Collective Intelligence & Cyberspace

One of the people that introduced me to the concept of Collective Intelligence was Pierre Levy with his wonderful book Collective Intelligence: Mankind’s Emerging World in Cyberspace. That book gave me a deep insight into the historical dimensions of cyberspace, how we came here, if you like. It’s deep and clear thinking has helped me much in developing my own understanding of how we are embedded in a larger wave of development and what is possible. But since the book was published 1997 a lot has happened, so I was happy that my friend Jascha Rohr tweeted about this much more recent presentation of his ideas as a “slide-share”.

What I like about it – and it will take much more time to digest – is that it indicates a new language that could link the software processes of cyberspace and the human collective intelligence. The slide show is quite helpful for placing recent developments in a larger perspective, to look at how collective consciousness might come about, and to in the end learn something about the language that might bridge machine-language and normal human tongues: the Information Economy Metalanguage (IEML); a part that’s truly challenging at this moment for me to understand. Some of my readers will understand this much better than I do, but hey, that’s what Collective Intelligence is all about – I do not need to understand everything 🙂

Ecstasy at the Gates of Ecological Hell

CHINA ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION RECYCLINGEvery evening, when time for reflection and contemplation comes, desperation sets in. And it’s getting worse every day, ever since I’m in the loop of ecology and world change activists’ free-style mail groups. I think it started for real after reading some of the posts on “preparing for civilization’s collapse” – that friend Dave Pollard links to at times. – Anyway, I’m desperate, getting more desperate by the day.

So here they are, all my world change friends. Brilliant, active, moved by concern for planet, society, living creatures in suffering everywhere – some of them singing their final farewell songs as they go extinct. We all know this, anybody that can afford to stay connected through media – which is everybody that is creating her/his part of the challenge we face… We all know in our marrow, and it’s saddening our soul in its depths, we’re on a path of death and destruction. We’re well on our way to oblivion, and to waste go all the wonderful flowers of civilization everywhere on this planet. We all know this song, and many of us care – more and more people feeling concerned, and some act, and some cry, and some prepare for civilization’s collapse.

I’m in the loop, as I said, I’m getting around 10 emails per day that diagnose the disaster and offer ways to deal with it; some are bleak, others urgent calls, again others more positive. But all of us could read all day and all night about this and never come to the end of the sounds of alarm and requiems of loss and a few signals of hope. We could work all day and all of the night and never even come close to answering the tiniest fractions of the calls…

CHINA-ENVIRONMENT-POLLUTION-TRANSPORT-AUTOThere are a thousand great plans that promise to help. There are a million fantastic, creative voices. Leaders, activists, spiritual and post-metaphysical women and men all over the planet. We’re all shouting and pointing in a thousand different directions. “Let’s go!” we say, “We need to be on our way! It’s urgent.” And we’re right, aren’t we?! So, “Let’s unite!” — And hundreds of banners are raised in the field and shouts go out to “Rally here! Unite! We’re in this together!”
But what is this?
Authentic chaos has broken loose, and all the well meaning attempts to take the lead only create more confusion and chaos.

I know, I need to face this – too long have I avoided seeing the obvious. Too long have I thought that if we would all just use this tool or that, align ourselves along these lines or those, all would be well. And now I see, even though we do – we do our very, very best – it’s still authentic chaos, confusion and running around, getting more desperate all the time. Despair constricts my throat. Tears well up. There’s nothing I can do anymore. There’s nothing you can do. There’s nothing, really we can do at all to end this descent into a chaotic hell, where everybody really does their best and nothing gets done…

paul_damato_03And I see – we’re being broken. Those of us, allowing ourselves to see this – we break, and mourn… in our heart a requiem wells up for all our individual possibilities, our creativity, our brilliance, what each and everyone of us could think of and do. I accept.

This is what always happens when the second phase ends and the third phase unfolds in a process I know so very well – it has several names, depending whom you ask, but in the fifth phase of it “collective consciousness” is born, the circle-being, the “critter in the middle”.

And now I’m filled with elation, all of a sudden I’m in ecstasy: All our individual plotting and planning must run its course until it comes to an end, our own brilliance and knowing what’s best – even if we’re absolutely sure it is so. Everything we can think of and do as separate individuals must be shown and experienced to be insufficient to the challenge, and then from our collective unconsciousness it can emerge, collective consciousness!

And I’m elated today as I was ecstatic last night: It all falls into place, our ecological and social crisis, the impossibility to get the willing on one page or even in one book, our evolution as a species… It’s clear what some of us need to do to help us all transform to the next phase of human life and civilization on Earth.

___________

The process I allude to could be called “awakening in collective consciousness”. It has played an important role in my development from being a traditional (be it non-conventional) guru or ‘spiritual teacher’. I’ve written about it some years ago when I experimented with it to arrive at “authentic community“. Then and there, when we had passed through the fourth phase somebody put it very succinctly, “It appears as if we are one body with many heads and arms and legs.” Collective consciousness had taken us in. Not swallowed us but rather everyone of us had become a living, vibrant member of something tangible that embraced and transcended us – something experienced by everyone in the room.

From what I’ve learnt since it is unmistakable when it’s there – when you’re still asking yourself, “Is this it?” you can be sure it’s not. You do not need any special training to discern it, it’s “in your face”, and you sense, feel and know it immediately, no matter what you believe, how much meditation or philosophy you’ve done or haven’t done – and it doesn’t matter if you’re spiritual inclined or not, either.
You might think about it differently, you might draw different conclusions from experiencing and being embedded in this collective awareness, but the very ‘fact’ of it is as unmistakable as waking up in the morning and knowing that you are…

Collective-Consciousness-Sadness-GaiaAs many others I’m convinced that we’re going through a momentous evolutionary period and the ecological hell we’re collectively creating on this planet is that face of reality that has become impossible to ignore. Yet a deeper aspect of reality seems to be that in and through humanity an evolution towards collective consciousness is possible. There are many good reasons to think so, here I only want to mention the evolutionary pressure the ecological predicament exposes us to.

Our planet’s ecology is an amazingly complex affair and it involves many strands of influences that dynamically interact. Not only the web of life is extremely complex, also the web of human politics is so, and if we take some other webs interacting with this, the very idea that any number of brilliant individuals might rise to the challenge is hilarious. The web of life is out of control, and our human influence is pushing it towards an ecological hell. And again, there is no way to get that under control. But, and here is my personal hope after last night’s elation, evolution is already formulating an answer – self-organizing some of us into testing grounds for the emergence of a collective intelligence, which might be complex enough to rise to the challenge we face.

I’ll end this post with indicating what I’ve learnt in the Circles I facilitated. The process that clearly is conducive to the emergence of collective consciousness can be shown to have seven phases:

  1. Recognition that the “old ways” don’t work
    In the first phase people are usually kind and polite to each other. This phase comes to an end once it is generally understood that artificial kindness and civilized responses don’t work, and that a deeper authenticity is a minimum requirement on the way forward.
  2. Chaos
    People authentically struggle to come to good results; discerning & acknowledging what is “really going on”, trying to work things out. Alliances are wrought, leaders work with persuasion, ‘acting as if’ counterfeit ‘collective awareness’ is tried and fails, everything in the book and more is used to try to mend, fix or heal the situation. Yet, collective consciousness is not achieved. This phase usually lasts longest of all phases but is finally overcome as more and more people give up trying to realize it their way or by following others and confess their failure in getting ‘things under control’ or ‘making collective consciousness’ happen.
  3. Mourning, brokenness
    In this phase a sense of utter failure often appears; we can’t do anything to make it happen. Sometimes people cry. Often people move back to the second phase trying to mend and heal the ones who accept their brokenness and inability to ‘do it’. A sense of gloom can become quite strong. Yet, when enough people are letting go of their ideas, interpretations, theories, opinions of what needs to happen and allow themselves to be with “I don’t know”, with their helplessness, the next phase gels.
  4. Silence, turning point
    Slowly the mourning over failure, the feeling of defeat is replaced with a sense of peace, the peace that comes with accepting ‘things as they are’. As more and more people start to listen to simply being together in peace, to this ‘silent center’ we all share… something emerges that after a while is clearly perceived, sensed, felt, known by everybody as it gets deeper and stronger. And then it is utterly and unmistakingly clear…
  5. Collective Consciousness is discovered
    Elation even ecstasy is felt, “We are one body and mind with many heads.” A sense of celebration pervades the room. We finally know what it is! Conversations are of an amazing deep and authentic kindness, everything that formerly was a matter of morals or learnt behavior becomes fluid and natural.
  6. Living Field Zone – What do WE want?
    If the collective has enough time and space to go on beyond the celebration of our embodied consciousness and unity it can look into its collective desire and what WE want. Very complex matters are seen as beautiful challenges and people very easily find their role and resources to act upon the collective desire.
  7. Realization
    In this phase the immediate sense of collective consciousness moves to the background as what one has decided to engage in as member of that collective moves to the foreground.

These link to what I’ve written about the general topic of the Living Field, Community and Collective Consciousness – I would hope that you would put your links around this topic in your comments. Thank you.

The Living Field & the Art of Living

childrendetail3-cory_enchWikipedia: Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music and literature.

In my most recent post I have been revisiting what I’ve called the Living Field, how I experience it and how I’ve worked with it and still do. Michel Bauwens of the P2P foundation extracted a “typology of fields” from that post and talked about it here.
I don’t know if it was the “Goldberg-Variations field” that Jascha Rohr tweeted about in response that got me thinking about art as a particular type of constellation of the living field or if it was the Wikipedia definition of art; it might also have been the dream I had this morning of creating a large scale systemic constellation in some unknown land and being struck by the beauty of what emerged…

One of the most amazing characteristics of a living field is that it creates epiphanies, realizations or comprehensions of the (larger) essence or meaning of something. In systemic constellations this might be some explicit pattern in the system one inquires into that is surfacing as an “Eureka!” experience, a surprising insight into why or how things are as they are; in a circle that has managed to surrender into a highly coherent we-fulness the epiphany can be the tacit experience of individually being embedded in a higher We or “Circle Being”; and in a Dynamic Presencing constellation it can be the undeniable sense of unity with ‘all-there-is’.
The living field is, it seems, childrendetail1-cory_enchcontinually creating or triggering epiphanic in-formation in living beings. And since my main gate to the spiritual realm is beauty – truth is beauty, love is beauty, the gods are beauty, the essence of life is beauty etc. – to talk about epiphanies is to talk about essential beauty. Beauty – something many of us look for in art – is an epiphany more or less strongly altering our conscious state, momentarily or sometimes even permanently changing us by changing the way we perceive the world and interact with it.

In previous posts I have suggested that a living field is a particular – often dynamic – constellation of elements and/or beings in space and time. It can be regarded as the network, the mesh of relations between all these elements and beings involved. We could also imagine a living field as a web of relationships that in and of themselves already are dynamic, comparable to a melody which can only be enjoyed or understood in their flow.
[This makes me think of the neuronal network in the brain and that this particular constellation gives rise to the ultimate form of beauty: consciousness.]

Take these lines of poetry:

Here are the miracle-signs you want: that
you cry through the night and get up at dawn, asking,
that in the absence of what you ask for your day gets dark,
your neck thin as a spindle, that what you give away
is all you won, that you sacrifice belongings,
sleep, health, your head, that you often
sit down in a fire like aloes wood, and often go out
to meet a blade like a battered helmet.

When acts of helplessness become habitual,
those are the signs.

But you run back and forth listening for unusual events,
peering into faces of travelers.
“Why are you looking at me like a madman?”
I have lost a friend. Please forgive me.

— from Acts of Helplesssness by Rumi

What makes the hair on my skin stand as I read the poem? Is it how I relate to it? Is it how words and meaning of the lines relate to each other as in, “to meet a blade like a battered helmet“? I don’t know. But following the trace of the experience in my imagination/memory it feels as if at a certain moment all the relationships between words, lines, meaning, feeling ‘gel’ into a highly coherent whole. The ecology of the living field has reached a tipping point and evokes an insight, feelings, childrendetail2-cory_enchconnectedness, inspiration – sheer beauty.
This leads me to the understanding that creating the ecology and atmosphere for a living field to resonate with high coherence is very much akin to art. This type of creation, though, goes way beyond the above mentioned definition of art as “deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions“. Creating living field art is also related to the question that shapes the boundary of that ecological niche of highly coherent resonance, asking, “Which dimension am I going to call on, explore and what are the ways, values and means I set out with?”

We know nothing of the living field in ‘ordinary circumstances’ – it is epiphanies that indicate the whereabouts of the high resonant spaces within it that can be used for artful constellation. And then, once the artist has gone through the epiphanic process provided by the living field, s/he can constellate circumstances and deliberately arrange elements so as to propagate an epiphany-prone ‘object of art’. A conversation, a poem, singing, growing a garden, sitting in a circle, writing, dynamic presencing, participatory design, intense we-fulness, the blossoming of the heart-chakra, cooking, painting, cuing up, communing with disembodied entities, a smile on the bus… it is epiphanies that turn these moments and movements into art, making space for beauty in form. There is, of course, always a magic at work, something forever out of control of the artist. Without it all these moments and ‘objects of art’ lose their color and feel; without this mysterious extra it all lacks authentic, beautiful presence in our real-life-stream.

childrendetail-cory_enchAn artist, a living field artist recognizes this ‘magic’, s/he follows its scent to where there is ‘light in the atmosphere’ that is on the brink of emerging as epiphany. S/he’ll arrange – often without knowing how – the words, gestures, colors, beings so that their relationships invoke and evoke, tease out what flows and resounds between them; these streaming sounds, the melody of the artist’s doing, entrain the relating participants into epiphany-prone circumstance. This is where everybody and everything involved is unfolding in a deeper, higher, utterly satisfying space, round and resting in itself, and expressing in religious people spiritually, in the aesthetic ones as beauty, in inquisitive beings as realizations and insights, in philosophic and scientific minds as truth, in life’s sailors as the winds of love, in kosmic space cowboys as bliss-bubbles, in earthlings as the joyful gravity of reality.

Becoming an artist of life entails more than sniffing out, co-creating, co-evolving the forms and ecologies for epiphany, it is developing spiraling processes that enlarge the circle of resonant living fields in the manifest and virtual realms by participating in their emergence wherever that may be, “making it up as we go” with all the other feelers of the collective world-being we truly are.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.

Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

childrenstorymural-cory_ench

Mural by Cory Ench

US Now

A film project about the power of mass collaboration, government and the internet… this is what the makers say about this very interesting movie that some of my twitter friends pointed me to (sorry girls and guys, I forgot who it was, and I have yet to delve into the possibility to finding pieces of info like this; so let me honor Us All for contributing to the stream that then brings flowers such as this).

The examples for collective intelligence are amazing, and previous to this I had no knowledge about them. And they are encouraging, very much so.

Us Now from Banyak Films on Vimeo.

For more information, extra clips and reviews please go to usnowfilm.com

Watch Us Now in other languages here: http://dotsub.com/view/34591ca8-0ef5-48fb-82e6-163a9f21298d

Imagine What Comes After Green

The greatest opportunity of our generation: that’s what could be waiting for us, after we leave “green” behind. Saving the biosphere and spreading sustainable prosperity is going to take a lot more than doing things in a more environmentally-conscious manner; it’s going to demand we remake much of our material civilization.

And that’s good news. It frees us up to think in really new ways, to innovate, to create, to re-invent. Our day is almost defined by the exploding number of people who have access to tools and models and ways of thinking that were previously rare or expert or unimagined. If we live in an age of stark ecological limits, we also live in an age of widespread potential innovation.

We can see on the horizon the silhouette of something incredibly hopeful and exciting: a world of people whose boundless creativity within natural limits uplifts humanity and remakes civilization to be first sustainable, even restorative. This crisis could end up being the greatest opportunity of our generation.

In this work, though, we have two enemies: time and outdated thinking.

We must go fast now. We have possibilities today that we’ll lose with every passing year, and the tipping points loom ahead: beyond those, only disaster awaits.

We’ve also got to toss aside the mindset that the status quo is reasonable. The very first step in bringing on a better future is acknowledging that our ideas of what’s normal, or even what’s possible, will not outlast the next decade. If we take radical change as a given, we’ll quickly see that a number of solutions are already within our grasp.

Free our minds and our footprints will follow.

The movement towards planetary sanity has already accelerated to the point where it’s now dragging “green” (in its shallow pop-culture sense) along behind it like an anchor. We’re way past the stage of voluntary half-measures and into an era of widespread innovation, high standards and systemic change. Anything less merely distracts us from the goal.

Imagine a future that works — that’s what we must do! Not in a mushy, vague, feel-good sense, but in a concrete way; in a way that proclaims the transience of the world around us and the possibility before us.

That’s the work we see ourselves both engaged in and reporting on here. We’ve got a big book project coming up on this very topic, and we’re processing all the great feedback we’ve gotten from all of you lately about how to remake the site into a more effective vehicle for sharing stories about the kinds of creativity and innovation Worldchanging people around the world are summoning up at this critical moment. We think the result is going to be nothing less than transformative.

At the same time, we also think that this is a moment when we all need many more people iterating their ideas for real change. So, as a starter for that kind of conversation, we’re holding a little collaborative challenge.

The idea is simple: share, in words, images or sounds, your idea for the end of some outdated aspect of contemporary society and its replacement with a better way of doing things. Start with the phrase, “Imagine no…”

Then put a link to your entry (or the text itself) in the comments below.

The best examples we know about in two weeks will get prominent coverage here on Worldchanging, and we have some swanky prizes for the folks who do the best job. In the spirit of testing the rope first, we’ve come up with a few examples ourselves, merely (we hope) provocations for thought. We would love to know which ones you like!

…. find more here

Me to the Power of Us

A beautiful video illustration a visionary statement by Michel Bauwens which expresses most beautifully the Path I find myself to be on.

“Anyway, this is what the changes are about, augmenting the individual through relationality, with the object of creating common value collectively, through self-aggregation. The whole push of the p2p revolution is to create the infrastructure for this, designing for inclusion, and for convergence of the indiviual and collective interest, through value-conscious design.”
From Our new digital selves and their relational augmentation by Michel Bauwens

The Chaordic Path and Stepping Stones

Toke Mller and Monica Nissn weave stories around the chaordic path and stepping stones.
Video & video cutting by Helen Titchen-Beeth

Right Brain Enlightenment

Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened — as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding — she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.

What is possible cannot be determined by opinions, but only by attempt. And we were determined to make the attempt. � Dee Hock

1. Everybody is a leader

Leading by being
Community Development professionals (CDPs) are the change they wish to see.

CDPs provide relational and situational information and knowledge to members, who are seen as quite capable to judge for themselves what, given their values, purposes and principles, they should do in the best interests of the community as a whole.

Collective Intelligence
The intelligence and intuition of the whole community by far exceeds any partial intelligence by individuals and manifests in many � sometimes unprecedented � ways.

CDPs trust the collective intelligence of the whole and are constantly on the look-out for ways and means to capture its patterns and processes so that community members can more easily know of it and participate in it.

Permission Granted
Accountability and authority are regarded as a natural part of everybody�s character.

CDPs provide and live principles (not rules) to foster the free expression of the community�s members. All members of the community are regarded as being fully accountable for their words and deeds.
If conflicts arise they act like �people whisperers� and/or mediators to help turn possible mistakes into lessons that the whole community profits from. They do have the authority to mandatory refer members who disrupt the community�s functioning to a mediating �Council of Community Elders�.

2. Promote connectivity and collaboration between the community�s members

Connectivity & collaboration
Provide tools and occasions for maximum connectivity between members.

CDPs seek close connection with their community and are therefore most of all available to be contacted with any issue at any time � within reason; they might delegate this obligation at certain times to CDPs of other communities.
CDPs are always on the look-out to improve tools, procedures and situations that foster deeper and wider connectivity and are very keen of bringing opportunities to collaborate to member�s attention.

Synergy
Treat members of aligned external communities as fully trusted community members.

CDPs � with the aid of Gaiaspace�s Alignment Process and their colleague CDPs � are actively seeking out synergies, and having found them they carefully create connections and suggest collaborations. Once connections and collaborations have been committed to by these partners they are regarded as fully trusted community members.

Cluster
Nurture the community�s internal and external networks and connections

CDPs pay attention to the networks within the community and networks with which the community is connected and even embedded in. They know how systems become systems of influence by being well connected in larger networks and networks of networks.
They also ensure that the information coming in through �weak ties� from the world in which their communities are situated is fed into the community�s collective intelligence.

3. Experiment, collaborate and support mutual apprenticeship

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk. � The Dalai Lama

Purpose, principles & people
People guided by robust purpose, having developed principles that guide the realization of that purpose create strongly aligned behavior that gets things done in fast and often unprecedented ways.

CDPs understand that guiding principles derived from overarching purposes that align the community unite people and they therefore support members of their community to find and/or express their very personal purpose first. They secondly support finding and/or expressing the principles of communication, connection and action that foster and support this. Then they continually support the alignment of personal with universal purposes and the powerful collaboration, action, behavior that results from this alignment.

CDPs take a keen interest in anything which might foster the development of deeper, wider and more effective community whether it�s within anybody�s defined role or not. They therefore strengthen a culture of mutual apprenticeship in which everybody can learn from everybody else.

Transparency & Fair Share
Transparency about personal agendas and the fair sharing of � material and immaterial � outcomes fosters the necessary trust for real collaborations in community.

CDPs understand that �Win-Win-Win� is an outcome and not a strategy. If the community as a whole is to profit from its being and collaboration and knowledge-ecology a sophisticated behavior is needed: acting in trust, freedom and clarity, always also thinking about �how to fairly share the outcome with everybody who had an input?� Therefore at times CDPs also address the “what’s in it for me” question for each member of collaborating networks within the community.

Fluid Dynamics
Learn through experimentation, differentiation, mutation, mutual apprenticeship, trustful relationships, collaboration and appreciative inquiry and review.

CDPs understand that communities are held together by a sense of identity that results from shared purposes, principles and personal bonds between its members. The also understand that community is more akin to a fluid than a solid, and that to help it to continually and creatively reinvent itself invigorates it and keeps it alive. Therefore they see purposes and principles as processes in flux and encourage challenging questions, experiments and all kinds of creative proposals and behaviors � if necessary balancing it so that a dynamic equilibrium is maintained.

4. Support natural forms of organization

Autopoiesis (aka “Self-Organizing Networks”)
The vital communities of the 21st Century are self-organizing entities in a state of continual self-transformation in concert with an exponentially accelerating growth of diversity, complexity and rate of change of the cultural and natural environment

CDPs, understanding and accepting the exponentially accelerating rate of change in this century, support all tendencies toward self-organization and self-transformation of the community they serve. They therefore support servant-leadership on every level; they are always on the look-out for members with leadership potential and make it their priority to support and mentor them towards becoming a community development professional. CDPs understand their role to be temporary � they work towards the community�s self-organization whose servant-leaders grow from its own members; this being part of the self-transformative trend of every community.

Alignment
Self-organizing networks seek maximum alignment with other networks, communities and individuals that advances their purpose(s)

CDPs are always looking out for other communities, networks and individuals whose purpose might align with the community they serve. The wheel has been invented many times over; most likely humanity as a collective has or can easily develop all the know-how and procedures needed to cope with any and all challenges it faces on the micro-, midi- and macro-level. The open alignment of purposes, goals, intentions makes this much more apparent, and the culture of appreciative co-humanity makes it easier accessible. Therefore CDPs are an example of collaboration across all boundaries, and have a basically pluralistic view on values � looking for alignment instead of for differences (yet without ever diminishing diversity).

Emergence
All ecologies, be they natural or cultural, have natural cycles of growth and emergence.

CDPs are well aware of natural cycles of community growth, flourishing and transformation. They know that sustainable development is not to be managed or controlled because the resilience of such �artificial� growth is low and needs to be artificially supported continually. They therefore trust in the community�s own rhythm and cycles of development which the serve and support. Their ability to allow uncontrolled development and �being the change the want to see� creates space for novel and unforeseen flourishing.
� Mushin J. Schilling, Berlin, Dec. 2007

Did you know?

I think this viedo speak entirely for itself…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHWTLA8WecI

Knowledge is…

… to man what pheromones are to ants, and the dance is to bees: it is a way to navigate in life to the greater good of all. Love, of course, also is a way to navigate, and so is ‘following your heart’, as is inquiring into the truth and beautification.

Take this quote:

Human consciousness is not located in the head, but is immanent in the living body and the interpersonal social world. Ones consciousness of oneself as an embodied individual embedded in the world emerges through empathic cognition of others. Consciousness is not some peculiar qualitative aspect of private mental states, nor a property of the brain inside the skull; it is a relational mode of being of the whole person embedded in the natural environment and the human social world. — Evan Thompson in “Human Consciousness – from Intersubjectivity to Interbeing”; A Proposal to the Fetzer Institute 1999

If, as I too tend to believe, consciousness is (most of all) immanent, the quest for transcending whatever moment or situation is basically pass 🙂

So we engage with each other, collaborate, work together and become each other’s apprentice. This way we’ll serve the healing of the planet best (I would say, understanding — which is my navigation-tool here now — that there are uncountable other ways as well).

The Collective Buddha – Polilogue 1

Since I’m pretty busy these days with developing the concepts around a knowledge & community ecology online – more about this once we’re ready to go BETA for the general public – dearest Helen has taken the time from her busy schedule to finally place the polilogue (term derived from dia- , meaning two, to poli – meaning many, hence polilogue) Doug, Bruce, Helen and I had almost three weeks ago (has it been so long already?) on her blog.

It’s called “Collective Buddha Series – Polilogue 1” [after much time some of these links look awfull, others are maybe in disarray; 19. April 2011]

For the beginning of the story:

Why the next Buddha will be a collective

We are the next Buddha

The We of Us – a Trialogue

Integral We-Fullness

Nondual Community: The flowering of intersubjectivity. Parts I, II and III [alas, all these links have vanished with the ‘zaadz’ community]

Integral We-Fullness – A Trialogue (The We of Us – Part 2)

TogetherThe last trialogue The We of Us [alas, link no longer functioning] was published here on May 21st. Since then there has been two posts by Michel Bauwens of the P2P-Foundation on his blog; one in which he talks about my post “We are the Next Buddha” and one where he looks at Helen’s post “The Next Buddha will be a Collective” (which sparked of my post after I realized that we already are the Next Buddha). Also there have been quite a few interest comments added to the posts in this interwoven thread on “We-Fullness” as we’ve started to call the emerging melody which I encourage you to look at.
Bruce — whom we hope can participate in our next we-alogue — has added significant and beautiful posts on Deep Dialogue (Part 1 & Part 2), and now 3 incredibly helpful posts on The Flowering of Intersubjectivity (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).
Helen has also looked a bit closer at one of the topics we touched upon in our last trialogue, the question “Could there be a hierarchy of collective Buddhas“?

In this trialogue we talk about the young integralists, the fastness of the ego and development, we touch on trails of breadcrumbs and helpful stories, the art and discipline of we-full living,portable sacred spaces, connecting loops and what We-culture is,learning from ourselves and finally some interweaving. Helen is in Brussels, Doug in Berkley, California and Mushin in a little village near Prague in the Czech Republic.

After saying hello and some preliminary remarks about the quality of our connection …

Doug: I have been sharing the We a lot with young people from New Zealand. There are 20 people from New Zealand here for a youth retreat. It is called a collaboratory: Youth Insight Collaboratory.Starts this afternoon.The youth have been gathering the last three days in California coming from three continents.

Helen: How many will you be?

Doug: A community of 40+, with American youth and adult members, and then some volunteers who will take some of us on a beach outing.This all comes from the same moment I met Morel (one of the organizers of the Edge of Emergence meeting were we 3 connected for the fist time).From the same gathering.

Mushin: And I just want to mention that there are interesting people engaging with our conversation some of which we will surely invite to participate in some of our future we-alogues.

Now we take a moment of silence — the way we like to start these we-alogues.

Doug: I want to tell about this room full of these young people being absorbed into this awareness.In the meditation we had, and they showed up.

Helen: How did you experience that, Doug?

Doug: A lot of light. And also I have been evidencing with them a lot of connectedness to their body.They are very attentive and they have been flying across the world, so they take care of their body to be awake.
I was up early this morning and I ran into some of them, and they were responding to how present they were since time they have had arrived.They are in their young 20s.

Mushin: One of the persons who wrote comments on our last trialogue, Lynn, she is also 23, I saw in her profile.Young people seem to be catching up on that We-fullness rather early.

Helen: Yes, it’s the integral babies;Even if they haven’t found it yet they are very awake and bright souls.

Mushin: I feel called in this regard to create a trail of breadcrumbs, by that I mean us finding metaphors and story-lines so that it can somehow pave the way so We-fullness can easily flourish without people having to go through crystallizing ego structures.Do you think that’s possible?

Helen: I don’t know, because the ego is so fast that sometimes it gets there first; it works so fast that actually it gets a hold of things before they hit our awareness.Our direct experience gets labeled and fragmented almost before we perceive it, in between our perception of it and when it hits our brain it gets labeled and fragmented. But there is something else that is coming to me now.An inquiry whether or not that matters; because if we are present holding that we-full space then anybody coming into the field,whether they perceive it or not is being permeated and drenched in that space, a bit like sheepdip — there is a metaphor for you :-).

Mushin: As you were speaking about the fastness of the ego and fragmenting I was also thinking, “If we are holding the container it really doesn’t matter for the We.” But it does matter for the individual, the single person.I guess that’s where the bread crumb metaphor comes in.There needs to be a kind of collaboration of the ego function, or the individuality with the We, and for that to happen the ego needs good reason, that is, good stories.I think the ego lives by and through stories.Good stories will somehow help it feel the the goodness of that collaboration.I think the ego is always best motivated with goodies.

Helen: I have just been revisiting a paper by Susann Cook-Greuter about the nine stages of ego development, and in particular where she describes the higher, unitive stages, the Alchemist and the Ironist she calls them.The description of those stages is based on her research, people demonstrate those stages.It is fascinating how she describes the relationship between the consciousness and the ego.Susann Cook-Greuter is one of the leading development psychologists, she is one of students of Loevinger.

Doug: I have one other thing to bring from what we are saying a few minutes ago.When you talked about the bread crumbs and storylines… I’ve been a conscious of the role of one that has journeyed on the way to elderhood relative to the youth that I guide as my mission.I am very aware of being a storyteller when I’m in their presence.The stories just come out in the moment, and these young people are incredibly present to the stories and the teachings therein.And then they’re commenting, loving the stories.This is about Wu wei, action without action — in the way of being that I am with them in that role there is a telling of the stories as a way of transmission that is called forth in their learning journey.They love that, so that happened this morning…

Mushin: As you’re speaking about stories, breadcrumbs and storylines, I am considering that we-fullness and the We we are talking about is a new storyline.And just as the old stories have been told by good storytellers, and I think we as elders to young people…We tell stories.I often find myself doing that also, mostly stories of my life, experiences or stories that I’ve read.This is not so much a mutual storytelling, it is still one-way.The we-fullness is there, having a focus on that now I can experience it, but I doubt that it is experienced in the sense that we are having and focusing on; they experience it as a beautiful atmosphere which accompanies storytelling occasions.So what we are doing here now is — the We spinning new stories.And that seems to be an art that we are learning.

Helen: Can you tell more about this art?

Mushin: Take our conversations here: They differ from ordinary conversations because they are contemplative, that means as we are speaking we are aware of the speaking, and we are aware of each other and the nonlocal we-fullness, and we are consciously upholding it.So that would be part of this art.
Michel Bauwens in his post picked up on your term pattern cohorts… What emerges in we-fullness is patterns.And we are unpacking these patterns rendering them to each other in the story of we.

Helen: I keep having this image of Indra’s net where each of the stories reflects all the other stories and is reflected in them.That implies we are weaving some kind of Indra’s net with the conversations we are having, and with the way in which we are tracking other conversations and weaving them together, detecting the patterns in these different stories and holding them up so that people can see them. But not only the patterns in their own stories but also the shared patterns.And this is basically what Michel has done.He has picked up our conversation and is showing it to his interlocutors, saying, “Look, these people are talking about the same thing and they are taking it up in these languages and words, and here is the gateway into their conversation.” — it is nice to find soulmates.

Doug: From the time we first met until now I am quite conscious that in describing this part of my lifestyle recently or choosing to bring the story of the trialogues and the we-fullness to someone, that this invokes a sacred space.It’s quite subtle, but there’s a different quality in the choice to tell what we’re doing and to invite someone to open up to what is We.Sometimes I really miss we.The field is strong enough so I am conscious of the gap…

Helen: What is coming to me right now, and we’ve mentioned it a couple of times before, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am to.” We have convened this We and it is always there and not only for me — before I laughingly have referred to myself sometimes as a portable sacred space… but this has become three times stronger, and I’m noticing it in the way people respond; it’s as if this we-ness has become a dominant part of my personality.

Mushin: When I consider how this We influences me then it’s almost as if I’m becoming a spokesman towards other people who still see themselves as a lonely isolated I.Immediately or almost automatically, this is how I connect to Helen saying that it has become dominant, I take others in to the We that we are.And it is being sensed, and it is being felt I think. If you use Indra’s web instead of Indra’s net, it’s as if one immediately starts to weave a person in to the web, into the We.

Helen: What degree of volition or will is needed by the other in order to stay in the We?

Mushin: If I look at my history, where I am at now, it is the result of a development.Resulting from this development there is a voluntary focusing on the We, holding the We — like you say, Helen, I’m a portable sacred space. It’s intentional.It’s a doing that is becoming more and more automatic, but there are times when there is tensions with friends or my girlfriend so then there is a stronger willfulness needed to come back to the We.
But for others to stay in the We…You would need to have a kind of grounded basic feeling of being embraced by a bigger We, and then embracing this bigger We yourself, turning that into a discipline, a daily discipline of often looking at the we-fullness or we-emptiness of a situation.Some situations are not very full of We so you bring it in and other situations are we-full so you don’t have to bring it.

Helen: Through the habitual filters of the egoic mind, why would one want to be in a We — there is this whole groupthink…?

Mushin: Because you don’t want to be alone. Talking with my girlfriend Janshi recently about what in systemic thinking is a concept of loops… I’m using that concept in my training; we are working on loops of our basic assumptions, believing in something and also something else, and then there are tensions between these beliefs. And yet this tension is also creating a kind of balance; so I asked my girlfriend, “What do you think this balance is for?” And she said, “It’s aim is to be connected to others, connected well.” And as she was saying that I saw that this is a very natural tendency. If for instance you give children no chance to talk to you or relate to you, to be we-full with you, then if they’re small enough they will even die.So it’s obvious that the psyche is absolutely predestined for we-fullness.

Helen: As we hold that we-space and expand it around us even non-localy… as we hold the we-space that we have created with each other people feel it and they do come into it.And you’re right, there is something that is part of our birthright and part of what we are being called into as the next stage of our development. It is possible that if you’re walking into that field that your sensory mechanism, your energetic mechanism is going to pick it up and resonate with it whether or not you know how to interpret it with your egoic are rational mind. How you going to interpret it depends on your developmental filters.But fact is that you will feel it.It will be picked up in some way and that puts you in an altered state of consciousness ever so slightly.

Doug: Have you heard of David Suzuki, the Canadian environmental cosmologist? There is a metaphor for the field we are talking about and the effect of we-fullness on those in our surrounding; this is a scientific analogy that comes from him.Molecules of the breath that I breathed in in Japan within hours are breathed in and become part of beings in Vancouver. Our life energies is merged and integrated with the same stuff molecularly with those of beings all over the world within hours.

Mushin: That makes me think of Masaru Emoto, the Japanese man working with water crystals and resonances.If we claim for air the same properties that he claims for water then we breathe spirit into each other; inspire, inspirare, “breathing together.” That’s going on all of the time and has been going since the beginning.So there must be a difference to that situation now as we are coming to We-culture.So is what we’re doing now creating a We-culture, turning this into a We-culture?

Doug: It is very simple, “What do we as a society put our attention on?”We do this by choice, so we-fullness can become a choice.Therefore being an accelerator of the formation of we-culture is an elemental choice of beings.

Helen: This is waking something up in me in the moment, saying, “What do we choose to pay attention to?”

Doug: It’s a very powerful phrase.What do I have my attention on? Then you can direct it.Shaping and influencing in leadership is about calling into question what does the group have their attention on? And then it instantly shifts…

Mushin: Self-consciousness means being conscious of yourself, then we-consciousness is being conscious of us, us-consciousness is being conscious of the We that we are.We are moving from self-consciousness to we-consciousness in some way, and as we are putting more and more attention on that then the we-consciousness inevitably will grow.

Helen: It’s a learning curve.Basically we are becoming consciously competent at holding the We, and there are times when you need to hold it consciously and other times when it’s more automatic.So that is the learning curve.And it is incredible how much faster one learns when one is awake.

Mushin: We can actually learn from ourselves… how easy that is!Much easier than learning from some other. If I had to learn from somebody else there is always the possibility of resistance, my ego and their ego, who is right and who is wrong, and all that stuff.But when we are learning from ourselves,there is none of that resistance.

Helen: This is something I’m learning with a colleague. Since we did the Women moving the Edge there is a very strong sense of a We… once you’ve had this extraordinary experience like we had, once you’ve been through the eye of the needle, you don’t get back again.

Mushin: The first time I really experienced this was 15 years ago.And I forgot all about it, I didn’t remember any of this anymore, it just disappeared.I remembered that there was something special there, the sense of being together but really I forgot all about it.This brings me back to the breadcrumbs and we-culture… at the time of the first experience of this I was busy with quite another story.It was the story of my personal enlightenment. I was concerned with moving up the ladder of a spiritual conquest, of spiritual development, of being able to doing this and that, to meditate deeply, etc.So my attention was very much on myself.And even having had that we-experience didn’t change that.Somehow it needed the development of the last 15 years for me to be ready and willing to create a we-culture and not be so concerned about myself.

Doug: There is a power and a limitation in the illusion and fantasy of progress that you were caught up in in the past, and in its essence it’s very self-oriented

Helen: And yet you have to go through it.

Mushin: That brings me back to the young integralists. It seems that our job as elders is to create we-full containers and we-cultural memes and powerful stories.I think this ego development of trying to conquer Mount Kailash, climb the Himalayas and do this whole heroic story is necessary, at least for men.What is valid for both genders, to reach my happiness, to first be happy myself and to then spread it.Thinking about Robert Kegan’s curriculum for fourth level consciousness, on that level it is all about self, self-empowerment, self-trust, self-reliance… so the question is, and this is maybe something for the next trialogue, how to embed this quest for self empowerment, self-reliance and so on which is absolutely needed in my view, how to embed it in such a way in we-fullness and we-space that as you’re climbing your personal Mount Everest that you can easily jump off any place on the mountain into the we-space, and to be embedded, to be embraced and even empowered on this journey, being encouraged on this self-journey that eventually will come to an end.

Doug: I would like to introduce you to one of the youngsters from down under. (Doug introduces us to Karl and him to us.)

Karl: It’s really a privilege to join you. Doug showed me the transcript or montage of the trialogue you were having, and I am enthralled. I’m with these 20 young people, and we are looking at how we shape the future and the spaces between us… (long silence)

Helen: This silence is also a part of our trialogues (I usually don’t transcribe these silences 🙂 ; Mu.).

Mushin: We-fullness is also emerging from the interweaving of silence and words coming through one person or the other — opening up, different colors coming through different voices — whereas the silence, of course, comes through all of us. (Silence)

Helen: I am getting such a surge of spirit right now. Just hearing Karl speaking about what these young people are gathered together to do.

(After Sam, another young man from down-under says hello to us it is time for Doug to start the retreat and we finish this trialogue.)

An amazing question?

TogetherThere is something that continues to amaze me every time I see a big spiritual festival announced in which the superstars and celebrities of the mystic heavens, the gurus and the pundits, the successful therapists and masters of living a beautiful life take the stage. If I understand most of the teachings that they are espousing then the wholsesome, holistic, spiritual and sustainable future of life on our planet is high on their agenda. “We need to come together, need to experience the oneness” and so on, so we can help the woes that we all and the world suffers now will fade out. And we all agree on this, don’t we? working every day at finding and creating ways that will help build a sustainable future for this and the coming generations.

So what really amazes me is that not once I hear or read about one of these stars, masters and teachers, be they male or female, or even several of them trying to get each other around the table to devise or let emerge some initiative or program that would be truly irresistible, since all these people have a lot of followers, supporters and fans… and what would happen if they would all support each other, creating a mutual, co-operative “what shall we call it?”.

Please, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not complaining at all. I’m just really amazed, as I do take – at least I have for a long time – these teachings serious. Maybe you have an answer to this question. How come “the enlightened ones” don’t get it together?

The We of Us

(Dia-, Tria- and Multilogues in the Series “We are the next Buddha”)

After some preliminary statements about the quality of Internet connection and lights that have to be switched on, our conversation on the “We” starts.

Mushin: We are going to speak about We, at least that is my plan; It would be very nice if for the time of this conference we would come from the We-space, out of a we-fullness. So that as we are talking about the We, we’re not just talking about it but talking as much as it is possible from it.

Doug: I’m game for that experiment and living into that.

Mushin: So let’s just take a minute of silence for the We to become full…” (in the silence we all hear the birds in Mushin’s location.) Yes, there are many birds here, one singing right in front of my window.

Doug: And that reminds we of the story you shared about the wood, about the plurality. Those birds of all different species.

Mushin: Three or four different species playing together, hopping from branch to branch, playing some game that only birds can play in Wintertime. Yes.
I have been contemplating today a bit about the emergence of the We in a developmental sense, and also about the emergence of the I. And it appeared to me that the I or ego might be coming out of the We; the We of mother and child, out of that unity. That would be a primary-level We, an undifferentiated We. Moving up the spiral of development, it seems that the three of us here and now are tapping into a much wider, much larger We that has very much incorporated individuality.

Doug: But it’s not a primary identity, it is included in the We more as meta-reality, a main reality.

Helen: It might also be possible to talk about it in Wilber’s terms of a more integral consciousness where the I — which is the primary vehicle of consciousness — is waking up to more dimensions of being, waking up to its own embeddedness in the We, which has always been there but has not really been understood. Once that becomes conscious in an individual, then the individual can develop much faster. And once this becomes conscious in a collective of individuals, we get emergence happening at an exponential rate. That’s my sense of it.

Mushin: And there is more that Wilber seems to add. In his book “Integral Spirituality” in chapter 7, “A Miracle Called We”, he says there is a major difference between we and I, and that is the dominant monad. He uses the example of his dog Isaac — what a name for a dog — getting up. He points out that the We of the cells of the dog don’t go this way or that way, they all follow the dominant monad, which is not the case in the We that we three are talking about now. This We does not have a dominant monad.
That is an interesting distinction, so long as we keep in mind that the dominant monad is just temporarily dominant. What I mean by that is: what we are, the I, the individual, is basically a configuration of different subpersonalities or voices. In that commonality of what we usually call “I myself” are dominant voices or subpersonalities which rule at certain times.
In the case of a dog, the matter is pretty simple. But if I get up it might be the young boy getting up to do a little dance — the sun is going down and he needs to do his sundown dance — or it might be the rational, cognitive wise guy that gets up. So that is what I point to when I say that these subpersonalities are temporarily dominant, in this case dominating the whole of me to get up.

Helen: That could be a very useful inquiry. I sometimes feel that these voices and subpersonalities are a metaphor that we take to be real. And we can also look at our identities as woven out of lots of different threads and lots of different voices. Some of the Buddhist views are saying, “The more you look for the I the less you find it.” And yet there is this subjective sense of I-am-ness that Wilber talks about as being the witnessing self, witnessing all of the other things. So when we talk about the ‘I’ it is useful to know which ‘I’ we are talking about. Are we talking about the subpersonality-I’s that pop in and sort of borrow the body for a while, or are we talking about the witnessing I that is or can be aware of all of these different subvoices?

Douglas: And now a story from my personal path on behalf of where our collective we is going in service of emergence. For many years I would notice that action could be seeded from stillness. And I would notice that there was the consideration of an act, but I would pay attention to what preceded it, what kind of dialogue was going on that actually preceded action. So the question, “Who is doing?” was really up inside me, and then action would happen and I didn’t always know who decided.
If we take it that there is something that guides action, that at that point is in control, the dominant monad of the individual self – and I’m thinking of that on behalf of us being servants of the emerging noticing-and-direction seeking for humanity, of that we are antennae of awareness – and between us we will collectively pick up something that we decide to act on through some agency of the circle being.

Mushin: If I understand this — putting what Helen and you said together — I see that what is called the witness, the consciousness that is witnessing everything that is going on, does not seem to be agentive, it’s just witnessing whatever it’s witnessing…
Then the question becomes: “The development from the undifferentiated We through the I of the ego towards the circle-being-We, what is guiding that journey?”
If we accept that different subpersonalities are dominant at certain moments of time, we have all been studying that to some extent,then we can also pose this question like this, “How is the orchestration happening?”
So let’s say my inner child is being deeply hurt and taking over, becoming dominant. (We hear a dog barking in the background – “Being hurt maybe?”) So then the dog in myself awakens and takes over and says, “Okay child, it’s okay. Take a distance,” and so on. So the question is,” What is the guiding force? What is the monad, if that it is, that is guiding this journey?”

Helen: I think back to Genpo Roshi’s Big Mind process. What he does is go through what he calls the dualistic voices, the voices of the dualistic self, and then he moves on to the non-dual voices, and he speaks to Big Mind. And after he speaks to Big Mind; you know, Big Mind sees everything, and everything is vast, and Big Mind is everything, and everything is fine. So if it were left to its own devices Big Mind would just sit there and be fine with everything. So after speaking with Big Mind, he speaks with Big Heart. It is the duality between wisdom and compassion. Big Heart sees the same as what Big Mind sees, but Big Heart acts, Big Heart is driven to act out of compassion. So in terms of “who is acting”, which side of the duality are we acting from? Are we acting out of the subpersonality with the biggest need right now taking over the whole boat, or are we on the other side acting from fullness? I think we can only get into a collective We of the wise kind, that we are inquiring into right now, when the individual and social holons – not all maybe, but certainly enough – are coming from that space of fullness.”

Doug: You use the word agentive, and this brings me to the whole issue of the emergence of leadership or direction in action that will come out of what we are exploring. The formulation of direction is a leadership act, and I have been spending these last weeks just asking the question: “Who, and on behalf of whom, is that discernment and direction coming about?” (Dog barking again; we hear that it’s Moonshine, a little fluffy poodle, settling down now)

Mushin: I think the question of leadership is also one that is closely connected to the We. Of course we all know that there are the masses which do have a will of their own and their purposes are usually not very transcendent. I remember in the end of the 60s in Amsterdam, we used to fight the police in and around houses we squatted. There was also a We coming into sync, all of us coming into sync, and actually acting pretty coherently – and violently. I think Elias Canetti wrote about that (Masse und Macht).
Coming back to your question, Doug, about the leadership in all of this. I think we are coming from a point in our lives where we have been through a deep enough personal development — a development of the individual We, a significant number of subpersonalities inside of us – so that they have what I would call it a higher coherence which then allows us to actually explore whatever we wish to explore as this We, internally coming from a sense of we-fullness.
But then this doesn’t answer the question that Doug has put up, which I also think is very interesting to explore.

Doug: It is coming also from my own experiencing of being lived right now. And I’m noticing that when I’m really in clear articulation of how I am experiencing myself in my life and on my path, I also bring the story of a movement, of a collective reality. And as I invoke that with people, immediately there is a palpable response and they get on board and throw in their head-and-heart resources. There is generally a serving all of the movement that we get right now. It has numerous expressions in projects but I think of it all is a uniform direction.

Mushin: As we are exploring the idea of leadership… I suggest that maybe the emerging We is acting backward in time. If we look at subpersonalities in the Big Mind process, I’ve facilitated it a couple of times myself, after such a process with the dual and non-dual voices I often hear the question: “Who is governing this whole process? Which voice is leading one from the most horrible to the most enlightened voices? Who is running the show?” And in the past I have mostly used the metaphor of the ship, that there is some kind of captain, not the controller. The captain is never at the helm, he’s just saying where we go, and who’s on duty. So the captain would give the stage to a personality. That is a way to look at it.
But recently I have come to the idea that maybe I should regard the self as a We and that the self itself, from the darkest of voices to the highest non-dual subpersonality, can develop so that an inner circle-being comes into existence. Not something separate; we all know from when the We appears in the circle context with persons in the outside world, it is bigger than the sum of you and me and everybody participating. Nevertheless it brings a whole new way of being and feeling with the individuals participating.

Coming back to leadership, the idea is that maybe the emerging We or circle-being in some way exerts an influence backwards in time, pulling the voices into the coherence in which then the circle-being appears.

Helen: What are the conditions for the circle-being to emerge, when the individual components or the inner crowd inside an individual is behaving like a violent mob?

Mushin: Obviously that’s not possible.

Helen: The idea of congruence, where congruence would be the way to have that circle being… but again, if the inner circle being is congruent and behind an objective that is self-seeking for the smaller self, it will be very convincing and successful in the world, getting what it wants, but that also is not contributing to the emerging We. So what is the urge we have? Look at us, the three of us, and we are certainly not the only ones, who are hungry and thirsty for more we-fullness, and what is that about? What is that urge?
We can also call it the evolutionary urge of the We that goes from the fusional pre-personal-we, the newborn child, up through the individuation of the individuality, and then to the other side of belonging to an empowered collective that acts from fullness rather than from need.

Doug: …rather than individual need? What’s the difference?

Helen: Even from the perceived need of a group. I am thinking here of something that I’ve written on my blog about. You have Maslow’s pyramid of needs that go up from survival all the way to self-actualization. But everything under the self-actualization comes from a space of neediness rather than from a space of fullness, it’s coming from a space of fear. But there comes a point when that is no longer the driving urge; beyond that point, it’s abundance and one is acting much more from that.

Doug: I want to add something to the point of hungering and thirsting for we-fullness. There’s another expression of that, which is dancing and celebrating to express the being that We are, as an exuberance of knowing it, knowing we are there.

Mushin: Yes, absolutely. The first time I rediscovered the community-building process by Scott Peck, and I wrote about it, I named the article Hieros Gamos, divine marriage. There was this huge sense of celebration as the We appeared in this group, I remember it so well. It was, from my point of view as someone who basically feels that beauty is truth and beauty is love, as if the whole room lit up and everybody was just incredibly beautiful. Other people were speaking about deep feelings of connectedness, about the incredible joy they felt and so on. So there were many different celebratory expressions about being taken by or becoming part of or being embraced by the We. So there is an absolute sense of celebration, and Scott Peck speaks in this connection even about erotic feelings, a massive falling in love with each other. And that certainly happens.
And that could be also the movement back in time, the joy of We coming into being, the pre-individual We and the post-individual We, like the two ends of a stick holding it together. Not ends really, because you cannot say that there is a beginning and an end, but in this metaphor, there are these two We’s in our beginning as an individual and towards the ending of the individuality as determining life factor, and maybe there is this connection, this thread somehow, and this is the urge. (Losing Helen again… and reconnecting. After the reconnection we speak a bit about how much time we still have…)

Doug: Let me give you a quote as we were using the captain metaphor. This is from the email signature of a colleague from Australia. “If you want to build a ship, don’t divide the work and give orders; teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” (Saint-Exupery) That brings me into the oceanic character of consciousness that is one of my favorite metaphors for the mystical state.

Mushin: And I was just thinking about oceanic feelings in the Freudian sense. There Wilber’s distinction between pre- and trans- seems to play a role that we might want to acknowledge here. There is the first We of mother and child and then there is the – for lack of a better word – transcendent We that is trans-individual…

Helen: … that transcends and includes.

Mushin: It includes, very much so, yes. This is one of the beautiful things of this We, that I as a person feel absolutely embedded, welcomed, embraced in my light and darkness. That is the compassion, that aspect of the We that I’m always feeling, and maybe that is part of what is pulling us so much.

Helen: Mushin, as you say that, I realized that that is something that I can tune into and feel without there being a We of actual specific individuals. I don’t know quite how to call it, maybe my relationship to the universe or with whatever – it’s not an it, more a thou. But it is not dependent on the presence of other individuals. For me, what I want the circle-being for, that We, is to act coherently and powerfully and flowingly and in alignment with the deeper underlying purpose of life in the world. So it’s an intermediate stage before that really huge We of communion with the God-Being, whatever that might be, which is definitely embedded, welcomed and embraced in my life in that compassionate aspect that we have been talking about, but this urge to form the intermediate We has got to do partly with getting stuff done. It’s also about holding the space for emergence.

Doug: That is what I wanted to bring, to get very practical from the conversation about our experience in consciousness and in we-fullness… (now Doug talks about some of the projects which have been emerging for us in the last few weeks, among others about the coordination and implementation in the energy marketplace.)
The principles of servant leadership and we-fullness and guidance are already active and mobilized. Enhancing collaboration, that’s the practice field for what we’re talking about. (More specifics.)
This is inviting people into the question, “How can I be here for the collective beyond my own self interest or that of my company or initiative? To be here for the collective goals and needs?” So in many contexts the question is, “How do networks of networks collaborate and let go of their own individual attachments?”

Mushin: And in connection with that, I have stumbled across a very interesting thing, it is called Deep Dialogue and it originates with the dialogue between religions. There are seven stages of dialogue mentioned that I will be sending to you. There are also 10 Commandments of deep dialogue which I will be sending to you. That belongs here because I see the We as… you were previously asking, what are the circumstances and atmospheres and so on that are needed for the We to appear? And dialogue as we are having it here right now is one of the ways, and I think at this time and age it is the major gate that we need to take. The silent gate has been taken for ages leading to the universal We that you were describing, Helen. And I think the dialogical gate leads to initiatives and actions in the world we have been talking about in the last two minutes.

Pictures by Helen & Mushin
Mandalas created by participants in the Summergroupp of 2005 at Serenity Community, facilitated by Mushin

Previous post in this series, and for those who are interested in the general topic we are meandering around, there are some more posts: “Why the Next Buddha will be a Collective” by Helen, “Steps Towards Integral Deep Dialogue” Part 1 & Part 2 by Bruce; “The Collective Buddha Inquiry” again by Helen.

 

You might also want to look at these blog entries: “Towards an Integral and Pluralistic Spirituality“, “A Collective Emergence“; and “The Art of Relating” – if you think I should post some more important entries here, please let me know and I will be delighted to link them here…

and I hope this will be the beginning of a long and beautiful journey together with lots of more things to come.

 

We are the next Buddha

Helen wrote in her blog “Why the next Buddha will be a collective.” I hope to show with this article where I am coming from in this regard so that in the time to come we can have beautiful dialogues, trialogues or any other -logues to help this meme propagate.

I guess, for me it all started in earnest when in the summer of 2005 one of my trainees asked, “What about we?” I guess, he asked that because I was using my own path and experience as a template for the spiritual journey, as most spiritual teachers do. Because that’s what I felt myself to be at that time, a spiritual teacher. And, being steeped in a guru culture, my role was centered around having a ‘working relationship’ with the divine, by whatever name you want to call it, and my teaching and methods were congruent with that. (I won’t go into the aspect of the “teaching beyond words and scripture” that also is very much a part of this; some of how I looked at these matters you find here.)
The question really struck me, and so I started to read a lot of Martin Buber, and what he had to say about the possible quality of true relationship moved me deeply.

Wer in der Beziehung steht, nimmt an einer Wirklichkeit teil, das heißt: an einem Sein, das nicht bloß an ihm und nicht bloß außer ihm ist. Alle Wirklichkeit ist ein Wirken, an dem ich teilnehme, ohne es mir eignen zu können. Wo keine Teilnahme ist, ist keine Wirklichkeit. Wo Selbstzueignung ist, ist keine Wirklichkeit. Die Teilnahme ist umso vollkommener, je unmittelbarer die Berührung des Du ist.
Das Ich ist wirklich durch seine Teilnahme an der Wirklichkeit. Es wird umso wirklicher, je vollkommener die Teilnahme ist.

Being in relationship one participates in reality, that means, one participates in a being that is not only one’s inner being nor is it the being outside of one. All reality is a becoming-real in which I participate without my being able to take possession of it. Without participation there is no reality. Where there is a taking into possession to oneself there is no reality. The more perfect the participation the more immediate is the touching of the thou.

The I is real through its participation with and in reality. And it becomes more real the more perfect the participation is.

(My translation of Martin Buber: Das Dialogische Prinzip – Ich und Du – Seite 65-66)

Over time starting to understand what Martin Buber is indicating I left behind my formal conviction that was very much founded on experiences interpreted through Eastern philosophy and spirituality. “Thou art That” (Vedanta)… “I and the world are one” (Upanishads)… “I am is all there is” (Advaita). And I was moved to explore in all manners possible to me, what is between us.

During the winter seminar of the same year I went for a walk in a wooded valley nearby. The afternoon sun was coloring the snow golden white, the gurgling streamlet hid underneath a thin layer of ice and a deep blue sky spanned over the wonderful silence, when all of a sudden I saw a flock of finches, sparrows, stock doves and a rusty brown bird with a many-colored tail that is very common here. Different birds in one flock settling in a couple of trees and starting a game, it seemed, flying from branch to branch and tree to tree: a fink jumped-flew onto a branch on which a dove was sitting who then flew to a branch on which one of the brown birds was sitting and so on. And it seemed to have a rhythm: the birds in a game I used to play as a child called “Bäumchen wechsle dich” – a delightful jumping and a flying all over.
I had never seen anything like it or heard of it before, yet this experience befitted my development of the period very well. It isn’t important what species of bird I am with – what matters is engaging with what is between us, “Can we find a common game?” I wrote in my diary. Because then we can play with all species of birds in the trees of life. You show yourself as the sparrow or the dove you are, as the crane or the eagle or any other bird you find yourself to be, and you are taking the other birds just the way they are… and then something new, unknown, a never before seen or experienced game begins. Whatever song you sing let’s hear it, and listen to our melody, because without both the game, our joyous, delightful, mutual game cannot happen.

That spring and summer I was in trouble because I started to see that I couldn’t go on with my old way of teaching in which I was the one that “has it”, and the people coming to me didn’t – or where not conscious of it. Not, that I didn’t feel connected anymore to the deep sources of life and being, not that there were no more Satori’s or deep mystical states – quite the contrary many of my days were spent in a very juicy sense of lightness, as if bubbles of champagne were coursing through my veins. But it was what I and others made out of this that was the trouble. It was the ‘vertical spirituality’ in the patriarchal mode that I became wary of. It reminded me very much of feudalism, a social structure that I didn’t want to be part of anymore.
And as my opposition was growing (the article linked above was written in that period; you can see how very critical it is) so was my insight into what I came to call the emerging archetype of the “between us”. There is the huge P2P movement, Wikipedia, open source programming, sharing economy, distributed research, Web 2.0 & 3.0, etc.; the Internet has opened a huge gate towards the culture of collaboration in the production of knowledge and understanding but also of products and services.
I also came in touch with spiritual teachings and philosophies that are deep and and encompassing, thorough and practical and sophisticated as well, which apparently are not in need of the ‘vertical stance’ (John Heron‘s participatory spirituality, Jorge Ferrer‘s revisioning of transpersonal psychology, Alan Rayner’s inclusionality, Samuel Bonder‘s wakening down in mutuality… to name but a few).

I also saw that many of the methods I was using already for quite some time – dynamic presencing for instance – could be regarded very much as an expression of the spirit between us, the “We” (whenever I am alluding to the emerging archetype of the “between us”, which is also “the spirit between us” I will from now on be using We with capital W). And as I realized this the methods changed to incorporate this understanding. I started to realize that my real art is creating an atmosphere and situations in which the We can appear and start to move and even incorporate each and every one of us. The beauty of course is that this understanding meshes with another insight that came out of facilitating “Enlightenement guaranteed ;-)” events, a method that has become famous through Genpo Roshi who calls it “Big Mind”. Suffice it to say here that this method uses voices or sub-personalities as the main gate to understand how the human mind works. So there is not only the We between the many persons outside of us but inside of us as well. These ideas evolved into an understanding that I will sketch in more detail below.

Then in autumn and winter 2006 I went through a deep existential crisis which touched all aspects of my life, heart and mind – to put it in the metaphor I met the senex, Saturn, and it took quite some time before I could discover the We and allow it to unfold between us. But as spring dawned and with it my old friend Jupiter it was as if I started to hear a symphony – many different melodies coming together. And if I put it in language, this is how it sounds…
At this moment of our history we are on a critical path starting to leave an old view behind. If I am to sketch the perspectives of this view in a few broad strokes I would say it is basically one of centralism. It reminds me of what I think went on at the time when Kepler revolutionized the astronomical place of earth and sun. Before him most people, even the most intelligent ones, believed the earth was the center of the cosmos. But now he showed that the sun was at the center. It took a few hundred years for us then to realize that this is really not so, this cosmos does not have a center (more about this metaphor it in this article). So instead of our sun being at center we are now faced with innumerable stars and their relationships – constellations and configurations. So as beautiful as the sun might be around which I turn, and as enlightening the sun might be around which you turn, we are discovering that if we do not find the We (the movement and nourishment in our relationships and what happens or doesn’t happen in it) between us this universe starts falling apart into discrete stars and galaxies which are separated by huge stretches of empty space.

So it is very beautiful and makes deep sense that obviously this space is not empty at all; it is flowing over with the We that embraces all. And as I said, the We is making itself felt, understood, intuited all over this globe and is manifesting in many different ways – as people wanting to cooperate, to collaborate, to be in community and communion, seeing that the time of heroes (central suns) is definitely over, the time for the saviors and lone leaders that could set things right again. The world and its problems have become so complex that we can only hope to find adequate answers in “circles”of very different people where we can meet eye to eye and heart to heart – in a sort of collective leadership maybe. And this is underfoot already on a worldwide scale. The place here would not suffice to mention all the initiatives that are going on all over the world. Yet, this is one aspect of We manifesting.

Another aspect is the sense of spiritual or soul families or clans finding each other again across countries and continents. It is as if we have chosen ages ago to come together in this critical time on the planet to be midwives to what is wanting to emerge. What ever may be the case we do recognize each other and there is an immediate connection beyond words, even beyond understanding; all we do is accept it.

A third aspect manifests through what has been called the Circle Being, manifesting as a higher order of being together with an incredible coherence that draws in the individuals participating. This certainly is We, being highly coherent. (Helen has written about it here, and I have also reported a very strong experience here). The “between us” can also come into being in what has been called “a silver moment” or in German Sternstunde, “stellar hour”. In the Bible it has been alluded to – and much misinterpreted as only applying to the divine person of Jesus – as, “Where two or three are gathered in My Name there am I am in their midst.” (Matth. 18:20)

A fourth aspect is the insight that our very consciousness itself can best be regarded as plural and not singular as a traditional mysticism has it. In the individual this shows itself as sub-personalities or the many voices that speak in us – for instance the ego, the inner child, the judge, the saboteur, the seeker, the achiever, the non-seeking mind, the inner master, the higher self etc.. So looking at our individual consciousness or psyche as a “we” rather than as an “I” would pave the way for a “circle being” to manifest inside the mind of the individual. This to me at this moment is one of the most interesting aspect of the emerging archetype.
It seems obvious that the “inner We” does not dissolve individuality, I or ego; it rather enhances its possibilities and functionality, because as the so far dominant ego realizes its embeddedness it can let go much easier of its compulsory need to control, and become part of the conductorless orchestra of the “inner We” tuning in to the “larger We” dawning on all of mankind and even, so I think, all beings and what we now still call derogatively ‘dead matter’.

This allows us to regard the emerging We as a scalable, fractal phenomenon on many and maybe even all levels. Contemplating all of this I come to the understanding that I am called – as are many others – to support and nourish these dynamic constellations of individuals and voices to configure themselves so that the transformation that is necessary for the health of the planet and its inhabitants is facilitated optimally.