A Deeper Dive into the Beauty of Open Space


Skye Hirst posed the powerful question – what does beauty mean and how is it experienced,especially in relation to Open Space? Why did I call Open Space Technology Beautiful?

Open Space is a benevolent process.

I sense the benevolence is in…

– the of gesture of faith in people and their ability to self organise

– the beauty of the circle form

– the element of the process being based on an invitation

– the freedom in volunteering that lies at the heart of OS

–  the beauty in the simplicity and the long term benevolence of Nature and natural processes (and by long term, I mean lonnnnng term!)

Beauty, in Open Space manifests in a number of forms…

1. Eloquence. An invitation may draw me because it is a kind of poetic reflection of my own inner conversation, concern, my pain or my yearning. The invitation expresses this eloquently. This eloquence leads me to want to breathe it in, to in-spire it. This inspiration then unites the eloquent expression with my inner impression and the harmony is experienced as a kind of beauty. This beauty draws me out of myself (like reaching for a flower, or stepping into a glade) and I step willingly towards the opening space.

2. Resonance. The invitation and the suggested process of a circle-based open space can resonate with me.  So, I feel connected to it. I feel “fellowship” with the inviters who have “sung my song of pain”. This resonance creates a feeling for potential synergy – that which I cannot address or solve fully alone can be better addressed in a shared circle. It is the call to prayer in the mosque tower, the music of the spheres, the uniting of micro and macro, of Apollo (external) and Dionysus (inner), I am called to the song and I respond because I experience resonance. This is a kind of harmony and harmony is beautiful. More simply put: I want to join in!

3. The Enticement of Mystery. The circle is a place of potential. We are invited to self-organise not something known but instead something yet to unfold, to reveal, to emerge. The roots move and we sense them quickening in the hidden ground, yet to show us their leaf, bud and blooms. This is where the circle mirrors the original archetype of the First Creation. Here we are called to co-create. The beauty lies in what remains hidden. We participate in an occult mystery and the purpose is: revelation. What is revealed my be experienced as beautiful (or not), but the ritual of revelation itself has a beauty to it, for it is a mirror of the original divine, once again “expressing” idea in to incarnation.

Eloquence, Resonance and the Enticement of Mystery. One might also refer to the Wonder of Open Space. Part of its wonder lies in the way that complexity can be self-organised simply, and also how a simple process can allow a circle of people to collectively elaborate what needs to be done. An invitation to ‘get to work’, where that getting to work is also  a warm acceptance and embracing of that invitation.

Just small additions to that simplicity can turn the eloquence and resonance into detachment and even exit.Finding one less thing to do is an act of faith in the empty space which is never truly empty. The empty space, to be found in meditation, on the blank canvas, in the clear sky and in the silence of the night, is full of potential, laden with the unrealised, the yet to reveal and to emerge. Nature holds her breath when we begin to open space. And when we flow, how she breathes!

I experience Open Space as beautiful when I see souls in chains, free themselves, climb up, not only out of their chairs, but also their fear, and step into the circle to offer a session for the programme. I experience it as beautiful when the room blooms into a garden of conversation, creativity, dialogue, decision and action – when things grow out of the life of the group. I experience it as beautiful when feet move freely to where their instincts take them, where surprise expresses itself in a sigh or an intake of breath, where a burst of energy results in the firing of wills to action. I experience beauty when the entire community are alone, together, when divergence creates the fire of resistance seeking resolution, and when laughter and anger walk hand in hand. Thunder and lightning, sunshine and drizzle, roar and silence, stillness and tango, diversity and uniformity, one and many, opening and closing, flow and stumble, then more flow.

When space opens, the Big Bang, the Word made Flesh, and the Greatest Song begin again.

Read the original Beauty of Open Space article.

Visit the Open Space Realm

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