Developing Proprioceptive Body Awareness in a Dialogue Circle

Chris Francovich
2013 The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies  
Dialogue is a much debated, contested, and interpreted idea that can be understood as a constitutive element of human experience spanning the radically subjective and phenomenological to the social, historical, and political. This article explores dialogue from the perspective of individuals within a small dialogue practice group with a focus on their conscious learning of the skill of proprioceptive bodily awareness. The practice of purposeful dialogue discussed here offers practitioners a way
more » ... of relating to each other and themselves that has the potential for significant transformation of normal patterns of communication and self-reflection. The overarching goal of this dialogue practice is to facilitate a creative, honest, and deeply engaged communication of perspectives. Postmodern and poststructuralist theorizing about identity, multiculturalism, and power; the rapid increase in global trade, migration, and outsourcing; and the explosive growth in social tools are creating conditions that both afford and require effective, sensitive, and open-minded human relations. Results of this qualitative study indicate that this type of focused dialogue practice can result in increased awareness of automatic body states which in turn inform relational dynamics in a positive way. 2 Dialogue is a much debated, contested, and interpreted idea that can be understood as a constitutive element of human experience spanning the radically subjective and phenomenological to the socialThis article explores the constitutive nature of dialogue from the perspective of individuals within a small dialogue practice group with a focus on the development of the specific skill of proprioceptive bodily awareness through the suspension of habitual responses (Bohm, 1996, p. 75). Becoming conscious of unconscious embodied responses to language is a key factor in developing the listening and empathy skills necessary for complex social problem solving, negotiation, and collaboration (Bohm, pp. 73-83; Lipari, 2010). The practice of purposeful dialogue discussed here offers practitioners a way of relating to each other and themselves that has the potential for significant transformation of normal patterns of communication and self-reflection (Bohm, 1996; Isaacs, 1999; Lipari, 2010) 1 . The overarching goal of this dialogue practice is to facilitate a creative, honest, respectful, and deeply engaged communication of perspectives. Postmodern and poststructuralist theorizing about identity, multiculturalism, and power; the rapid increase in global trade, migration, and outsourcing; and the explosive growth in social tools are creating conditions that both afford and require effective, sensitive, and open-minded human relations (Hawes, 2004). The achievement of this type of "communicative action" (Habermas, 1981) however has been elusive. A significant barrier to effective inter-relating in human communities is the development of both individual and group identities that gradually become habitual, impermeable to change, and exclusive (Bohm, 1980 (Bohm, , 1992 Pickett & Leonardelli, 2006; Wenger, 1998) . From an individual perspective there has also been significant work done on the practice of meditation as it relates to habitual behavior and neurological structure (EpsteinThese processes are also felt to be implicated in the rigidity of identities and social groups. This boundary development makes incorporating new ideas, new practices, and new people into the sphere that identity inscribes difficult or impossible. It is argued here that specific dialogic practices can help mitigate this ubiquitous process through the transformation of habitual modes of reaction into an open awareness of the context within which utterances are made.
doi:10.18848/2324-7576/cgp/v07i01/53498 fatcat:o5nxbnlufjfnjahwnug3m2peni