Experience report from the Comunity Building Workshop
A special opportunity to experience community as a process, while learning something about yourself, is the idea of Community Building (CB) according to Scott Peck.
Heiko took the opportunity last weekend and attended a CB workshop in Cottbus …
It is Friday afternoon. Two lovely organizers invited me and 10 other people to the friendly, organically designed rooms of the family house Cottbus.
After a short “hello” we come together in a circle.
I know some of the participants fleetingly. There is no typical welcome “who & where am I” round. On the floor are a few A4 sheets with recommendations how to communicate . For example, “Take a risk,” “Speak when you’re moved,” “Take responsibility for yourself and the group” and “Recognize the quality of silence”, and a few more.
The two organizers introduce themselves briefly and give us a brief information on what we will get involved in. They don’t lose many words – after about 10min they already wish us a “good trip” and we suddenly dive into the first silence.
It feels a bit strange without knowing each other… just to start and yet that’s part of the idea of Scott Peck’s Community Building. In front of us are 3 days together (5x3h) full of listening, discovering, laughing, enduring, exchanging, searching, trusting, wondering, crying and – feeling again and again. What do I want to say, what do I want – yes, what should I say now. What is important for me to say? What is important for the group?
At some point someone takes the first word, refers to the recommendation “to take a risk” and tells of his unpleasant, anxious, agitated feeling here with us sitting with strangers. He speaks of himself, tells us that it is not easy for him to endure the silence with us, but to have so much attention right now. I feel the same and I realize how I want to hook in after he has said what is currently moving him. But there is another impulse in me that holds me back. I would like to communicate more consciously – do not respond to what is said as usual. I do not seem to be the only one. The silence becomes a valuable companion for all of us. A space out of which we will feel and create our own community.
The circle consists of what each of them contribute, how much, how deeply everyone wants to communicate, to what extent we relate to each other, how we deal with emerging conflicts – in short, how much each one wants to get involved into the group. Seeking, sensing, sometimes soft, sometimes stormy and criss-crossing across the four phases of this process identified by Scott Peck. At “Pseudo Phase” all feel still full of outgoing enthusiasm for the upcoming time together. First differences, opinions or peculiarities emerge, causing discussions and conflicts of various dimensions in the ensuing “Chaos Phase”. Depending on how intensively conflicts break up and how the group deals with them. Feelings of emptiness, meaninglessness or even boredom can arise. The result is a kind of disillusionment of one’s own idea about individuals or what idea I have associated with the group, as my wishes might be …
This “phase of emptiness” requires some readiness to reassess each from us and also from others. Now I know what our organizers meant by “experimental space for personal disarmament”. I wonder, “What do I want here?” and “What do I want with the group?” – It’s about after the experienced “storm” to become clear, if I personally want to continue with the group and what I need for this or what I still have to clarify with whom. Through the willingness in each one of us, we enter the “Phase of the authentic community”. We synchronized, as I would call it, creating a harmonized grouped entity that connects us. We are merging. Great closeness, gratitude and humility flood the room. There it is again – this peace my nature is longing for and why I go to these circles.
What makes this kind of gathering in the circle a special power for me is the unprepared going off and exploring the unknown between us. The long, unattended time frame of 15h gave me unexperienced open space to explore my impulses. I spoke out of an urgent feeling without knowing what to say. I was amazed by this authentic flow and what it does to me and the circle.
A very special experience that I warmly recommend to anyone interested in community and communication.
Books from M.Scott Peck you will find here:
More infromation about Community Building: