Circling (also known as InterSubjective Meditation) is an organic, in-the-moment interpersonal process that’s equal parts art form, meditation, and group conversation — all designed to allow a visceral experience of connection and understanding of another person’s world, celebrating who and where they are right now. It’s practicing using our genuine curiosity to better understand and become a connoisseur of another person’s world though present moment awareness while breaking through the assumptions and projections we have about each other.
Different than sitting on a meditation cushion by yourself, Circling is a relational practice. And though it works exquisitely in intimate relationships of all kinds, it can be applied in ALL areas of life because it’s so organic, non-analytical, effective, and fun.
Q: What exactly is the purpose of Circling?
The purpose of Circling is twofold:
1. Circling uncovers our “relational blind spots”—the places where we push away the depth of connection and intimacy that’s possible, whether we’re:
In relationship and want to deepen with our partner…
Single, and looking to attract someone to explore deeper connection with…
Looking for deeper connection with ANYONE—family, friends, prospective clients…
Through this fresh, direct-experience, in-the-moment process, we have more choice about how we respond because we’re aware of our blind spots.
2. The experience of “being seen” for who we authentically are is one of the most rewarding experiences we can have as human beings, and Circling teaches us exactly that—how to see and celebrate each person for the unique flavor they bring to the world.
Q: Isn’t this basically practicing therapy on each other?
Depends… if paying exquisite attention to what it’s like to be with each other, sharing and exploring any patterns we co-discover in a way that encourages growth towards more of what we want while totally honoring each other exactly as we are…if that quality of relating is ‘therapy’ then yes this is therapy and I encourage everyone to practice therapy with each other!
Joking aside, these basic ingredients of a ‘therapeutic environment’ I believe belong far more fundamental and widespread than the teeny little field of therapy, and most issues people go to therapy for would be handled much more efficiently and effectively in a loving and conscious community of their own.
That said, there are many situations that I have found professional therapy very appropriate for (and that we are in no way qualified to address btw). For many people who are struggling with basic functionality in their lives, often in fundamentally bio-chemical ways, we often recommend specific schools of psychotherapy and psychiatry and are happy to refer you to our favorites.
Culturally, to the degree that therapy is also about coming to ultimate conclusions about another person, based on pre-determined and well-researched models and maps of human development, our ‘authentic’ quality of relating is very different than therapy. These more clinical approaches that can serve so well in therapy can actually be quite corrosive in one’s personal relationships, which is why I’m glad this question often comes up. The more loving and conscious our relating is, the less often therapy will tend to be needed & when it is needed, I agree that it’s best practiced explicitly distinct from our day to day lives together.