The wisdom circle serves many purposes. It is a place for individuals to practice heart-to-heart communication skills, to heal the wounds of loss, illness and abuse, to find the courage to act upon that “still small voice within,” to empower our best selves. Here we can share a vision, discover a mission. Here we can acknowledge historical violence and heals the wounds we carry, and create a feeling of community.
This format is also valuable to any group that is seeking to improve its communication and cohesion, to create common ground, to clarify purpose and to recommit to a mission. A wisdom circle is also a place to hear opposing views, reconcile differences and find, or offer, forgiveness. It is also a practice area for the way we want to be in the world.
The wisdom circle format has a sacred purpose: it allows us to merge our efforts to bring Spirit into our lives. A wisdom circle can become a place for separating from the ordinary, and for honoring each person’s wisdom. The simple rituals used in wisdom circles can guide participants to a sense of the sacred, that is, to a deep relationship with self, with others, and to the Source of Life. By its nature, the circle teaches us that each point on the circle is related to all of the others, and each one is to be valued equally. Listening can become a collective spiritual practice where the person speaking becomes a focus of meditation.
Listening is also a way to welcome people you feel are different from you into your heart. Factors such as your personal experience with groups, psychological defenses, current life issues, gender, age, race, ethnicity, and economic status can all affect how comfortable you feel in circle. Part of the group’s work includes helping each member feel safe and valued enough to participate authentically.