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Sitting in the Fire: Large Group Transformation Using Conflict and Diversity Paperback – October 1, 1995

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Arnold Mindell, Ph.D., is the founder of a new school of therapy called Process-Oriented Psychology, and is known throughout the world for his innovative synthesis of dreams, bodywork, Jungian therapy, group process, consciousness studies, shamanism, quantum physics, and small and large group conflict resolution.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Lao Tse Press; 1st edition (October 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1887078002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1887078009
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #736,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Arny Mindell developed process work or what is called today, "process oriented psychology" (p.o.p.), in the mid 1970's. Beginning with Taoism, physics and Jungian psychology, by the 1990's he expanded process work to include quantum theory and deep democracy, a deeper form of democracy that applied to all states of consciousness for individuals and groups. Now process work applies to individual therapy, body problems, coma and near death experiences, large group, and organizational change management.

Arny is in private practice in Portland, Oregon, and teaches with Amy in many places around the world. He is known for his development of the "dreambody" and "process work" (process oriented psychology). He is the author of 21 books in 31 languages, including Dreambody, The Shaman's Body, Quantum Mind, Quantum Mind and Healing, and ProcessMind. Arny has an M.S. from M.I.T., was a Jungian training analyst, and has a Ph.D. in psychology. He is also known in the area of conflict management for his Sitting in the Fire and for his integration of psychology and physics, work on dreams, bodywork, relationships, and for interventions in near death situations. His newest work is the "Dance of the Ancient One" published by the Deep Democracy Exchange, was released in 2013.

See www.aamindell.net for more about Dr. Arnold Mindell's biography, seminars, and work in psychology, physics, social and world issues

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Is your group breaking apart from internal conflict? You need to sit in the fire. Don't let them get away with playing the innocent victim of the wicked other side. Make them keep talking until they learn from each other. Power politics will just add to the spiral of violence, throw gas on the fire. But your sitting in the fire can facilitate bringing the community together.
The author says "... we want to insist on peaceful behavior: line up here, single file. ....." "But the world is not composed of docile little groups" "... engaging in heated conflict instead of running away from it is one of the best ways to resolve the divisiveness that prevails on every level of society - in personal relationships, business and the world."
Are you concerned about global trends? Do you want people to learn to share this earth? You need this book to guide you. Jump in and lead a deep democratic process. Be a midwife at the birth of our sustainable global community.
"Severe conflict can threaten to separate or be facilitated to bring a community together." "If violence is admitted and addressed, it is less destructive than if it is repressed. Going consciously into battle is an intense experience, but one that revitalizes everyone. You are renewed in hope. You find not only solutions to issues, but something more precious. You find that a battle does not mean the end of the world, but the beginning of the river called community."
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Format: Paperback
We read this book as part of our readings in the LIOS program. The book grabbed by and kept me engaged all through it.
It is an earlier work, but I feel it is probably one of the most engaging books on group transformation that I have ever read. I'll be reading more of his work.
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Format: Paperback
I borrowed this book from a friend, because it seemed, at a glance, that it might give some insight about how to find a constructive path through a conflictual situation, without rejecting that conflict.

I think the book delivers on this some. Indeed, some of the points in the final chapters were quite enticing to me.

Unfortuantely, the author and I have profoundly different personal cultures (for lack of a better word). In this book, Mr. Mindell sees the world mainly through power/oppression relationships and group distinctions (e.g. race, gender, sexual orientation, etc), and while I don't dispute that those exist, I don't see them as centrally as the author does. As a result, many of the ways he describes situations focus almost exclusively on (say) how members of one race group felt oppressed by those of another, or one gender by another or the like. I suspect that if you do see the world this way, you'll find this book has many good things to say to you. Since I don't, it didn't.

Aside from this, perhaps the biggest problem I, personally, found with this book is that it tends to tell me THAT things happened in various workshops rather than SHOWING me it happen, so there seemed little I could learn. In part, this may be an inevitable byproduct of the written medium, for I believe part of the author's fundamental approach is to react to the emotion of the moment. Without at least a video recording of an event, you're not going to be able to sense that moment, and what ends up on the written page is "dead" by comparision.

I did like the reminders that helping a group find they have shared interests, or moving people away from thinking towards feeling can be helpful. I also liked the notion of the various role playing activities that were mentioned in the book.
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Format: Paperback
In his foreword, Mindell states: “This book demonstrates that engaging in heated conflict instead of running away from it is one of the best ways to resolve the divisiveness that prevails on every level of society.” And demonstrate this point he does, with stories of his and wife Amy’s experiences facilitating groups in “hot spots” around the world. In order to lead groups to “sit in the fire” one needs more than ordinary skill development. The requirement is to become an “elder” with “metaskills” of service to others. One aspect of being an elder is an awareness of one’s own biases and the courage to “sit in the fire” of confrontation with group participants and learn from them.

This book is full of challenging, fresh thinking. I particularly appreciate the understanding of “rank” as the sum of a person’s privileges not shared by everyone. For instance, rank is related to: skin color, economic class, gender, sexual orientation, education, religion, age, expertise, profession, health, psychology, and spirituality. It is not the rank itself but unconscious and unacknowledged rank that causes conflicts. Mindell says: “You can consciously use your rank to benefit others, or you can mindlessly confuse and abuse those about you by considering them beneath you.”

Mindell has creative insights on war and terrorism, showing how they operate as dynamics at every level of society, and what the underlying issues are. He does not admire political correctness, seeing it as a covering of feelings that keep resolution from taking place. His positive belief is that we don’t need to solve all the problems in the world but merely to learn to use each conflict in each arena of life as a way to community. Reading this book may inspire you to become an elder and to begin facilitating community and “deep democracy” in your family, your local community, and the world.
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