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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Reflections on The Integral Living Room 2013, Part 4 Definitions and Injunctions for Second-Tier

Constructively-Critical Reflections on The Integral Living Room 2013

Part 4: 

Theme: Defining 2T/2TWe-space and
Naming Injunctions for 2T/2TWS

This is the fourth in a series of 6 blogposts, which are supplemental to the Notes from the Field report I wrote about the Integral Living Room event for the January 2014 issue of Integral Leadership Review online journal.
These blogposts represent my more personal constructively-critical reflections and musings, and are not purposed for reporting, as the Notes report was. They'll make limited sense if you haven't read the Notes report, but, I hope, are of some general usefulness.

Note: This blog contains only a couple of my reflections as a member of the ILR Harvest Team; there is much more to be said, and that is a future blog, around our questions, our process, and our relationship to various elements of the Integral Living Room happening! These are dear to my heart and closer to my Divine Passions than some of the reflections and musings below, and more important to the world, IMO, than some of what is below, but these posts got written in the timeframe I had up until now. Stay tuned!

The blogposts are about various themes I’ve organized my reflections into:

Part 4. Theme: Defining 2T and Naming Injunctions for 2T

That's this post, read below. Find the others via the links to them.

Each theme section is independent, so you can skip around if you like!

Part 4. Theme: Defining 2T/2TWS and Naming Injunctions for 2T/2TWS

Why is this an issue?
Some people who did sense or know there was a “there” called Integral We-space to get to, ongoingly asked and tried to answer: How do we get there? What do I need to do, what do we need to do, to get there? And: How do we know we are, or aren’t there? It seemed to me that both record-keeping of emergent insights and answers, or any attempt toward closure on these matters, was not only not encouraged, but would have seemed disruptive and difficult. Even accumulating knowledge or consensus about them, was not given explicit importance, despite all that was said, as showed in the Notes report.

I wonder: Was this potential harvest ignored deliberately because the designers anticipated that the Green mentality among us would misinterpret and mis-use it, by prematurely locking in on “answers”? It is certainly true that the ultimate and most useful answers are not in the form of a once-and-for-all list or checklist; they are more in the form of Being and embodiment/capacities. But lists and checklists CAN be USED appropriately, usefully, if they are part of dynamic living documents and action-inquiries, things to bounce off of, not a set of rules enforced by a group or a leader on everyone. Perhaps there was not the bandwidth among the hosts to counteract a non-optimal closure on these matters by participants.

It’s possible also that the designers felt that participants themselves would not have the bandwidth to deal in the short timeframe with both conceptual understanding and experiential novelty and experimenting (assuming most people were not familiar with higher-consciousness we-space experiences, a pretty safe assumption, and one that seemed to have been made, given all the actual injunctions described below.)

I can see there is a natural tension or at least contrast between defining and injunction-scrutiny versus the living experience of an already-emergent we-space existing in the moment. Being within it, and talking about it, are different frames of mind, at least usually. If something is alive and happening right now, turning it into a label and mental object loses a great deal that is valuable to remain within. The concept of a certain kind of we-space and living in its living presence, usually would require different mental states.

Another consequence of keeping injunctions and definitions so experiential/implicit is that without a definition, injunctions cannot be selected appropriately. (Granted, there is an intimate connection and also a feedback loop, as some novel or creative injunctions can be explored to see what new or familiar kind or characteristic of we-space might result.) It might help to have some guidelines in the form of some conceptual definitions and distinctions, in those selections and explorations. What are the relationships among various we-spaces, various injunctions, and various capacities? Those seem to me worthy of very conscious exploration, perhaps not at ILR 2014, but in general.

Sub-theme A  What is the value of defining “we-space” and of identifying injunctions or practices for creating the kind we seek?
What indeed is the value to be gained? What is at stake whether we do or don’t do all this conceptualizing? What does conceptualizing matter? It matters a great deal if we believe, as many of us do, that “collective intelligence” of a transpersonal “we-space” is humanity’s best hope for actually surviving as a species! Then indeed we need to know a great deal, specifically, conceptually and experientially, about what this is, what kinds of it exist, and how we can create, influence, and use it (or cooperate with it or let it use us!)

Unless we make some differential definitions or distinctions, we can’t deal with questions such as: What are the “we” and the “space” in “we-space”?? What are its
qualities, how do they vary with stage and other variables, and how much can they vary from situation to situation and still be what we want? What is an Integral we-space? How do we know one is present or that we’ve succeeded in creating it? Is the WS something we tap in to, an “it” out there separate from the individuals that show up, or is it an expression OF the individuals who show up? A manifestation of them? Or is there some both-and happening, a paradoxical expression of the WE? What if different people see the same situation differently or disagree about whether a we-space is present? How can we become more conscious of being in a we-space and what stage of maturity it is? How can we avoid being pulled into a lower-stage we-space without realizing it, and how can we consciously (or via automatic embodied mastery) use skillful means to raise the energetic stage of a we-space we are already in? What are the relative roles of transmission/contagion and of conscious skillful means in shaping a given we-space?

And without investigation and knowledge of which practices or attitudes create what, we are at the mercy of chance, unable to replicate any we-space even if we could identify its presence. We wouldn’t know whether it just happens or whether we could influence its creation. We wouldn’t know whether it is independent of particular people, or for that matter, what questions to ask about it! Does it require consensus? Does it require agreement? And a thousand other questions.

Also, importantly I believe, without conceptual clarity in addition to experiential, embodied mastery, we would be less able to address questions such as “What good is a 2TWS? We want ACTION in the world, not emergent contemplative space.” Being able to articulate some distinctions would help us resolve that apparent conflict of interest or divergence about we-spaces. (Resolved into, for example, the realization that two different stages are probably being opposed inappropriately there.)

And developmentally, I believe that we can be most helpful to one another if we have useful language to help us move from the “we”-focus possible at Green, to the more comprehensive “we” of Yellow and Turquoise, so people can begin to think along the lines of “What are ‘we’s’ concerns and what does ‘we’ want?” So for us, “We” becomes -- both experientially and conceptually -- singular, not plural! (And not in a fusion/mob/enforced-tyranny sense, but in an integrated, higher-consciousness sense.)

Sub-theme B  Implicit injunctions in effect at ILR
It was fun to identify these on my own later. There were many things contributing to the formation of some kind of we-space of some stage or other, at ILRm, which are probably generic factors we just had our own particulars about. These factors below are not exactly injunctions, but they could be treated/used that way. It seems that at any stage, a we-space would be more robust if it included contributing factors from all prior stages as well as its own. (And I bet Spiral Wizards could build in factors from later stages too, invisibly!)

  • Shared authorities (Ken, Susanne, 3 hosts) - for our Blue
  • Shared admired people (same) - for our Blue and Orange
  • Shared loved people (Ken and for many, various of our Hosts) - for our Green
  • Shared challenges - various challenges including the state of the world, owning who we are, shouldering our responsibilities, dealing each with our own inner life at the event - for every stage
  • Shared memes specific to group: For example, Zach’s “Weapons of Mass Illumination,” “Notice the energy” as a meme, Ken’s image of the ship and ropes, shared language-jargon-meme (Integral-speak) - for every stage
  • Shared needs - to belong because we normally feel like outsiders in our families, work, culture - for our Purple
  • Singing and moving and dancing together - for our Purple
  • Shared desires - for growth, for love, for enjoyment, for belonging
  • The place itself being related to who we are, eating together, being in Nature together. Contact improv would help here too, the dancing was close to that - for our Beige
  • Shared things we care about, value - such as growth, authenticity, kindness, the world at large - for our Green
  • Being in various emotional states together at the same time about the same things, such as laughing together, crying together, feeling anger or fear at the same time in response to the same thing, going into the “awww-cute” state at the same time about the same thing, etc. - for our Green but also deeper, for Beige and Purple
  • Shared things we feel urgency/intensity and passion about - for our Red
  • Shared willingness to take personal risks to meet challenge of growing - for our Red, Orange, and Green
  • What else for Orange? - risk is for Orange also. Be pioneers=entrepreneurial spirit. Willingness to be leaders?
  • What for Yellow? - Planning together?
  • Meditating together. Breathing together. All regarding of WS as a transpersonal subtle-energy field “it” which we could be conscious of, influence and be influenced by, and “use” for global-scale healing purposes - for our Turquoise

Sub-theme C  What other definitions and injunctions were being used or recommended at ILR, even if not explicitly named as such? (In addition to the ones already described in my Integral Leadership Review Notes from the Field report.)

There were constant reminders to constantly practice [the injunction] “Notice the energy in your we-space right now.” In every situation, large and small, we were encouraged to sense, pay attention, notice, just feel, even if it’s chaos. And also to “let the energy guide us.” (This was, implicitly, by my own definitions, an injunction for moving from Green WS to Integral/Yellow WS, with some unclarity about whether “the energy” was being regarded from a Turquoise altitude about a Turquoise we-space, as I define those.)

After noting whether the energy (field, without naming it as such) of a group was alive, full of vitality, and coherent,  we were enjoined to cultivate those qualities by doing whatever was needed to bring them in, which certainly seem to me to be injunctions, and seem to be regarded as markers of 2T WS, without being labeled as such.

Various other “markers” of a Second-Tier We-space compared to Green are related to the above. For example, we were often reminded that Green we-spaces (typically) cannot handle shadow work, whereas this is built into an Integral We-space process by learning skillful means, to pay attention and deal with marginalized voices, shadow, and critiques. Acknowledge energies and weave them in, vs leave them in the individual. (This a great description of what is involved in shaping and hosting a container for a Yellow We-space.) 2T learns to respect the group mind, energize shadow, and deal with it efficiently, quickly, easily, weaving it in. We see creative potential in it. (More good injunctions for Yellow WS.)

We did a small-group exercise to explore and create a list: “What are the qualities of 2T conversation, and what injunctions get there? How do I identify when I am in Second Tier?” (And as far as I know, everything generated within that, is lost to posterity except what remained in notes and embodied.)  [Re instructions for the exercise: “What size group” someone asks. “You get to decide,” says Diane. “And you can reject people who want to be in your group. Self-organize.” Are those injunctions, or what?!!]

Other things which were encouraged, which I identify as injunctions toward creating a Yellow/Integral we-space, included: As an individual, be authentic, alive, visible, vulnerable, assertive, connecting. Amplify resonance. Be loving-kind and cooperative vs pushing back against conflict. Be able to give and receive compassionate criticism; regard any ego-offense as an invitation and adventure in growth.

by Rev. Alia Aurami, Ph.D., Head Minister, Amplifying Divine Light in All Church
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