This article continues on from my earlier post Evolving Centers of Consciousness.
Several years ago members of the Findhorn Foundation (FF) became interested in a well-researched model of the growth patterns of human consciousness known as Spiral Dynamics. In the last 12-18 months this has emerged again more strongly in our co-worker body as we move through a lengthy change process within the organisation.
In brief, the pioneering work of Professor Clare Graves from the early 1970’s was developed by his students Don Beck and Christopher Cowen and integrated further by Ken Wilber, showing how psychological models can be used together to provide more accurate focus to human development.
Spiral Dynamics Integral (SDi) offers a neutral exploration and explanation of the states and stages of consciousness. This can be applied to our evolution as individuals in our personal journey of growing up and waking up, and also to our centers as we aim to evolve organisationally in leadership style, inclusivity, dynamism and a more holistic worldview.
I’ve become particularly interested in SDi along with a steadily growing FF cohort. Copies of Ken Wilber’s Boomeritis and Frederic Laloux’s Reinventing Organisations have been circulating among staff members this last year. Both books were bringing new insights into our predominantly ‘green’ culture and this began to gain momentum as we developed new awareness that could recognise, articulate and self-reflect on our own shadow. It became clear to many that current times are calling us to integrate the gifts of the previous levels of human development. However, approaching this monumental task also looked quite daunting!
The Findhorn Community and the Esalen Institute both began in 1962, right into the baby boomer era that brought incredible post war gifts and is characterised by community values, the importance of connection and ecological sensitivity and the focus on spirituality and human potential. This new stage or worldview focuses on feelings rather than rationale, emphasises dialogue and relationship, has a tendency to reject hierarchy and embrace egalitarianism and welcomes diversity and multiculturalism. However, if you look around most people on these and similar communities nowadays are very similar; white, middle class, ageing. Both centers, along with many others, have made and continue to make a great contribution to the healing and expansion of countless individuals drawn intuitively to personal and spiritual growth. They were epicentres for the emergence of the green stage lens – a huge achievement.
It’s perhaps no great surprise that many of the most established holistic centers in the western world emerged at the same time as this community orientated worldview. However are we thriving as fully as we can and finding our relevance in these challenging times? Is it time for us to evolve beyond what we know? The founding values remain important, and, is it possible they’re also ripe for reinvention. Do we need to become the very word that describes us – holistic ‘whole’ – and embrace the parts of ourselves we’ve rejected, both personally and organisationally?
There are many developments in the last five decades to be celebrated; deep ecology, humanistic psychology, interfaith gatherings, value led organisations such as Greenpeace and Amnesty International to name just a few. Is there a new story that can take us further, into previously unwalked territory?
Offering the SDi map as a guide to this terrain, integral consciousness began to arrive in the FF with a deeper analysis that showed the problems we were experiencing are an expression of consciousness itself – wicked problems that cannot be solved by the current vertical level of consciousness. If we as holistic centers are a microcosm of the macrocosm, we have important work ahead.
Why am I so interested in all of this? After being deeply engaged as a co-worker in the FF for the last six and half years, stepping gradually and then more deeply into leadership, authority and influence I’m simply following my intuition. After three years of focalising the FF Council, the representative body that linked co-workers and management, bringing a passion for more commitment, engagement and pro-activity within the culture, I know how challenging it is to bring a change of direction to a giant tanker. I also have much to learn within my own journey and write about this as a way of diving deeper. And within my leadership role in the Centers Gathering I feel we’re in a unique position to explore this cutting edge theory and practice together and make an even bigger difference in the world.
More next week!