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Published by: Blessolutions on Nov 24, 2011
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 Big Presence: An Interview with Diane Hamilton
Diane Hamilton is a trainer for Integral Institute and a senior student of Zenmeditation. She is also professional mediator, group facilitator, and trainer in conflictresolution.She was the first Director of the Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution for the UtahJudiciary from 1994 -1999, where she established the original mediation programs in thestate court system. She has extensive experience in facilitating large meetings, includingpublic policy issues.Diane received the Utah Council on Conflict Resolution Peacekeeper Award in 2001 andthe Peter W. Billings Award for from the Utah State Bar for outstanding work in DisputeResolution in 2003. She was a founding member of the Utah Council on ConflictResolution, and serves of the Board of Trustees of Utah Dispute Resolution. Dianeteaches mediation at the University of Utah Law School and CommunicationsInstitute.Diane has been a student of Zen for over 20 years. She has a Masters Degree inContemplative Psychology from Naropa Institute, in Boulder, Colorado. She is a seniorstudent of Genpo Merzel Roshi, Abbot of the Zen Center of Utah and serves as afacilitator of Big Mind, a process designed by Genpo Roshi to bring the insights of Zenmeditation to western audiences.
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 Q: Diane, you were described as a student of Genpo Roshi and an authorized Big Mindprocess facilitator. I had never heard of Diane Hamilton and all of a sudden she shows upat the Integral Organizational Leadership Workshop in Colorado and does thisextraordinary job of leading 50 plus people through Big Mind. From what I got fromdoing interviews with participants and from the evaluations at the end of the workshop,it was hugely impactful on everyone in the room. Rarely have I seen anything sopowerful in terms of the responses people had to you and the process. Virtually everyoneindicated that your presentation was the most powerful experience of the whole week. Inthat context that is very powerful and positive feedback. Now I find out that you are alsodoing the Integral Practice Seminar in Europe and elsewhere. Last spring I knew thatthe Integral Institute was recruiting trainers for some of the programs that they’ve beendeveloping. So, apparently, you ended up in that role, is that correct?
http://www.leadcoach.com/archives/interview/hamilton.html Copyright © 2001 - 2006, All Rights Reserved, Russ Volckmann
 A: Yes, that’s right, for that particular seminar.Q: Today I would like to talk a little bit about the Integral Practice Seminar. I would liketo talk also about some of the things that you had to say on Integral Naked about theimportance of teachers having leadership training. Does that work for you? A: Yes.Q: Okay, so tell us a little bit about your background that has brought you into such a very interesting role in the Integral Institute. A: I think I had a somewhat ordinary upbringing. I was a child of the American West. Igrew up riding horses in the mountains and playing basketball. I was Miss Rodeo Utahas a young woman. When I was about 17, I lost seven friends in a series of accidents overabout a six month period. Four were killed in a plane, one was killed in a car, one waskilled in a fight and one committed suicide.So going through this series of trauma took me into a deep existential search. I had beenraised LDS Mormon. Mormonism is a faith based approach to spirituality, but my rational mind was really activated and curious. I was grappling with the fact that we die.Through a series of events I was introduced to Eastern philosophy, particularly Buddhism. I started studying Buddhism when I was in my early 20’s. Then I made my  way to the Naropa Institute, which is the only Buddhist university in the country. Istarted a degree program there when I was 24 and finished when I was 26. I received aMasters Degree in Buddhist psychology.From there I went into conflict resolution work for a number of years. I realized that Ineeded to deepen my meditation practice to be able to be with people more fully inenvironments when they are distressed, fighting, disagreeing and what not. I startedstudying Zen pretty intensively in about 1996 with Genpo Roshi. I’ve been a strong Zenpractitioner for about the last seven or eight years and came to the Big Mind process because Genpo Roshi found a way of using a Western psychological technique to elicitingthe spiritual insights of the East.Q: That’s how you came to Big Mind. How did you connect with the Integral Institute? A: There was a fellow that Roshi and I worked with here in Salt Lake City: John Kesler.John has been a student of Integral and Ken Wilber’s work for quite a long time. He isalso a lawyer and does a lot of non-profit work. He came to a conference that I sponsoredfor mediators. We were using the Big Mind process to teach neutrality to mediators.John came to the session and had a really profound opening.John wanted Ken to see the Big Mind process. He set up a meeting between Ken Wilberand Genpo Roshi late in 2003. I traveled with Genpo Roshi to Ken’s in February of 2004.Ken asked Roshi and me to do some of the Big Mind sessions at the Integral TrainingSeminars. We started doing those and the people at Integral Institute saw that I also hadmediation skills and facilitator skills, which they needed in the Integral PracticeSeminar.
http://www.leadcoach.com/archives/interview/hamilton.html Copyright © 2001 - 2006, All Rights Reserved, Russ Volckmann
 When they asked me to teach for them, I was willing because the people at I-I areexceptional people and my spiritual practice has always been an Integral practice. It hasalways involved not only the spiritual dimension, but I’ve worked a lot on interpersonaland psychological issues, and how to deal with emotional experiences in relationship toother people. I also have a physical practice at the gym and that kind of thing. Thus, it was a natural fit for me to do the Integral Practice Seminar for the Integral Institute.Q: Perhaps it would be useful to go into some more depth about Big Mind before we getinto some of the other topics, because that has been such a strong introduction for youinto the Integral community. A: Yes, it’s been a very powerful vehicle to come in on for sure.Q: So you’ve characterized it as a meeting between Western psychology and Easternspiritual practice. Could you say more about some of the principals involved? A: One of the reasons that Ken Wilber really is a proponent of the Big Mind practice isthat it addresses both psychological and spiritual dimensions of mind. Big Mind is acombination of Voice Dialogue, which was developed by Hal and Sidra Stone who are inthe lineage of Carl Jung. They are interested in looking into the phenomenon of the self,if you will, of the individual identity. But they suspend a conventional approach to it as akind of complex constellation of aspects that form one whole that we call Diane or we callthe self or whatever. Through suspending and changing the orientation to the self andexploring the aware-ego process—that which makes up the identity of Diane, forexample—we can pull out different aspects of what we think of as the self and explorethose aspects individually and in relationship to each other. As I understand it in voicedialogue, they always look at aspects of the self in pairs, so there may be the part of me,for example, the part of Diane that is interested in control and they would also identify that part of me that’s prone to chaos.Q: I have a Gestalt background, so speaking from a perspective of a voice seems very much in harmony with that approach. What may be different here perhaps—although itcertainly emerges from a Gestalt therapy point of view, Fritz Pearl’s approach—is theidea of pairing those voices with their opposites. In Gestalt we develop such dialogues. A: It’s something that I think is unique to voice dialogue. They help you become aware of  both the part of the self that’s more primarily identified with and then that part of theself that’s less identified with. They bring both of those two qualities into awareness andthen work to find a balance or to at least have those two aspects form a relationship toone another. This is about bringing aspects of the self into consciousness and exploringthose. Where it takes a Zen turn is when it moves beyond the traditional psychologicalself, beyond the self to where awareness transcends the individual identity and entersinto awareness like Big Mind or Big Heart. There the identity actually expands to includemuch more than our usual conventional self. Does that make sense?Q: Absolutely. It seems like it’s another huge step forward in the sense that it’s aboutowning what is called the shadow. Rather than seeing the shadow as something to beovercome or something to be escaped from, the shadow is something to be integratedand owned.
http://www.leadcoach.com/archives/interview/hamilton.html Copyright © 2001 - 2006, All Rights Reserved, Russ Volckmann

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