Circling – A Relational Mindfulness Practice
Circling is sometimes a difficult concept to explain, but an easy one to experience. An evolution of group-work modalities with a long history, it is a practice in which a group puts its full attention on a single individual, sharing what’s it’s like to be with that person on a moment to moment basis. Emphasizing sharing somatic sensations, the impact others are having on us in the moment, and the following of one’s intuitive curiosity, it can be as much an art as a specific set of practices. It evolved specifically out of the Arrete community in San Francisco, and has since flourished globally.
Circling distinguishes itself from coaching and or therapy by being less about how to “fix ourselves” or figuring out what caused us to behave a certain way, and is more about just revealing what is true for us in the moment.
Put in other terms, VERY generally, we might thing of Coaching as focusing on HOWs (how do I change my life! Often future oriented), Therapy on WHYS (why do I act this way, what things happened to me in the past that contributed to why I am this way), whereas Circling is about WHATS, as in simply WHAT is happening right now, four ourselves, and in the relational space of those we’re interacting with.
The Integral Center, The Circling Institute, and Circling Europe are three of the biggest organizations currently offering training and experience’s in circling.
Circling is a great practice that helps us reveal our relational blindspots (often called SHADOW) AND often helps us be seen for who we truly are. Circles can range from light hearted laugh fests to deeply cathartic life changing events, along with everything in between. The point of circling is not to “get” anywhere, but to simply be in the moment with what is true.
We at Authentic Los Angeles also believe VERY deeply in the ability of circling as a practice to foster and build deep community as well, helping us all feel closer to those fellow Angelenos around us.
Here’s Circling Europe’s crack at explaining circling: