Beyond right and wrong, there is a field… I will meet you there
Accruing a bigger picture as you offer your experiences
We live in a highly polarized nation… of Democrats and Republicans, of win and lose, of celebration and dismay. We have made the complex issues of modern times into black and white, right and wrong. At our most public level, our conversations are debates and name-calling, words expressing the fear and anger that power awarded to one side, has and will dominate and abuse the other.
[Your experience of this moment?]
Yet, simultaneous to many such displays across the world now, a different reality is also becoming visible. It, too, is a long-standing human attitude, brilliantly captured by the 13th century Persian poet Rumi in the title of this essay…”Out beyond the ideas of right doing and wrong doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” This is the experience of co-creation, when positions and preconceived ideas are held loosely, in order to exchange deeper truths and reveal common ground.
We write today straddling these two worlds of understanding, feeling the tension of polarity, and doing our best to stay ‘in the field.’ For almost 20 years, we’ve been cultivating this capacity, not just for Presidential elections, but for every moment where we meet disagreement, with our families and friends or even within ourselves. We know from experience that a co-creative process ‘beyond right and wrong’ is possible for our political leaders.
Our training in co-creation began in Santa Barbara, California in 1999 when Barbara Marx Hubbard issued a call for conscious community. Her invitation was centered on the idea of conscious self and social evolution, and grounded with something called the ‘core group process’*. About 200 people gathered to participate, self-organize into core groups, and share ‘gatherings of the whole’ for almost 10 years, leaving us all with an abiding field of love for one another that continues to this day.
In a world of self-versus-other polarities, the core group process was almost a miracle. From the beginning, we co-created shared moments where we felt more like ourselves and more connected simultaneously, where you could put out your hand and almost touch the ‘resonant field’ we were co-creating between us. We were highly motivated to be and work together.
[Your experiences of being together with others?]
Needless to say, we were drawn to learn how to re-create these moments. It was clear that allowing oneself to be vulnerable, not positional, was a first step. Later, we would use the word ‘authentic.’ It was also clear that giving attention to each one, to one another, was important. And later, we would speak of a kind of listening from the heart, opening to understanding, inside ourselves when we spoke, and through the words of others.
Carolyn Myss writes about the grace of understanding, “focus… on understanding what is unfolding within the life of another person or within the greater field of life that you share with a person” and “use all your skills to assist [that] person in understanding what he or she is trying to personally express or resolve.”
The Core Group Process™ seamlessly led us in this direction of mutual respect and understanding, within a framework of shared agreements for how to relate to one another. Setting our common intention allowed us to move in an entirely different direction from the norm of our competitive individualistic culture. The process became an eye-opening opportunity to reach into how others see their world, stretching our own perspective by doing so, co-creating a shared field of deep relationship.
Almost paradoxically, the 'field' was best supported, not by group-think, but by each person feeling safe enough to share their deepest truths. Graced by understanding, many of us found ourselves growing into a new zone of ease and productivity in ourselves. We co-created a self-governing council, an Internet network of networks, and many projects beyond our community, out of our motivation to work together toward a healthier world.
And it is from this perspective that we circle back to the divisiveness so strongly at play in the United States and the world today. We ask you to imagine with us… core groups of politicians in the process of becoming vulnerable and authentic, respecting one another, opening to a larger understanding of themselves and those they represent. Imagine this field of understanding becoming the norm around the world, and a politics emerging based on co-creation. Imagine a better world for our children to live in. We have no doubt… it is possible.
[Anything else to share?]
*The Core Group Process™ was revealed to Barbara Marx Hubbard and Carolyn Anderson during the former’s political campaign for the Vice-Presidency of the U.S. in 1984. The Co-Creator’s Handbook 2.0 by Carolyn Anderson with Katharine Roske describes the Process and its potential in detail.