Lots of people say they “sit in circle.” While sitting in circle is an ancient practice, from quality circles to check-in circles, sitting together in circle has become a common practice. Two of the key reasons given for forming a circle together are that it gets rid of hierarchy, no head of the table, which promotes collaboration. When people say they are forming a circle, what do they mean? I suggest there are actually four different things people mean by this. They are completely different, and often confused. Different in form and different in results.
What is a circle? A circle has points-nodes, links, and a center. The nodes are linked and the same distance from the common center, the circumcenter.
Node-only “circles”. You know you are experiencing a node-only circle when everyone in the circle tells their own, completely independent story. While you are talking, they are thinking about their own story. While you might have heard each person speak, they each spoke to their own thing, with no connections to a common purpose, and no acknowledgement or support of what others shared. Technically, the creativity comes only through each node in the circle. That is not a circle: it is a set of monads–independent units. In ecosynomic terms, this is design for segregating energy into separate units, which is characteristic of outcome-only or noun thinking. While it might look like a circle, based on the position of the chairs or the shape of the table, it is actually a bunch of independent nodes with no links or common purpose. And it feels that way. You speak your piece. They each speak their piece. The only creativity experienced comes through each node and is only for that specific node–no sharing. When people say they are forming this kind of “circle,” the key benefit is getting to hear yourself speak.
Link-node “circles”. You are sitting in a link-node circle when people pay attention to what you are saying, supporting you and curious about what you have to share. You listened to what they had to say, and your listening and inquiry supported them in delving deeper into their sharing. Technically, the creativity comes in through the individual’s sharing and through the supportive inquiry–through the node and the link. That is still not a circle: it is a dyad, two linked nodes. In ecosynomic terms, this is design for flocking energy, for cooperating, which is characteristic of development-and-outcome or verb-noun thinking. While it might look like a circle, it is a bunch of nodes with temporary links, with no common center, no common purpose. The key benefits are that you share your piece, and that others help you see more into what you are sharing, while you are sharing.
Center-link-node “circles”. You are sitting in a center-link-node circle when you are invited to share your own, uniquely creative contribution to the central purpose of the group forming the circle. You listen for what each person has to share, you inquire to support them in bringing out their unique contribution, and you listen for how each and all of the contributions support what is in the center of the circle, the group’s deeper shared purpose. Technically, the creativity flows into the group through the node, the links, and the center. This is a circle, minimally a triad with a circumcenter. In ecosynomic terms, this is design for uniting energy, for collaborating, which is characteristic of potential-and-development-and-outcome or light-verb-noun thinking. The key benefits are that you make your contribution, with the support of others, to a deeper shared purpose.
Double-vortex “circles”. You are sitting in a double-vortex circle when you experience the simultaneous evolutionary pull to refine your connection to a deeper shared purpose and the pull to refine how you are manifesting clear outcomes of the will you give towards a future you love. You are in the flow, the resonance field of being in service. You listen for what each person has to share, you support them in this inquiry, towards a shared purpose that is continuously deepening as you get feedback in outcomes. The pull towards purpose and the pull towards outcomes, a double vortex which holds the resonance field where you transform potentials into probabilities into outcomes. Technically, the creativity flows into the group through each node, each link, the center, the vortex of the pull to deeper shared purpose, and the vortex of the pull to manifestation. In ecosynomic terms, this is design for sacred hospitality, for evolutionary co-tangibilizing. This design focuses on the alignment of the in-finite creative energy of the pull of purpose and the creative input of feedback from reality given through what actually happened, the outcomes, and the creative input of what is being experienced in the nodes, links, and circumcenter. The key benefits are that you are contributing with others to an ever-evolving purpose, in service to a deeper calling with greater outcomes.
Where is the center? Another way to distinguish the different kinds of circles is to see where you experience the center of the circle. In nodes-only circles, the center of intention and attention is only within each node. In link-node circles, the center of intention and attention is within each link and each node. In center-link-node circles, the center is within the circumcenter and each link and each node. In double-vortex circles, the center is in the in-finite alignment of the field, and the circumcenter and the link and the node. Said another way, the center of the circle of a monad is within the monad. The center of the circle of a dyad is within the link. The center of the circle of a triad is in the circumcenter. The center of a double vortex is in the in-finite alignment of the field. While they might all be called circles by someone, where you experience the center of the circle makes all the difference. Only in the node. In the node and the link. In the node, link, and circumcenter. In the node, link, circumcenter, and in-finite alignment of the field.
The results of each type. What is more powerful, a “circle” that benefits only from the creative energy coming through each independent node (node-only)? Or one that adds creativity coming through the links (link-node) and through the circumcenter (center-link-node) and through the evolutionary pull of purpose and feedback (double-vortex)?