Entering the Field of the Future

Saturday, October 29th, 2011 | Uncategorized

Five years ago a dozen or so people met in Cambridge, Mass., at Kendall Square to walk to a meeting. The city was wrapped in deep snow after being hit by a blizzard, and since no car was moving, in stillness. As we walked, our steps sinking into the snow, our minds slowed down and our conversations went quiet. Later that morning, the blizzard was joined by lightning and thunder. And sometime during that two-day meeting something was born.

The intention that crystallized during that meeting was to form an initiative called the Presencing Institute, which would function as a global holding space for people engaging in presencing-inspired work for change. We didn’t want to start by talking about change—but by doing it. We would leave the talking to a second phase.

This week, with the opening of the 1st Presencing Global Forum, we have entered that second phase. What has emerged since our first walk in the snow is a rather amazing global ecology of people, initiatives, programs, and projects—an intentional global community. This Monday and Tuesday in Cambridge, 250 members of that community from all continents and sectors, and from a multitude of cultures, came together in person to talk about what we have created and how to move forward. Another 380 people joined us from 38 countries from around the world via live-streamed parallel events. While participating remotely in our live-streamed event in Cambridge they also created their own local content and breakout sessions.

In opening the meeting I said that this event and our presencing-inspired movement would integrate three streams and traditions that historically have often been separate. One stream is civic engagement in the tradition of Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Henry David Thoreau. The second stream is action science, action research. and systems thinking in the tradition of Peter Senge, Ed Schein, and Kurt Lewin. The third is mindfulness and consciousness; it is linked to all of mankind’s wisdom traditions and is represented Buddhism, particularly the Shambala tradition; Confucianism, particularly the Confucian essay on The Great Learning that says a good leader must know and cultivate his self; and the Western tradition of mindfulness as represented by the work of Rudolf Steiner, who blended mindfulness with a Goethean phenomenology as a science that is performed with the mind of wisdom, that is, with a mind that can see itself.

On the second day of the Forum, the whole group went through a mini U experience. We began with participants telling fascinating frontline stories about profound systems change; then, using Social Presencing Theatre (in 25 groups of 10), we acted out the emerging transformation of capitalism; next we transitioned into a moment of stillness; and then we moved on to crystallizing and prototyping new ideas. When all these ideas were prototyped and many had been presented, we reconvened as a community, where we felt as if a new field of collective possibility was emerging among us. An incredible precious, powerful, and delicate field connected all of us—inside the room and beyond—in a new way.

After the Forum concluded, 72 of us embarked on a Presencing Masterclass and 4-day presencing retreat. Interestingly, after returning from our solo experience in nature and sharing our individual experiences in our circle of 72, we again felt that same field experience of profound openness and future possibility.
As I write this at my computer, just after the Masterclass meeting, I have only two more minutes of battery power. (Another) blizzard has just hit the Boston area; a power outage has switched off all the lights in the region and my computer will die in just a few moments. I am thankful to be sitting here in the darkness and reporting on these moments of grace to all of you who feel connected to the deeper movement of awareness-based change that our crisis-filled world is now calling for.

My opening remarks to the Forum are posted at this link. I hope that you will be able to attend the next Forum in June 2012 in Berlin, either in person or via a live-streamed parallel session in your own community.



2 Comments to Entering the Field of the Future

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November 3, 2011

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