The Practice of Council

Sitting in council together is different from a regular discussion; it’s a sway of gathering with intention, coming together consciously.  We share heartfully, we invite the soul to come forward and we rely on the sacred to guide us, rather than the ego.  When we sit in council each voice in the circle is considered to be equal to all the others, and with each individual contribution, the circle as a whole is enriched.  To allow this way of council to unfold and work well, there are certain guidelines we can follow.


1) Speak from our heart.  Speak what is true & has heartfelt meaning. Boldness is rarely inappropriate.

We encourage participants to speak from your own experience, using I-statements so that the tendency to blame others or speak in generalities is avoided, getting to the heart of the matter.

2) Listen with your heart.  Feel what the other person is saying rather than trying to understand it with your head.  See if you can get as sense of the speaker & their exp. without trying to quantify, rationalize or explain it.  Be present with them, not rehearsing what you are going to say when it is your turn, nor letting something they say take you away.

3) Be “lean of expression.”  When it is your turn, take a moment or so and check inside to see what is present to be shared. It may not even have words.  Don’t go into elaborate explanations that only serve to take you and everyone else into our heads. (concise)

4) Practice spontaneity.  Takes radical faith not to rehearse and trust that when we get the talking piece we will be able to access our hearts and find a way to express what’s there.  (and what was rehearsed may not even be relevant)

Like meditation – when you find yourself wandering or rehearsing, gently bring yourself back – to your own heart and the one of the person speaking.  It does sometimes feel like interactive meditation.


* Confidentiality (This is a strict rule. You can share your own experience but not that of anyone else.

* Speak only when you have the talking piece.  (exception: if you literally cannot hear the speaker, you can ask them to speak up)

* If you want to speak with someone later about something they shared in council, ask their permission before you jump in.  Be willing to accept a no without taking it personally.