I want to share an update I like for doing spiritual work together, a way of organizing it, that I’ve just “gotten” recently. To me it seems both obvious – and new. It changes how I see being in groups and what’s possible.
See what you think. And I’d love it to hear what you think at the bottom of the blog. Here’s a short short summary and a link to a longer article that sketches it out more fully.
Think of we humans as having three different imaginations that we access at different times for different purposes. All are good, each is vitally necessary. When we’re doing spiritual work or “worldwork” (both are work for the common good, worldwork perhaps more activist), the key is in how we shift as a group from one imagination to the other so that the group moves together between the three imaginations. And knows that it is!
Imagination 1 is basically ordinary waking consciousness though this can be more or less informed. Imagination 3 is a deep coherence in which participants are spontaneously more interested in what’s emerging in the common space between them than they are in their own private preoccupations.This state can be more or less developed but a robust sense of it is widely available. Imagination 2 is the important transition between 1 and 3. The trick is to move together between the three, and to noticewhere we are.
When we’re in the same imagination together and we know we are, there’s coherence. People are on the same page. The group effect with its many benefit is noticeable in all three but most apparent in the third. That coherence starts to put our lives into a new light. There is no limit to how deep the coherence can go, only more or less clarity in approaching it.
Without that coherence, you have people in different consciousnesses who don’t understand what’s going on with the others and don’t understand the discord in the room. When some people are in Imagination 1, some are in 2, and some are in 3 you have well-meaning confusion.
Being in the higher imagination together is an exhilarating and instructive process in which we’re led by a kind of emerging group wisdom that I think of as “distributed prophetic imagination.” My job is to help hold space for the three different imaginations. A traffic cop. It’s not to be a higher authority in terms of any content. The stuff (content) comes entirely from group members. Growth is a natural result of coherence.