Excerpt About Inquiry (Dialectic)

A True Relationship Helps Us Discover Reality

We are exploring the practice of dialectic inquiry while learning the practice of inquiry in general. We have seen that we can communicate with another person in a way that opens both of us more deeply to ourselves and each other. Then the relationship itself can expand and deepen the discovery of each of us, our relationship, and reality as a whole. In other words, a true relationship is one that helps us to discover reality. It’s fine if a relationship doesn’t help us do that—most human relationships are this way—but that is not what we are learning here. We are exploring how to develop relationship in new and unimagined ways. To do this, we need to develop certain interactive skills, what we call relational skills. We have discussed and explored a number of these, including the role of being personal, being open, and making direct and immediate contact, as well as the importance of feeling connected and having sensitivity for ourselves and for each other. As we have seen, being sensitive means having a delicate awareness, a very attuned awareness. Relational sensitivity includes empathy, being able to sense where the other person is coming from, what is happening with him or with her. It also includes attunement, which is the capacity to respond and relate in a way that considers where another person is. We don’t just express ourselves, we express ourselves to that particular person at that particular time. If we are not attuned, our friend will not completely get the communication.

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