Personal Account of PD, Sparked by the Comments of Mitch Hall and Steven Rosen (Ronald Polack)
….As for the question of whether “participating in such a [PD] group affect[s] participants’ relations outside the group,” it is hard for me to imagine that the effects of sustained and serious involvement in PD would be entirely limited to the group setting. My guess is that — to a greater or lesser extent and depending on the individual — there is some spillover into participants’ external relationships. In their general dealings with the world, would regular PDers find themselves more aware of their own hidden agendas and projections? Would they have a greater capacity to listen more attentively and deeply to others? Group members often informally report such effects. I do agree with Hall that interested investigators could go beyond anecdotal accounts to conduct systematic research in the area.
My own experience in PD, specifically in a Bohmian Dialogue Group of 10-12 people, has been challenging personally and I feel it has contributed to my growth in awareness outside the group. It’s very much a learning process of intense listening without judgment of what others are saying. At the same time listening to my own inner dialogue, I sense what’s happening with my feelings and in my body in those moments, if and when I should speak, etc. Where else does one have such a clear opportunity in a group setting? Because of the intensifying atmosphere, from the beginning minutes of silence through a two hour session, relatively free of my own and others personal agendas, beliefs, suppositions, I feel I emerge a different person with a clearer sensing of myself. Perhaps similar growth in insightfulness is achieved in personal meditation or in silent group meditation? Corroborated by others in the group, I often can’t recall clearly the words said or the progression of the dialogue in form but I feel uniquely changed, whether inspired, confused, disturbed, empty, full or whatever. I haven’t had the experience with a group of 20 to 40 but I expect it would be quite different.