On Sunday, July 11, Adam Wohlberg handed me an unusual business card: simple, white, and round, not square, with a lovely Japanese-style swirl encircling an i and a swish beneath it representing u. Whats the i? I asked. He replied, What is I? Thats the question. And what is you ? We explore these things in my workshops.
I love all things about truth and relationship, and Ive liked Adam from the moment I saw him at dance class a year or so ago. Some people simply radiate a good, wholesome, yummy vibe. Adams one of those. Plus, the class was free and a mere eleven minutes from home, so I said yes to his weekly event.
I arrived at Yoga Désa at spot-on 8 p.m. and saw Adam at the door smudging someone with white sage. It was Tuesday night, July 13. Within minutes the circle of floor cushions filled, and we began. As Id expected, we were in for a treat. All of us sat in comfy clothes, cross-legged on the floor. We shared our names and one thing we were currently obsessing about. Two women said they werent obsessing over anything, and my comedic self thought, Whats that like?
We opened with a ten-minute meditation. Adam guided the newbies to silently count to ten, thinking the number on the inhale, then exhaling and moving on to the next number. This is a simple technique and yet, even for experienced meditators, it can seem impossible to not stray. Even with over twenty years of meditation practice, Id not done this one for awhile, so I tried it and surprised myself by staying on course.
We then chose partners, and, with our eyes closed, communicated what we were noticing, e.g. I hear Adam walking around; I feel the wood underneath my thighs, etc. I felt the sensation of my facial skin moving against my teeth and gums as I spoke. Id never before noticed this separation of flesh and bone! It was psychedelic. Next we chose partners for an objective communication exercise. The task was to make non-arguable observations, e.g. I notice you have brown hair; I notice you raised your left shoulder slightly as you smiled. The objective in objective communication is to remain in a witness state and not attach meaning to the observations, or at least to notice when we do and own our projections. Ive had gobs of practice, and I enjoy the game, so it was easy for me. However, I imagine its hard for most people, for in the three partner exercises I did, only one person followed the instructions without making any subjective statements. The benefit of this practice: present-moment awareness.
Next, with new partners, we shared what we noticed upon hearing our partners observations, a way of letting someone know, in a safe and structured manner, what impact their words and actions have upon us. In this exercise, I learned in real time how powerfully I can both negatively and positively influence someone elses state of being. Major benefit of this exercise: the opportunity to take responsibility for our own experiences and how we affect other folks. Adams style is deceptively simple. Hes open, honest, easy to trust. He has the combined energy of a child, and a Jedi master, and a life-sized Teddy beara delightful paradox. Just when Id start to feel like I was in a playground, hed mention his degree in philosophy and credited each school of thought that inspired his cute, hand-drawn diagrams, and Id be reminded again that this angel is educated. His manner is warm, honest, and humble, and that is his work: being an example for others to communicate in this way too.
Being in Adams class is like eating chocolate and then realizing youve ingested your full dietary requirements. Its kind of sneaky, a delicious game of enlightenment in easy-to-digest biteschew slowly, taste the sweetness, then pow! as in pow-erful learning accomplished. Ive now attended three Topanga evenings and one event at the YoGarage in Culver City. Each time, I learned something profound about myself.
Adam has recently coined the name ensōhara (formerly Authentic Tribe). Hara is the energetic center below the navel. According to Wiki, ensō is a Japanese word meaning circle. It symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and the void . In Zen Buddhist painting, ensō symbolizes a moment when the mind is free to simply let the body/spirit create. The brushed ink of the circle is usually done on silk or rice paper in one movement and there is no possibility of modification: it shows the expressive movement of the spirit at that time. Zen Buddhists believe that the character of the artist is fully exposed in how she or he draws an ensō. Only a person who is mentally and spiritually complete can draw a true ensō.
Imagine if everyone practiced ensōhara communication. Adam is not naive. He reminded us that this is not always appropriate. Imagine hearing at a corporate dinner, Listening to you, I am aware of my throat tightening, and I have a powerful urge to run as fast as I can. Not likely, but who knows? The human tribe is becoming more authentic every day; there is only one of us here; the i and the you are encircled in one stroke. If the question is how to draw a flawless circle of connection, Adams classes are the perfect silk on which to practice.
For more information and a calendar of upcoming events with Adam, visit www.ensōhara.org; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ens%C5%8D.
Sage Knight is a local ghostwriter, speaker, and editor. She welcomes your visits, questions, and comments at www.SageKnightWrites.com.