When I first came to Brockwood as a prospective mature student, I found the dialogues that I attended to be very meaningful and important in my life. However, I felt like there were not enough of them happening during the school week. It was important to me to get the students involved more so then they seemed to be. I wanted to show them what can happen if you really are honest with yourself and listen to what is being said. I pondered over the ways I could do this which would be most likely to succeed. It was very important for me to get peoples attention and really entice them to open themselves to questions they have never considered before. The idea came to start a group on my own that met weekly. I did not want it to be categorized as a traditional dialogue so that it might grab some attention from those who do not give dialogues a second thought or consideration. I felt that for this group to succeed it needed to address the problems of dialogues already taking place at Brockwood.
Thus the Open Huddle was born. It is still a loosely organized group of people that meet at a certain place and time during the week, however, there is no administrator of the gathering. Since there is no administrator, there is no topic. In fact, there is no expectation that a person attending the Huddle must do anything that one would traditionally do in a dialogue or inquiry time which includes speaking. People are free to come and go as they please. They need not be at the Huddle when it starts and can leave whenever they wish. What is being talked about is open for the group to direct and decide which allows people the freedom to explore what is important to them in that moment in their lives. The hope is to create an atmosphere which feels normal and natural for those in attendance. Of course since the Huddle is not mandatory, then only the people who wish to attend will. It has proved to be a powerful thing to have people meet in an informal setting where they are free to discuss what they want, how they want.
The Open Huddle is certainly not perfect. Since there is no topic of discussion people sometimes become confused and are unsure what to speak about. The Huddle also suffers from a lot of the same problems that exist when any group of people form. People still come with certain expectations of what should, can or will happen in the group only to find themselves disappointed by the end. Unfortunately the Huddle offers no truth or wisdom. It is simply what a person makes of it for themselves. Just like every other instance of life, it is up to the individual to open their mind and find out what truth is.
Daniel Burgess, Mature Student from USA