness.

There are also many who are mildly spiritual—but don’t really know how to amplify the process; and others who are mildly religious, and would like to be more spiritual—and again they’re not sure how to proceed. Doubtless I have not exhausted all the possible permutations of this approach.

In the postmodern world increasing people have been seeking some meaning for their lives. The ideal of modernity in the 1950s played out and sheer materialism, while offering a short-term thrill of liberation from dogmatism, has not been able to generate an adequate source for discovering meaning. Remember that meaning is a very subjective experience, and that what suffices to evoke a feeling of life being meaningful in one person may not work well for another person.

So this workshop is more for people who are interested in this challenge. Some have identified with the idea of being spiritual or being on the spiritual journey—often for years or decades—while for others this enterprise is still somewhat new. Lots of people aren’t interested, and there are a few who are only a little interested, mainly because their clients or loved ones have some interest in this dimension of life.

On Warming-Up and Building Trust

  This poem by Dinah Craik expresses it well:
     Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort
     Of feeling safe with a person.
     Of not having to weigh thoughts
     Or measure words,
     But pouring them out—
     Chaff and grain together—,
     Certain that a faithful hand
     Will take and sift them,
     Keep what is worth keeping,
     And, with a breath of kindness,
     Blow the rest away.

The Implications of Individuality

One of the elements of reality that we are becoming ever more aware of is the fact of the uniqueness, the individuality of each being. Many give lip service to this even as our school systems and often ways of parenting tend to operate as if all students were the same—the opposite of individuality. So folks get a mixed message. Much of religion is also structured so that individual differences are ignored: All people should find the standard mix of rituals, sermons, books, etc. to be sufficient, and those who don’t just aren’t “trying hard enough.”

The reality is that even two people who share almost the same sensibility about a religion in fact differ if the same doctrine were to be compared carefully. There are subtle colorings of elements, weighting of values, so that images differ somewhat, and the same word has at least a little different meaning. Most folks within a religious group have a rather broad range of how they think and feel about the ultimate categories in life and what constitutes morality; and people who don’t share the same religion have an even broader range of perceptions and reactions.

So what I’m getting at is an acknowledgment that the spiritual journey as a general process in fact is very, very individualized. (A related essay on my blog deals with individuality and the inherent idiosyncrasy of each person.) The Hindu religion gives some hint as to some variations by noting different ways of relating to spirit—some do it through ritual (bhakti); some through service to family and society (karma and seva); some through cultivating purity of their body and through exercises (hatha yoga); some through meditation (raja yoga); and many mix and match. There’s also a category for those few who find that contemplation of ideas and scriptures to be a bridge to insight—jnana yoga. (I am probably more aligned with this channel.) I don’t consider this categorization scheme complete—rather, it indicates that different folks need different strokes.

Helping people to develop their own spirituality is thus equally varied. Action methods and psychodramatic techniques may offer some tools, but then again other tools may be used as much or more—art, (e.g., making the circular diagrams called mandalas), dance, music, drumming, group singing, prayer, poetry, and the list goes on. Nature is a powerful bridge for some and must be so honored. Sexuality and relationship has been reported to be a channel, though that type of tantra yoga is vulnerable to corruption and power games. This workshop makes no claim to doing more than offering some tools that some others have found useful in their own explorations, and you might want to try some of these and leave others alone.

Spirituality Overlaps with Other Roles

An interesting thing about spirituality is that it overlaps with maturation in general, and with finding for oneself an optimal diversification and balancing of life roles. Many people find their most interesting spiritual challenges being played out not so much at church but in the family, or with other involvements. How to avoid blame, hurt, resentment, anger, lust, all the other deadly sins—these involve all life roles. Similarly, getting fixated on the sacred, the holy, to the detriment of taking responsibility in other ways, may lead to a rich variety of spiritual pitfalls. There’s nothing special about activities that seem to be more spiritual that can protect you from using your piety as a disguise to yourself from the way you’re lapsing into folly in other domains.

The devout church-going parishoner who compartmentalizes exploitation of others sexually or economically is an ancient form of hypocrisy—noted by the early prophets in the Bible as well as by other philosophers. So I think one of the tests for one’s spiritual practice is whether it leads to pro-social behavior, as well as peace of mind. (Pure peace of mind is not an adequate goal, either; the voice of prophecy calls us to improve ourselves and the world around us. A measure of indignation that is channeled into social action may also be a virtue.)

A Religion of Encounter

Jacob L. Moreno as a young man—a few years before he began medical school—explored the idea of a “religion of encounter” with some friends (Marineau, 1989, p. . I can’t tell too much what was involved, but the idea impresses me in the following way. I find true dialogue with another person who has generally matched my use of really thinking about things to be a vehicle for deep learning. I need not accept all of what she says—I actually do this with my wife, Allee, whose journey is a little different from mine—but I can accept it and also respect which archetypes, images, ideas, and such work better for me. There’s room for sharing, comparing, contrasting, and there’s also a certain amount of overlap and mutual insight. “Oh, I like that; I hadn’t thought of that; I want to incorporate that in my evolving model of what it’s all about.” So this is a kind of journey, too.

I think Moreno found a few friends who matched him in passion and he had the pleasure of experiencing how encounter could be a sub-type of spirituality. A decade later he edited a literary journal and near Moreno’s own rhapsodic spiritual poetry (part of his Words of the Father) was an article by Martin Buber about tales of the Hasidim, the pious non-scholastic sect of Eastern Europe that emerged in the 18th through the 20th century. A few years later, Buber shifted direction slightly and wrote about “I and Thou”—a more rational philosophy of encounter. Waldl (2005) suggests that Buber was influenced by Moreno, and I find his argument plausible.

Later, this sensibility merged with another line in Moreno’s thinking—the power of groups. We aren’t talking about mere aggregates, even with a leader; or aggregates who relate mainly to the leader—as is often true in group psychotherapy; but rather, groups in which the leader as facilitator encourages and promotes group members to relate mainly to each other, to encounter each other, to be the agents of support and growth for each other. In this sense, the self-help group might be more of a paradigm for Moreno’s goal than a conventional course of group therapy.

Take it further: Can a community act as a catalyst for the individual’s spiritual journey? We don’t know what’s good for each other. We can only witness to what has worked for us. More importantly, we can listen, lend encouragement, be a witness to, and enjoy the multiplicity of each other’s stories as they unfold, develop, explore in the present moment. Those latter dynamics may be more important than the content of what people have to say in the sense of imparting information or arguing for this or that position. In group dynamics, all of these operations play off of one another, content and process, attention to past as well as future, attention to feelings in the here-and-now as well as thoughts about timeless principles.

With these general comments, let’s proceed with the topic at hand: How can action methods facilitate this process? First, these methods aren’t aimed at selling any particular idea or image, but rather at helping people find ideas, feelings, words, images, and the like that seem to fit their own unique blending of needs. So it’s far from advice-giving.

Identifying Spiritual Concerns

Part of the warming-up process is the gradual focusing on the issues involved. People become easily distracted by role demands at work and with one’s family. Time to take stock. People don’t have clear thoughts about their status in relationships—not with each other, not with the Greater Wholeness. Most folks don’t have many opportunities to really “get down” and wonder about how they fit in the big picture. So time must be taken for a bit of introspection. Just naming the relevant issues is a step. Again, these differ for each individual. To warm up with how one stands—and this process is useful because it gets the mind thinking about the many variables involved—if we’re working in a group, it helps to use the spectrogram technique not once, but multiple times, changing the question or criterion each time. Participants practice owning where they are in relation to others, who experiences x question more intensely, and for whom the question is more distant or irrelevant. Here are some other warmup considerations:

What is spirituality for you? What new aspects of your relationship to God or Wholeness (or whatever) are at the edge of your discovering? Or what might help you deepen your sense of connection with this greater wholeness?

Are there some other parts of yourself that you can integrate into this process or relationship?

What do you discover about yourself as you facilitate the spiritual journey in another, even if only by listening and being interested?  Facilitation can include not only appreciating and reflecting, but also the telic reciprocity that comes with your being stimulated in turn, encouraged, new ideas gained..  One need not directly help or give advice...

What good books, poems, lyrics of songs, issues, teachers, and other stimuli to the spiritual journey have you found useful, and what do you learn about from others as you listen to them?

What Appreciations come to mind? These, too, are part of spirituality—calling to mind more sharply moments of Grace. Acknowledging these out loud, in the interpersonal field, with others who can hear; putting it into words; all these might be thought of as variations of prayer. There's an alignment of intention, expression, thought, feeling, with the added multiplier of a witness or several who mirror what you say.

Even if you sense you're a process that is as yet unclear, still unfolding, whatever images, metaphors, analogies you bring to describing even the preliminary intentions draw your ideals to you. Talk about aspects of what might be changing, growing, turning, revealing.

As you reflect on your spiritual journey, you may find some of these questions useful:
   What happened, and then what happened—actual events, behaviors
   What did you think about what happened, inner voices
   What inner conflicts, minority voices, who was involved and what did they say? How did it get resolved?
   Who influenced you either way? Name the other figures in your journey and their message. Some of those might have been books, teachers, workshops, ministers, peers...
   ... some might have never known their impact—the kid you helped out, the kitten you rescued from the garbage...
   ...some might have been antagonists, “noble adversaries,” those who discounted you, mocked, resisted, campaigned against, argued with, fought with, excluded, betrayed, abandoned, ostracized you...
    ...some whose voices you half-agreed with, but then...
   What episodes stand out as markers, boosting points, turning-points? These might be positive or negative!
So you see, you are deep, complex, and one need not be a psychiatrist or psychotherapist or analyst to ask you these questions. This is good journalism, good biography. You owe it to yourself as part of self-knowing.

Secondarily, and only occasionally primarily, there are actual philosophical or theological issues that rise to the surface. It’s worthwhile naming these issues, if it seems as if you wrestled at this level. They don’t have to be really pure as matters of logic or evidence. These issues may accept certain assumptions that aren’t purely rational. That’s okay for the purposes of identifying which issues and other themes or symbols matter to you. The challenge is to become a bit more clear and specific about what you think and feel at a deeper level. (You don’t have to argue with or convince anyone else.)

The point of this whole exercise is to take stock of your spiritual journey now. Are there any choices that could be made at this time? Any future explorations?

On one level, none of the events in the past exist today—only as memories that you can use as bricks for rebuilding your psycho-spiritual home in the here-and-now. On another level, those past events make for an interesting story—perhaps one that you’ve never entirely “owned.” Your life is a very rich matrix of many stories—about your work life, your romantic life, family, hobbies, travel, etc.—and in this focus, how those other role dimensions mesh with or have remained somewhat independent of your spiritual journey.

Drawing a Time Line

With a pencil and a piece of paper, draw a time line of your spiritual journey. Mark a few events that were highlights or turning points. (This is an exercise that can be done multiple times over several years—each time you’ll find yourself realizing and adding certain elements, re-ordering the importance of some, re-drawing the line, perhaps with some intersecting lines. The activity of your “remembering” is most clearly revealed in an exercise like this as a construction of your present world-view, belief system. It’s not so much what in fact happened as a narrative that you’re making up to explain yourself to yourself. This is okay—it’s what everyone does—only an exercise of externalization such as drawing your time line makes it more explicit, and with it you can then revise, deepen, reconsider.)

Not all action exercises need to be done with any speed. Some things need to be chewed over. They are still action exercises, but quietly, deliberately done, and often with no thought to the pace or needs of others. This time line exercise, or drawing an inner social network of roles, or a social network both inner and outer of your spiritual influences—you may prefer to pause, contemplate, reflect. In the making of the diagram, give yourself permission to start, stop, pause, start again, warm up a bit, get on a roll, block, pause, and so forth.

The point is that there are mental operations that work best if the body is quiet. When things get too complex they can become overwhelming. So meditation, complex, writing in your journal, making diagrams—all these allow your mind to catch up with your soul. Not every mode of promoting growth operates like a psychodrama.

Inner (Spiritual) Social Atom

People play many roles externally and internally---indeed, many sets of roles. We have many roles involved in parenting and often at work. So it will work just to review the various spiritual roles you've identified, examining them through the technique or "lens" of the social network diagram. (You can also do a role analysis, breaking each role into components and those into sub-components.) We express and then are enabled to analyze these the same way we do a social atom, only instead of the wider social field it deals with the inner world. We could do it like a family sculpture positioning auxiliaries; or we could do it with little objects (Casson’s communicube); or we can do it just with a pencil and paper. The first part is just identifying the cast of characters, naming the roles or parts. Each time you name a part you call it out from the mix, from the amorphous cloud. (In fact, the psyche is individual, and as much as it may be useful to analyze, to treat it in terms of its parts, the better to understand and work with it, there is another process where it is useful in a different way to realize that the psyche is individual, which means non-dividual, non-divided, not separate parts, which means that in another sense, you have more capacity for integration and self-mastery than you thought. Just because a part is identified does not mean that it must of necessity be allowed to come out and play its purposes whenever it likes, in whatever way it wishes. Ultimately, you can become the manager of this inner multiplicity—this orchestra or circus or what Robert Fulghum calles his “committee”—whatever metaphor you use.

Consider, then whether any of the following “spiritual” roles are relevant in your life:
     Believer in (name of higher being, truth of scripture, this or that specific part of the dogma of some system)
     Believer literally in x; or believer allegorically or in some more subtle way in x or y.
(Each affirmation of a belief is a role or role fragment. One could play the role of affirming, even arguing for this position.
- Active non-believer in (any of the above elements); or “I believe x but not y.”
- Active unsure whether or not to believe in ___
- Wanting to Argue with Inner relative, friend, partner who wouldn’t agree wth you
- Wanting to avoid the whole topic
- Would like favorite author (theologian, sage, guru) (dead or alive) to be here to help. (This is a role: If x were here I can imagine him saying...)
- Favorite Teachers or Authors if they’re alive in you even a bit
- Favorite antagonists who you’d like to argue with and have them hear your protests
- Higher Self, conscience, ideal, giving guidance
- Magical savior, messiah, make-it-all-better spiritual force or personality
- Potentially punishing law-giver
- Doubter about this bit of dogma, belief
- Unworthy Self
- Witness or missionary, or inspired to write, comment, invent—and one knows one’s own purpose or tools
- Feeling obliged to witness, but, more commonly, not knowing what to do
              ... and so forth. (I welcome your suggestions.)
As for the spiritual roles, there are many just in this category, and again it is worthwhile naming them.

This is just a warm-up, you understand. Seeing some of the items above may well remind you of other roles not mentioned here. A further extension of this exercise is to put some or a number of these roles in empty chairs, naming each role. Further still might be role reversing and playing each role, and allowing yourself to be interviewed in each role. Beyond that you may construct, perhaps with the help of a facilitator, a therapist, or a psychodrama director a sociodramatic or psychodramatic encounter, a dialogue between you and this role.


This term refers to the sense of positive or negative you have with your own various inner parts. What Jung called the "shadow" refers to a negative form of auto-tele, when your familiar ego doesn't want to know about the existence of some negatively valued part of yourself. It may even be your powerful or creative self---some folks repress this because they threaten familiar character stances of victimization and passive-dependency. More often, the negative tele is directed at parts that are needy, vulnerable, emotionally hurt, sensitive, but all sorts of other qualities can also be relegated into the negative-tele or shadow category.

Considering the different degrees of tele you have with the aforementioned social atom thickens that technique and offers you yet another tool for taking stock: In this case, you evaluate your various spiritual roles and notice how close or far you feel towards each one, and position each as a circle with a label as close or as far from the center as you wish. You might put in lines to suggest how much the role has a demand, pull, or lure on you, and how you feel about it in return. We often have ambivalent relations with parts of our inner lives. This is a chance to find out what some of them are about.  This has to do with the sense of rapport between you and the different parts of yourself. You tend to be proud of and may even over-value your strengths, usually; and devalue or repress weaknesses. Or you devalue certain strengths (such as being very intelligent or psychically sensitive) that tend to draw opprobrium from family or social net work, and perhaps over-value qualities parts of you don’t really care about, such as being accommodating to others. The concept overlaps with Jung’s ideas about the “shadow” complex and some object relations psychoanalysts thinking about the “false self.”

These theories should not be too either-or, though. There are many roles or parts of yourself that are in-between, some emerging, some falling back, some more emotionally ambivalent. By naming these parts and drawing them as closer or further from your center self-system of “me,” you may find that you can more consciously re-decide about such complexes. Now that you think about it and have talked about it, it turns out that you want to redeem or be more forgiving towards this role; and you want to turn away with more awareness from that role that seemed comforting, but operated contrary to your longer-term goals.

Diagraming as an Action Technique

The social atom or social network diagram might be recognized as a further elaboration of the technology of writing. It is a mix of map-making and conceptual review. It took a few thousand years after writing was first invented (about 5000 years ago) befpre the technology was refined enough to become more established in certain cultures, such as the Greek. (Before that, writing was a complex, non-user-friendly technology, sort of like computers were before 1975.)  Gradually writing and then map-making and diagraming became a vehicle for seeing what you were thinking, which then enabled you to think about what you were seeing. The writer expressed his or her thoughts and invited contemplation and dialog. Philosophy began, along with more complex mathematics, machinery design, etc..

The process became even more fluid with the technology not of writing but of re-writing—erasers and less expensive paper. Thinking gradually began to shift from declarative to provisional: Might it be this way? What do you think? People became more open to exploring—even those old enough to be considered teachers. When you can make more mistakes, revise freely, thinking becomes a little playful. You can explore your own mind “out there” (in the diagrams and journal entries) rather than in the very unclear regions of the mind. Occasionally some writers gave the impression of being more clear and definitive, but it actually didn’t speak for the great majority of people’s thought.

When you see your ideas expressed out there, on paper, you can see more clearly the relationships among the elements. It becomes more apparent that your thinking fits well and overlaps with others’ writings, or that when it’s spelled out it becomes implausible.

Also, using writing and diagraming, maps and notes, you can also show others. So making maps and diagrams is an important action tool. The whole body may not be as involved as in more physical drama or dance, but it still is a form of expression and interaction. Diagraming makes no pretense to being art or having to be beautiful, but rather serves as a way of getting it out from the unclear, mushy subconscious realm of impressions, out to where you can see what you think and refine it a bit.

Another way to think about diagraming or the construction of the social atom or network diaram is that it seems to me to be half-way between quiet meditation and getting up and interacting dramatically. It's a quieter activity that involves making lists, diagrams, journaling, writing it out, drawing it, putting the thoughts out there where they can be reviewed, critiqued, moved around, re-evaluated.

Sharing in the Large Group

One of the closing elements will be the simple act of naming whom you encountered. Again, the hearing of who else has been brought into the room gives the group members more ideas. This is not a once-only experience. It is meant to figuratively plant seeds for helping others and also working with your own ongoing spiritual maturation. It isn’t supposed to end—taking stock, dialog, encounter—these should be recognized as being as valid a form of spiritual practice as meditation.

The workshop as a whole is a kind of ritual: People are respecting the mystery and depth of their own souls, and the activity, while at times playful in the sense of flexible, is yet the opposite of frivolous. It pays respect to ways of allowing the Divine to operate through you as you.

I am open to and interested in your feedback. Email me at adam@blatner.com