At our first community building seminar based on the principles of M. Scott Peck in September of 2005, a regular group of around fifteen people got together and now regularly meets every two weeks.
In this group we are experiencing exactly what our facilitator predicted after the first workshop. Once a group has gone through a two-day community building seminar, it can continue the process alone, without a facilitator. Peck called this "a group of all leaders". We have genuinely experienced how leadership can be shared by many shoulders. It is not an easy process, but so far we have successfully negotiated all obstacles. Of course, we haven't done so without losing a few members who were not interested enough in the process to stick with it, and we have also added a few new ones. We are open for new members, but expect them to take part in a community building workshop first.
We have found this community building process to be extremely useful as a focal point where we can gather within a protective framework, where we can be ourselves and not have to bow down to any outside norms or constraints. Here we can respond or stay silent, we have no obligations, we are all responsible for ourselves. While the framework is simple, the experience is intense because suddenly the usual behavioural norms no longer apply. It's only then that we recognise the socialisation mechanisms that have shaped us. For example, how else would it be possible for us to be silent for so long? People usually experience this as extremely unpleasant in a group setting and they quickly try to prevent what is actually a very important kind of togetherness by just saying anything at all to break the silence.
Peck said that the Pseudo path leads through the Chaos phase via Emptiness to Authenticity. Since a group keeps dropping in and out of this state of emotional energy, it often has to feel its way back through Chaos and just go on breaking through the Pseudo phase. In the process, we are trying to learn how to achieve this goal in a sensitive and respectful manner by sticking with our own feelings, speaking from our own experience and not trying to treat, heal or convince the others.
Where is all this leading? It's like in a partnership. Togetherness can be nurturing, but the main point is to support and reflect one another over the course of our mutual development process so that we can correct ourselves. This is a path based on equality, where we do without teacher-pupil or therapist-client relationships, where we accept and celebrate our differences and achieve depth, and where we strive to touch that special spirit and let it into the group, as related in the tale of the old rabbi.
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