A Participative Webinar with Steven M. Rosen
Steven Rosen is an emeritus professor of psychology and philosophy in the City University of New York. Since meeting with David Bohm in 1990, Steven became involved in Dialogue groups in New York, incorporated Dialogue into his college courses, and later founded a Dialogue group in Vancouver that includes a somatic dimension, which he refers to as Proprioceptive Dialogue. Bohm spoke of the need for “proprioceptive thought” which he viewed as a meditative act wherein “consciousness…[becomes] aware of its own implicate activity, in which its content originates.”
Steven says, “What seems most crucial to Proprioceptive Dialogue is that we be able to ‘move backward,’ self reflexively engage in proprioception. Just as I can obtain a sense of the muscular activity in my fingers as I write these words, I should also be able to obtain – though not as easily, to be sure – a felt sense of my defensive ‘reactions, impulses, feelings and opinions.’
Seeing them and feeling them in this way, observing them as they are actually taking place within my own embodied psyche, allows me to share them with you, and have them be reflected back to me by you.”
The Vancouver Proprioceptive Dialogue sessions typically begin with ten minutes of silence so participants can settle into their bodies and calm the riot of thoughts they often arrive with. Steven explains, we attend not only to our thoughts and feelings but to the bodily dimension of what we experience(one person’s sense of “butterflies” fluttering in her chest, another person’s perception of abdominal heaviness, etc.).
Other aspects of Dialogue the group emphasizes are the importance of listening and the key roleplayed by silence. In addition, the group has occasionally experimented with vocal and musical forms of expression, such as Kirtan. These experiments are designed to go beyond the abstract content of speech in order to investigate proprioceptively the rudimentary sensations and energy patterns of vocal production.