Another way of looking at ba is by seeing it as context, however in doing so, context must be seen as an environment within which both or all parties in a conversation are immersed in this context. Ba theory considers that this shared environment is more than physical, it is a mutually provoked relationship that is emergent during conversation. This context or environment evolves as one’s engagement with the conversation deepens and participants in this conversation become increasingly removed from their prior space. Conversation evolves and is affected by the nature of the ba and thus the context evolves along with the conversation. This context takes on aspects of Polanyi’s (1974) subsidiary awareness in that these unseen but influential or guiding elements shape the conversation but at the same time are constantly being reshaped as a result of and during the conversation. Ba is a dynamic and live process held aloft non-verbally by all in the conversation. For ba to exist, conversants must step out of themselves within the conversation and engage each other at the level of intent such that there is no distinction between speaker and listener and the life of the conversation can then exist at a subconscious level. Thus ba is seen as a non-dualistic concept: speaker and listener are one.
© Stuart C Berry