Seven Laws of Unique Self Encounter: #5 – “Unique Self Encounters Create Evolutionary We Space” by Marc Gafni

The following is an excerpt from Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment by Dr. Marc Gafni.  For the other 6 laws, see other posts on this site or Chapter 21 of the book Your Unique Self–which is available for purchase here.

SEEN FROM ONE PERSPECTIVE, life is a series of encounters with other human beings. Of these encounters, the ones that are most profound, pleasurable, and transformative are Unique Self encounters.  The following is one of seven core rules that define a Unique Self encounter:

5. Unique Self Encounters Create Evolutionary We Space.

Photo used courtesy of tungphoto (c) 2011.

Photo used courtesy of tungphoto (c) 2011.

Meaningful Unique Self encounters foster the  experience of entering together into higher states of awareness and intelligence. The next evolutionary leap in consciousness involves a recognition that, together, we have access to a collective wisdom and intelligence that is much smarter than our individual intelligence.

This is, in a sense, something the mystics have always known: the whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts. What is “new” is that nowadays, in workshops and retreats, in corporate boardrooms and organizational development seminars, as well as in spiritual groups, so many people are experimenting with engaging the phenomenon of collective intelligence.

Here’s how it works: a room full of people with clarity of intention come together with focused attention. They engage a challenge, seek a solution, or reach for deeper direction. They seek something  precious that was previously unavailable to any of the individuals in the room. It was also unavailable through the classic collaborative methods of sharing information and comparing notes. They use certain group technologies to create a group consciousness within which a new space of insight is revealed. The insight that comes forward often has a visionary wisdom that exceeds the limitations of any of the individuals in the room. Something happens in the center of the room.

The “voice” that rises in the center of such a group, whether in an organizational setting or a spiritually oriented one, is the voice of an emergent higher intelligence. It is the voice of the “whole.”  All the distinct parts are held, heard, and honored, yet the whole transcends them into the larger love-intelligence that speaks in, as, and through each of us, even as it calls from beyond us. It is from this  precise space that collective intelligence wells up.

The famed basketball coach Phil Jackson, who brought the LA Lakers and Chicago Bulls to multiple championships,  was explicitly referring to this phenomenon when he talked about “the subtle interweaving of the players at full speed to the point where they are thinking and moving as one.”

One participant in a collective consciousness exercise describes it as follows:

When someone else spoke, it felt as if I were speaking. And when I did speak, it was almost egoless, like it wasn’t really me. It was as if something larger was speaking through me. . . . And in that space we started to create. We started to say things that we had never thought before.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes of this phenomenon: “All are conscious of attaining to a higher self-possession. It shines for all.” In Jewish Mysticism, this is called the voice of the Shekhinah—the feminine face of the divine, which in the Hindu traditions is called Shakti. Jewish mystics who wrote in the third century taught, “Whenever ten people gather with clear holy intention, the Shekhinah speaks.” Or as Matthew said, “When two or three gather in my name, I am in the midst of them.” Modern Hindu mystic Aurobindo called this “the evolution of truth consciousness in which [they] feel themselves to be the embodiment of a single self.” Theosophist  Rudolf Steiner said, “People awake through each other . . . then real communal spirituality descends on our workplace.” Finally, the French Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin, one of the key founders of modern evolutionary spirituality, describes this collective spiritual awakening as “sustained, certainly, by the individual person, but at the same time embracing and shaping the successive multitude of individuals.”

The intelligence of wholeness cannot arise when people in the group are locked into their separate-self egos. Nor does it happen at the level of True Self. At the level of separate self, you remain separate from everyone in your community, so you cannot join to create a We Space that will yield a higher wisdom than that which emerges from the collaboration of separate selves.  If you are living in True Self, then you are absorbed in the one, and your Unique Voice merges in silence. Collective intelligence is rather a direct function of shared Unique Self experience.

Through the unique contours of your puzzle piece, each member of the group merges with and completes both themselves and the larger whole. The Unique Self experience  is both the heart of the phenomenon of collective intelligence and the key to its emergence in any given situation. Said simply, evolutionary We Space is only a genuine possibility if we deploy the awakened technology of Unique Self-realization. There are very few pleasures in life which compare to the awakened We Space of Unique Selves living together. It was toward this pleasure that Teilhard de Chardin pointed when he said, “There is almost a sensual longing for communion with others who have a large vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendship between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality impossible to describe.”3D-YourUniqueSelf-Cover

The remaining laws will be shared in future blog posts on this site. 

You can purchase the Your Unique Self book at Amazon.com.>>