Newsletter of the Dogzen Group

March 2007

The Janus Dyad

I’ve been leaning towards getting into a new phase of Dogzen. The first phase is what is documented in the previous newsletters and in the booklet, Cultivating Naked Awareness. Those are about the root practices that help you develop awareness of awareness and the capacity to reside at the base of pure awareness in daily life. It’s letting go of things and being fully present in the moment. It’s getting out of your mind (the 6th consciousness, that is). It’s appreciating how our minds create our reality. It’s cultivating pure awareness being aware of itself.

For this next period, I’d like to focus part of the time on a second phase. This one is about pure or direct contact between individuals. Us. It is about pure awareness here connecting with pure awareness there. It’s about opening to the other; it’s about naked listening; it’s about speaking the truth; it’s about tuning into love, compassion, understanding, and sharing. It’s about developing relationships that are real all the way down to the essence of being. Ideally, it is about dissolving the sense of separation between one person and another.
This is about a practice called the Janus Dyad.

A Little History

The Janus Dyad came to mind while I was driving down the freeway about 25 years ago. I was thinking about communication, dyads, interpersonal contact, and things like that. I was reflecting on how often I met people who weren’t very aware of how what they say affects others. I'm sure you've had the experience of listening to someone and feeling that they weren’t really talking to you, but just spouting or, maybe, talking to their own mind. I realized that I probably did that a lot too, and that a dyad directed right at that blind spot would be useful in raising consciousness. The Janus Dyad kind of popped into my head right then.

A short time later I got a group together to give it a try. What resulted really took me by surprise. We did, as I recall, two or three 40-minute dyads, and the result was that nearly everyone was expressing their deepest heart-felt love to one another and vowing to honor and cherish each other forevermore, and to always be honest. Something profound had happened and we were all amazed. I ran a number of Janus Dyad evenings after that with similar results

[Aside: Janus is the name of an old Roman god that has two faces, one looking one way, and one looking the other. It was from Janus that January got its name. Janus is at the boundary between the old year and the new, seeing both the past and the future simultaneously. The first time I did the Janus Dyad, I was focused on the moment when a change of relationship happened. I was at that boundary point where the past changes to the future. That's how "Janus" came to mind.]

Recently Bill Savoie, an EI master in Alabama, held a one-day dyad event. One of the dyads he used was the Janus Dyad. Afterwards, he called to tell me how powerfully it had affected the participants. It was like a love rocket. Bill’s experience motivated me to document how it works and encourage you to try it sometime.

The Nuts and Bolts of It

There is enough information here for you to be able to do the dyad, and even enough for you to be able to teach others how to do it. The discussion assumes you already know the basic technique and format of the dyad as done in Enlightenment Intensives and dyad evenings.

There are two Janus Dyad instructions:

You start out with, “Tell me something you want me to know.” This gets the active partner to communicate something to the receptive partner. Although exactly what you say is not of primary importance, it should be something that you really want the other to know. It should be fairly short, not your life story or anything like that. Keep it short enough so that you can spend some time with the second instruction.

The second instruction is, “Tell me how communicating that changed our relationship.” (That’s quite a mouthful and you are not expected to memorize it right away. It should be written on a card and your partner can just read it.) With this instruction, you notice what happened when you gave your response to the first instruction. What changed? What was the effect? How did they react? How did I react? Perhaps even, what was your motive in saying what you said and did saying it accomplish that? You turn your attention from your message to the relationship you have with your receptive partner and consider what occurred in the relationship from your communicating what you said to them.

After finishing that communication, the receptive partner gives the second instruction again. “Tell me how communicating that changed our relationship.” The that in this instruction refers to what you said immediately before, not your response to the first instruction.

When you are finished with that one, the receptive partner repeats the second instruction again. You go on like this for perhaps three times, for example, 1, 2, 2, 2, then change over.

Of course, you can do the dyad with 5-minute bells, in which case the number of times you do the second instruction will vary, depending on how long you talk for each one. However, I think it goes better with cycle change-overs. With cycle change-overs, instead of relying on the bell to reverse dyad roles, you just complete one set of instructions, then change over. It is not based on the clock, but on communication cycles. I recommend doing 1, 2, 2, 2, then change over.

Some Really Good Advice About How To Do It

Everyone is free to say "I don't know" as an answer to the second instruction. Maybe you just don't know how what you said changed the relationship. Sometimes a participant will say "I don't know" several times and even start to get angry about it. They'll say, "I don't know,." "I don't know," "I don't know!" and then kind of yell it. At that point they get a sense of how yelling that answer affected their listening partner. If you are leading a group, you can just let them know that it is OK to say "I don't know," but to not let that stop the process. Just keep at it. Eventually they will find that they actually do know some things.

Some people aren't used to being aware of another's state, so they are not comfortable with saying how another's state changed. They get caught in thinking that it is improper to say what another's state is, since they are not inside the other to see or feel it so they fear they will get it wrong. They’ll say, “How can I know?” It helps to be clear that you are reporting your own state when you do this. You are reporting how it seems to you, not how it actually is for the other. Unless you are clairvoyant, you really won't know how it is for them. You should just give it your best shot. One of the key benefits of this process is developing a clearer sense of what is going on with another.

Some people have an aversion to "analyzing" the state of a relationship. They prefer to just let it happen naturally. Often, the feelings are the important things in the relationship and intellectualizing what is going on seems foreign to them. Realize that intellectualizing isn't the intent of the process. We want to see how what we say affects the relationship. We intend to be in real contact with them. That’s the purpose of this dyad, to help us to get truly in contact with the other when we relate. It is about being real with them, respecting that you actually are connected to each other.

Finally, some people report that communicating something isn’t what changes the relationship (or something like that). They say that the wording of the instruction assumes something that is not true and they object. When you look very carefully at what goes on, you might see that your end of the relationship changes first, and then you have something to communicate. At this point, you should not let the wording of the instruction be a barrier. Just notice how the relationship with your partner is changing, since that is the real focus of the process.

That’s about it. Do a couple of dyads like this and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
If you try the Janus Dyad, please give me feedback about how it goes. Maybe it won’t work as well for you as it has for Bill S. and me. Maybe better! I’d like to know. Also, if you have questions, comments, or suggestions, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m interested in what you have to say.