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A Fractal of Consciousness

 

IF IT WERE UP TO YOU, how would you create positive change in the complex systems woven into the fabric of the modern world? How would you begin to close the desperate gulf between rich and poor? What would you do to relieve our stressed ecosystem? Or solve the problems of depleting energy resources, the widespread contamination of the water supply, or the flourishing AIDS pandemic? These issues defy the capacities of our existing systems. In today's parlance, solutions will demand a tri-sectoral response involving business, government, and the NGO/nonprofit sector. And because of the enormity of the problems, most of us feel that there is little that we, as individuals, can do.

Not Joseph Jaworski. Founder of Generon Consulting, author, lawyer, and successful entrepreneur, Jaworski was deeply compelled by spiritual leader Dadi Janki [see page 92] to give everything he possibly could to making a difference. The plan that he and his colleagues at Generon have come up with—what they call the Global Leadership Initiative (GLI)—is so audacious and inspired that it has caught the attention of a new partner, The Synergos Institute, a well-placed international development organization, as well as major corporations, leading foundations, UN agencies, and local organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America. GLI is committed to creating tri-sectoral projects to find innovative solutions to ten of the most intractable problems facing humanity—beginning with the world food supply and child malnutrition. The brilliance of GLI is that it doesn't work through the usual channels. Rather than getting embroiled in the labyrinths of existing bureaucracies or caught in turf battles, their aim is to work with key leaders across all sectors to create a shift in consciousness, a leap into the future. “The key capacity needed for leadership right now,” says Jaworski, “is the capacity to enact new realities.” The big question is, How?

Jaworski's approach is unique. He brings together a group of individuals who collectively represent a microcosm of the whole system. In the child nutrition project, for example, this group might include a mother in a village, local educators and clerics, government officials, program officers from CARE, as well as local and international business people involved in the food industry. “You bring together a group of people who each have a different role in creating the system that is the problem,” says Jaworski. “It may mean twenty-five or forty people, depending on the system. The idea is that you get them in one room together, you get them totally committed to resolving the issue, and then you engage them in what we call the U-process.” The U-process is a new social technology that is the fruit of decades of research, which Jaworski and co-authors Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer, and Betty Sue Flowers present in their recent book Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future. Describing how breakthrough ideas emerge, this process captures the essence of human innovation.

For the GLI projects, the U-process takes fifty days spread over the course of a year or longer. In this revolutionary process, Jaworski and his colleagues work to bring these individuals—who are carefully selected both for their expertise in their fields and for their passion about the issue at hand—to realize a higher intelligence together so that they can create new solutions to these impossible problems. The group members learn about the issue, not in the abstract but by actually going to those places around the globe where the problems they are addressing are most acute. And they also engage in spiritual practices and spiritual inquiry designed to take them into a deeper encounter with their individual and collective purpose. As Jaworski says, the U-process creates a context in which individuals can “find a way to surrender deeply enough so that they each can operate as a vehicle for tapping the deepest Source and then become an instrument for that Source.” Through working so intensively together, the group begins to develop a new “capacity to operate as a single intelligence.”

Although the method is still being refined for use in particular situations, Jaworski claims that the results thus far have been an unqualified success: “There are always highly counterintuitive breakthrough ideas, and nobody knows where they come from. We've never had it not happen. My personal belief is that they are now able to tap into the field of collective consciousness in a way that they haven't been able to before.”

It is this field of collective consciousness that Jaworski recognizes as having such potential for creating change. His first experience with this field happened when he was eighteen. As part of a group of rescue workers who spontaneously gathered at the site of a devastating hurricane, he and his coworkers were guided by the movement of a higher mind that coordinated their activity. Ever since, Jaworski's life has been guided by his gut sense of the critical importance of this capacity for groups to act as a single higher intelligence. And he and his colleagues are among the leading researchers of this phenomenon that is gaining increasing attention.*

With the GLI projects, Jaworski is working explicitly to facilitate the emergence of collective mind. Because each collective brings together individuals who are involved in and affected by every aspect of the complex system that has created the problem, the group is a fractal, a microcosm, of the consciousness of the whole. The whole is captured in each part and each part is not separate from the whole. “Through the strong intention of the group,” says Jaworski, “the whole is affected.” In other words, by transforming the consciousness of this fractal, it begins to shift the larger system of which it is an intrinsic part. “If we do enough of these projects,” Jaworski explains, “ultimately there will be a tipping point, a field shift. And that's what we're after. There are three purposes to this work. The first is to resolve these particular problems. The second is to create this field shift. The third is to develop a different kind of leadership in the world.”

Whether or not we are leaders, however, Jaworski's work has implications for each of us, because our individual consciousness is also not separate from the whole. As Jaworski tells us, “Even when there is a massive collective that needs to change, it begins with one person who truly cares. Because he or she cares, that person is nominated, called to a higher purpose. This is what's such an important message: that person has got to make him- or herself available for this. Then magical things can happen. And that's the whole essence of this process—to become available to be a vehicle for that purpose.”



 

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