The heart of Sutra is small group interaction. Our emphasis is on improving the quality of interaction and relationship between people involved in any collaborative endeavor. We focus on learning because learning gives us opportunity to practice new ways of being – deeper levels of listening, dialog, and co-creation.
Learning and collaboration go hand in hand because learning naturally leads to collaboration. People who learn together are already exchanging ideas and supporting each other. Their potential to further collaborate is only increased by virtue of their shared learning experience and common interest in the material studied.
Learning also frames open collaboration in a very practical context. The reality of modern life is busyness. It is difficult to practice something like mindfulness or deep listening with the economic pressure of every day life. With learning we are afforded the practical benefit of something that we have a desire to learn while being able to do so collaboratively with the support of other people. Thus the quality of connection that one experiences in a learning group is directly aligned with the quality of the learning experience itself.
Learning offers a basic opportunity to experience non-competitive collaboration and deep relationship building. Furthermore, learning isn’t necessarily something we do and then stop doing. It is a continuous process that cycles between study and direct experience. Both of these functions can be undertaken collaboratively and form the foundation of productive and creative work.
Knowledge is learned, then it is applied, and then new knowledge is generated. All of this happens continuously and collaboratively. As new knowledge is generated it eventually becomes knowledge that is learned by other people and so the cycle goes on. Because these three functions happen together it makes sense to contain them in the same context. Today, we learn in one place, work in another, and may or may not gather any new knowledge from the work we have done.
Learning, collaboration, and knowledge are intimately related. These functions are underpinned by the quality of interaction and relationship between the participants involved. This brings us back to the small group dynamic. The size of a group is limited by the capacity of each member to build a meaningful relationship with the other members. This emphasizes quality of being over all other functions. In fact, it takes the view that all others functions are designed to bring emphasis back to this primary function: quality of being.