Archive for March, 2010

igniting fields of inspired connection

Monday, March 29th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 10 Comments

I just spent an amazing week here at MIT with a group of 30 young leaders from all sectors of Indonesian society: deputy ministers and top civil servants of several ministries, mayors, governors of small regions, CEOs of medium-sized companies, editors of major newspapers and TV news programs, deans of three major universities, members of the national and regional parliaments, leaders of environmental and human rights NGOs, and so on. An amazing group.
With 230 million people, Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country and has the world’s largest population of Muslims. Spread over 17,000 islands, it takes 10 hours of flying time to from one end of the country to the other. Indonesia is a bit like our whole planet wrapped into a single country: it has every type of conflict that you can imagine (religious, gender, class, ethnic, colonial –you name it). A real microcosm of our planet. Given this complexity, no wonder the leadership challenges are daunting. The challenge is to transform the relationships between the three sectors (government, business, civic sector) from mistrust to trust, from blaming and blocking to system-wide cooperation, innovation, and change.
What was so amazing about this week was watching how the group (and the relationships between sectors) progressed on that journey of transformation. This week was the beginning of a ten-month (U process) innovation journey with this group that will involve deep sensing, connecting to source (presencing), and exploring the future through prototyping new forms of collaboration.
I have guided two other tri-sector groups through a similar ten-month transformative leadership journey. What has struck me most is that, even years later, the inspired field of connection and collaboration among them is still as alive and vibrant as ever. We have seen some major innovations from these groups already. More innovations will follow. To me it feels as if we are touching the deeper power of human evolution and creativity. Once they touch that deeper place, there is NOTHING on earth that such a group can’t do. That’s how it feels, anyway. Since we are now in the process of co-creating similar platforms and programs for China, Brazil, and some other places, I wonder where all this will lead us. Will these new fields of connection be able to generate new forms of global collaboration and governance? Have you seen similar developments anywhere? Have you experienced fields of inspired connection that change how we relate to each other, to our context, and to ourselves?

seven sacred teachings

Sunday, March 21st, 2010 | Uncategorized | 8 Comments

last week i had the great opportunity to visit an indigenous community in northern manitoba, canada (the O-Pipon-Na-Piwin- Cree Nation). i was (and still am) blown away by their positive leadership spirit in spite of an incredible uphill battle against four forms of violence that they (and other First Nations) had to suffer and endure:
1. direct physical violence: white man simply killing them (particularly rampant in the 19th century US after the civil war)
2. structural political violence: taking away their self determination (government dependent reserves)
3. structural economic violence: taking away their economic self reliance (government driven welfare economy)
4. spiritual/cultural violence: taking away the land, language and loved ones (forced residential schooling: taking kids away from their parents, putting them into residential schools, beating them when they use their mother tongue, abusing and often killing them afterwards). as one of them told me: “i got my PHD” in a residential school.” PhD?? “yes,” he said. “Physically Hurt and Damaged.”
So given that backdrop, its NOT surprising to see 90% of the parent generation being victimized by alcohol and drugs. but what IS surprising is that these communities still find some inspired leaders that try to take them to the next level…
the focus of this project is on developing multi-sector opportunities for indigenous people, particularly for young people…

returning from this very inspiring and somewhat transformative week i cant not think back: three weeks ago i was in namibia–and saw again first hand the damage and pain that germans and other europeans inflicted upon the people of the African continent. then the aboriginal people in canada and the US — again white men acting out as unbelievable cruel killing machines. closed heart. closed mind. closed will. the worst form of fundamentalism you can imagine. who are we as human beings that we do that to each other?

how is that continued today? direct violence still continues to be reproduced. as is structural violence. as is attentional violence.

i was struck by the seven sacred teachings that i found in the aboriginal community we saw:
1. wisdom, 2. love, 3. respect, 4. bravery, 5. honesty, 6. humility, 7. truth. if you mapp them onto the U process you could say that
–humility, honesty, and truth deal with opening the Mind (getting beyond the Voice of Judgment),
–respect and love deal with opening the Heart (getting beyond the Voice of Cynicism and anger), and
–bravery/courage deals with opening the Will (getting beyond the Voice of Fear)

all of which results into acting with the mind of wisdom…

i saw time and again how social violence (direct and structural) reproduces into attentional/spiritual violence (loosing the connection to your deeper source) which then results into increasing ecological violence (compensating inner void through external consumption and environmental destruction). could it be that the seeds of breaking this deadly cycle lies in the seven sacred teachings? could they help us to open the mind, heart and will?

where have you seen the deep shadow of who we are as humans (Xtreme fundamentalism) and where have you seen it transforming?

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convening capitalism 3.0 constellations

Saturday, March 13th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

just returning from amsterdam and berlin. in amsterdam i met a whole bunch of Presencing Institute Community members at the occasion of launching the Dutch edition of “Theory U” and Arthur Zajonc’s book “Meditation”. we had a great event attended by 450 people. We were joined by our friend and violinist Miha Pogacnik (see picture below) at that occasion (and also at a smaller follow on workshop).
Miha Pogacnik playing at the Amsterdam launch meeting of the Dutch editions of "Theory U" and "Meditation as Conemplative Inquiry"

What i really loved was the microcosm of society that both events convened: all sectors and systems of society were represented and linked through a generative dialogue.
the next day i had a small group workshop in berlin on capitalism 3.0 with a small group of thought leaders from the Green party, social entrepreneurs, companies, and governmental agencies. again a very interesting microcosm of society. and again a very stimulating discussion about our current situation (2.0) and where we should go (3.0).
i return from these conversations and dialogues somewhat inspired and elevated. i see the response to these events (the organizers of the public event in amsterdam had to turn away hundreds of people who couldn’t get in) as a living proof that there is HUGE untapped potential in society currently for co-sensing and co-creating positive change. how can we better link ourselves to this huge potential? how can this potential better guide our actions? in amsterdam we closed the follow on session (that was attended by 90 people) with a simple exercise: we put everyone in a circle. standing. each of us in the circle represented the currently existing initiatives and projects. then we invited everyone who had formed a NEW idea or initiative to step forward and share that idea. an hour or so later 85 of the 90 had stepped into the circle and shared their emerging idea or future initiative. people then formed small groups with others that had shared related ideas–and we closed the session with some highlights from each of these groups. pretty powerful stuff.

i think there is a real lack of sessions today convening real microcosms of the whole society (that share the practice of effecting social change by shifting the inner place from which people operate). have you seen similar examples lately? what did you notice? how can we design and improve a really good process for doing this–interweaving and deepening the connections of these emerging fields?