The Challenges of Changing the World

ANP-5605840112Visions 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.

OLY-2008-CHINA-SAILING-ENVIRONMENT-POLLUTION-ALGAEAnd 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.”

a-root-rtt-01-keyThe 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.)


The world I wantProbably 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”?

Challenges of Community and Collaboration

challenge

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,  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.

Self-Empowered Spirituality

(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 a� 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.

The Chaordic Path and Stepping Stones

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

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

1. Everybody is a leader

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Experiment, collaborate and support mutual apprenticeship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Support natural forms of organization

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

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

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

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

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

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

On being Audacious

Originally posted by White Rhino this is an inspiring story by Joe Laur from SoL, the Society for Organizational Learning, friend and systems thinker was recently at 7th Generation with the SoL Sustainability Consortium. SoL’s soul purpose is to build the capacity in organizations and society to achieve economic, ecological and social sustainability so that all life can thrive for all time. In the 2-day session the group of SoL companies discussed Climate Change and what companies need to do to make a difference. Here is one of Joe’s many stories. This one is about how to think about being as big as the challenge…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPhw4IttnNU

The We of Us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mushin: Obviously that’s not possible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Helen: … that transcends and includes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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