I agree this is useful, but we also have to bear in mind that it is highly unlikely we will be able to replicate K’s clarity of investigation in our own humble dialogues - and so we have to be careful not to get tied down by too much comparison. As k himself says in this talk,
When there is comparison of any kind, it breeds fear - comparing oneself with another whom you think is greater or wiser, nobler etc.
Nevertheless, there are a couple of things I thought worth mentioning in K’s talk as it pertains to our dialogue meetings.
The first is that, during the preparatory section of this talk, K lays out some baseline understandings that he felt need to be in place for any dialogue or inquiry to have value. For example, he says:
There is no agreement or disagreement when we are exploring together. Only the microscope through which you look may be dull, may not be clear. So if you have a precision instrument then what you see, is what another will also see. Therefore there is no question of agreement or disagreement or denial.
That is, in inquiry we are investigating into something live, something actual, something common - and so have to be guided by the truth of the thing we are inquiring into, rather than by the impositions or prejudgments or personal feelings we might have about it (based on our previous experience, knowledge etc). What matters is the clarity of our own approach, not what “answers” we later arrive at.
Then, towards the end of the talk, having outlined the whole significance of the question (in this case concerning fear), and our relationship to it, he asks:
What is the state of the understanding of your mind, the mind that has examined all these various forms which have been exposed, which have been explained or observed, what is the quality of your mind now, because on that quality you’re going to answer? If you have not taken the journey you have no answer; but if you have actually taken the journey step by step and gone into everything that we have discussed, then your mind, you will see, has become extraordinarily intelligent, live, sensitive
That is, the journey our mind makes into the question itself - going step by step, seeing all its facets and implications - is critical to the state of mind necessary to resolve the problem completely. Right?
So both the approach we take to the question, and the journey we make into the question, are essential to true understanding and to being free of the question.
Yet in our dialogues we often seem to begin with obstacles and basic misunderstandings about the question, which then stifles our journey into it. Rather than begin with freedom, we begin with subtle forms of conclusion about the question, or a lack of verbal clarity about the problem being posed - and then, instead of taking the journey together into the question, we end up fighting about whose conclusions to accept, get lost in tangential issues of personal differences, or are simply incapable of sustaining the attention required to remain with the question in all its simplicity and complexity.
Apparently we all do this, without exceptions. There are occasional moments of free investigation that flare up during our meetings, but we seem to be incapable of maintaining the atmosphere required to help these sparks become a flame. The smoke almost invariably takes over and smothers our incipient fire.
Is this inevitable?
My feeling is that if the problem or question we ask is more important to us than our personal differences, and there is freedom from imposition - from agreement and disagreement - then there is no reason why we cannot fan the sparks we sometimes come upon into a meaningful fire.