Guidelines for Dialogue

By Zen Master Jeong Ji

  1. Vow. Resolve that the space between us will be safe. Resolve that our experience together will be met with openness and compassion.

  2. Listen. Focus 100%. Listening means acknowledging and attending to what is heard, without addition or subtraction. We must be careful not to categorize, define or otherwise accessorize the already complete truth of what we hear. In other words, if we release our grasp on our supposed “position”, we naturally make room for something new.

  3. Ask questions.  Become curious. Cultivate a willingness to go beyond what we ‘know’ and encounter with genuine interest what arises in the here and now.  Invite the courage that it takes to maintain a “don’t know mind”.

  4. Suspend judgment.  Notice reactions and judgments to others and ourselves, and let them go.  Avoid gossip, and also protect the confidentiality of our exchange.

  5. Speak from experience.  Being ourselves, share the confusion and clarity; look to our experience rather than our opinions. Avoid leaning on the words of experts and authorities.

  6. Become new.  Risk showing up as we are in the moment, leaving behind our habit mind and also our habitual story lines, about both ourselves and others.

  7. Trust.  Trust the strength and wisdom of process. Refrain from the urge to ‘fix’ or give advice. Rather, see and reflect the completeness of each person, situation and condition, just as it is.  

  8. Become equal.  Each person speaks with the voice of the whole.  Everything that arises within us and within the dialogue is some aspect of the truth.