Ground Rules for A
Community of Innocence
Communities of Innocence are innocent in the sense that they have no interest, investment, or stake in their members—they do not seek to exploit us in any way. The community simply receives us well, listens to us attentively, asks us questions that enable us to say what we have to say, and tells us what it has learned through its experience that may be helpful in our situation. That's it. What we do with all of this is up to us. Progress along the path cannot be hurried. We proceed at our own pace, in our own time, waking up as we are able. The community of innocence does not try to hurry us along, but accompanies us kindly, with compassion, having nothing to gain and nothing to lose. We speak to hear what we have to say, not to tell others what they need to hear. We find the way together by listening one another to the truth of our lives.
Parker Palmer says, “There are ‘two key Quaker convictions’ upon which this approach is based: Our guidance comes not from external authority but from our Inner Teacher; and we need community to help us clarify and amplify the Inner Teacher’s voice. And Rumi says, “If you are not here with us in good faith, you are doing terrible damage.”
The Confidentiality Rule:
Everything Said Here Stays Here. Everything said here one week stays here that week. We won’t ask anyone to update us on something she, or he, has talked about in the past. If anyone wants to say more about something she, or he, said in a previous conversation, she, or he, can be trusted to do that without inquiry from others. And no one will take the reserve of the group as an indication of a lack of interest or concern.
The Don’t Fix-it Rule:
No Setting Anyone Straight
No Telling Another What We Think He, or She, Needs To Hear
The Pass On Anything
At Any Time Rule:
No one has to say anything ever. You can pass on anything at any time. “I think I’ll pass on that,” is always an appropriate response.
The Comfort Rule:
The comfort rule always applies. Live to be appropriately comfortable at all times.