2022-01-09 Reason

What does reason feel like?
empathy circle dialogos about the embodied experience of reason

Edwin Rutsch facilitates an empathy circle for dialogical exploration of what reason feels like. Empathy circling is a practice for entering into dialogos. This circle was especially relevant and particularly powerful unfolding of a logos about the logos. I strongly recommend this video.


Deep gratitude for our empathy circle on reason yesterday. The nerves that I had arrived with were stilled by the beauty of the process and company. The two hours passed quickly and I was left energized, feeling the radiance of aliveness from deepening into each person's world.

As a bit more personal reflection, the conversation actually stirred up a lot in me during and afterwards. I wonder if the topic of "feeling reason" invited more vulnerability than I had anticipated, and was a collision of so many dimensions of experience coming into contact -- trying to reflect on and simultaneously feel reason as the conceptual matter, the embodied sensations and emotional moods, entangled into the situated dynamics of the personal (coloured by salient memories) and context of the relational/group, past and present? The felt sense of it was quite sensitizing, a bit overwhelming/disorienting, but also juicy with creative tension towards some form of harmony...

All of all, a really unique experience, and I imagine, a topic latent with much potential.

With warmth and care,


YouTube Comments

Josh Flori
The tone of this conversation reminds me of intimate church groups. In that sense, I see now how church has the ability foster empathy and improve society. I've never seen this practiced outside of church, or maybe 1v1 therapy. Very interesting.

Robert Gray

This was more lively, heroic, and fun than the newest spiderman movie - like humanity at its best! If they would have built a bridge or fed a small child at some point, I guess it would have been better, but maybe not. Thanks for doing this and sharing it with us!


This is amazing. Not only does it make people better listeners, but it helps you become a better talker. I love this so much.

Christin Call

This was a beautiful conversation, and with all the description words around constriction and expansion, I felt folks were missing an acknowledgement of their own personal relationships with reason as people with reputations for thinking deeply and profoundly. It makes sense for these particular people that there is fear and trepidation and tight grasping when your identity is very closely entangled with being someone who is pointed to as reasoning well.

I loved how much space they held for each other in this and felt like this could have been named outright because it seems like there are broader implications about what reason might feel like for people who don't have as close of a relationship with reason as these people do

Great conversation. Unfortunately our culture likes to treat each other like biochemical machines more than actual humans with each having individual depth of personality.

Involuntarily Mindful

I've just finished reading Erich Fromm's "Escape From Freedom". Very timely, I might add. He discusses man's tendency to feel isolated/powerless and our pathological remedies to this. He suggests that "fundamental integration" is the answer...as in full acceptance of all facets of our personality. He also...and your empathy circle brought this to mind...advocated "love as spontaneous affirmation of others and the union of the individual with others on the basis of the preservation of the individual self". I believe the empathy-circle embodies this

Lizelle Van Wyk
The number one question that drove me back to Awakening from the Meaning Crisis was: What is Reason? Really appreciated this. :-) Also ‘cause it's a great demonstration of the practice of dialogos!


What a wonderful, fascinating and illuminating watch, listen ! And, thank you to all 4 of you for this experience.

Matt Angiono

Funny, when he mentioned bouldering, I was actually bouldering, in Boulder....Great talk everyone! If only every conversation went this way..

Alexandra Zachary

The last 30 mins or so of describing the “in-ness” and the “out-ness” of it reminds me of Alan Watts talking about “prickles and goo”. The ability to hold both perspectives simultaneously, or to oscillate between them like being the classicist and the romanticist all at once. And cultivating the ability to be comfortable in the liminal, the ambiguous….. mmmmmmmm. Thanks lovely people. This was interesting

Project Malus

I felt four distinct flavors of people emerge, very nice. A few years back I realized that I put up a mirror to people that assert something to me, sometimes I take what they're presenting and take it to one extreme like a demonstration (usually with disastrous results) but the whole thing has nothing to do with me and is a self defence mechanism. It was very helpful to realize this and see their assertion as their self diminished display of need. I would help any creature out of a trap at the risk of being bitten because I fall into every trap out there and so there's room for cleverness. Thanks.

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Daniel Zaruba
This has been fantastic! Thank you for sharing, I think I'll try this out in practice soon :)

c newk

Great video, refreshing to hear a conversation that is so open.

Joshua fernandez

I feel pretty divided about this communication exercise. It feels a bit robotic and unnatural, but maybe this is like the new frontier of conversation and im just being a boomer (im 21 lol)...This format promotes a sense of care, clarity and connection, but at the cost of fluidity imo. I still found myself enjoying the conversation.

M - Agreed. It breaks the flow and natural back and forth of a free conversation where anybody can just say something if something comes up in their mind and ask or answer back.

Jan Urbánek

Gotta say this style of active listening and paraphrasing is very similar to me from terapeutic / coacging setting… but i really do feel like there is missed opportunity by not being able to ask questions as the listener which would transcend to dialog with the element of reciprocal opening that John is so much about. Its nice to be heard and to have your thoughts reflected back and there is some of that opening for sure, but its missing the dialogical element for me

Alexandra Verschuuren

Thanks for the insightful dialogues. I immediately made a connection to the work of Julia Galef and the book she wrote, The Scout Mindset.


I had never heard of this practice, i think I will try it with some friends

Kip Wonder

This process is brilliant. This is Church️

jesse soininen

Just Wow! You guys just broke the methodic ice whilst doing dialogue over the electronic media. Maybe this is a precursor for something else and huge but this is certainly very promising and even astohnishing - after all we have seen during last 20+ years or so. Awe and wonder. And what I deeply feel is, that it is Edwin Rutch who has minded this giant leap - by listening to his talent of empathy.

Thank You

Miqueas Celli

that's an average pace of around 180m a minute, in -4°C!! keep it up, I wish your accomplishment inspires me to start moving again

Kies Krisz
I began to move again in 2019 after drinking much alcohol, used various drugs and visited prostitutes. I dropped them then began to move again: I was able to run 5km,then exhausted.

Kies Krisz

Yeah. From 2012 to 2018 was a serious. I think that was my last destruction. Now I live my hermit life. I collect food from the nature 90%,water from the ground, get wood into my fireplace, training and meditate a lot. Few more learning years, I believe and I'll be live without job. It's like 99% harmony with the nature as I imagine.

much respect to you. It can be so difficult to turn things around like you have done. Keep on the good path. Your potential is endless now

Elijah Logozar

Keep up the good work!

Francesco Ponte


Andrey Russian

Observing the reason in others like feeling of hope and battle spirit, and high self-esteem. Probably, reason is only a moment of shift in awareness.

( 𝒊 𝑾(𝒍 ) 𝑰 ( 𝑳)𝒘 𝒊 )•

Intriguing .

  • •X( r(A )Z( U)R )Y•

  • r = individual Reason.

  • A = individual Body/Brain.

  • U = Collective Mind.

  • R = Collective Reason.

Isomorphic Reason of salient solution of the fifth dimension •(d5()d5()d5)•
Reflexivity of Reason into and out of the Mass of Self

•X(s R(m)Z(M)r S)Y•

mike garrigan

Empathetic circling must not be for everybody, I guess. As an old guy trying to follow a circling conversation was to say at least, a bit distracting. If the goal of circling is to bring about group realization, then Socratic questioning narrows the focus that allows the participants a bonding experience.

The questions, the listener asks, reveals their understanding of what was said.

Update, just finished listening to Joscha Bach and Lex Fridman and enjoyed their conversation immensely. Lex emulates the listener role in empathetic circling.

lee dufour

Thanks Sherryl, John, Nathan and Edwin!

Peggy Hooker

This concept and exercise if practiced worldwide ... could heal so many wounds.

Merle Patterson

The Chairs of 501(c)3 charities which claim $0 on their IRS Form 990 are the most empathetic people on earth.

Latney Parker

Caring careful care character. Find it helpful.


To even posit that reason has a 'feel' will instantly raise hackles in certain segments of the podcasting community. This might be worth an observation.....'>.....

Roy Dopson

If one is secure in their beliefs/teaching, they should be able to address criticism rather than ignore it.


@Roy Dopson If it was just criticism, fewer worries, but it's not the criticism it's the psychological warfare.....


@Roy Dopson But then, if you quell the fear and uncertainty within yourself, you are armoured against it from others.....'>.....

Patrick Hollywood

John is great at relating.. Ty guys.


Why is collective reasoning important?

Roy Dopson

It's stillness, people.

The answer, the conclusion of the search, is stillness of mind. How is it that after over 100 hours of discourse, John still has no answer or conclusion, and that is supposedly the path of Truth?

It is obviously the path of delusion, simply spinning in circles. If you wish for ACTUAL completion; if you wish to actually find what you are looking for and thusly ending the search, investigate the teaching of Ramana Maharshi

26 Replies

Roy Dopson

Systems of thought are mechanisms through which to PRODUCE THOUGHT. This is why science and philosophy have expanded exponentially, and why they have no conclusion

The content of the thinking matters only insomuch as it grabs and holds your ATTENTION. Your attention is the commodity that Maya is vying for. Just to pump out thought, as to keep the cycle of Samsara going

Thought is the delusion.

Emil Sundbaum
@Roy Dopson Have you listened to U.G Krishnamurti aswell?
Also how would you define thought? Is it images, words as opposed to raw sensory data and action?

Emil Sundbaum

Have you watched Johns meaning crisis lectures?

Roy Dopson

@Emil Sundbaum To me thought = the "voice in your head".

UG was not enlightened, in my opinion. Ramana Maharshi's teaching was what ended my search

Roy Dopson

@Emil Sundbaum All 50 of them? Seriously, this person thinks he's getting CLOSER to truth!

Can't watch more than a few minutes. It's obvious he is confused. So convoluted

Iron Sword

missed the point of what Johns work is.

Hazardous Jazzgasm

Someone clearly has never read Nishitani or Corbin

red berries

You're missing the point Roy. Academic study is about the exploration of ideas. There are countless reasons why someone might find this discussion useful; Personally I can relate the discussion to practical applications of deep neural networks.

Resting in the clear light of bliss is wonderful, but that isn't what this is about.

Miqueas Celli

it'd be a lot nicer if you posed your argument in a more friendly and open-conversation manner. i'm sure many people are interested in what you're saying, but your matter-of-fact way of speaking that leaves no open ends for discussion might turn someone (such as myself) away from a conversation with you and away from the teachings you so vehemently predicate.


Sensing modal confusion here. Wishing to Be wise, but striving to Have wisdom (the final conclusion).

Emil Sundbaum

@Roy Dopson I learned lots from his lectures. Ramana Maharshi's teachings I've only consumed in the form of quotes so I'll try giving his teachings a deeper dive.

Roy Dopson

@Miqueas Celli I get a lot of this. It's true. And I yam what I yam

People that fragile aren't ready for what I have to say anyway

Roy Dopson

@Iron Sword John speaks of truth , reason, meaning, etc. He is messing around at the fundamental levels of consciousness and Reality, is he not?

Roy Dopson

@Hazardous Jazzgasm I read Ramana Maharshi then I stopped reading, because I found the answer

Seeking and thinking has no purpose to me now other than to take care of my basic needs

I sit around in/as the state of Sat Chit Ananda. I've found THE answer. And it has RADICALLY changed my life. I see and understand everything.

Roy Dopson

@A H If you sincerely wish for conclusion, delve deeply into Ramana Maharshi's life and teaching. I followed his advice literally and it is all true

Roy Dopson

@red berries What IS it about? I'll just tell you

"I think therefore I am." John and his followers know they exist while they are thinking. This is the relative form of existence of "your name here." This is the ego, the character in this simulation/game. It is not what John is. John is God and his search is for this True Self. That's the purpose of ALL of THIS.

red berries

@Roy Dopson Nobody here is disputing the existence of the divine-light, our undying/unborn true face. I appreciate your enthusiasm, and I'm glad for you.

I'm sure we would agree that a clear mind and open heart provides a more direct path toward God than academic discussion, but most of us can't practice emptiness all the time, there is more to most people's lives. You and I typing here could be said to be 'wasting' time better spent in practice directed like an arrow toward God.

(I totally agree with you that it's important to dwell in the light, in God's grace, and recognise it as our True Self, 'the face we had before we were born').

Spiritual Underground Podcast
@Roy Dopson Would you suggest a starting point?

Roy Dopson

@red berries Most of people can't practice emptiness all of the time? This is my entire point

This entire realm, all experience, is SAMSARA. That's why there's a thing called "SAMSARA". Taking experience in this realm to be more important than remembering one's Divinity is exactly what keeps consciousness trapped in the cycle of suffering

There are no individuals. There is no time. This world does not function in the way we take it to

There is no other purpose than to realize such

red berries

@Roy Dopson You and I can't and don't practice emptiness all the time. We do other things. They are doing something else. I can only refer you to earlier comments wrt this point.

However, I am interested in how you would describe the state of emptiness you have realised. Or your process for reaching it from a conventional state of mind.

Roy Dopson

@red berries Firstly, "emptiness" is incorrect. I think that's a Buddhist thing. What I am referring to is the Reality. Our ego's perspective is inverted. We take that which is empty (thoughts and sensations) to be substantia,l and that which substantial to be empty

Why isn't your entire life devoted to Spiritual practice? It's because your ego ("your name here") thinks all those things it has created are the important things

If you could see what is taking place at the fundamental levels of reality you would dedicate 100% of your attention to stillness (Ramana Maharshi called it "Mauna")

The singular purpose of this realm is to escape it. That's the purpose. John is searching for his Divinity but will not find it via thought

red berries
@Roy Dopson Would you describe your experience of Reality, and your process for reaching it from a conventional state?

(I understand you point regarding the term 'emptiness'. Although I think it's strong language to call it 'incorrect'. I have rather taken it to refer to the process rather than the goal. ie the process leading to what you term Reality is to empty the mind of those 'insubstantial' 'thoughts and sensations'. Therefore the term emptiness is a guide to what must be done, rather than the destination. So we could say the term 'emptiness' is useful rather than 'incorrect').

Roy Dopson
@red berries The Reality is the stillness "Mauna", which is unchanging. This silence is the substrate on which all experience takes place Such has been realized via the constant practice of shifting attention away from symbol and thought

red berries @Roy Dopson Agreed and nicely put.

Through Human Eyes

@Roy Dopson so the ultimate stillness is nothing, so you'd argue the ultimate truth is working to get rid of everything? I don't think anyone in this comment thread has done a diligent search into the history of religion since these questions have been asked and answered long before a guru told you his answer.

josh garrison

The operative term is dia logos.

Not "reason"..


It's a square of squares. Critically, that's not a circle.

andor and per se and

That one guy's really annoying