Collective Presencing and ‘Circle Being’: the group is more than the sum of its parts

men and women are being increasingly called to practice the new life-form composed of groups of individuated individuals merging their collective intelligence as the “circle being”

One of the mistakes of modernity is to reduce systems to its constituent parts and to believe that by studying a system’s parts, it can reconstitute the workings of the whole system. In other words, there is a linear progression from the understanding of individuals to the understanding of groups and of society. Even worse, the hierarchies that are part of the modern form of organisation, limit the communication between the individuals. But P2P systems totally liberate the connections between individuals, leading to non-linear emergent behaviour of the groups and systems that the ‘peers’ are part of. All this to say that one can effect changes not just by changing individuals, but by working on their connections and connectivity, but also, and this is crucial, on the ‘field’ in which the connections operate.

The evolution of human facilitation is therefore moving to the study of ways to create an evolution not just inside individuals, but inside groups. Helen Titchen Beeth and Ria Baeck are some of the pioneers working in this area and Kosmos Journal carries an excellent article introducing their ‘Collective Presencing’ methodology.

Excerpted from Helen Titchen Beeth and Ria Baeck:

“This is the first in a series of articles introducing the phenomenon and practice of Collective Presencing, a new capacity evolving in humanity at this time. Great thinkers have foreseen its coming – we recognise it in Aurobindo’s descent of the supramental, and Teilhard de Chardin’s noosphere. But what exactly do those terms mean? Where these gifted individuals intuited and envisioned the birth of this new collective capacity at the dawn of the last century, we are now starting to be able to describe it from experience. While many might recognise the phenomenon from transpersonal group work and other such practices, so far as we are aware, this is the first attempt to articulate it as a path and a set of capacities that can be intentionally developed.

We live in complexity all the time these days. There are no simple solutions – not even complicated ones. As our life conditions have complexified, so has our capacity to deal with complexity. And yet the globalisation of our species has itself provoked a constellation of systemic threats of such nightmarish proportions that no one seriously imagines that any one mind can navigate a rational path to salvation on behalf of the whole. And yet that is what we keep trying to do, as we wait in vain for the inspirational leader who can extricate us from the mess we’re in; as we throw up our hands in disgust at the antics of our politicians, our governments, our industrialists, our economists, our environmentalists, our scientists… all those ‘they’s’ who should do something about the state of the world.

Deep down, though, we know that when we look to our leaders for solutions, we are looking in the wrong place, in the wrong way. Understanding how the universe evolves can provide some clues – the process of complexification which has been underway since the dawn of cosmogenesis has been accompanied at every step by an interiorisation, which allows the mind of the living universe – and certainly that most complex of beings, man – to interpenetrate ever more deeply with the subtle workings of the Kosmos.

There is overwhelming evidence that human consciousness is evolving, moving from collective tribal living, where the individual was totally embedded in the life patterns of the collective; through a gradual, often painful, process of individuation, with the emphasis on the will and sovereignty of the individual; to what is emerging in our time: a conscious return to collectivism where individuated, or self-actualised, individuals voluntarily – sometimes temporarily – pool their consciousness in a search for the elusive collective intelligence which can help us to overcome the stupendous challenges now facing us as a species as a consequence of how our developmental trajectory has manifested on the physical plane thus far.

So human evolution has something to do with human consciousness awakening first to itself, then to its own evolution and then to a recognition and, finally, an embodied experience of the ways in which we are organically part of a larger whole, as we have always been, but have forgotten. As we enter this new stage of individual/collective awakening, men and women are being increasingly called to practice the new life-form composed of groups of individuated individuals merging their collective intelligence as the “circle being”.

These collective entities are not made up of a specific, finite group of individuals who stay together continuously. Their DNA lies in the theme of the inquiry, their metabolism is the individual and collective practices that enable men and women to join the collective inquiry. To join the circle is to offer ourselves up to a larger purpose for the duration of our participation and to allow ourselves to be used by the Mystery – our bodies and minds as sensing organs of the whole, and our lineages, biographies and knowledge as resources, filters and facets of diversity through which the future bubbling up in the middle, called forth by the shared focus and consciously-held intent, can find unique expression.

What if creating these collective beings is simply the next step of human evolution, an expression of our next level of complexity as a species, and the next step towards the ever deeper integration of complex consciousness into the fabric of the Kosmos?

One such collective inquiry, unfolding over the past 5 years, has been held by a core group and a loose network of women, mostly based in Western Europe and the US, engaged in a practice we call Women Moving the Edge.”

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