Episode 294 | July 12, 2022

Cultivating Deep Connections with Guy Sengstock

A Personal Note From Orion

How do you create more meaningful connections and relationships? In this wonderful conversation, we discussed two very important things: When people listen with the intent to understand the person they’re talking to and aren’t afraid to show their vulnerability, magic happens.  

Today’s guest, Guy Sengstock, is the founder and creator of The Circling™ Method, a circling that can reveal a person’s true essence and cultivate deep connections. He has facilitated transformation for individuals, groups and corporations internationally for over 20 years. He has a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and is the co-founder of The Arête Center for Excellence and the Bay Area Men’s Circle & The Circling™ Institute.

In this episode, Guy shares how he discovered and started the Circling™ Method. In addition, he shares how to be comfortable with who you are, how to speak with the intent to be relatable and authentic, how to let go of control, and much more.

And now, without further ado, on to the show.



In This Episode

  • [01:57] – Orion introduces the founder and creator of The Circling™ Method, Guy Sengstock. Guy will give tips on letting go of control and being comfortable with your authentic self.
  • [04:41] – Guy talks about his experience with his circle of friends that led him to create The Circling™ Method.
  • [07:29] – Guy explains the essence of circling he has learned over the years. He emphasizes its importance in relationships that we could turn into a series of asanas.
  • [11:03] – How do you let go of control? Guy explains the importance of communicating with intention and authenticity and the key to letting go of control. 
  • [13:34] – Orion asks Guy to describe the levels of practice of circling.
  • [15:03] – Guy discusses unconscious relating among people. To become more conscious, he also gives examples according to their distinctions.
  • [18:40] – Orion shares her experience with her son, and Guy relates it to the second stage of circling.
  • [21:53] – How do you know you are listening? In this conversation, Guy explains how to tell if you are listening, and both of them share insights and experiences about it.
  • [27:27] – Guy shares the moment when his son broke free from reality for the first time. In a relationship, he explains how vulnerability and ability are closely related.
  • [32:44] – With whom are you opening up? Guy speaks about the third stage– the warrior, and Orion asks him how to be one.
  • [38:00] – Orion asks Guy how he sees the world and what kind of world awaits their children in the future. Guy stresses the importance of human encounters.
  • [42:58] – What are some ways to be proactive in your relationships? Guy speaks about how they train their facilitators on their courses and mentions some tips we can apply.
  • [47:47] – Guy relives his situation when he was a child and how his listening developed with the deep folks in Alcoholic Anonymous.
  • [53:11] – Orion shares her transformation at Oneness University in India.
  • [58:27] – Guy gives his three top tips on living a stellar life. Check out the courses and events he offers on his website.

Jump to Links and Resources

About Today’s Show

Hello, Guy, and welcome to the Stellar Life podcast. Thank you so much for being here.  

Thank you for having me.  

Before we begin, can you tell me how you discovered your passion and how you came up with The Circling Method? 

Literally, I feel like it’s a discovery. It’s something that happened spontaneously, although there is a whole background that I think afforded my openness to seeing and experiencing this. A group of friends of mine at Burning Man, spontaneously, there was a conflict in the group that I was hanging out with, and we ended up out in the middle of nowhere, sitting in a circle, and I got interested in the conflict happening.  

Basically, that interest (you could say) opened up to an experience we all had together, of where it left a level of conflict, and it went and revealed something deep about the two people having it. One by one, it went from person to person, and 12 hours later—the time just flew, it was like one huge flow state. Me and my–what would become my founding partner– got done. We both looked back at where we were when we were walking away. He pointed back, and we didn’t have a word for it. What we were pointing to, and I pointed to as like, whatever that was, we just shook hands on it and committed to it spontaneously.  

Your relationships with others can easily reflect who you are and what you'll become. It is a constant learning experience throughout your life. Click To Tweet

I say that was the first experience of what will later be called circling. Out of that handshake, came courses, experiences, communities, and organizations. That was 1998, and now a lot of people talk about circling as a kind of movement. It pretty much went around the world.  

It took a little while to really find out what it was that spoke to us that night. What it really, really was because it would be like, “Oh, that’s not it. That’s after that.” There was this fine-tuning in finding the essence of that thing we experienced and then starting to recreate it and re-access it.  

That turned out to be circling, which is basically what you can imagine as a relational yoga. It’s a meditative, inner subjective experience of a relationship. As Martin Buber would say, it’s a practice of the fundamental unit of relation, the I-Thou encounter, if you will.  

When you look back—I’m sure you worked on it for years—what was the essence? What was the magic? What was different in that circle than any other circle? 

It showed that there’s a way that we can relate to each other, that can reveal something beyond ourselves, and such that the relationship can reveal something about that person that is beyond what they even know or understand. Most people have been in relationships where they feel more concealed in them, or they feel less revealed or less than themselves.  

Relationships can be a vehicle to reveal something.

I think the thing that we really found out is that there are ways to relate to one another such that relationships can be a vehicle to reveal something, like an emergent truth about each other and about yourself that is beyond what you could previously have known without just by yourself.  

Another way of looking at it is if you think about all of the relationships you felt transformed by. Right? Or all the profound conversations, whether or not they were personally profound or philosophically insightful and profound, that were transformative to you.  

You just find the through-line through all those interactions and relationships, and then make that into a series of asanas that you get together and practice sitting in those asanas. It’s a relationship. They’re not physical postures but they’re more like places to come from in communication, and listening in ways of being present. 

Can you give me an example of one asana? 

It would be something like what we talk about being sovereign. It would be something like owning your own experience. I would say something like being with you right now, I’m noticing you’re leaning forward and moving your eyes up and down. That’s what I’m noticing. I’m imagining—this is where I disclose myself in my interpretation—that you’re interested and something is speaking to you, but you’re not quite sure. I’m imagining, you know exactly what I’m saying, but you’re intrigued. I’m feeling an openness and excitement to hear you, to share with you, and to hear what you’re hearing.  

Cool. You’re spot on.  

Right on. In that (for example), it’s a way of relating to each other such that in most conversations that people have, when they communicate or a lot of times that they are communicating with–an unconscious, well, sometimes conscious—intention to control. Most people don’t notice that what they’re doing when they talk to somebody is trying to—on some level—control, or manipulate, or make sure that there’s a way that you think that I think that you’re thinking about me. Or I’m saying what I’m saying in the way that I’m saying it, or I’m not saying what I’m not saying it, saying in the way I’m not saying it’s such that I can somehow make an outcome that’s predictable that I know I can survive in or that I think that I need.  

Speaking is a function of intent whenever you talk.

How do you get out of that place? This conditional place of wanting to control the situation, control the other person, control the outcome, and move into a place of allowing things to be without being afraid of dying, I guess?  

The first thing is to realize that speaking is a function of intent whenever you talk. It’s hard to imagine anybody saying anything that wasn’t coming from an intention. One is just kind of getting that if you’re talking, it’s disclosing and coming out of an intent. Then the other thing is that when you have the conscious intention to relate versus control, it’s interesting because when that’s the intention and when I’m really being disclosive and honest, the more authentic I am to the degree that I don’t know what’s going to happen when I get done talking. 

I think we could all relate to that. When we go, all right, I’m going to be really honest here. Whatever it is that I’m going to say, I don’t know what will happen. In saying that, I open up to the unknown, and I open in some sense. In a certain sense, it’s letting go of control. Whenever I reveal myself and my own experience—I disclose myself and my own experience—authentically, it’s really opening up to the unknown and not having control. But what makes it possible is intimacy.

With the intention to control, there is this certain level of control because you have an intention. With the intention to relate, there’s this certain level of control, even with the intention of relating to someone. How do you get out of that trap? 

Well, I think there’s a paradox there, right?  

I know. I intend to be genuine, but am I really?  

Intimacy and relationship can be an ongoing spiritual practice.

Well, that’s the whole thing. That’s the whole thing about why it’s a practice because I think that most of the time, we have so many different unconscious agendas that we don’t know about. On one level, this is where intimacy and relationship can be an ongoing spiritual practice, in a sense. Like, “I want to be close to you, but truthfully, I just don’t want you to leave” or something like that. Or “I think I want to tell you what I want, but I really want to please you instead, or something like that.” A lot of those kinds of intentions could end up hijacking because they’re unconscious, like what you end up saying. That’s what makes it a practice. 

What are some levels of practice, from beginner to advanced?  

It took a while to develop circling. It was so emergent that it took a while to be able to start to abstract out the underlying premises and stages of circling. It took about 5–6 years before we could discern exactly what was happening and its underlying logic.  

Essentially, circling has seven stages to it, or I’d say seven facets. The first stage is what we call sovereignty. Sovereignty is all about owning your own experience. It’s all about being self-aware, being able to distinguish between projections and experience; knowing what I feel, knowing what I want, and owning my own experience and disclosing my own experience. That’s sovereignty.  

I think 99.9% of the population is in stage one. I think we are—when I say we, I include myself; probably not you, you’re more into that practice—so unaware of our awareness most of the time, and we are in projection and trying to be a good boy or a good girl, be loved, and be liked.  

Totally. I think the thing that you just said is right on point. So much of our people’s “relating” is unconscious. It’s unconscious. But at the same time, it’s really weird. It’s like so much of the relationship is inauthentic. It’s idle talk, idle chatter, or power trips, or as you’re talking about, I don’t notice that I’m not relating to you as thou, as an end in yourself, but I’m relating to you as a means to my end for approval, or acceptance, or security, or something like that.  

Sovereignty is about coming back home to home base and owning your own experience as your experience in a relationship with somebody else. 

Sovereignty is all about owning your own experience. It’s all about being self-aware.

How do you do it, for example, if I want to have my own experience right now? I don’t know if I want it or not. I’m so confused.  

There are a few distinctions with that. One is really uncollapsing what you’re noticing with your attention from what you make it mean. A lot of times, I would say what that isn’t and what a lot of times when people say what’s going on right now in the relationship? They’ll say, well, it’s obvious. She is just trying to dominate and control me and doesn’t see me at all. That’s not actually disclosing my own experience, but I said it like I was.  

If I were to start to own my experience from that one, I could say I’m noticing when she said X, Y, and Z. She looked down, and with the tone of her voice, I imagined that she was angry at me and was trying to control me. I felt scared. Then there was a level of anger, and I wanted to project on you or blame you, but underneath that, what I really want is I want to feel closer to you.  

It happens in real life. When stuff happens, at the moment, you’re like, it’s your fault. It takes a lot to get yourself to a place and like,What is he doing with his eyes? How does it make me feel? What is underneath that feeling that is underneath that feeling?”  

Absolutely. What’s interesting is that if you could start to get these distinctions and practice them, and you get the communication pattern, like saying what I’m noticing and then what I’m imagining, that’s where it all starts. It’s uncollapsing what my attention sees from what I’m making it me.   

When I do that, and I share with you what I’m imagining—you are looking up into the left in that tone of voice—what I imagine you were doing, then I may or may not be speaking about anything going on with you. The meaning that I prescribed is that I’m disclosing myself there. I’m disclosing what I imagined about it. 

Just making that distinction and practicing making that distinction, affords us such that when we’re in a less resourceful place—when you’re in a relationship, and you get triggered, your blood comes rushing up—and you don’t have access to that kind of resourcefulness, but you have those distinctions, you can kind of slow down a little bit and then walk your way into disclosing your experience. Having those distinctions, you can start to bring more consciousness to it.  

And they say we don’t see the world as it is, but as we are.  

You don’t see the world as it is, but you see it as you are.


It is. The world is a reflection. It’s an illusion of our triggers, values, and fantasies, so I like what you said about it. I like the idea of putting your focus back. Sometimes I’m with my toddler. You’ll get there when they’re 2½. It’s a different story. They’re like this little cute, sometimes with personality, and I get triggered.  

What I do with my son is I have to take a deep breath and go from my head and the way I perceive the situation just looking at me, oh look at the beautiful miracle over there, and that he has some kind of need. I’m going to get out of my illusion and into what he needs. Be a better mom that way. 

Exactly. What you just did right there is the second stage of circling, the explorer stage.  

Yeah, you’re in the explorer stage. I didn’t even get the method. Great.  

I know. Look at that already. Look at this evolution before us. What you just did is, in some sense, you listened through whatever it was that you were seeing and started to kind of feel back into what’s actually really going on underneath. Whatever surface expression is of your child at that moment that was probably irritating and all that kind of stuff, you’re able to be like whatever they were saying or doing; you could remind yourself that there’s something deeper going on and start to listen to it. When you said, oh, what does she need?  

If the trend on how people do relationships with others keeps going, statistics show that 50% of the people alive right now will die alone. Click To Tweet

What triggers me is when I cook a beautiful meal, and he takes it. I’m like, “eat, eat,” and then he finally eats it, and then he just spits it all on the table, and I’m like, “argh.”  

Exactly. How dare you? After all I’ve done for you? This beautiful meal.  

Well, with mom and have the perfect child that eats everything I make and likes it. 

Exactly. The second stage is all about what’s really going on with the other person. When we train people to become facilitators, we spend so much time working on listening, which I think is a lost art because no one walks around thinking that they don’t listen. Whenever I’ve not listened, I never think to myself I’m not listening. I always think I’m listening.  

How do I know you’re listening?  

That’s a good question. How would you know that you’re listening? Consider that listening becomes accessible the moment you hear that you don’t. The moment you hear from yourself that you don’t listen or aren’t listening is the moment that listening is there.  

There is this part of cognition that has this predictive element in it; that’s kind of the way that we feel in the world. We kind of, in some sense, project a model or an understanding. Then it’s usually when that prediction isn’t right that something else comes through. It breaks through.  

The moment you hear from yourself that you don’t listen or aren’t listening is the moment that listening is there.

There’s this quality of listening to somebody, in a certain sense, allowing the inexhaustible fountain of intelligibility that you are to break through. Allowing your listening to be broken through so you can, in some sense, be penetrated and porous to the other person somehow.   

It’s allowing somebody in even when it’s difficult, or you don’t want to. Because if you let someone in, you might not be right; you might be wrong. Make yourself feel less than. There has been so much lack of listening since the pandemic started. People are for the injection, against the injection. People are so divided, and nobody listens to each other. It’s difficult. It’s either people are awakening and getting more conscious, or they are regressing, becoming harder and more closed off. It feels very divided. The whole world has been very divided lately.  

Totally. I get the sense that you’ve noticed that since the pandemic.  

I was blissfully ignorant of all of that prior the world was just is. And since it started, I have looked deeper into the structure of our government, the structure of where I’m from, which is Israel, and what it is about. I’m talking about not the land but the country and who’s in control. I had to take a deeper look into how society functions back then and here in the US. Deep, deep learning, for sure.  

It sounds like for you, actually, you started to hear other people’s hearing, but it sounded like you’re able to hear that it was a function of you listening deeper. Is that true? Through this pandemic, it sounds like you started hearing more about what was happening.  

I don’t know if it’s listening to a specific individual per se. It’s listening to the world and what’s going on, in general. There are some places I didn’t want to listen to.  

Exactly. Could I ask you, what is it that had you turn towards those places even though you didn’t want to?  

The world is a reflection. It’s an illusion of your triggers, values, and fantasies.

It was just a necessity because I saw how divided society was. We spent a big portion of the pandemic in Israel and had five lockdowns with a tiny baby. It was very difficult. For me, in Israel, we’re there for each other. Then I saw the division and how people scream at each other for masks, mask-wearing, or people not inviting other people to their dinner table during the holidays, and parents not seeing their sons. It was just very difficult for me to watch. Very difficult.  

And really uncharacteristic of where you come from, right? 

Yeah, I know. It was like a shock. 

I have a bunch of friends who are from Israel, and I noticed that their relational breadth of capacity is very inclusive, gregariously so. They always invite us over and like, “What do you want to eat? Come on in.”  

Let’s open the table, the more, the merrier, and we’re here for each other. All of a sudden, I was there, and everything that I thought I knew looked different. My reality, or the new elicitation of reality, is very different from what I remember.  

What’s interesting about that is with the pandemic, I think what we saw is what happens when we get isolated. Human beings start to go crazy. They start to lose themselves. There’s a reason other than death, the worst source of punishment that you can give somebody is putting them in an isolation tank. They’ll go crazy. I think that reveals something about human beings. It’s hard to see this because it’s so close to what we are, but you really get this when you have kids.  

Just a few months ago, I think I witnessed my son’s first break with reality. You know how they are when they’re really young. They go from being amoeba to one day they can roll over. I’m in the kitchen to get him a bottle, and I hear this screaming. Then he rolled over off the couch, landed right on his face, and then silence. I’m like, oh, oh. I ran out, and he was just kind of getting up, looking around, kind of freaked out, then he started wailing. He was fine. He just got really scared. 

Miracles unfold when you learn to tune in and connect with others deeply. Click To Tweet

What he did, though—this was interesting—he got completely disoriented. He got really freaked out. I don’t think he ever experienced a wallop like that. Then he started screaming, but he looked directly into my eyes. For the next half hour, he wouldn’t stop looking at me in my eyes. It was a rare moment because my wife—I think she had to go to the dentist or something; they’re unified, like the same limb or something like that—happened to be gone.  

And so as I’m sitting with him, he’s crying and then he finally falls asleep. I sat there in silence because my wife was gone, which is a rare thing. Because they’re like this. They’re like one limb, basically. She was on an appointment or something. I got to sit in silence after that moment, and I really saw something there. 

It’s because when we’re a kid, it just shows that we become through the eyes of our parents. That’s how we knew how to look. He got disoriented, and something deep in him knew to look right in my eyes. This is like four or five months old. I think that showed something in a very primordial way of who we are and how we become, if we become in it through relationship. I think that remains to be the case throughout our whole lives. We’re constantly learning who we are in our relationship with somebody else. 

When relationships are toxic, our vulnerability becomes an exposure to a diminishment.

There’s this really, really deep relationship between our vulnerability and our ability. A vulnerability becomes an ability in and through genuine relationships. Simultaneously when relationships are toxic, our vulnerability becomes an exposure to a diminishment, or if we get isolated and cut off from people, we’ll go crazy. That shows how we become who we are, what constitutes us, and our relationships. 

I think that’s true to some degree throughout our whole lives. So circling is really (you could say) yoga into practicing an intentional level of being porous, open, vulnerable, and being to you so I can hear you deeply. I can be affected by you deeply. I can be moved. I’m even open enough to be hurt by you. I can be struck. I can be inspired. I can hear something I’ve never heard before that can deeply affect me. I can be moved. 

Just like I would imagine, if you’re encouraged to look at your society and culture and begin to hear it like you mentioned. I looked at some places and started listening to my government, my country, and parts of the world that I didn’t really want to. To listen is to be courageous to some regard, or to be open is to be courageous. 

What was the third stage? 

The third stage is what we call the warrior. Sovereign is all about, okay, I’m going to be me. Now, who are you opening up to? Then as that opens up at a certain point, there’s synergy, but also dissonance can show up. In the warrior stage, it’s all about being able to notice and name dissonances between us and conflicts. Maybe we noticed a dissonance happening just inside of you that we explored that maybe I can notice and point out. 

Maybe there’s a dissonance between each other. Maybe I’m hearing you say one thing, but I’m feeling another, and then I bring attention to that. That takes something. That’s where I would say a lot of the courage comes in. When something’s going on in the relationship, and it looks scary to say it, or it looks scary to look at it or looks scary to reveal it, that’s like a warrior. Those are the opportunities that usually lead to intimacy. 

To listen is to be courageous to some regard, or to be open is to be courageous.

Warriors get wounded. How to be a warrior? They are hurt, and yet, they keep being a warrior; they keep going. 

Totally. They get wounded, but we could say they are willing to be wounded because something’s worth it. I can say that’s the difference. If you look at the difference between maybe a warrior and a savage, in some sense, the warrior is connected to something higher or transcendent. If they get hurt, it’s seen as worth it because they’re sacrificing themselves for something that transcends them in some sense, versus being hurt or hurting without any sense of the other or something beyond that. 

What comes after the warrior? It seems that we can’t stay in that place for too long. 

Well, this is the next level of owning your own experience. This is one of the things that social media does because there’s so much toxic stuff that happens on social media, on Twitter. 

Elon Musk just bought a big portion of Twitter, so it might have less censorship or not because the stock has increased. I think he made $1 billion already after he bought the stock. Either he will set Twitter free, or it will just be a money-making thing in the name of freedom.  I don’t know, but it’s interesting. Yeah, censorship. 

You know, I listen to, oh, we are free. We live in the land of the free and the brave, and it’s free. There is a constitution. Actually, you can’t say this. You can’t say that. You get de-platformed because we think you shouldn’t be there. It’s like listening to what it is, but it’s very difficult. We’re talking about censorship, so continue. 

I think it’s when people are so toxic with each other that they just go off and rail on each other. Part of that is that they can be transparent about what they think but don’t have to deal with the impact of what they say. 

Yeah, it’s who you are behind the keyboard. 

Exactly. I think that shows that it’s vulnerable to say what I think. If I imagine what I’m going to say may hurt your feelings, I have to contend with that. A lot of people don’t say it. They don’t say the things that are scary to say. If you don’t reveal the truth about what’s going on for you in a relationship, then there’s no relationship. There’s some part of me that’s withheld. Because when I withhold anything from myself, I withhold from the relationship, and then the relationship becomes something other than something I’m all in with. 

It seems like the structure is structured in a way you cannot relate to. You cannot really say what you want because either other people will come and troll on you, or Big Brother will come and be like, oh, you’re saying something that I disagree with. And then you’re in isolation from your platforms, which is like the biggest punishment of all. 

Totally, totally, totally. And it’s so weird. I think it took me years to realize why circling ended up going all over the world. It started in 1998, the beginning of the Internet, for all intents and purposes. If you go back far enough, before the Internet, before the answering machine, if you wanted to exchange information with anybody, you had to at least talk on the phone. Life necessitated so much face-to-face interaction, voice-to-voice, or at least on the phone.  

If you don’t reveal the truth about what’s going on for you in a relationship, then there’s no relationship.

I know. As a child, I remember playing outside all day long with the neighborhood kids. Now they’re just in front of screens, in this fancy world, in the video game world. A lot of them feel very, very isolated. 


How do you see the world? I have a small child; you have a small child. What do you think the world is going to be like for them? How can we build a better world for them? 

Well, I think it all starts with home first. That’s why I think circling spread is because it just happened to be a practice about intensely tolerating all the things that come with relationships and doing yoga. There was one point where reality, like life, had enough relationships to it where that wouldn’t even make sense, but with the Internet, I think it started with the answering machine. 

The answering machine was the first time you could exchange and uncouple information from face-to-face encounters. Those face-to-face encounters are filled with ambiguity. You could say something to me that you didn’t mean that ends up revealing a truth about myself that could change my whole life. So much stuff could happen in a relationship. Relationships are terrifying, but you don’t have any choice. Even though they are terrifying, you must learn how to relate to people and deal with the anxiety and the awkwardness. It’s through those encounters that we become people.

You have the Internet coming along. We completely uncollapse most of our interactions from relationships. Because the nervous system is going to move towards what’s easiest, it’s going to move towards not the relationship but just the exchange of information. You do that a few thousand times; you take all the necessity out of life or a relationship.  

We now have kids growing up that won’t have a memory. Actually, I think we have adults now that don’t have a memory before the Internet. It’s a very different world. I don’t think we totally understand the consequences of that yet.  

But I can tell you this. Sam Vaknin came on; I think he’s on YouTube. He’s a psychologist. He was talking about some of the recent statistics that he just got, which was that of all the people on the planet who are alive right now; if the trend keeps going in the way that they are, 50% of the people alive right now will die alone. If you take all the trends with dating and relationships and whatever they do to get those stats. Stats are the final say-so, but they definitely point to something. 

Relationships are terrifying, but you don’t have any choice.

How many people will die alone today? 

I’m not sure. 

You said 50%. Oh, you’re not sure? Okay. 

By that time, all the people alive right now will die alone. 50% of them will die alone. Yeah, from right now. 

I used to live in Japan, and that’s such an isolated society. I don’t think they will have much population left because they don’t date. It’s a beautiful culture, too. I guess this is our job to bring people together, do circles, have people touch each other, hug each other, and communicate kindly. Basically, this circle brings each other being brave and being honest, and then go deep and look inside, look outside, connect. 

That’s why circling is here. That’s exactly why circling is here. It took me a while to understand why it’s an emergent thing. I’m starting to realize what people are responding to because if we’re going to have a relationship now, we have to do it proactively. It’s not a necessity anymore. That’s a huge change. That only happened in the last 20 years. 

Is there a system to be proactive with your relationship? Because I noticed my husband is a genius. He is connected to thousands of people at once. It’s so easy for him to send an email, and hi, we didn’t speak. He remembers a lot of the people in his life. Unlike me, I don’t remember a lot of the people I encountered. If there’s time for me to remember, I know, pay attention to that. But I did stick, we’re wired completely different, him and me. I think I don’t need a tool or a system. Do I need to make a list and just call people every week? How do you do that? 

A couple of things. I feel it’s probably not about the number of people you reach out to. Of those people, of those relationships that you care about and are important to you, what’s the quality of those relations? How are you showing up to those?  

One of the things that we do in our trading courses is when we train facilitators, we have them look at the first inner ring of people you’re in contact with. It’s usually your immediate family, husband, wife, or whatever. Then, there’s a circle of friends around it. Then we look at the quality of those relationships.  

You ask yourself, am I holding any resentments with any of those people? Are there any withheld communications? Withholds are huge, man. One of the cool things about being conscious is that we’re conscious, but that consciousness affords us to hide ourselves. We can also lie, and we can withhold ourselves. 

The way you speak and respond is a reflection of how well you listen to those around you. Click To Tweet

A lot of times when you and I get together at some point, somebody’s going to get hurt, guaranteed, if we’re going to be close. You’re different than I am. I’m different from you. As time passes, if we start to need each other, at some point, someone’s going to piss someone else off. If we don’t use that moment to come together and find out what happened and discover more about each other through it, what will happen is I’ll start to pull away. 

One of us will start to pull away. One of us will start to either become distant or withheld. We withhold ourselves so that doesn’t happen again. But the moment you do that, you lose the energy in the relationship. I would say the first thing I would do is, of those relationships that matter to you, what are the qualities of those relationships? 

They’re good. 

Awesome. It’s also like you’re doing this, too, right? You got a podcast. What else do you do? 

Well, first of all, I’m a mom. Then I became a coach and a hypnotherapist. I work primarily with women, helping them awaken their inner goddess and their inner superheroes. My dream is to create circles and retreats, bring women together, and help them see the beauty in themselves and shine brightly. 

That’s awesome. It sounds like you’re doing it. 

Oh, I’m doing it. But I think the path to enlightenment is not a straight line. I think we have glimpses of enlightenment. Then we go back into the 3D and deal with everything, healing in another layer and climbing up, going down and around and in circles. The journey never ends, and it’s beautiful. I’ve done a lot of work. Now here in New York, I’m like, oh my God, I really want Circling, and this sounds so cool. 

All those communication skills are on my mind lately, especially with my toddlers. How can I communicate with him better? Right now, he’s small, but when he gets bigger… Even now, how do I communicate with him better? How do I communicate with other people better? 

The moment I saw you on screen, you were so relatable, and it was so easy to connect with you. It’s like you’re very present with who you are, you’re very genuine, and you’re very loving. That came through immediately. As soon as after, I guess 30 seconds, I was like, oh, we’re good. This is going to be a good conversation. It’s easy. It’s easy. 

I’m sure it took you so much work to become someone easy to be with. I’m like, I want to be that person, too. I want to be that person who communicates and is so easy to be with, but I am still dealing with my insecurities and many things I need to deal with. It’s a journey. 

Human beings can definitely go crazy when they get isolated. Everybody needs somebody in this world. Click To Tweet

I appreciate what you just said. There, right there. I had no idea what you were thinking about me or how you were experiencing me, and you just disclosed it. At that moment, now I feel closer to you. I feel related, right? I feel related to what’s going on in the present moment, like what’s happening between us. I found out that a little relationship is happening with us right now. 

I feel that too. That’s very cool. 

Totally cool. Also, when you were talking about your experience of me, how open and easy it was to be related such that you’re able to relax, you imagine the work that I must have done on myself to kind of get like that, and it’s true. I didn’t really talk to people until I was 10. I’m more of an introvert, temperamentally. 

I come from an alcoholic family. My dad was kind of a rager. My mom was really smothering and all of that. They’re amazing people. There’s a lot of addiction going on. I think I grew up, and it felt fundamentally unsafe. I think a lot of the ways they dealt with that was by withdrawing with a smile on my face. Just giving off just enough of what I need to get to give, such that people wouldn’t want to kill me or wouldn’t get me in trouble or prevent my dad from raging and stuff like that. 

It’s so interesting. When my parents got sober when I was 12, I started being around people who were having real conversations because they got involved in Alcoholic Anonymous. There are a lot of deep folks in Alcoholic Anonymous. At 12 years old, I’ll never forget because, at that time, I was having anxiety attacks, panic attacks, and all kinds of crazy stuff going on that I didn’t tell anybody about. 

When I went out on my porch, my parents—we had just moved from Chicago to Arizona—I sat down on the porch, they were either having AA meetings, or they had a bunch of their friends from AA over. They were the first time I ever experienced people being real with each other.  

It’s funny because people don’t really think about it that much, but almost all conversations are some versions of idle talk. The only time we talk about what’s going on in the present moment is usually when we’re fighting. It’s usually combative. But here, people were disclosing what was happening to them. They were talking about what it was like being with each other while they were there. All this stuff got brought to language, and I’d never seen anybody talk that way in my life. 

To be a good communicator is about learning what to say and listening to what the other person is listening to.

There was something about the world that that conversation opened up. That spoke directly to my solar plexus, which was constantly in a state of anxiety-prone freefalling, that I knew I could just feel the connection. I sat down and, on some level, I’ve never not had that. I just stayed there. I just stayed in that world, basically. 

So, from an early age, most of my friends were older than I was. I was really fortunate that there were a lot of people that took me under their wing and just poured themselves into me. Through all of that, I think I really learned implicitly how to listen. I think people were tuned into my particular listening because it seemed to draw out this wisdom in them. For the longest time, I thought I was just really lucky. 

That is when we turn in allowing listening. It’s genuine listening. I guess that’s what opens people up. 

Right. This is the secret that I find so mysterious. That thing that you just said is like you just acknowledge something about listening that I think is that whatever that is, is so mysterious and intriguing to me. You’re saying because you just made the connection that we can actually hear someone’s listening. Our speech can be in response to our hearing somebody’s listening. It’s a trippy thing to say. 

That’s really powerful. 

And it’s so funny. We are tuned into how people listen. If you want to be a good communicator, it is about learning what to say. It’s about listening to what the other person is listening to so that you can speak directly into it. When you can really pay attention to what the other person says and where they’re coming from, from all the layers and train yourself to do that, to hear deeper dimensions, not just what the person said, but what’s in between the lines of what they said, what their being is saying, which may have nothing to do with what they’re actually saying with their words. Listen with your whole body; then your speech will just automatically be in response to that.  

The key to communication is listening. It’s really just like, we’ll just learn how to speak naturally if we can learn how to tune to another person deeply. I think that thing that you just recognized is where the mystery and the magic is at. 

It brought a memory into my mind of mystery and magic. I spent some time in India at Oneness University. At the end of our stay there, we had that grant meditation in the temple and the temple was based on an 800-year-old mandala. They made a 3D structure out of it. They say that the temple is alive. There are monkeys at the temple and lots of gardens and stray dogs around. 

We were sitting there with the monks and doing breathing exercises that got us into a very elevated state. Then the monks go into a trance state and come in and give you Diksha, which is a divine blessing. When they did that, I just flew. I was like in different realms, seeing things in the second color, seeing the world through the eyes of a stray dog turning orange. It was really beautiful. 

While I’m doing that in the spiritual world, physically, I’m on the floor, laughing out loud, cracking up for an hour, just laughing. I cannot stop laughing. Everyone in the room is like; some are laughing, some are crying, screaming, and everybody has their own experience on the floor.  

Then the monk hit the gong, and boom, I was there. Back in reality, like nothing happened. But something did happen because when I came back to the States, something shifted in me because I was so scattered with my attention. 

The key to communication is listening.

I was a personal trainer at the time. I would listen but not really listen. My eyes would go everywhere. I wasn’t able to be with people. All of a sudden when I come back, the moment I coach or the moment I’m with somebody, it’s almost like a shift in personality. I’m just there with the person, super intense, super right there super focused. But that happened. It was almost like a neurological thing that happened. It allowed me to be that way. 

Wow. That sounds like a genuine transformation. 

Oh, it was an incredible transformation. Maybe some people can do that though. I don’t know if ceremonies or spiritual experiences improve their listening. But for me, it was a gift. I wasn’t expecting to get that. 

Totally. It sounds like you found out the impact it had on you. All of a sudden, here you go from scattered, being with people, not being able to pay attention to them, to all of a sudden you can just lock right in. 

Right, in the zone. 

Yeah. Looking back on that, what do you think was the difference that made that difference? I know it was that ceremony and that temple that you just described, but do you have a sense of what it did? Where did it affect you, or what was it about that afforded you to be able to be more present with people? Was it the monkeys? 

I think it was the sense of oneness of being not separated from everything, from the stray dog, the monks, and different realms. It was a moment of looking beyond the 1% into the 99% of reality and a glimpse into other dimensions and how we are all connected as one. When I came back, I could (I guess) step into that connection when I intended to be there for somebody else. 

Basically, you got touched by oneness. 

Yeah, I guess. Thank you so much for asking that. I never ever, ever analyzed it that way. Thank you so much for giving me clarity on that. That’s very sweet of you. 

Totally. It’s great to dive in with you with that. I just appreciate the sincerity that I felt when you looked. You looked, and you took a moment. Then you’re like, oh, I think it was the oneness. It’s almost exactly as I would imagine. It looked almost as if you went back, and you didn’t just see that it was the oneness, but you felt the oneness for a moment. Then you were like; there’s something in your eyes. 

I don’t like to give answers just to give answers. I think it’s just a waste of words. If I don’t have anything good to say, I’d rather not. Well, thank you so, so much for your time. I hope to see you here again and come back and join us for another. 

I’d love to chat more. 

Before we say goodbye, for now, here are two questions. What are your three top tips for living a stellar life? And where can people find you? 

Three top tips. That’s great. Top tips, three of them, I’d say one is to realize or consider that you’re already listening and constantly listening as a human being. So that certain degree that you’re open is to the degree that you’re listening, so really getting that. 

The other one is that all speech is a function of listening. All speech is to understand that if you want to communicate, listening presupposes all speech because all speech is speaking and listening. 

Then I would say the other one would be you probably don’t really want security. You do, but you really mostly want what reaches into the unknown. Do that. Turn towards the unknown, and that may be where security is. 

You can reach me at the Circling Institute. It’s just circlinginstitute.com. That’s my company, and we have courses. We have open events and evenings and weekend intensives in your lungs and all kinds of stuff. You can find out all that information at circlinginstitute.com. 

Thank you so much, Guy, for everything you shared with us today. Thank you for your wisdom. And, thank you for being such a great listener and having such a great conversation today. It was really fun. 

Thank you. 

Thank you and thank you, listeners. Remember to realize you’re listening. Remember to realize that listening is the basis of all communication and realize that what you want really is in the unknown. Have a stellar life. This is Orion. Until next time. 

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

{✓}Communicate without an intent to control. Instead, have a conscious intention to relate. This will allow you to be more authentic and intimate with the people around you.

{✓}Own your experience. Be more self-aware and learn to distinguish between projections and experience. This will allow you to know what you feel and want.

{✓}Be a better listener. Listening shows respect and regard for the people you work with. It helps to build rapport and demonstrates that you care about others and what they have to say.

{✓}Be open and vulnerable to the people you connect with. Emotional openness is essential in all healthy relationships, as it paves the way for deeper understanding and evokes the empathy necessary for healthy long-term relationships.

{✓}Always be truthful. Honesty is a key component of a healthy relationship, not only because it helps you avoid harmful breaches of trust but because it allows you to live in reality and hare this with someone else.

{✓}Evaluate the quality of relationships within your inner circle. Ask yourself these questions: Am I holding any resentments with any of those people? Are there any withheld communications?

{✓}Communicate effectively. By delivering messages clearly, there is no room for misunderstanding or alteration of messages, which decreases the potential for conflict.

{✓}Be comfortable with who you are. Beyond personal growth and development, understanding and loving yourself will boost your relationship and compassion with others.

{✓}Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Each time you transition, you move to another level. Inevitably, these life transitions transform you.

{✓}Visit Circling™ Institute’s website to learn more about the trainings and events on The Circling™ Method.

Links and Resources

About Guy Sengstock

Guy Sengstock is the founder and creator of the Circling™ Method. He has been facilitating transformation for individuals, groups and corporations internationally for more than 20 years. He has a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and is the co-founder of The Arête Center for Excellence and the Bay Area Men’s Circle & The Circling Institute. He is an artist, philosopher, poet, body-worker, and visionary.

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