This is the storyboard of what I presented at theCOREconference.com on Sept. 24 2010 in Richmond, California. You might enjoy how I envision the move from the present economy 2.0 to economy 3.0 – a necessary and major upgrade of our Human Operating System to creatively and intelligently turn the challenge we all face into an opportunity to thrive.
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 🙂
Visions of what needs to happen on this planet to make it more of a home to the ever growing human population while at the same time taking care that all the other species can flourish as well abound. The United Nations have identified the 8 most pressing ones and on one of them, “Environmental Sustainability”, the political world is going to decide in Copenhagen what it will do, or wants to do.
There is a lot of leadership on climate issues, and if the information I get on what happens in the USA and Canada as a European residing in Berlin is correct, the competition between this leadership is amazing – everybody struggling for the best pole-position in the race to what is seen by many to be the new gold-mine: Green (Social) Economy. In Europe the competition is not as fierce but the call for leadership is strong. And I must confess that I don’t know much about what happens in South-America. Africa, Asia and Australia. I do know, though, there are at least 1.000.000 (1 Mio) NGO’s and other social responsibility organizations world-wide trying to lead the way. There doesn’t seem to be a lack of leadership…
Moreover there are countless experts and innumerable plans and [full disclosure here] I’m working with wonderful and brilliant people at creating “meshworks” that will help align people, plans and resources. We are well on our way in this endeavor, as soon as we’re ready to open up to the general public you’ll be hearing more from me here, and I expect it to raise our collective intelligence a few notches.
And yet, when working on my recent blogs on Resonance & the Living Field, Leadership, Community and Transforming the Whole and How to be? What to do? and this last weekend on a mindmap (a work in progress) The Community as a Whole is More than the Sum of its Parts an insight keeps nagging me that I could maybe sum up like this, “While visions, plans, meshworks and a highly committed leadership are absolutely essential, no clearly stated or compelling vision, no plan, as brilliant as it may be, no sophisticated meshwork aligning everyone and everything and no committed group of leaders are going to make the much needed brighter future a reality unless it is embodied by highly coherent communities that involve innumerable engaged citizens of all color and creed.”
In Leadership, Community and Transforming the Whole I’ve made a strong case, I think, why recruiting or aggregating large numbers of people to world change-movements doesn’t work, no matter how wonderful, powerful, idealistic and committed these people may be. No matter how many people we can recruit for “the cause”, the transformation will not result from ever growing sums of individuals working for change because “A whole is more than the sum of its part(icipant)s.”
The world is not made up of individuals, as we might be tempted to think, but it’s made up of groups, organizations, parties etc., in short: the world is a community of communities. These are the “wholes” that can foster, embed and realize the transformation that we wish for Earth.
According to Wikipedia, for community there “were ninety-four discrete definitions of the term by the mid-1950s” (here), so it might help to discern between what we will in this blog call “real communities” and “conventional communities.” Conventional communities, even if their goals are aligned with the world change we seek to implement, can at best be fertile ground for highly coherent “real communities”. And because transformative action is always local, customized and unfolding (emergent) and needs to be embodied by those that act the real community already lives the future it wishes to realize for all.
The following is just a preliminary list, that – with your help – will be updated continually to more accurately reflect what we’re learning.
|Real communities||Conventional communities|
|Look for possibilities and how to implement them||Work on solving problems, cater to needs of its members|
|Stimulate generosity and hospitality||Try to eliminate the causes of what we fear|
|Continually look to deepen connections and relations, value belonging||Need to grow, scale fast; value numbers|
|Empower and invest in its participants/members and their growth||Invests in (and sets out to improve) leadership|
|Participants/members find areas which they want to be accountable for||Set clear(er) goals by using clear processes with measurable milestones|
|Create space for regenerative conversations||Create more controls, measures of effectiveness|
|Love questions and what they generate||Seek the right answers and try to implement them|
|Thrive through ‘mutual apprenticeship’, trust in self-organization, coordinate action ‘chaordically‘||Hierarchical organisation; depend on leaders, authorities, experts, specialists to “make the plan and show the way”|
|Encourages authority and responsibility of every participant/member by honoring everyone’s contribution||Celebrates it’s leaders and icons, encourages competition|
|Brings people from the margin to the center to learn, connect more deeply and
regenerate communal strength
|Marginalizes people who are not in line with the community’s culture/rules|
(With this list I do not in any way wish to show that conventional communities are not needed or at fault, not so! It simply points out that they are not adequate to foster, create or embody the transformation that so many of us feel is absolutely needed if we are to survive in any meaningful way both as human species and as ecologically rich planet.
And what is listed under real community doesn’t make this kind of community right, perfect or “the best.” These are simply some of the characteristics that a resilient, vibrant and deeply meaningful community has, and I believe they’re indispensable for any transformation that deserves to be called such.)
Probably the most important characteristics of all communities are its conversations and “vibrancy.”
In a conventional community I cannot reveal much of who I am, and it can therefor not be very coherent, simply because feeling alignment between people depends very much on how much they feel safe to show of themselves and their ‘brokenness’. If ever you were in a group of people where someone opened up and showed some of what keeps her or him awake at night – and others were mature enough to allow that without immediately comforting or fixing or giving good advise etc. – then you know that the depth of a community is directly related to its openness to self-disclosure.
There is much more to say about real community, and I’m sure we will come to that in the next weeks and months, but for now I think we’re looking for a strategy to build the kind of communities that can carry and contain the world change that we all know is at hand – and it’s not clear if we’re going to come out wiser, healthier and thriving or not. My guess is, if we build real communities, we have better chances to come through wonderfully transformed.
Part of this strategy is certainly:
- Build regenerative social fabric with hospitality, generosity, deep conversations, felt alignment
- Reframe the crisis as breakdown of community and its restoration/healing
- Co-creation and enrichment of the “common good”
- Create time to simply be together and celebrate
- Understand that community is never a means to an end (even if that is transformation or world change); community is always its own end.
It is my deep conviction that not only do some of these communities already exist but that with just a little nudge many more will spring into being everywhere. So, for now, I’ll leave with this question, How can we/I serve those communities that interconnect and seed “real communities”?
I’ve been working on this mind map this whole weekend and will be working on it some more. You can, if you like also work on it (best to enlarge it before you do that – and even if you want to see it in more detail)… or comment. (More work from 1 & 2. Sept below)
This is the “Community” part of a larger whole that will incorporate “The Internet of Things”. It seems to me that I need to have this part straight before I can go to the next one…
Have added an important branch to the above map that can be closer (and probably easier) studied on this map:
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.
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
Being an aficionado for collaboration, so much so that I’ve created a job for me being a Collaboration Ecologist, recently more often than not I’ve come to inquire into the question, “If, as seems to be the case, many if not most people and organisations in the world seek collaboration and want to become communities of mutually aided flourishing, how come it is not the greatest hit on Earth?”
Or as my friend Doug who’s profession is coaching CEO’s, among other things, Â tells me, “In the US now all companies want to collaborate. They just don’t know how.”
Remember New Year’s resolutions? Remember, what you wanted to change in your life this year? To be honest, I never make any resolutions on New Year anymore, since remembering them later on is such a pain. The reason is most likely the same that keeps all the good willing people on this planet, including the businesses and organisations, from collaborating to change the course of the planetary commons – we don’t like to face the deeper challenges that need overcoming. Actually I think the are the stuff out of which our advances are made.
So here are the challenges as they show up on my radar:
- Challenge # 1: Probably the mother of all challenges to collaboration and community – Trust, patience, ‘deep’ listening and heartfelt connection.
Looking at my experience in life, business and relationships, and of course at many, many theories of what community and collaboration is really based upon, these 4 ‘values’ seem to be the most persistent ones.
- Challenge # 2: If #1 is the mother of all challenges, # 2 is the father – walking in somebody else’s shoes.
People do not only have different characters and views, convictions, beliefs, theories and opinions, they are also on different levels of evolving towards what we could call “wisdom”, something that doesn’t come with age (as any acute observer of world- and human affairs has already noticed) but with developing all kinds of skills, lenses, and intelligences (heart, mind, gut, social, relational etc.). On the way to some wisdom, for a long time, people live in a land where they wouldn’t know what it means to “walk in somebody else’s shoes”, leave alone that they would actually be able to do so. Yet, it is prerequisite to anything that resembles true collaboration.
- Challenge # 3: This one is centered around the question of leadership.
Community and collaboration are situated far beyond democracy – which is based on quantity, counting the number of voices, and not quality, what these voices are saying. The challenge is to find ways and means to govern ourselves so that the good, right and beautiful things are accomplished.
- Challenge #4: In the famous words of the Clinton Presidential Campaign in the USA, “It’s the economy, stupid!”
Collaborations and communities, on top of being simply a good and soul-nourishing thing to participate in by and of themselves, often also produce goods and services, and a commons that is recreational, inspiring, relaxing etc. (a source of aliveness; something like that, and also something that can be marketed). Who gets to share what of the communally created revenues is the fourth major challenge that needs facing, if communities and collaborations are to be more than a hype.
If you thought that I have the answers and that I’m going to give them here, I have to disappoint you. Not that I don’t have a number of very good ideas, processes and experiences around them (as many of my readers do as well), but if I were to tell them here, at maximum we would have a very interesting exchange of ideas and stories, and maybe even beliefs and convictions.And, so sorry, but I’m not really interested – mostly, because doing that will most likely lead to trying to make technical change out of the needed adaptive change.
There is a world of difference between technical change and adaptive change. A technical change you can manage using the given instruments and procedures. Often these revolve around a more effective use of the given instruments. You get long and wonderful To Do lists, that basically you need to check one after the other. Adaptive change asks you, on the contrary, to leave behind the old instruments and develop new ones. It requires you to adapt to a situation or process that you cannot yet analyse, and as such adaptive change is an “emergent phenomenon”… simply put, “Something is happening, but you don’t know what it is – and you cannot control it either.”
Sure, regarding myself as a Collaboration Ecologist I’ve got quite a number of processes and interventions up my sleeve that I can use in situations where people want to collaborate, and want some help. Often, I cannot do without them, yet these are not the secret of creating great ecologies in which collaboration and community flourishes. The real secret is this, “Find whatever helps the people present face the above challenges co-creatively, and go with what emerges in this group.” If you’ve got compassion, experiential knowledge, a working intuition and some intelligence you will, most likely, empower the people to squarely face these challenges. Then, and so far I can speak for 100% success, what comes out of that process you will advance into the Fields of the Future where Collaboration is Natural again.
(This is the non illustrated version; after I get proper permission, I will have some beautiful pictures alongside this blog)
I have been writing about what I consider true 21st Century Spirituality before (on my zaadz blog), about Open Source Spirituality (here & on zaadz), and now I’ve had the opportunity to test some of the principles in the first free seminar I facilitated in over a year (I did work with managers etc.; but that was all a set agenda – this was not).
Looking back to the times when I was still a guru, more or less, there is a remarkable difference in how I felt during this seminar; there was none of the very subtle tension, the subtle power-game that was always there in the back-ground for me in the past. (Just to be clear: I perceive that subtle tension in retrospect – if you would have asked me then, I would have most probably denied its existence.)
Let me explain: When you are guiding people towards a higher spiritual realization on a vertical ladder of ascent to a spiritual ‘highest goal’ you must be both, at least one step further than they are (so as to also provide for the ‘transmission’ of the energy from a higher altitude), and you need to have ways and means at your disposal to help them move upwards. This is possibly one factor for that subtle tension.
Another one is that, when there are other men present, there is a basic masculine principle at work – you have to ‘prove your status’. Since the spiritual leader, guru, master, or whatever you want to call him, is also the alpha-male, and this also always translates as status, it is subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) under attack. Hence, tension.
The spiritual path understood, as it almost always is, as a path of acention (Wilber, Cohen, others love to talk about altitude; a higher/lower hierarchy where higher is regarded as ‘more enlightened’) you quite naturally needs leaders, gurus, masters, ‘spiritual teachers’. If you are called to play that role, as I felt I was for some 6-7 years, then quite naturally you always stretch to the ceiling, do your very, very best to stay within the higher reaches of your realization all the times (at least when you’re not in the realm of sahaj samadhi, spontaneously going on, which nobody is as I know from being personally with some ‘enlightened teachers’ in their private life beyond the need to ‘perform their role/service’).
People who have been following this blog know that I quit my ‘spiritual career’ a year or two ago, and have – to my own satisfaction at least – deconstructed the myth of the spiritual authority significantly, and I’ve also shown the patriarchal, authoritarian, gender-biased and abuse-prone tendencies in what I call ‘vertical spirituality’. So I won’t go into that here now. I just mention it to explain why I – in retrospect – know that I was under tension before, and now I’m not. The whole drama of that type of spirituality seems to have dropped off from me, and I’m very happy that I took that long a break from conducting or facilitating free and open-2-all seminars.
Since some of the participants in this seminar used to participate in my seminars in former time, in the beginning of this one I firmly deconstructed my leader’s role and our tendency to look for expertise and leadership in areas which belong to our heart of hearts, our innermost being. And as that was well taken, the beauty and joy of mutual empowerment and support, the mutual apprenticeship that flowered where incomparable and a source of a ‘group love-affair’ without the collusion that very easily crops up under such circumstance.
Creating Dynamic Presencing constellations, doing a constellation (Hellinger style) on helplessness, anger and sadness, and using all kinds of other methods to both, look at issues that challenge us, and freely explore the deeper spiritual and mystical dimensions – the seminar revolved around self-empowerment, finding and expressing what we really and truly want, and gaining trust in our indwelling authority on all things that concern our deeper life and higher meaning.
Being truly and effortlessly at peace with myself as a malleable, fallible, imperfect human crossroad of being and becoming; championing mutual empowerment and mutual apprenticeship; understanding that it is a most joyful activity to be true to myself and others; doing and not-doing what I truly want and thus being an encouragement to others to do likewise, it has become visible, clear and obvious (in a real-time situation, in the experiment of this 5 day seminar) that the vertical energies and powers (the light that streams down on us from ‘on high’; the angelic forces that can ‘overshadow’ people; the healing that emerges from deep sources of being; etc.) are truly natural to us and therefor naturally unfold in a field of people that move to a more authentic space, that are courageously being whoever they find themselves to be, in a field without a leader claiming or (subtly) expressing higher authority, revelation or enlightenment in word or behavior…
I’m well aware of the ambivalence and paradoxical nature of an endeavor where I was clearly facilitating the process and leading in some manner, yet, as a servant of people re-claiming their own spiritual authority and power. And when someone said, “What you have been expressing these days – I already knew it inside of me; maybe it wasn’t as clear, but it was there…” I was very, very happy.
So what have I learnt?
- Dynamic Presencing works just as wonderful when I hardly ‘do’ anything; it is self-generating significant experiences for its participants which shows as:
– streams of light pouring down from ‘on high’
– waves of spiritual & also simple joy
– feeling to be one with all creation
– feeling human closeness / intimacy
– liberation of ancient sadness
– being “overshadowed by” and eventually becoming an angel
– seeing the factuality of the beauty of all things
– participating in divine ecstasy
– seeing deep into the soul of an other
- I’m relaxed utterly, being whatever it is I am; feeling whatever I feel
- I don’t have to do anything
- Not having a spiritual goal in mind I freely surf the waves as they appear on the shore of my awareness
- Deconstructing external authority, and reconstructing one’s inner guidedness relaxes everyone
- It’s very, very easy to truly listen; not as a method to get anywhere but as aï¿½ natural happening
- Affirming my fallibility and imperfection is joyous and relaxing
- I have a new gusto for spiritual experiment and research.
So I’m happy to embark on the path of doing more of these seminars – and the organizer of this one already booked me for next year (to do a whole series; among others a training in “Dynamic Presencing Constellations”). And I feel I’ve reached a milestone on my mission to:
Co-create a society and culture that supports and empowers individuals and groups to live according to their innermost values and insights, and that can make their living with what they really, really want to do.
In this prescient 2005 talk, Clay Shirky shows how closed groups and companies will give way to looser networks where small contributors have big roles and fluid cooperation replaces rigid planning.
Collaboration that creates and applies knowledge, understanding and eventually wisdom to create real community is very sophisticated behavior. Apart from subject matter expertise, skills, competence and experience (which are basic to competitive endeavours as well) the communities of practice that Community Development Professionals build require agreement and shared values, trust among individuals and organizations, and the efficient, full sharing of ideas, information, practises and processes. It rests upon the participants’ alignment with common intentions and works towards realizing a common purpose, goal or vision which is typically creative or innovative in nature.
As much as it is true that community development — being a dynamic, interdependent process with a diversity of participants — can be learned only through experience, it is also true that there are environments and processes that greatly enhance this learning. As a complex, and because of the required trust, potentially fragile process it needs a safe surrounding to germinate. Professional community development can really only be achieved properly by people who have matured sufficiently beyond the need for personal stardom (egotism), and who have understood that collaboration requires equal respect of all for all. Resilient, sustainable communities can best be regarded as voluntary, self-managing processes that can only be encouraged and facilitated — there will most likely never be standardized practices beyond the creation of an ecology of values, purposes and principles that foster collaboration and the personal contact with and facilitation by a Community Development Professional. The replicability of this process lies in the education of and in sufficient support structures for Community Development Professionals.
Community development starts with rediscovering or creating common ground: shared experiences and/or values, intentions, visions. The environment in which it develops easily is one of being attentively and open-mindedly present to others, giving authentic feedback and “being yourself”, expecting others to likewise be; a willingness to accept differences in perspective, perception and opinion. This is relatively easy once a deep mutual understanding of “our commonality of intention, vision and value” has taken root.
To use economic terms, “Developing community requires ongoing investments in intangible assets over extensive periods of time.” Building trust, which is the major ingredient of effective and successful communities, takes time as does creating an atmosphere or ecology of common values, purpose and all the other hard to measure human traits that community is made of. Engaging conversations that connect people and are the stuff relationships are mostly made of; developing community is an investment in people and their creativity and inventiveness and it involves unpredictable outcomes. Developing communities that have real value, if it is regarded as an actual financial investment done by one or more stakeholders, is a challenging “business” and should be well considered beforehand. However, the economic results are definitely measurable as they demonstrate reduced risks, faster performance and greater or new sources of revenues; and solving organisational, social and environmental challenges through the application of collective wisdom, challenges that, if not handled properly, easily can cause substantial economic losses.
 Actually the process of collaboration is only complex when regarded through analytical and linear lenses. When regarded from within a collaborating entity it is a naturally unfolding emergent dynamic system which is often better regarded as a work of art, ‘practical beauty’ is a term that comes to mind; a beauty that is easily seen in a natural landscape or ecology.
A human community in its very essence is a network of conversations. Communities are held together by the stories they tell, to each other and to the outside world, and by the beliefs they share — even though opinions might greatly differ. The emergence of a global civilization or community is therefore much more a result of global conversations that the Internet has made possible (for instance, the rise of the so-called blogosphereFF and the ever increasing number of social networks) than the rising tides of globalization, which is solely thought of in economic terms.Memory and language are often regarded as distinguishing characteristics of human beings. When humanity started to use language, information and knowledge could much easier be shared, a development that led to a leap in societal diversity and complexity. The next leap was caused by the invention of writing and the one after that by the discovery of mathematics. A greater leap in societal diversity and complexity was fostered by the invention of the printing press, hugely enhancing the possibility to store information and knowledge. The telegraph, the telephone, television, multimedia, the Internet, all these developments exponentially furthered diversity and complexity of our societies and of the conversations that are now possible. Our capacity to tell stories, store, spread, create and manifest them is growing exponentially, and so is diversity and complexity, both developments go hand in hand.
Where in the past there was usually enough time for societies and communities to catch up turning knowledge into understanding and eventually wisdom, this seems to be impossible today for who could keep up with the exponential growth of information and knowledge, diversity and complexity in human societies? But this is only so if we see this development from an individual’s point of view. If on the other hand we regard humanity as a whole, being comprised of an ever expanding number of diverse communities, then the potential of this evolution is becoming apparent. We are facing an unprecedented challenge, because to turn the vastly growing knowledge into know-how, understanding and eventually wisdom we absolutely need to create forms and processes to coherently activate our collective and collaborative intelligence, and we need to do so on all levels and every scale.
Collaboration is easily confused with but greatly differs from cooperation. When people, organizations or companies cooperate they don’t need to jointly develop shared understandings and trust; it is enough that participants, for instance, simply execute instructions willingly or do what they agreed upon previously. The desired outcome is relatively clear, whereas in collaboration it is mostly unpredictable, and collaborators more often than not embark upon a path of innovation and creation which will lead them they know not where.
Clearly collaboration is a much more complex and demanding process than cooperation, and this so also because it needs to rely on trust and on a joint commitment to shared understandings or values.FF As such it is a process that already embarks from within a situation that is full of diversity and complexity, and therefore it is also a process whose time has come in an age of its inevitable exponential growth as I’ve shown above.
 The whole of what is being published in blogs providing commentary or news on particular subjects or functioning more like personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art, photographs, videos (often called vlog), music, audio (called podcasting) and are part of a wider network of social media. The global blogosphere consists of approximately 250 million blogs.
 It is equally important to differentiate what in this article is understood as collaboration from what is seen as such in the Internet. If you google collaboration you will get around 167 million documents to choose from. Skimming the first 100 or so it seems obvious that collaboration is generally regarded as — the sum of all logical and target group oriented workflows in and between companies — to cite one document. The ‘net is full of so called collaboration-software and tools. But it is very clear that what is regarded as collaboration is what we covered above as being cooperation, ‘working together on something’, where it could simply be enough to execute instructions willingly.
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:
There 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?
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 heiÃŸt: an einem Sein, das nicht bloÃŸ an ihm und nicht bloÃŸ auÃŸer ihm ist. Alle Wirklichkeit ist ein Wirken, an dem ich teilnehme, ohne es mir eignen zu kÃ¶nnen. Wo keine Teilnahme ist, ist keine Wirklichkeit. Wo Selbstzueignung ist, ist keine Wirklichkeit. Die Teilnahme ist umso vollkommener, je unmittelbarer die BerÃ¼hrung 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 “BÃ¤umchen 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.
As part of his Evolutionary Enlightenment Teachings the spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen in an article “A Collective Emergence” speaks about what others have called “Circle Being” (Otto Scharmer), “Community Building (Scott Peck), “Circle of the Heart” etc.
Andrew Cohen is talking, of course, about what happens within the framework of a certain context — that is, people sitting together in a circle and relating to each other most of all verbally. This is an important distinction to make as the path taken into the process Andrew is speaking about plays, of course, an important role in how the “collective emergence” then will communicate/commune with and between us. As a person who is experienced using the way Andrew and his students are exploring the emergent collective (see: hieros gamos) but most of all experienced using quite a different method (I call it “Dynamic Presencing“) for exploring this emergent I think it important to explore his ideas about this phenomenon.
Andrew sets the stage by stating what consciousness is, “the intersubjective field that we all share.” I come from the point of view that there is a mystery between us that shows up in our individual consciousness, and then, when the process comes to fruition, steeps the individual in a more encompassing and all embracing consciousness. The “between-us” is a mystery, though, and taking it to actually be consciousness is premature and probably mistaken. We’ll come back to that in a while.
Andrew then says, “You should begin to ask yourself: What is it that captivates your attention?” But why should we ask this question; from my and other’s experience, there are many other interesting questions to ask to get the process going. And, by the way, I don’t think there is much respect for the participants and their authentic questions in Andrews should.
He then goes on to tell us what we will discover if we are “authentically engaging with the process”. But why pose a question or start an inquiry if you already know the answer? And again, I don’t think it is showing much respect to the emergent between-us or the people participating in the inquiry when we’re told what we’ll find if we authentically engage; there is a value judgment implicit in this statement, it says that any other outcome isn’t authentic. If we go for authenticity of all participants than it cannot be up to one person to judge who is, and who is not authentic in the process, rather it requires a much more open view and way of questioning.
He is right, surely and beautifully so, when he says, that ‘here’ we are oriented radically different in our relating to others, as we are primarily relating within the intersubjective consciousness itself. But then he again tells us what will happen to the concepts we may be exploring (the ones he said we should be exploring to begin with), that is, these concepts become secondary. But what if it is our concept to explore what actually is between us? What if we are relating to each other what is our individual take on the emergent “being”, Â the “circle being” as some explorers call it?
He says, “The concepts are just what you use to manipulate the field.” But this concept, Â the concept of manipulation, is flawed already. To sit together in a round of people “to engage directly with the development of consciousness” as the “intersubjective field” is already a manipulation if we take Andrew by his word, because this too is a concept.
I’m not using Andrews’s concepts when I configure a constellation for inquiring into the mystery between-us through Dynamic Presencing. I have another concept, the concept of non-verbal kinestheticÂ inquiryÂ that mostly I use. Or I have the concept that ‘in the end’ we’ll be arriving at experiencing the “Circle Being” first hand.
The point I’m getting at: There is no way to not manipulate the field, as the very way we constellate ourselves (for instance by sitting in a circle and talking / being silent) is already manipulating, or if you don’t think the term is applicable, how we constellate the field is already based on certain concepts, or at the very least incorporating a particular set of concepts (and not others).
I very much like when then he says, “You find that you are one step ahead of even what you understand, and you discover that you are spontaneously acting and responding from a much more intuitive dimension of yourself.”
Yes, in all the ways that I have explored the mystery between-us so far, and I do that in many different ways nowadays (Dynamic Presencing, Circles of the Heart, heart-to-heart-dialogues, but also very much in ordinary life when meeting with any person, more and more there is this element even if not made explicit; matter of fact: it is great to inquire into the between-us without making that an explicit point of the meeting), Â there is this element of coming from a deeper dimension of ‘myself’, or, using the language of voice-dialogue: A more loving-enlightened personality is called upon and relating.
I’m critical about his use of the ego-concept which I’ll talk about later, but I really object to his idea that by this process “our attention gradually moves from being focused only on the individual to becoming attuned to the collective, until finally it is drawn directly to the field of consciousness itself.”
I object because he does not distinguish between “the field of consciousness” and “attuned to the collective”. It shows that he believes that the ‘between-us’, which basically is the mystery we are exploring, is “a field of consciousness” whereas I’m sure that consciousness is blissfully included but the between-us is much more encompassing than consciousness. It is certainly not a field of … (whatever you want to put on the dots).
For us, of course, it turns up, Â it appears, manifests in consciousness very much, blissfully so as everyone who has been there will most likely say, but it’s a world of difference to then take the field to be consciousness into which then “our attention” is “finally drawn”. There is no finality whatsoever in this process as far as I can see, and even if it were, being very much at the beginning of this exploration it is way too early to state such finalities. I can understand, though, that Andrew would make such a statement as this concept of “the field of consciousness” fits with the ‘evolutionary enlightenment’ that is his main business.
Andrew, in his appraisal of the phenomena he encounters in the process as he is practicing it, turns ethical and moral, saying, “This [honor and uphold the higher level] is the moral imperative inherent in the evolutionary process at the leading edge. If the individual feels obligated to sustain his or her highest attainment, which has occurred in an intersubjective context, then individual transformation becomes the only moral response to the collective emergence.”
He obviously likes to be “leading edge” which probably fits well with his personality-type. He also likes “evolutionary process”, particularly because he obviously thinks he already knows where it’s going. I am not so certain; I’m still taking the questions serious, not wanting to rush into answers that don’t come out of the process itself, also reflecting on what instruments and procedures we use in the process and how these determine the between-us that then emerges.
In a process in which the between-us moves to the foreground of our awareness in such a way that it becomes almost tangible to all who are present and participating, what we experience is of high value to the individual, and most likely it will be honored and upheld, if a supporting structure in the person and their surrounding has been somewhat established. What happens more often though, alas, is that it takes many dives into these spiritual or mystical realms before a person finds suitable structures to to sustain the value gained, and turn it into a way of life.
But how do you “sustain his or her own highest attainment, which has occurred in an intersubjective context?”, which is Andrews’s moral imperative, if, as he says himself, “In an ideal world, each individual would spontaneously feel…”
He apparently himself knows that we do not live in an ideal world, so his imperative is not a reality here in this imperfect world we live in.
So when Andrew goes on to tell us why this process will demand that everyone partaking in it transforms, and that this “moral obligation is not imposed from without; it is spontaneously generated within each individual by the intersubjectively revealed higher potential itself,” he is stating the obvious.
Whoever has dipped into the ocean of spiritual delight by whatever means, be it through the ministries of what emerges between-us under certain circumstances or be it through some meditation, catharsis or meta-noia, will feel obliged to transform towards being more in alignment with what has disclosed itself. And this is always generated within each individual, always, because that is also the one that then transforms the individual.
This could only be a surprise to a guru like Andrew who still believes that the Master or the Enlightened somehow effect people’s transformations from ‘outside’ (that actually there is no inside and outside or subject and object is another matter I have discussed elsewhere). So here goes Andrew, “Could there be a greater challenge for the ego? And yet it’s not coming from an external authority.” And we all can know that Andrew sees himself as great, and at times even physically violent, challenger of the ego (whatever that means beyond being the repository of everything one doesn’t like, or what stops one from being/becoming enlightened; the ego being the most abused term in present day spirituality — nobody likes it, everyone believes it must be gotten rid of; it is the arch-enemy of the spiritual; but is it?).
A realistic process of inquiry into the mystery between-us is not centered around concepts that Andrew holds most dearly: “Evolutionary Enlightenment”, “the true teacher” or “Authentic Self” — nevertheless, of course, it is perfectly legitimate to inquire into the between-us like that, surely what emerges there can provide participating individuals with deep insights into what these questions mean for them and the living field. But it is not really opening up to the possibilities of, nor does it show much respect for, the between-us if one already acts as if one knows what the answers to these concepts or questions will be, and from everything he writes here, it is clear that Andrew thinks he does.
If there is one thing the between-us is not, it is the guru-principle. Learning occurs, even very deep and transforming learning. I know for it is this very living field that has been decisive in my migration from being some kind of guru / spiritual teacher myself to being a companion and a friend for some, moving away from vertical spiritual concepts to relational ones; this is what opening up to the mystery between-us has done in my life.
This article is to be published on a German magazine soon – please do not publish or copy to other sites or places. Once it is published, I’ll put it up here regularly… and take this note away. So until then, feel free to link or comment.
Vertical Spirituality and the Suffering it Causes
Let’s start with two examples for the suffering recently caused by vertical spirituality:
Ken Wilber is an intelligent theoretician of spirituality and also an enlightened practitioner living what he speaks and writes about. If you’ve read his diary-like book “One Taste” you know that he has indeed realized the level of consciousness that he describes in his books as the highest.
All right then: June 8, 2006 Ken Wilber throws up a appalling rant against his critics on his weblog.
In the summer group this manifested as growing trust, and very, very deep experiences that we now could regard and inquire to in mutual respect and appreciation. And because we didn’t come from any prefabricated opinion or perspective or some spiritual teaching and point of view but rather supported each other in the art of dignifying inquiry and interpretation a great and hitherto unknown richness could unfold.
And we could see how this cooperative sprituality is also an emancipated spirituality in which one rediscoveres one’s own authority, power, love and intelligence and experiences that one can actually trust it. This shows the unending diversity as much as what connects us – the unity of being – and it also reveals the different poles of being human.
So with cooperative spirituality we can enter into the inheritance of the great vertical traditions (like Buddhism, Vedanta, Zen, etc.) without taking on their vertical, patriarchal top-down structures in teaching and being with each other.The transition is not always simple – one of my oldest students in the Czech Rep. said that he was irritated and even frustrated in the beginning by me not leading but much rather facilitating the seminar. But, he then added, what he had always wanted had now become a reality: a meeting from heart to heart and soul to soul, and a communion and communication beyond words, concepts and forms.
August last year I sat on the mountainside on the Cotes d’ Azur 800 meter above Nice and meditated. It was a star spangled night and I could see the city lights glittering. The day before I had read that U2 would arrive the next day in their private jet, so I knew that there would be quite a party down there.
In my meditation – my eyes were open – the world was present to me as was my knowing about that party. Then the field of my inner perception expanded and I also saw the suffering that people caused each other at the same time, the sex that was surely going on down there and everywhere, the passers by and the television viewers, and the entire busy and difficult goings-on of the world. By and by my meditation deepened and the world disappeared. The phenomena were still present, the lights of the city shimmering, the darkness of the night, the soft warm wind of August, the chirping of the insects and much more. But it wasn’t the world anymore, neither outside nor inside… it had become transparent. And then there was only emptiness, the non-being of all form, the formless.
But I didn’t abide in this state, and something surprising happened. Words are not quite adequate to express what happened then, so the only way to express it is to say that now something beyond the world and nothingness revealed itself: pure compassion. Compassion for everything, for the world and nothingness, for form and the formless. It was as if this compassion was a being, a presence, a living heart, a source. And from this source waves of compassion were streaming through the dimensions of form and the formless, like a heartbeat pumping the light of compassion through nothingness into everything: Boom, boom, boom!
I don’t know how long this revelation lasted but it changed me as it transformed all phenomena. And I also don’t know what really happened there. I just know: Whatever is calling forth the unending universe and emptiness, the I and the other, being and non-being and enlivening it, shows itself to a human being like me as all encompassing compassion. Compassion for all beings, for everyone and even no-one and nothing. No exceptions.
Every evening before I go to sleep I read a bit. Last night I was reading a few lines from the Jewish-Christian tradition saying that in prayer one should stand totally naked and alone before Gods face. And I asked myself, “Am I willing to do so?”
Those who know me know that I’m not perfect in the least – hanging out with myself 24 hours per day I am quite sure about this. So the question was really, “With these characteristics, with this imperfection, these stupidities, mistakes, with all my habits good and bad, am I ready to stand naked and alone facing the Godhead knowing and seeing my totality?”
If God were righteous as many people in our culture believe, if He were to judge me, if justice would be His essential quality I could never stand before His face. I would be turned into a pile of ashes or a pillar of salt because of my failings. If God were like the Judaeo-Christian tradition depicts Him I could stand before Him at most in sackcloth und ashes but never naked.
But the Godhead is not interested in righteousness; at most this is a human endeavour. God is beyond all and nothing, beyond all form and formlessness. And from my own anschauung I have absolute certainty that She is compassion – God is beginningless and endless love and therefore I can stand there alone and absolutely naked. It is Her Grace that allows me to.
So last night it was given me to stand there in Her lovelight enlightening all with compassion – God sees me, totally naked and with all my imperfections, overflowing me with pure unending compassion. But, being imperfect, after a while thoughts and pictures appeared that took me away from Her face. I thought of tomorrow and the people here that I serve and want to serve better every day, so that they too might taste of Her undying beauty… and with these thoughts I disappeared from Her presence. I drifted back again into the darker regions… the presence of this unending light of compassion disappeared from my awareness.
That is what darkness means. It is paradoxical: I am aware when I come before Her face, and I am also aware of being totally encompassed by divine love, but when I lose this presence I am not aware of it… the clouds of unconsciousness spread their mist wholly unaware.
But after a while I awoke to this and noticed. This is not new to me, by the way. I have experienced many mystical ecstasies in which I stepped out of my darkness into a greater light – only to then lose it again. And in the past there was always a sense of loss and the question, “How do I go back there? What can I do or not do to bathe again in this light?” Yesterday it was given to me to pose a different question, though, “Am I ready to be compassionate towards those inner aspects and forces that have taken me out of Gods presence? Can I be as compassionate towards these as God is towards me?” And I know I can, and I do. And so in the midst of my darkness I felt light-hearted because I saw that I can be just as full of compassion for the endarkening aspects of my self as God is full of compassion towards me… and not only me.
What is of most value in this world that is a place of suffering for most people – for even the greatest pleasures and joys of the world are bleak and dark if we remember whose light’s child we are? It is compassion. And if I speak of me and my work, if I speak of my vision that I wish to realize with everyone who wants to commit to it in the midst of this world – what is it about? It is about bringing this lovelight down to earth, bringing it into daily life, into relationships, projects, buildings, businesses, in short: to turn it into a manifest way of life. That is the vision that is alive in the Serenity-Community, and I hope this vision will lead eventually to an integral village. But this is not just a vision of a future reality; it is also a metaphor for a present process in which every step mirrors what the goal will manifest in a larger way and with more depth and power.
The world in which most people live is not a manifestation of compassion and love but rather a manifestation of greed and media-spawned bright sparkling lies, it is a world of not so beautiful pretences and mediocracy, a world of ignorance. That is the darkness we have to face, and much more than that it is the darkness inside us that comes into being through our failings to be lead by intelligent love and compassion, living our light; it comes from giving space to greed, pretence, mediocracy and ignorance in our behaviour and communication and relationships That is the shadow we have to face – and that is what we have to be compassionate about.
Where will we manifest the vision of an intelligently loving and compassionately intelligent society? Amidst the darkness, amidst the world of ignorance, misunderstanding and a crazed individualism in which we live. So if you are asking yourself in which way you can become part of that vision you could ask, “In which way can I best reflect this compassion?” And if you’ve found the answer to that you have defined your comfort-zone. That realm is very important. Foster and strengthen that realm, keep it alive, this realm where it is not such a big challenge to manifest compassion.
It is easy to be compassionate with people that are somewhat similar to us or who move in the same direction. And it is good and helpful – maybe even indispensable – to surround ourselves with such people or live in a community with them. The Serenity-Community is such a place. And the integral village – if it will manifest at some time and become a reality in which we all live together with many others – will also be such a place. Here at Serenity it is already much easier to love people that you don’t particularly like or with whom you are having problems. Here you are supported continually, day by day and hour by hour, to accept your own shadow and that of others lovingly, just as the Godhead compassionately accepts us when we stand naked in front of Her. And then it is much easier to face the challenges and handle the shadows where being and acting compassionate is not so easy because it simply not fostered or supported. So surround yourself with such people or even better, become part of such a community.
If you feel, like I do, that a spark of the Godhead is present in every soul then you certainly see that this spark wants to kindle a fire – your soul wants to be on fire. The light in you wants to engulf all of your soul and enlighten it. It wants to burn in your sex-life, it wants to shine in the bathroom, it wants to set your meditations ablaze as it does your work or your business; it wants to shine brightly in every aspect of your life. The Godhead doesn’t only want to be transcendentally present everywhere, which is the case already, but it wants to be manifest in all of creation – and that isn’t the case. And as much as God wants to set your soul on fire it wants to enlighten the whole world and everyone in it. For that She needs your willing and feeling cooperation. And She is very patient. She loves us all the way, as we are slowly opening up to what we truly are.
I have a vision of a society, starting maybe with a small village that is ruled by intelligent love and compassionate intelligence. (I use the terms intelligent love and compassionate intelligence to free love & compassion from its romantic, naive, Hollywood-like associations and intelligence from its often construed coldness.) This vision can only become manifest, though, if the people committed to this are prepared to let the lovelight enlighten all aspects of their lives. What I can contribute are all kinds of seminars, trainings and learning occasions which empower people to embrace the shadows and, of course, to experience and explore the deep dimensions of their spirituality and humanity. And just as I am serving the Serenity-Community and many other people who are connected with me I am an instrument and servant to an integral lifestyle and hopefully an integral village; a village in which the cooks and the toilet-cleaners, the accountants and the seminar facilitators, the farmers and shopkeepers, and whoever else is going to live there, can do their work in the spirit of compassion.
This vision has countless dimensions. That’s why everyone who wants to connect with it can contribute to it on the level they choose. I cannot and will not decide which level that can be. Because I know this is not only my vision or the vision of a few people. I know this is the vision of all of humanity. For thousands of years people have been touched by compassion and manifest it in their way. So it isn’t just my vision. And to transform this vision in flesh and blood, pathways and streets, houses and shops and businesses, gardens and flowers many more people have to turn it into their vision and realize it in their daily life now. The vision is either reflecting in every step of its realization or it will lead at best to a nice little village full of good-doing people – and honestly, I wouldn’t want to live there.
The vision is simple. On the way upwards from below, where we are selfishly seeking our own profit and that of our clan to where we really care for the well-being of all mankind and beyond, this vision depicts an individual and collective way of development. On the way downwards from above it is the gesture of true embrace, as the Godhead embraces us with compassion so we take all lower levels and realms – including even the selfishly governed spaces – in the arms of our love and compassion. The very same power that moves us to develop our highest potential makes us lovingly embrace that which may not have developed so far yet, including ourselves.
We are asked as human beings to do the next step in our evolution. And I will cooperate no matter how this adventure will turn out in the end. And every step, everything you do out of love and compassion is already a contribution to this development. If you want to do more, if you want to contribute so that in due time this way of life turns into an integral village – welcome!
“Solange der Mensch keine Verantwortung übernimmt, hegt er Zweifel, hat die Möglichkeit, sich zurückzuziehen und handelt wenig effektiv. Für jedes schöpferische Handeln gilt eine elementare Wahrheit: sowie der Mensch sich endgültig verpflichtet, bewegt sich die Vorsehung. Alles Mögliche, das sonst nicht geschehen wäre, steht ihm hilfreich bei. Ein ganzer Strom der Ereignisse folgt der Entscheidung und begünstigt sie durch allerlei Vorfälle, Begegnungen und materielle Förderung, von denen keiner zuvor geglaubt hätte, sie könnten ihm auf diesem Wege beistehen. Was immer du meinst oder glaubst, tun zu können, beginne es. Denn dein Tun enthält Magie, Anmut und Kraft.”
“As long as a man does not take his responsibility he has doubts and the possibility to withdraw, and his acting is not effective. For all creativity there is an elementary truth: as soon as a man definitely commits himself destiny moves as well. All manner of things that wouldn’t have happened otherwise come to his aid. A veritable stream of happenings follow his decision and further it by all kinds of happenstances, meetings and material blessings of which no-one could have thought beforehand that they could have helped him on his way.
Whatever you believe or think you can do, begin with it. Because your doing works magic, beauty and strength.”
– I saw this quote first in the Internet where it was accredited to Goethe. Fred Kofman in his book „Metamanagement“ accredits to Sir Edmund Hillary who was the first human to climb Mount Everest (and survive) –
How can you take part?
Just pick & choose what you’d love to do
- Connect every morning
- remember that Compassion is already engulfing you with its Lovelight shining from the Heart
- decide to regard yourself and others, including your and their shadows, with compassion today
- bless this day with intelligent love and loving intelligence
- let your Heart shine
- any day
- when confronted with difficult behaviour, stop, listen to your Heart and respond from there
- regard your failings and shadows with compassion
- make a stranger smile
- to a lifestyle of compassion
- to support people trying to realize a lifestyle of the True Embrace
- rather then speaking about love and compassion live it on a daily basis
- as much as is appropriate turn your working place and/or business into an example of the power and beauty of the compassionate way of life
- create a community (or join one) that is dedicated to the True Embrace
- to meditate, communicate, relate, make love, make money in such a way that you can forever expand your and other peoples ability to live a compassionate life.
- tell us how you are doing – in private or in a comment to this article
- tell us how we can support and serve you
- tell us if and how you want to support us
- Visit us (and maybe be so kind to announce your visit)
- and you might even want to live with us…
Up until now the relationship between a teacher and his students in spiritual communities or similar contexts has been more or less one sided. The teacher knew and lived “it” and the students didn’t know and live “it”. So in a way the teacher was the king and the students were his court.
This model does not suit me very well, and to be honest it is “Old Age” to me, obsolete. The reality in which my life unfolds nowadays a spiritual teacher also learns from his students. Of course, he is much more experienced on the spiritual path and thus his students can learn from him, but they too have experiences that the teacher can profit from. It looks like a Moebius-loop to me: an endles braid in both directions.
I know, of course, that basically the relationship between a spiritual teacher and his students is all about what is beyond words, scriptures, thoughts and form. In the context of this article I will call what is beyond ‘the holy flame’. No spiritual teacher can pass on the holy flame no matter how much he would like to. He or she can only burn with this fire. The flame will go on burning, and when the time is ripe the flame itself will ignite the soul of the student. Up until that time they might catch fire for a moment or a while but it will extinguish again because the soul has not yet been ignited.
So the transmission of the holy flame is the true reason for the relationship between a spiritual teacher and his students, and as I see it nothing will change in that respect. I’m burning and at times the people around me catch fire, especially my students as they are very open to me. This fire can start whatever the context may be – just as with ordinary fire almost anything is combustable material… flames aren’t picky they’ll use anything combustable to fuel it. Nevertheless the context has so far been mostly feudalistic and it still is: a structure that doesn’t really fit in this time and age anymore.
It’s time for a revolution in heaven. God descended from his throne a long time ago, he doesn’t need it anymore. God doesn’t need bows. This doesn’t mean that a bow as a natural movement from the heart is now obsolete. When a feeling of deep thankfulness moves you bowing to god or your teacher may be the only way to truly express it. But to do that you need neither throne nor feudalistic structure. The king has abducted and now the court doesn’t have a job anymore…
The feudalistic structure of spiritual communities is based on the realisation that the ego needs to be modest and humble before the soul can be ignited by the holy flame. A fat ego, an arrogant or Ã¼berhebliche person doesn’t have the slightest chance to experience even a spark of the inner light. He or she is so full of himself, so pleased or abhorred – so busy with himself that not even the tiniest ‘something else’ fits in there. And to hear, “You have to yield, to obey and serve,” is quite humiliating for any ego, most of all an arrogant know-it-all. To humiliate the ego, to break the ego, to get rid of it: in a feudalistic structure everyone – except the very top of the pyramid – gets many lessons in humility, and that is as it should be. Modesty and humility are needed and we can’t do without them… but maybe we can realise them in a different way.
The revolution I am speaking about doesn’t need the traditional humiliation of the ego, yet it still learns the much needed humility – I’m sure because I have seen this happen time and again. It is not only the feudalistically structered obedience towards his teacher that makes the students ego more modest and humble but the love and respect of the teacher towards the student can also accomplish this – that is, if the student is not totally caught up his neurotic games but has already done a few steps on the path. Hard nuts need nutcrackers: the feudalistic structure is certainly good this regard. But most spiritually motivated people I meet apparently have already done away with this hardest of armouries – or never put them on in the first place. They can reckognize that humility is the proper attitude even in a non-feudalistic context.
Love and respect make you humble because good and bad or right and wrong don’t play a role here. Love and respect are not interested in those judgements. But the ego is always judging. It is in need of empowerment or justification, and it wants acknowledgement most of all – but love and respect are not acknowledging it. On the contrary, love undermines the ego structure. Love melts its armory. The tendency to isolate, to do ‘your own thing’, to be comfortably numb, to justify yourself etc. might appear when you are in the company of one who loves unconditionally, but these tendencies are simply not supported – on the contrary one sees their ugly faces and wants to get rid of them as soon as possible, so that you can rest and be where unconditional love resides… the ego armour melts.
That’s why love causes the revolution I’m speaking about.
Suppose one of my students is angry or even mad at me because I said or did something that hurt his feelings or convictions. In the feudalistic structure any kind of criticism is MajestÃ¤tsbeleidigung and will thus be suppressed or sanctioned. The student will either swallow his anger or suppress it or eine Breitseite abbekommen for being so preposterous as to express it. Within a feudalistic structure he will be humiliated and his ego shot at and maybe even broken.
Yet within the context of love and respect I’ll say (with words or by action), “I can see you’re angry… and will go on loving you.” Because when love and respect rule everything can be just the way it is. And confronted with these energies the ego has to either melt or – when it can muster that kind of strength – withdraw. And when one of my students decides to withdraw to tend to his wounds or to foster his anger (Groll zu hegen) – regardless of what I might also feel I’m respecting that without any buts and don’ts – than he or she can reappear any time as she can be certain of my love and respect. Then the ego melts a bit and becomes more humble as it cannot attach to it’s resitance because in love and respect it really is of no importance whatsoever.
Respect means, to honor the dignity of another person, no matter what his or her ego looks like. If I respect you then your soul will perceive that no matter what you might think about me. That will make it difficult for you to reduce me to my habits or the things I said or did. You cannot but see the love in me and acknowledge that, even if only in your secret chamber.
It is well known that “everything is permitted in love and war.” Regarding war it is quite clear, the one who carries the guns can allow himself to do anything. But that everything is permitted in love is not that obvious because love is often confused with romanticism and its Hollywood-version. In this version of ‘love’ it is only permissible what will make the violins play or sweeten the feelings. But the way I see it is that love moves you to a Yes, a feeling, total, unconditional Yes towards everything that is the case just the way it is, a Yes to everyone present just as they are.
The basic ego structure – this movement in you that is trying to own everything – is the opposite of love. The ego even tries to control love and tame it like it does with everything else – that’s why the romantic Hollywood-version, being nothing but domesticated love, has lost almost every natural aspect and power. So an ego-navigated person can only have limited and limiting releationships in which not much can be or happen.
But a love-navigated person doesn’t know any limits. When moved by love like this you don’t say, “I only love you as long as you behave.” Love doesn’t make those demands. Or would you tell your father, mother or even child, “I only love you when you are lovely, nice and friendly.” That sounds pretty absurd in my ears, even though it is quite clear to me that most people only know conditional love and we can assume that they will actually say or think something like that. Nevertheless unconditional love is also present in these people, maybe perverted or confused as the person is deeply entangled in his or her suffering.
(Since Bert Hellinger’s work we can know that this without doubt. A really earth shaking fact of family constellations is the observation that even in families where the father or mother has abused their son or daughter, there is real love. It is quite unfair, and it is against all we hold dear: to have to reckognise that there is love even in abuse, be it in extremely perverted form. Well, love is not a romantic phenomenon but rather comparable to a force of nature.)
Unconditional love will inevitably lead to the revolution I speak about. If I understand the Bible correctly than Jesus lived just this revolution with his disciples. He was certainly not sitting on a throne, and he wasn’t worshipped by his disciples. He was much more like a primus inter pares: the first one among his equals. This is reflected in many pictures of the Last Supper where everyone is sitting around a table enjoying food and drink and company. So his feet weren’t kissed, and no one adorned him with garlands ofd flowers like it is he case twith so many Eastern gurus and those that copy that structure.
So obviously the revolution I’m speaking about is no so very new, it seems. On the spiritual Way what is important today has always been important. When your soul has ignited, when you are ‘enlightened’ or have ‘awakened’, when the holy fire is burning in your soul, you will become a Brandherd. Then others will want the fire from you; that’s only natural and as it has always been. And you don’t have a choice to pass on the fire or not, because whatever you do you’re burning. But you do have a choice regarding the structure in which the transmission of the holy fire can take place even if some spiritual teachers may not be aware of that choice.
In the feudalistic structure the teacher or master is regarde as perfect; he has achieved what is achievable. This then shows itself in the form of spiritual kingship, and that in it’s turn does attract students that want to become a king themselves. That’s why the student whose soul has caught fire within this structure usually has to leave his teacher and start his own little fire somewhere as it is impossible to be king next to a king. But when we live this revolution we can all catch fire without anyone having to go anywhere else to start his own. We can be connected in love and give and take from each other – and start a veritable Flï¿½chenbrand. So wether the teachers is burning and his students are warming themselves at his fire or if some or many of them are on fire themselves, they are being together in love and mutual respect.
We could say about the spiritual way that one person is at milestone 5, another is at milestone 10 and still another at milestone 15 and so on. The feudalistic structure is based also on the conviction that the one at milestone 15 is much further than the one at milestone 5. But the revolution is fueled by the insight that both are on the very same way – and by the observation that there is no final destination. The well known saying, “All ways lead to Rome,” is complete nonsense.
All ways lead everywhere.
The spiritual way has no final destination and the mystical endeavour no “final solution” so it is complete nonsense to say that one person is further on he path than another. That doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from others that are on the way, on the contrary. But to build a throne on the wayside at milestone 15 and then say, “If you want to know how to get from milestone 5 to milestone 10 you have to kiss my feet first,” belongs to the middle ages. We don’t need this structure anymore.
This doesn’t mean we’re all equal. No we are all different and everyone is unique. That means I can learn from every single one of you, and I do as a matter of fact. I didn’t catch fire or ignite my soul with you; it has been ignited elsewhere. But I did learn from you on many levels. And of course everyone of you can profit from my experience and being.
Surely, in my seminars and events I am in charge, I say where we will go and what we will do next. But the feudalistic structure where I sit on some pedestal and all of you sit one level below me is not up to date anymore. I’m experiencing this all the time: Someone is stuck in some ego movie somewhere, and I become still and leave it up to love and respect. Then usually that person wakes up to see what’s going on – what he or she is doing. And having been on this path for quite some time now I do know some ways to maybe make this a bit clearer to him or her. But I’ll only do that if love wants me to or if you draw it out of me.
I do not have particular plans for anyone; I don’t want you to go anywhere where you are not now. If I look at someone with the eyes of love and this person is in some movie or other then nothing in me wants to stop that movie. I might see – and usually do – that he would be much happier without it but that doesn’t mean I’ll try to get him out of it. This movie and the ego structure that projects it don’t encumber this love; on the contrary, where this love is no owning (the main activity of the psychic system called ego) can function. We don’t need the feudalistic structure to become humble, we do it with love and respect.
As it does seem much easier for the people today to ignite their soul in a non-feudalistic context it seems to me the time has come for this revolution. That will also take care of one of the other problems of the feudalistic relationship between teachers and students on the spiritual path, and that is that the teacher is slowly losing contact with the reality most of his students live in. This is so because within this structure it is very hard to approach the teacher personally. And then we haven’t even mentioned the fact that within this structure abuse is very, very easy and students have a hard time noticing that (You can think of the inquisition in this regard or so called islamic terror, but you might also think of Sheelas “fascism” in Oshos buddhafield in Oregon; all these abuses in the name of god or enlightenment are being fostered by feudalistic structure that are not to be questioned.)
Nevertheless all of this has not hindered the transmission of the holy flame in the past as the only thing that is needed for this is a teacher burning with the fire and a student humble and trusting enough to ignite his soul. But – and now I come to a point that is very important to me – the feudalistic context in which this flame is being transmitted is always transported with it too. This is due to the way our psyche is apparently structured: we project the content usually to that form in which the content comes to us. Every structure in which the holy flame can burn is thus sanctified by it, and over time to the students and often even the teacher the form becomes just as holy as the fire itself.
If for instance you have deep mystical experiences in the christian context you would sanctify it and regard the form of worship, the christian teaching, the church hirarchy in which your ‘divine revelation’ happened as the body of the holy spirit, as it were.
Or suppose you have a deep spiritual experience in the context of buddhism. Then you would think that the special form of Zen, Vajrayana or Theravada – just to name a few buddhist schools – in which it happened is ‘it’. You would identify the form with the content simply because you saw the light in this form, and so you would probably speak with much conviction of the dignity of the Buddha, Sangha and Dharma.
And it is almost inevitable that most of the people having spiritual experiences in my presence will regard the structure and patterns we have created here almost as just as holy as the experience itself. This is often the case because as you’re having a mystical experience you often also feel an enormous authority, these experiences have a divine characteristic and divinity is the highest authority – that’s what many people feel. In these experiences you often have the feeling that you are perceiving an enormous or fundamental truth, an all encompassing meaning, eternal beauty, bliss and so on. All of this is, if you aren’t careful enough, projected onto the form in which it manifests.
As I see it the experience itself – if it is truly deep or mystical – will transport you to a dimension beyond form; but you mostly return to the form where you ‘started’ from. So in your understanding of what happened the formless and the form relate to each other in a way in which the formless sanctifies the form in some manner. But if you’ve been to that dimension often enough and your trust and inner certainty has grown than you see that the formless is actually sanctifying all form – unconditionally.
All these experiences and insights have led me to this revolution that I propose here and that we are already living at the Serenity Community, a revolution in which we leave the traditional feudalistic structure and the one sided relationship between teacher and student behind. And apart from everything I’ve said so far I want to really stress this: With this revolution we sanctify the context of love and respect, that structure in which the teacher and the student are moving along one and the same path – and we are charging this way with our holy fire so that it might carry us through new and fruitful landscapes.
Since ancient times the transmission of the holy flame happened in the context I have been calling feudalistic here – and as we can see this fire is still burning today. I don’t know if the revolutionary structure of love and respect can safely carry the holy fire like that. We’ll know in a few hundred years if this is so. But here and now I see the holy flame flowing and florishing within this context of love and respect, and so I am very zuversichtlich
God does not sit on a throne.
He is not even the center around which everything revolves.
If there is a whereabout of God
it is everywhere and in everything
and everyone is his homeststead.
Published in the German magazines SEIN and Connection
The Living Field
Physics has discussed fields for some time but now the term has been discovered to be significant for spiritual life as well. Readers of CONNECTION will have some working knowledge about the ‘knowing field’ which is used to explain the remarkable phenomena that happen in family-constellations according to Bert Hellinger, an explanation that is closely connected to Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of the ‘morphogenetic field’ [derived from Greek: morphe=form, and genese=create]. Another well known field is the ‘Buddha-Field’, a term that gained wide spread popularity in spiritual circles through Osho’s Sannyasins. And then there is the ‘energy-field’ that I have been using in my “energy-work” since 1987, revealing a most interesting aspect of what fields can be for spiritual seekers.
Bert Hellingers family-constellations are so popular these days that I do not want to bore the readers of CONNECTION with another account of what goes on there. What happened in Osho’s Buddha-field is probably also well known, be it only by the rantings of the Bild-Zeitung or the Stern. The energy-field that I create in seminars and events is not so well known. And because it will play an important role in the further considerations I’d like to draw a short outline from my experience in this field quoting from a report by a friend of mine participating in a seminar in Amsterdam.
“It is the year 1988. We are in a large room, 150+ square meters. This is an open evening for Mushins seminar in Amsterdam and around 35 people are present. At first we were dancing to great music, and when it was over Mushin asked us to form a circle. Then he put a few people in our midst and touched them here and there, placing them in sometimes odd positions. He asked us to tune in to them while he went to the stereo equipment and put on a new cassette — strange and beautiful pop-music. Some people in the middle began to move weirdly and in slow-motion, others much faster. Someone fell to the floor — being caught by a helper. At some point I closed my eyes.
Mushin probably walked by the people in the circle, and must have passed and touched me for I felt a warm laser beam of light penetrating my chest. My legs gave in and gravity did the rest. I fell, Â and while falling I dissolved in an endless white space, my sweet shining home. Tears rolled over my face. I was safe, this was home, it had my ‘temperature’; I was delighted. Everything showed its true face: being ONE, resting in itself, round, all-encompassing”
These and other illuminating experiences happen often in energy-fields, and sometimes they happen in other ‘spiritual fields’ as well, experiences that go way beyond the scope of our ideas and concepts about reality. I know from countless experiences that those who partake in the energy-field are catapulted beyond the limits of the personal. Being in this field thus is an alternative to the isolation in the prison of the small self, the ego.
Energy and Information
When I dived into the knowing field of a family-constellation for the first time many years ago I was deeply touched by the perfection that expresses itself in the soul of a family, through people who could not possibly know what they were expressing. The information and often strong feelings came from a source that obviously was not in them, Â being representatives they gave voice to those they represented. I was, and I still am moved by the fact that the knowing field expresses the informative and social variable whereas the energy-field (whenever I use the term energy-field, I mean the field that I’m using in my ‘energy-work’) is its mystical expression. Where the soul during a family-constellation is moved by information and knowledge, Â body and spirit are moved by energy in the energy-constellations I use. In both fields the movement goes beyond the normal limits and reveals the fact that we are part of much larger constellations than those of the small I.
An interesting connection between the knowing field and the energy field is the movements of the soul in Hellingers family-constellations and the ‘energy-movements’ in my type of constellations; there is a great similarity between the two types of being moved by the field itself. As much as energy-movements happen in family-constellations there is information and knowledge are revealed in energy-fields, spontaneous knowledge that enlightens people’s situation in life. When this became clear to me I could also see in my seminars and events how terrific these two approaches complemented each other, and I sought a better understanding. Not for the work in seminars. On the contrary, I have learnt from years of practical experience that this work grows with the measure in which I can empty my self, tuning in to and acting upon what reveals itself to me intuitively. (Hellingers terms for what I call intuition here is phenomenological view.) I would call this maybe taoist practise, and it happens without words and explanations entirely.
Yet, from this practise interpretations, ideas, concepts and theories accrue. These in turn do have influence on what I do in seminars but most of all on ordinary life, the life I share with most of humanity. On this level well founded concepts and understanding is important and desirable. And by the way, I’m sure that the insights and understandings one finds in taoistic practise can stand the test of reason without fail.
So I chewed on the topic, looked at it from many angles, spoke about it with friends and therapists/experts, and at some point I let it go. “It doesn’t really matter,” I said to myself, “how energy and information are connected,” and I also dropped the elegant but uninformative thought that information is energy in formation, Â constellated energy. “Most important is that it works and that it helps people on their way.”
And then, all of a sudden it dawned on me that both energy-field and knowing-field must be the two aspects of one encompassing field, like the two sides of a coin, both poles of a circle, male and female. The energy field is as much an expression of something deeper as the knowing or morphogenetic field is; I have been calling this unified, spiritual field The Living Field.
If we approach the Living Field on the energy-level it expresses itself as it does in the kind of constellations that I facilitate. But if we approach it on the information-level it expresses itself as knowing field. Approached on the level of the formation of biological beings it expresses itself as morphogenetic field. The Living Field encompasses and is the source of the biology, the family, and the larger humanity as it moves with the energy we all share with each other and our surroundings. The Living Field is Soul and Energy of the moment, form, gestalt and dynamics, connectedness and movement. All of this is enmeshed and embedded in the Living Field no exceptions.
All is ONE, or what?
It is an absolute clichÃ© in spiritual circles and it is true as well: All is one. And if we ask around we hear that many people have had this kind of experience. To put it in my present terminology: the Living Field has revealed itself in some depth. About 10 years ago around 60% of the responders on a questionnaire in the USA said that they have had a mystic experience. But we don’t have to look that far. Many participants in seminars or events that create effective energy fields do have mystical experiences of variable depths, my friend’s experience mentioned above is a good example for this. And now an interesting question arises: Why does not everyone lead an enlightened or awakened life after such an experience, but rather keeps on seeking as if this experience never happened?
After reflecting on my own spiritual development and the many mystical experiences that happened I can only say, “Because I didn’t trust my experience, it was too ‘alien’. I rather trusted the convictions I had won so far in my life.” I was convinced, for instance, that I had to have this experience of oneness all the time. But when I really looked into this concept it became obvious that the experience of a separated, isolated personality, the ego had to be part of wholeness because there can be nothing outside of the Whole. All experience is interwoven with the fabric of our being, connected with everything that forms the Whole. Whoever understands and accepts this doesn’t expect his experiencing to be other than it actually is, whichever way it might be, it is already part of the all encompassing whole, the experience of this oneness being as much part of the whole as is the experience of separation.
For spiritual seekers this means that there is no definite or absolute aim or goal. There can be no experience that ends the search but rather the understanding that all experiencing is part of the infinite landscape of being, an organic part of the Living Field in which it partakes. This insight when it has penetrated body and soul has amazing consequences, consequences that reveal the greatness of the mystery in which we are positioned.
Such an interpretation of what these fields are can relax you so that you are finally able to simply do and let be what is appropriate to the situation in which you find yourself in. In this view there is nothing left to be done, except of course all the pragmatic decisions and activities to which our life, our situation and our destiny prompt us.
January 2nd 2006 – Talking to the Serenity-Community
Since many years experiments are being conducted in which human beings are trying to influence random number generators. These machines produce thousands of zeros or ones per minute randomly, that means by pure coincidence. It doesn’t mater how many times you run this generator you always get 50% zeros and 50% ones. And this is always the case unless you put a human being in front of it, trying to influence the outcome. Every human can influence the 50/50 output of this random number generator to a greater or lesser degree. This has been proven countless times. Many, many experiments since the eighties have been done at the most reknown universities, the American MIT for instance and the Princeton University, and they have been conducted in Amsterdam, Holland and other places.
Now, one person can sway this chance of 50% a little bit, if I remember rightly by up to 1 percent, which is very significant from a scientific point of view. If you put two people in front of it they sway it up to two or three times as much. But if these people love each other they sway the machine six times as much. I find that very significant – this love-effect! These are utterly reliable scientific data showing what is possible if two loving people together put their energy, power and imagination to influencing a random number generator.
So I ask, “What will happen if we here put this principal to work with the vision of an integral and compassionate culture? … Or are we here at the Serenity-Community not ready for this, yet?” I think we are, and I do believe that in spite of our difficult financial situation at this moment we will manage, but we will not do so if we don’t put our energy, our imagination, our power into influencing our future. You live here expecting some spiritual nourishment, and you can expect to be so nourished, of course — but if you don’t want to be just as a consumer of spiritual goods then you have to sit down and put your energy, imagination, intelligence into that vision of creating an intelligently compassionate culture now. This is the kind of school we are having here at Serenity, an integral school for a different, a true spiritual culture. And this way we make this place attractive for people coming here, a place were you can now already get a taste of the coming intelligently compassionate culture. Not a place of people privatizing, doing their own thing — which is quit fine, I am not against that at all — but most of all a place of intelligent love and loving intelligence. And that means in all moments of life … whenever you have conflicts or tensions between you, you stop for a moment, remember what both of you are up to, that is: you want to realize that vision, that kind of life. And then from there you will find the energy and the intelligence to do so. You put your energy there, put your love there, and put your intelligence there… and realize it this very moment.
This is not an ashram or a monastery with the motto, “ora et labora” (pray & work). We actually never had much labora compared to monasteries anyway, and this has never been a place where you’re suppose to give up your joys and the little private fun you have, not at all. But if you give as much energy to realizing the vision of an intelligently compassionate culture as you are giving to your own private joys right now , we will be an unbeatable force. It’s fine, it’s perfectly all right to want to realize your own goals and have your own happiness — but if you put as much energy in the vision as in realizing your own goals then you will live to see that incredibly beautiful culture.
I have seen the future and I tell you: It is incredible! But I can’t make it a manifest reality on my own. I can be a great teacher, I can be a great energy worker, I can be terrific, my groups are getting better all the time. This I know, people are telling me this quite often now. So I don’t need anybody for doing that, but for realizing this vision I need people and I need you, every single one of you. And I’m happy it’s you, because I love everyone of you. And I don’t only love you, I actually like you as well. Liking is personal, loving is from heart to heart, to heart regardless of the person. So that’s a double plus. And undoubtedly there will be many others as well that we love and like…
Actually we have had a great omen, different kinds of birds flying and playing together, I told you about this experience in the winter seminar. The I Ching has told me much the same, and I’ve seen the future, so it’s all there. The spirit of the times is with it, and the Tao is moving in that direction. Now, this year I hope to open up a few more places to do seminars and events and so on to involve more people and make the vision and possibility known far and wide, hoping, that the seed will fall into fertile ground here and there — this is what I can do. And I am investing everything I have in that, as you well know. So now I want you to look inside your heart and see if that’s what you want too, and if that’s what you want in your heart of hearts, then be courageously joyful and go! Because that’s the way — yes, you will move in the right direction. And if this is not there for you, if it is not your truth, you will also move in the right direction: yours. It will be a private one, and that is just as fine. I do not criticize that at all. Who am I to know what life wants you to be and do? But then this place, Serenity, is not the place for realizing that; you might want to consider finding a more suitable place for realizing your own private goals.
So this year is the year of manifestation for Serenity or it will be the year when Serenity comes to an end. We will see which it is. Don’t worry about it, because if you act from worry or fear, you might help a little bit, but it doesn’t amount to much; you will loose your energy and power that way. So don’t worry about it, don’t be fearful about it. Move from the truth; look in your heart and find it there, and then move from there.
There is a Bible verse where it says about Jesus’ disciples: “Many are called, but few are chosen.” This doesn’t mean they were chosen by Jesus, they rather chose them selves. So this vision I am having is calling many people. It is attracting many people, but only those that choose them selves to realize it, to co-create it, they are the chosen ones. They are the ones that build the nest for the vision to come true, and those are the people I am interested in. I want to teach, I want to relate, and I want to give everything to them, to people that choose themselves. And I am sure we will get all the help we need from as yet totally unknown quarters. But it will never come if we are not moving with our heart and intelligence in the direction we believe in.
And you will notice that on that way there is already a lot of happiness for you personally, because if you are moving in the direction that comes from the heart, then every movement gives you happiness right now. You might fail, but the moving in that direction gives you happiness, and that counts much more. So don’t worry about it, just move in the right direction, step by step, day by day, moment by moment, whenever you remember. And if you don’t remember and you remember later, don’t worry about forgetting sometimes.
Well, that’s how creation came into being, God forgot himself, herself, and here you are. So don’t worry about that.