flickr photo shared by Philippe Put under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license
The world is amazingly diverse. We live on a planet with so many other types of beings, plants, animals, fungi, and more. There are many thousand species that we know of on this planet, and probably many thousand more that we are unfamiliar with. And yet humans spend most of their time communicating and interacting with other humans, or a very small selection of other beings: cats, dogs, and maybe a few fish in a tank. And even with those other species, our contact is limited. We are unfamiliar with how to connect when it’s not with our spoken human language. Many people have studied the interaction between humans and other types of life, and learned that there is much more than meets the eye. The intention of this activity, the “be with”, is to encounter another being that is not human, and to spend time with it to see what one can observe and learn. Some people have found that a whole new world opens up when we stop to really “be with” another type of being with which we share this place on planet earth.
Individual or Group / Experiential
30 minutes to 1 hour
To have a felt sense of experiencing a contact with another non-human being
To observe the sensations in the body and mind during the interaction, and see what arises
To see if there is a way of interaction with other beings that has not been experienced
Required Materials and Tools:
A place outside where each participant can find a quiet space to connect to another being
A pen or pencil, and a notebook or journal for writing down observations after the activity
If this is with a group, gather participants together and explain the activity. If it's individual, just walk outside and set the intention to keep an open mind and see what one observes.
Ask the participants to go and find another being, somewhere within earshot, and to make contact with it (possibly just by sitting or standing in front of it).
If participants want to, they can introduce themselves to the being and ask it if its OK to make contact. They can also try to detect if they feel a sense of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on an intuitive level. If they feel a no, then find another being and try again. This step is only recommended if people want to.
The participants then spend 15 minutes sitting with the other being, just observing, and noticing what happens. They should notice any thoughts or feelings that come up, and also observe the other being with all of their senses (sight, sound, smell, and possibly touch, but probably not taste). They should also see if any type of interaction occurs.
If participants want to, they can also take the next step to mentally send a question to the other being, and see if they can detect a response. Some questions to ask could be “Who are you?” or “What can I learn from you?” Participants can just listen and feel if there is some sense of reply. Sometimes an image might come into the mind, or a feeling or sensation. Stay very aware and notice what comes.
After 15 minutes, participants can find a way to say thank you to the other being, either in their mind, or out loud, and then to come back together in a group.
Give 5 to 10 minutes for people to write about their experience in their journal.
Then break the participants into groups of two and have them share about what they experienced. Encourage people to share what they felt or sensed, even if it might seem silly. It’s all just a game and an experiment with seeing the world in a different way.
After they each get a chance for 5 to 10 minutes, have them come back together and share any important learning with the larger group. Ask for any additional feedback or sharing about what the experience was like. After this the activity is over.
What was this experience like for participants?
Did you have any unexpected sensations, results or communications?
What did you observe from the other being? What did you observe happening within yourself?
Would you do this activity again with another being? Why or why not?
Does this experience shift your perspective at all on communication with non-human beings? How?
Instructions for Submission
Upload 1 picture of the group that did the activity, and submit a written evaluation of the experience by the youth worker, and if possible, a sampling of participant writing about the activity. Instructions on how to upload photos and how to submit things in Moodle can be found here: Instructions on Submission&Uploading
Instructions for Assessment
Provide feedback to at least one participant that has done this activity. Instructions on providing feedback can be found here: Instructions on Feedback
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