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Conversation - The Sacred Art


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Table of Contents

Foreword ix Introduction xiii Part One What Is the Sacred Art of Conversation? 1 Chapter 1: Encountering the Sacred Within 5 Practice: Entering the Cave of Your Heart 10 Practice: Listening to the Conversation in Your Heart 11 Chapter 2: Encountering the Sacred in Each Other 13 Reflection: Souls Who Have Made Us Wiser 17 Practice: Tending One Another's Light- Holding, Beholding, and Being Held 18 Chapter 3: Encountering the Sacred Between Us 19 Reflection: Increasing Awareness of the Sacred Between Us 24 Part Two Gateways for Conversation 25 Chapter 4: Listening to Your Life 31 Reflection: Steppingstones on the Journey 40 Chapter 5: Noticing and Naming What Gives You Life 41 Reflection: Nurturing Awareness of What You Hold Sacred 49 Reflection: Looking at the World with the Eyes of a Poet 50 Chapter 6: Discerning a Heart-Centered Path 51 Reflection: Listening to Your Inner Guide 60 Reflection: The Thread You Follow 61 Part Three Practicing the Sacred Art of Conversation 63 Chapter 7: Practicing Attentive Presence: Listening Within Before Speaking Out 69 Practice: Three Deep Breaths 75 Practice: Centering on the Breath 76 Chapter 8: Practicing Receptive Presence: Welcoming All That We Encounter 77 Reflection: The Three Gates 85 Practice: The Welcoming Prayer 86 Chapter 9: Practicing Compassionate Presence: Going Within Before Venturing Out 89 Practice: Offering the Gift of Contemplative Questions 100 Practice: Sacred Holding 102 Practice: Compassionate Abiding 103 Conclusion 105 Appendices The Sacred Art of Conversation in Community: Creating Occassions for Contemplative Conversations 111 Appendix 1: Cultivating Contemplation and Compassion in Community through Journey Conversations 115 Appendix 2: Appreciatively Focused Conversations at Home and Work 127 Appendix 3: Conversation Catalysts 131 Notes 139 Suggestions for Further Reading 147 Acknowledgments 151 About the Journey Conversations Project 153 Credits 154

About the Author

Diane M. Millis, PhD, is a leadership consultant, educator, spiritual director and author of Conversation-The Sacred Art: Practicing Presence in an Age of Distraction and Deepening Engagement: Essential Wisdom for Listening and Leading with Purpose, Meaning and Joy. She brings over twenty-five years of teaching experience in the fields of spirituality, communication studies, family studies and human development. As a leadership consultant, she coaches leaders in corporate, education, health care, ministry, non-profit and philanthropic settings. She is the founder of the Journey Conversations Project, an educational initiative devoted to developing deep listening and increasing self-awareness, mutual understanding and candor in communities. To learn more about her work, visit www.dianemillis.com. Rev. Tilden Edwards, PhD, is founder and senior fellow of the ecumenical Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation and author of eight books on spiritual life.


Millis (founder, Journey Conversations Project) has tackled an unusual topic in spirituality: conversation. We think of conversation as an element in democratic governing or an ornament in society, but Millis makes a good case for using conversation to approach the sacred in the self and others; she shows how to enlarge the element of the sacred in dialog, with examples from many traditions. VERDICT An interesting and truly multifaith approach to a topic of broad application (we all talk!); good for reading groups and retreats, as well as individuals. Library Journal 8/1/2013, Vol 138: 13, p. 81. * Library Journal *

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