What is Temenos?

“I found remarkable, what level of  familiarity and trust was created in such a short amount of time. The great benefit of Temenos seems to be in team development. A team having shared this 2-3 day experience, will be so much more effective, and at the same time more human.” —Markus Wittwer


Temenos – Container

In the course of our lives, in the course of any day, we move through many contexts. Most of them go unnoticed, in many we spend some attention and energy, and in some we are aware of how we spend our time, attention, and energy. Think of school lessons or office hours, for example: these are contexts with very clear boundaries, so that we know where we are. They also have a clear purpose, so that we have some awareness around why we are there. The more of our time, energy and attention we spent on purpose, being aware of where we spend it and why, the healthier and happier we become. To increase this context awareness, we talk about containers and Temenos.

Temenos is ancient Greek for safe, sacred container. We use the term **container** for specific contexts, taking on a specific perspective. A context becomes a container once we think about its boundaries, notice what is within it and what is not. When we think about a context as a container we view it from the perspective of being in a relationship with it and within it. Notice how the difference is not in the context itself – it is in how we think about it, and therefore how we perceive it. We can all have many of these containers: a container with ourselves, a container “me at work”, a container with our spouse, a container with our parents, with our children, our team… Through deliberate work of acknowledgment, appreciation and admiration we can transform a container into a Temenos.

A container, and Temenos, is a perspective on reality, a lens to focus our attention, raise our awareness of our perception of reality, our history and our intent in a specific context. A drawing we make of our containers is our sense making of our perception at a point in time. It’s a situational representation of a messy, complex, multidimensional reality.

My Containers

My Containers

Our understanding will never be perfect, or even “right”. It just needs to be good enough for now. We want to be conscious of where we have come from, where we are now, and what we want. That enables us to take action.

Siraj Sirajuddin has been developing Temenos over the past 25 years. Starting with personal growth labs with students, he combined ideas from multiple sources to forge this beautiful container. He has been offering Temenos to approach transforming organisations integrating the personal transformations of the human beings in the organisations.

“Your real self is hiding somewhere, look for it within, when you find yourself, you can freely be what you want to be.”

Being aware of our relationships and their contexts, of how we change them and change in them and how they change around us, is an important contributor to our clarity of mind. As we increase clarity and responsibility in our relationships, we become the author of and authority in our own life story.