Higher Vibrancy Starts with Your Self — Recommended Readings

Ury, William, Getting to Yes with Yourself and Other Worthy Opponents, New York: HarperOne. Read an excerpt here.

Holden, Robert, Shift Happens: How to Live an Inspired Life…Starting Right Now!, New York: Hay House.

If vibrancy is a choice, you can choose to enter the agreements that support the level of vibrancy you want.  You can choose these agreements in your relationship to your self, the other, the group, nature, and spirit.  To work on the agreements in all five primary relationships, where does one start?  Our global survey research only shows that where one relationship is highly vibrancy, all five are: the survey data does not show where to start.

And, the wisdom of many traditions around the world suggest a critical starting point, where the rest of the relationships cannot work with out strengthen in this specific relationship — the relationship you have with your self.  I have recently read and recommend two books that explore this critical relationship you have with your own self.

William Ury, global negotiator and co-author of the bestselling Getting to Yes, starts his book with a quote from Socrates, “Let him who would move the world first move himself” (p1).  Ury finds that, “Getting to yes with yourself prepares the way for getting to yes with others…(it) is about changing the inner game so that we can then change the outer game” (p3).  “The greatest obstacle to getting what we really want in life is not the other party, as difficult as he or she can be.  The biggest obstacle is actually ourselves.  We get in our own way…We sabotage ourselves by reacting in ways that do not serve our true interests” (p4).  “Underlying our poor reactions in moments of conflict is an adversarial “win-lose” mindset…What sustains this..is a sense of scarcity, the fear that there is just not enough to go around” (p5).

Ury suggests 6 steps to making vibrant agreements with your self.  He qualifies that, “The six steps may at times seem like common sense.  But in my three and a half decades of working as a mediator, I’ve learned that they are uncommon sense–common sense that is uncommonly applied” (p6).  (1) Put yourself in your shoes.  (2) Develop your inner BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement). (3) Reframe your picture.  (4) Stay in the zone. (5) Respect them even if. (6) Give and receive.

How do we know when we need to renegotiate with our self?  Maybe we are giving ourselves the signal.  When asked what you think about something, like where you want to go to school, have you ever said, “I don’t know.  I’ll have to ask myself.”  Then you had to reflect on it.  Who were you asking?  What did you say to yourself?  Ury suggests humans have an inner system that gives the feedback we need to know when to enter a negotiation with our self.  “If you listen to your feelings, particularly recurrent ones of dissatisfaction, you will find that they point you in the direction of unmet concerns and interests.  Properly interpreted, they can help you uncover your deepest needs…Feelings of dissatisfaction are the language that your needs use to communicate with you” (pp32-33).  Ury also emphasizes the importance of truly owning your life. “That is the power of self-responsibility when twinned with self-understanding.  Self-understanding without self-responsibility runs the risk of dissolving into self-pity.  Self-responsibility without self-understanding can deteriorate into self-blame” (p47).

In Shift Happens, author Robert Holden provides a very accessible guide to choosing agreements with your self.  Showing why experiencing only the outcomes level of reality is so difficult for people, Holden explores why, “Separation by its very nature is violent.  The moment you believe you are separate from anything or anyone, there is room for suspicion, fear, defensiveness, competitiveness, envy, and attack” (p31).  Ecosynomically, we experience the noun as an it, outside of me.  Separation.  We experience being with and part of the verb and light, inside of me.  No separation.  Holden also takes on the impact on the self of the perception of scarcity.  “To receive, you must be willing to give up all thoughts of lack.  Lack is the great illusion.  In truth, there are no shortages, only a lack of willingness to receive” (p90).  Playing on the same phrasing my wife uses, Holden suggests that, “what once looked like a dead end now becomes a way out, i.e., opportunity is nowhere becomes opportunity is now here” (p224).

Two very accessible reads by two well established writers and practitioners on the path to choosing vibrant agreements with your self, the first step towards more vibrant agreements with self, other, group, nature, and spirit.




Seeing the Light-Resources in All Primary Relationships

Looking through the lens of “how much,” I see the available resources, at all three levels of perceived reality.  At the possibility-light level, I am aware that what exists depends on what I give my attention to.  A simple example helps here.  If you have ever thought about going camping, throwing a party, designing a home, or going on vacation, you have experienced light-level resources.  Way before the end showed up – the campfire, the party, the home, the vacation – you started to invoke a lot of energy, in the form of intentions, wishes, hopes, fears, thoughts, and work, bringing together many people to work towards something in the future, a possibility they all began to see together.  A home becomes real when you and the architect can actually see it together.  From that moment on, lots of money, time, work, and materials come together, months before there is an actual house to sleep in.  That the house is not completed does not make it any less real.

Starting with the light, you interface with the world through five primary relationships: your own self, the other, the group, nature, and spirit.  As described earlier, from your own experience, you know that these are the primary ways in which you experience the harmonic vibrancy of life, the light as it manifests in this world.

Through these five relationships, you give your intention and attention to what shows up in the world as resources.  In light you experience your self stepping more deeply into your potential, your deeper gifts and calling.  It is what you see in your self and decide for that determines what begins to show up for you in your life.  If you decide to be an engineer, life starts to show up very differently than if you see yourself as a carpenter or a salesperson.  This also works in very short time frames.  What you believe about yourself, in this moment, heavily influences what you can see, in this moment.  This is very well documented.  What you give your intention to and what you pay attention to begins to show up in your life, for you.  The first step in this process is seeing the potential.  You can see that you are a caring person and believe that.  You can see yourself as an engineer and believe that.  When you see it, it resonates deeply within you.  Somehow, you just know.

In light you experience the same deeper stepping in me, into my deeper gifts and potential.  You can see my gifts, who I can be.  It just seems obvious to you, when looking at me, that my light would shine brightly in that way.  For example, you just know I would look great in those clothes, that I would really like meeting this person, and that I would be great at this job.  How do you know this about me?  While we might not know the “how,” I am clear, by asking hundreds of people in lots of countries, that we also “just know it.”   You can see it in others.  What is amazing about this capacity is that it is not based on past experience with that person.  It is not that you know I would like them because I already like them.  Nor that I would be great in a job that I have never done. You do not actually “know” this – at least not from past experience.  And yet, somehow you have a strong intuition that I will, and you am often right.

In light you experience the unique contribution of each person’s voice to the emergent harmony of the group, and the group’s nurturing of those unique contributions.  You can see the possibility for a group harmonic, way before the harmonic resulting from the group’s work together ever appears.  You can see the home, and who will help build, months before you can sit in it.  You can imagine a quintet, and what it will sound like, weeks before the group even comes together.  You can envision a family gathering at the beach for a week, a year before they get together.  You do this all the time, seeing the group interacting, even though the group has never been together before.

In light you experience nature through the process of manifesting the infinite possibility of light into the human realm of reality.  You live the continuous process of bringing light into verb into noun.  You see the mowed lawn, and create that by mowing the lawn.  You see the experience of the torte, and go to the store to make it happen.  You constantly “see” something, and then manifest it through your attention and your action.

In light you experience the source of creativity – possibility-light – in everything, everywhere about you.  When you look around, you see that acts of creation happening everywhere, in all things at all times.  Sun is shining.  Trees are growing.  Your kids are creating music together.

This is the light realm of your experience with resources, as seen through the five primary relationships you have with light.  In ecosynomic terms, it is through these five relationships that you transform the infinite potential in light energy into something you use to support your life, your resources.  When you give your attention to seeing these possibilities, you are able to see new opportunities.  You can see how what is needed is shifting, so that can change what you do before your current work becomes obsolete.  You can see the potential consequences of your future actions, and avoid unintended consequences from the outset.  When you do this, you avoid the costs of scarcity at the light level.

Your Relationship to Spirit

This is part 6 in a 7-part post.

There is one other relationship I hear in people’s stories.  A corporate executive shared his perspective of this, “In scarcity mode, there just isn’t any creativity.  We know what to do in this mode, because the rules are given.  They are in the book.  We just ask what we are supposed to do.  I mean, somebody just tells us what the rules are.  This is very different in the abundance place, where we never even ask, because I can see what we can do, the creativity and knowing is everywhere.  The essence of the spirit of the group is that anything is possible.”  The figure below captures this.

In many groups, you experience the light coming from a respected, well established source.  Often in the form of a book, this is the story that shows the way.   At home, these are often the family standards for how things are done – the current generation’s interpretation of the family traditions.  At work this might be the employee handbook, the industry standards for best practices, or the code of ethics.  In religions these are the books of the guiding word of the omnipresent spirit.  This relationship you have to spirit as being the light coming from the accepted word is in the top-right of the figure above.

In other groups you are able to experience a greater invitation to spirit, where the creative force flows from you, in addition to the book.  The light shines through you as well.  This is when you experience the exhilaration of creativity, when it flows through you.  You experience yourself as being able to see the teachings from others, as well as having your own interpretations of what you think.  This is the creative force in you that makes others’ hearts sing, your parents cry, and your friends adore you.  This is the experience of yourself as the portal, the host, for the flow of spirit, as depicted in the middle of the figure above.

Sometimes you also experience your relationship to spirit as one of the radiance of everything around you.  In these moments, spirit is invited to show up everywhere it exists.  You see that spirit radiates from everything all around you – it is everywhere.  It is in these moments that you experience that you are actually co-hosting the flow of spirit: it is flowing in you, in everything else, and it is this awareness of hosting that awareness of flow that is your co-hosting gesture.  It is important that you are not only an observer, as when the light is sourced from outside of you, rather that you are an active participant, bringing spirit-awareness to the flow all around you.  This relationship to spirit is reflected in the bottom-left of the figure above.

Your relationship to spirit is where you experience the light with which you see everything else.  The level of harmonic vibrancy you experience in your relationship to spirit reflects the level of spirit that is invited into your experience.  From being a recipient of the light at the lowest vibrancy to an active host-recipient of the flow of spirit at middle vibrancy, to the co-host-participant-recipient at high vibrancy.  The agreements in different groups invite in different levels of spirit’s presence, from received wisdom in the book, to what you can see in yourself, to what can be experienced in everything.[1]

People have shared lots of distinctions around the spirit of the source of creativity.  When you feel all alone, nothing is there to support you, nothing is on your side.  Everything and everyone disappoints you.  There is no point to the whole game.  All that exists is what you can see in front of you.  The only thing that is real is what you can touch.  When you feel a part of a much greater whole, a part of the cosmos, you know that you are supported by something greater than you.  However you choose to acknowledge that relationship to a greater power, you are in awe of the potential.  In this space, anything is possible; you just have to see it.  Even the spirit of the group at work, on your team, and in your community is palpable.

My request to you

As in the previous five posts in this series, I invite your participation.  Share your own experiences in these pages — thoughts on what I share, or questions that arise.  I invite you as a citizen scientist to participate in the naming of the emerging field of ecosynomics, realizing the higher harmonic vibrancy available to all of us.


[1] Our relationship with Spirit explores the realm of possibility, where the absolute of the light-Spirit remains in the infinite.  The inner experience of this relationship to Spirit is simultaneously self-in-Spirit and self-as-Spirit, experienced as the transcendent I that continues after death and as the Thou in Thy will be done.  The self’s Spirit expression is physically observable in one’s continuous experience of and work with subtle-causal energies.  Culturally, the group supports the individual’s transcendent relationship with Spirit.  This culture of rejoining Spirit is supported by the social structures and processes of religion and spiritual development.

Your Relationship to Nature

This is part 5 in a 7-part post.

It seems that people agree to scarcity or abundance in the group, whether or not they are aware of the agreement.  And, when they agree on abundance, they experience a greater harmonic and a greater vibrancy.  Everyone seems to agree that this is what they want and that they just do not always get it.  It also seems that when people experience greater abundance, there is a greater vibrancy in their relationships to their own self, to the other, and to the group.  And, when they experience greater scarcity, there is less vibrancy in all of these relationships.  This seems to show something about people’s ability to bring vibrancy to all of the group or none of the group, and that is related somehow to the level of scarcity or abundance they experience.  Furthermore, when the group is in scarcity mode, it is very hard to pay attention to the vibrancy in any of the relationships.  In abundance mode, it all shows up.  There’s relationship all over the place.  Specifically, in the scarcity mode, each person tries to do what is required to move the thing along, to keep life going.  No relationship there, just a lot of everyone doing their own thing.  The abundance mode is completely different.  It is through the relationships that people get things done; a lot more done.  And, just as important, it is not harder to get more done, rather when people experience greater vibrancy, there seems to be creativity and energy in abundance.  They are in the flow, and they get a lot done.  In lower vibrancy, they never have enough, and everything gets stuck.

This brings in a fourth relationship people describe in their experience of harmonic vibrancy, their relationship to “what is real” and how they work with it.  This is what comes naturally to you, that which you perceive and experience as “reality,” where reality is simply that which is visible, that which exists.  Some people require reality to be touchable.  If they cannot touch it, it is not real.  Thus, reality for them includes rocks, humans, food, air, money, and their house, as reflected in the bottom-right of the figure below.  Other people include the processes of growing older, maturing, learning, and building of their home along with many other “ing’s,” as captured in the middle of the figure.  For them these are just as real.  They describe the ‘”ing’s” as the journey, the path, which is just as real as the momentary outcomes, the things, of those processes.[1]  Still other people include the “realities” they envision, the possibilities and visions that motivate people into action.  Whether it is a design for a home, as in the top-left of the figure, a plan for a team, or a vision for a community, this very real possibility creates movement.  In hearing over and over again how people talk about with is natural to them, and what is real, and the nature of things, I started to suggest that working among these different realms of reality is the process of “Nature.”[2]  This has seemed to describe this experience for most people.


You also have the experience of the aliveness of nature, of processes.  Think of your favorite place in the whole world.  This is the place that makes you feel the best.  Where is it?  What is it about this place that makes you feel so good?  Describe the essence of this place that makes you love it so much.  Interestingly, when I ask this question, most people tell me they love the beach, rivers, or mountains.  They describe what they love in nature with a noun, a thing: a beach, a river, a mountain.  When I ask them to name a specific place and to describe it, the name other nouns: sun, sand, salt water, heat (for the beach lovers).  When I suggest that I will give them light (lamp), sand, salty water, and heat, right where they are, I ask them if that makes them really happy.  They always smile or frown, and say “no.”  Then I suggest that it is not those “things” that feel them so deeply.  If not those things, then what?  They then begin to describe the moving of the river, its pushing downhill, its chillingness, its smelling, and its ever-changing nature.  These are verbs.  These are descriptions of the forces that enliven the nouns.  People love the verbs in nature.

These same verbs describe your experience of processes, of change over time.  You develop new capacities as you learn, over time.  People often describe these processes with “ing” – dancing, cooking, reading, walking, thinking.  It is not about the end product, the momentary outcome, the thing, rather it is about the activity itself, the journey

You also experience nature as the manifesting of possibility.  This is when you know that something has become “real,” long before it becomes tangible.  Think of all of the resources that came together, over months and months, on your last big project, way before the final product, the noun, ever appeared.  My wife Leslie is an architect.  It is exciting to see when the image of the home finally materializes in the minds of the homeowner, Leslie, and all of the contractors that work on that image, for many months, before it becomes a tangible reality.  It is no less real to them at earlier stages of manifestation than it is when it is “done.”  It became the home they were to live in when they saw it, and it became real.  This experience of the relationship to nature is one of light.  Of the infinite potential of what the light energy could become, in that moment the light shifted from possibility to probability, from an idea to a manifest reality, equally available to many people.

You experience your relationship to nature at all three points along this continuum.  What changes along the continuum is the choice for how it manifests.  At low vibrancy, the noun already exists.  At middle vibrancy the noun is in the process of forming, as a verb.  At this level of relationship, one can choose how to work with the verb, choosing when to relate to the noun, and how to more optimally relate to the sustainability of the verb-noun.  At high vibrancy, one can also choose among the infinitely possible, what will even begin to manifest.  Practically speaking, we can see the water in front of us, the noun.  We can also see the inflows and outflows of water, choosing to put in more of the locally available water than we take out, thus maintaining a sustainable, local source of water – this is the verb view.  And, we can also choose to redefine what we understand as available water, making it important that everyone have access to clean water, not just those with money or proximity to water – this is the light view.[3]

The level of harmonic vibrancy you experience in your relationship to nature in any given group or place is an agreement.  That you experience different levels of the harmonic vibrancy of this relationship in different groups shows you that different levels are available, based on the accepted agreements in the group.  This means that you can choose a different agreement, one of higher harmonic vibrancy.

Listening to people’s experience of the nature of scarcity and abundance, I hear experiences of infinite abundance of beautiful expressions and experiences of there is never enough and nothing works.  The world of lack never seems to work well.  It feels dead.  It is full of things I want and cannot get, things I do not want, and things that I want, get, and throw away.  None of it does what I wanted it to do.  There is never enough money, food, or time.  In the world of infinite abundance, everything seems amazing.  It is all beautiful.  The Chinese philosopher Confucius said, “Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.”  We can make anything real, by just adding imagination.  We come together to make a house, based on an idea, months before we even step foot into a building.

A forester suggested that the human relationship with nature is the experience of manifestation, and that is why people have such a strong relationship with the natural environment.  That is where they most directly experience the transformation of infinite light-energy potential into continuously developing processes that we experience in every given moment.  We love the strength and growth in the tree, through the seasons, and its fruit on a given day.  The same energy transforms from sunlight into the tree then into leaves that fertilize the soil.  It is the manifesting cycle of life that mesmerizes us in our relationship to the natural environment, in specific, and to nature, in general.  This includes our experience of human nature, the creative flow of manifestation from an imagination and concept to the development of the capacities to translate the concept into form, and the final form.  We experience the whole process – this is our relationship to nature.

My request to you

As in the other posts in this series, I extend a request to you to participate.  Please reply in these pages to share your own experiences, thoughts on what I share, or questions that arise.  I invite you as a citizen scientist to participate in the naming of the emerging field, which I refer to as ecosynomics, and in realizing the higher harmonic vibrancy available to all of us.

[1] I will show later how what seem to be concrete things, the starting point of scarcity, might also be seen as momentary outcomes of a continuous process of people manifesting possibilities out of an infinity of forms of light energy.

[2] Much research has shown the importance of the human relationship to nature, in its forms of possibility, process, and momentary outcomes.  University of Michigan psychology professor Stephen Kaplan finds, “the natural environment is experienced as particularly high in compatibility.  It is as if there were a special resonance between the natural setting and human inclinations” (Kaplan, 1995, p. 174).  This is supported by recent experimental research, such as (Berman, Jonides, & Kaplan, 2008; Hartig, Evans, Jamner, Davis, & Garling, 2003).

[3] Our relationship with Nature explores the manifest realm of probability, when life meets with the possible, where the absolute nature of the light-flow-Spirit expresses itself in a relative form within the human-perceived universe.  Probability is when possibility meets nature, that instant when one knows something as “real,” even if it is far from manifesting in a tangible form.  Most of human life is experienced this way.  For example, from when the design of a house is “seen” by the architect, owner, and builder, many weeks of work and resources start moving ever before the house shows up.  When did it become very “real” for everyone involved?  When it became a probability.  The inner experience of this relationship to Nature is the psychic energy one experiences as life-force, intentions, feelings, and thoughts as perceptions of the movement of light – one’s relationship with self-in-Nature – how I relate to Nature.  The self’s Nature expression is physically observable in one’s sensory-perception organs of touch, life, movement, balance, warmth, taste, sight, and hearing.   Culturally, the group supports the individual’s balance within the ecosystem.

Your Relationship to the Group

This is part 4 in a 7-part post.

In everyone’s stories of their experiences, I also hear people describe their relationship to the group.  A young man from Germany captured what many have shared, “When the vibrancy in the group is low, I just want to be told what to do.  It is clear that none of me is needed, other than what I can do right then.  It is very frustrating.  I am in a box, somebody has a whip, and I am submissive to the task at hand.  When I experience high vibrancy in a group, we are all looking for the unique contributions our creativity can make to the group.  It’s like the harmonic we create when we each sing our piece.  Together we are able to take on anything.”  You often experience your relationship to the “we” as one of “just tell me what to do.”  This is an experience many of us have at work and in communities where we have no voice.  In this relationship, you are clear that you make no unique contribution, as a matter of fact, many people could easily replace you in your job.  If someone else lived in your house, the community would never know.  If you stopped playing in the bowling league, nothing would change.  This is the experience of the individual at the top-left in the figure below.



You also have the experience of feeling like you can stand tall, as a contributing member of the group, where your skills are needed for the group to be able to succeed, as it competes with others.  Your group is able to stand up to “them,” whoever the opposition is.  You experience your contribution as clear in this group, and the group is clear that it is stronger because you are bringing your abilities.  This is the cooperative competition of us versus them, as seen in the middle group in the figure below.[1]

You have also had the occasional experience of a group where the relationship was one of deep collaboration.  Sometimes this is experienced as “being in the groove,” where the ensemble really melds and a much greater possibility emerges for the group.  This is the experience of “united we can,” when a people come together to achieve outcomes that they previously thought were impossible.  These are moments of greatness, often experienced on sports teams, in transformational family moments, or when a country comes together to face an extraordinary hardship.  This is the experience of the united group at the bottom-right of the figure below.

Your relationship to the group is how you experience the “we.”   The “we” is another interesting experience, which is completely different than the “I” that only you can experience for yourself or the “you” that I experience with you.  The collectively experienced we-ness is the experience we have of “our” family, which in my case is the Ritchie-Dunhams.  The experience of “family” is different than that of me as an individual member of the family.  I am both Jim (the “I”) and Ritchie-Dunham (the “we”).

You have experienced your relationship to the group along this continuum, from the subsuming experience of low vibrancy to the uniting experience of high vibrancy.  As you experience greater harmonic vibrancy along this continuum, what is present at the lower levels of vibrancy is also available at higher levels, along with new dimensions.  In the first experience, of low vibrancy, you are a “doer” – just tell me what to do.  In the second experience, of medium vibrancy, you are a contributor, both able to do, as before, and to bring greater gifts, talents, and abilities to the group.  In the third experience, of high vibrancy, you are a doer, a contributor, and full of great potential, all at the same time.  Thus, in the higher levels of vibrancy, you have access to more – you can make a larger contribution to the group.[2]

Once again we return to seeing that the level of harmonic vibrancy experienced in your relationship to the group is an agreement.  That you experience higher or lower levels in different groups is not a fact of nature.  It is not physics, rather an agreement about your relationship to the group.  You choose and accept that relationship, which makes it an agreement.  Thus, you can make an agreement for a different relationship to the group.

In all of the stories people have shared with me about their relationship to groups, such as their immediate and extended family, their community, where they work, where they commute, or where they hang out with friends, they tell stories of experiencing a greater energy while being with them that stays afterwards and experiences of being exhausted when they leave them.   The exhausting groups bore us, increase our fatigue, and always ask too much of us.  Yet another endless meeting?  Another group where my contribution is underappreciated?  You have to medicate yourself after being with them, by thinking about something else, being with other people, drinking, watching television – somehow you have to disconnect from them and connect to something else.  The energizing groups make you feel even better after being with them than when you started.  Even if you built a house together, went for a run, designed a whole new project, delivered an intense workshop, no matter how many hours and how much effort it took, you feel invigorated afterwards.  You made a contribution, which the group engaged with, and it felt great.  You are a better person because you were with them today.

The framework now includes relationships to the self, other, and group.  This is the traditional set of me, you, us.  At first this seemed complete to me.  However, I found that the stories people shared added some other dimensions.  I continued the inquiry.  “It seems that there is a huge difference in the experience of the low and high vibrancy groups.”  Everyone responded that there definitely was, with scarcity everywhere in the low-vibrancy experience and abundance everywhere in the high-vibrancy experience.  When I pry a little, asking, “Why is there scarcity in one group and abundance in another?,” people respond with something like, “There just is.  Right?”  “Why?,” I ask.  This is when we hit another huge insight.  A senior teacher characterized the typical response I get, “Because that’s what we agree to.”  She went on to describe that in the low vibrancy group, everyone shows up knowing that this is just the way it is.  “Somehow I just agree that it is okay to be that way.  We all do.  In the high vibrancy group, we agree to be more abundant.  In fact, sometimes it is the same people in the different groups.  We just agree to be different in different groups.  Doesn’t seem that we see that though.”

My request to you

Please reply in these pages to share your own experiences, thoughts on what I share, or questions that arise.  I invite you as a citizen scientist to participate in the naming of the emerging field, which I refer to as ecosynomics, and in realizing the higher harmonic vibrancy available to all of us.

[1] A very enlightening description of cooperative competition, Co-opetition provides many examples of this practice and its benefits, from intersections with four gas stations to restaurants all piled up in the same location (Brandenburger & Nalebuff, 1998).

[2] The relationship that we have to the group explores one’s social expression of group intention, that to which we give of our group will and cannot achieve on our own.  This is a group form of light flow, which requires a group to manifest.  The inner experience of this relationship to the group manifests as one’s own group higher purpose, the superordinate essence to which we relate the contributions we want to make – one’s relationship with self-in-group – how I relate to the group.  The self’s group expression is physically observable in one’s gut, one’s will, that which one serves.   Culturally, the group supports and embraces the individual in exploring the gifts they contribute to the needs of the group.  Our experience of the group nature of light-Spirit is one of interdependence, which in the old French is solidaire.  This culture of interdependence is supported by social structures and processes focused on the integration of interests, purpose, or sympathies among members of a group; a fellowship of responsibilities and interests, such as collaborations, co-operatives, and the primary focus politically of collectivists.

Your Relationship to the Other

This is part 3 in a 7-part post.

The second relationship people describe in their experiences is that of the other person.  Reflecting on this experience, people have shared that in the low energy group, they do not experience anything of the other person.  The other people are just there, maybe.  However, in the energizing experience, they see all of the different people.  A woman in a recent conversation shared, “They are all really creative, just as I am, and I really support that.”

There are places and groups where you do not experience the other.  The other does not exist.  At best, they are an annoyance or disturbance.  In this experience, you turn your back on the other, protecting yourself from their influence, making it impossible for you to see them.  You also experience that they do not see you.  This is the experience of the two, dark, slumped over, back-to-back figures in the figure below.


You also have the experience of being able to stand tall and face the other, seeing them as separate from you, with their own unique talents, gifts, and abilities.  In this experience, you feel seen by the other for what you can do and contribute.  This is the experience of the two individuals facing each other in the above figure.

Occasionally, you also have the experience of being seen completely by another, who you also see completely.  You experience that the other sees who you are and who you can be.  They see right into your soul.  You feel liberated at what another was able to see in you.  They saw and experienced the light that streams through you, your deepest moments of possibility and creativity.  In the other, you see gifts that they do not even know of themselves.  You see the potential.  It feels you with warmth to experience this flow of light-Spirit potential in another.  You experience that together you can see even further than you could alone.  This is the experience of the two individuals on the right side of teh figure above.

Your relationship to the other is how you experience another human being.  This is the “you” that the “I” experiences in another.  This is your experience of relating to someone else who is having an “I” experience, and your ability to see the “I” that uniquely expresses in the other, just as the “I” uniquely expresses in you.

Along the continuum of your relationship to the other, you have three experiences, from the back-to-back, collapsed experience of low vibrancy to the embracing, fully open experience of high vibrancy.  At each level of vibrancy, you are able to see more in the other.  In the higher levels of vibrancy, you experience more of the other, and you experience more of your own self being seen by the other.  Like we saw with our relationship to our own self, the level of harmonic vibrancy available in our relationship to another is an agreement that we accept, whether or not we are aware of it.  We agree to the group’s spoken and unspoken rules about how much of the other is present in the relationship.  We accept this, which means that we can also choose a different agreement, an agreement of greater harmonic vibrancy.

From what people have shared with me, it seems that we have two different experiences.  When you see other people, do you see another brilliant soul or someone intent on disturbing you?  The disturber is everywhere.  They cut you off in traffic, give you extra work to do, make you pay taxes, disappoint you, spoil your appetite, and hurt your feelings.  They make your life more difficult.  That is one experience.  The other experience happens when we are faced with a brilliant soul who brings lightness to our life.  They make you smile.  They make your heart overflow with joyful tears.  They prove to you, continuously, how beautiful life can be.  Whether it is the artist down the street, the author of your favorite book, the genius you respect, your mother, or your kid shining on stage, you experience the brightness of their light shining through their offering.  Jennie Jerome Churchill, Winston Churchill’s mother, said, “Treat your friends as you do your pictures, and place them in the best light.”

My request to you

Please reply in these pages to share your own experiences, thoughts on what I share, or questions that arise.  I invite you as a citizen scientist to participate in the naming of the emerging field, which I refer to as ecosynomics, and in realizing the higher harmonic vibrancy available to all of us.

Your Relationship to Self

This is part 2 in a 7-part post.

I usually start the deeper dive observing that in the two groups they described their experiences of different relationships.  One of these relationships was about what they experienced of their own self.  As we delve into their relationship to their own self in the two different groups, they tell me that in the scarcity experience, none of their own self shows up.  For example, a friend described, “In the awful experience, I am just there, getting the energy sucked out of me.  In the great experience, not only am I more creative, I also experience parts of me showing up that are new and exciting.  I am better for having been in the experience.”  Throughout these conversations I have had over the past year, people constantly describe different aspects of the “vibrancy” of the group, which led me to use that term in describing the energy experienced in the group.

I have found it useful, in teasing out what is happening in these experiences, to draw what people are sharing.  The figure below captures the low and high extremes, as well as a middle point, of the experience of one’s relationship to one’s own self.



There are places where you experience your “I” as slumped over, with your head in an invisible darkness through which no light can enter.  Everything is dark – from here nothing or very little can be seen.  Here you experience great vulnerability, moving into the fetal position, literally or figuratively, to protect all of the core systems, such as your will, your heart, and your head.  This is the experience of the bottom-left individual in the figure.

There is another experience you often have of the “I.”  You experience your “I” as standing tall, acknowledging what you have to bring to the world, with the gifts, talents, and abilities you have developed over your life.  This is the middle individual in the figure.

There is yet another experience you have, in some places and groups, where the “I” stands tall, open to the world, and fully participating, sharing everything that you have to give and everything that might come.  You experience this position of complete openness and invitation as one of great strength and happiness, with your full will, heart, head, and soul engaged.  While this looks like the most vulnerable position, as everything is exposed, it is the one in which you experience the most strength.  This is the experience of the outstretched individual in the upper-right of the figure above.

You have three different experiences along the continuum of your relationship to your own self, from the collapsed experience of low vibrancy to the fully open experience of high vibrancy.  At each subsequent level of vibrancy, more of you is available.

Since you experience these three different levels of harmonic vibrancy in your relationship to your own self, they are all part of who you are.  They are all available to you.  The twist I want to make here is to realize that how much of your own self is available in any given space or group is an agreement.  You agree to this, whether or not you are aware of the agreement.  This also means that you can agree to something else, to another relationship to your own self in a group.

You also experience different perspectives of your own self.[1]  What you see when you look inwardly, of your own self, is your experience of your self-in-self – your own self, a unique being, within your self (inner-individual perspective).  In other words, you can see your self within you – odd to say, while being the essence of your own, continuous experience of life.  This is the realm of personal development and initiation.  You also have an outward perspective of your own relationship to self, through your body and observable behaviors (outer-individual perspective).  This is what others can see of how you show up in the world.  These individual perspectives are supported by group perspectives.  The culture of the “we” supports you in your “I.”  What do “we” support in your relationship to your self (inner-group perspective)?  Different cultures support very different responses to this question – you are free, you are equal, you are subordinate to the “we,” you are in balance with nature, you are the light.   You also experience the structure supporting and interweaving with the culture (outer-group perspective).  What is fascinating is that these four different perspectives describe the same experience of your relationship to your own self, from very different lenses.

When you look at your own self, do you see great potential or a lost cause?  The lost cause in you knows that you have already learned everything necessary to do your job.  It is now just a matter of doing it; getting on with life.  There is nothing interesting out there, just a lot of cold, hard responsibilities.  The American humorist of suburban home life, Erma Bombeck, expressed this as, “If life is a bowl of cherries, then what am I doing in the pits?”[2]  Actress Katharine Hepburn lived into this, suggesting, “Life is hard.  After all, it kills you.”

And, you also have the other experience, the experience of great potential.  Where you know that there is greatness within you.  Where you are curious about the exciting opportunities that life puts in your way.  The growth that you experience as you grow up, having a partner, experiencing friendship, learning about new perspectives, having children who grow up, becoming an expert and an elder in your community.  Those moments of brilliance where the best of what you can be shows up, and others smile.

My request to you

Please reply in these pages to share your own experiences, thoughts on what I share, or questions that arise.  I invite you as a citizen scientist to participate in the naming of the emerging field, which I refer to as ecosynomics, and in realizing the higher harmonic vibrancy available to all of us.

[1] There are multiple perspectives people bring to seeing, understanding, and working with this relationship one has to one’s own self.  To explore these perspectives, I will briefly introduce a lens developed by Ken Wilber.   Wilber observed that some people focus on the individual perspective of the relationship and other people on the group perspective.  He also observed that some people focus on the interior perspective of the same experience and other people on the outer perspective.  This framework provides for four different, general perspectives on the same experience: the inner individual, the inner group, the outer individual, and the outer group.  I will explore the differences in what these perspectives see, how they make sense of the world, and what they prescribe, as I apply them to the five primary relationships, starting with one’s relationship to one’s own self.

[2] See Erma Bombeck’s book titled with this expression of one’s experience of one’s own self.

Your Experience of Groups, Awful and Great

Over the next seven posts, I will share a typical conversation I have these days, like the one I had last week in Boston, last month in North Carolina, two months ago in Mexico City, and three months ago in Germany.  At the end of each post, I will ask for your feedback.

I usually start the conversation with a simple question of whether they are experiencing the best they believe they can in their life.  So far, everyone has said that sometimes they experience the best they can, but not all the time.  When I ask why, they look at me funny, and say, “well, that’s just the way it is.  I don’t know.”  When I tell them that I think they do know, they give me the look of, “Oh yeah?  Show me.”

This is where it gets fun for me, because, like with the people I have engaged in the following conversation, I believe that I can show you, the reader, something you know to be true, but often do not realize.  To show you, now, what you know and a practical way of making sense of it, I will jump straight to the main point.


Experience of groups, awful and great

The conversation, which can be as short as five minutes or extend to hours, starts by asking people whether they have ever experienced a group or place where they feel awful?  This usually gets me a funny look, of “what do you mean?”  I suggest that they might feel bad while in the group or realize it afterward.  After being with these people or in this place, they feel fatigued, tired, frustrated, and they want to change something.  They want to medicate themselves.  Whether it is going for a walk, watching television, drinking a coffee or a beer, they need to do something else, to get away from the feeling of fatigue from the group.  At this point in the conversation, everyone always nods, acknowledging that they have that experience.  Some even make comments about the meetings they were just in, earlier in the day.  “You should see our meetings: they would kill you.”

I then ask whether they have had the opposite experience of a group or place that makes them feel great.  Where they are stronger and more energized because they are with the group.  After being with these people, they want to spend even more time with them.  They shake theirs heads excitedly, remembering such an experience in the recent past.

In a few groups, usually people working in large organizations, I have asked what percentage of the day they spend in the fatiguing experience.  For many the answers are up in the 70-80% of the time.  Ouch.  I then point out that I have established, from their own experience, that they know when they feel awful in a group and when they feel great.  They confirm this.  I have also shown that they have both experiences on a rather frequent basis.  So, then I ask the seemingly obvious, “Do you have a preference for one over the other?”  Most people chuckle at this, nodding their head and saying, “Of course.”  To be a little naughty, provocative, as well as to make sure, I suggest that the obvious preference is for the fatiguing experience.  “Right?”  This elicits another funny look with an immediate smile and response of, “No.  I prefer the energizing experience.  It has a better vibe.”  While this seems obvious, afterwards, I have made some clear distinctions in their preference for energizing groups.

Now I want to delve into the differences between the fatiguing and energizing groups by describing the experience more specifically.  In these conversations, people describe the fatiguing experience as exhausting, draining of energy, painful, and it requires people to work really hard to get anything done.  Participation in this group feels frustrating, with people just doing what they are told to do, without little creativity, even though they are trying.  They even share that they are often not sure what they contribute to the group.  Even more, they are not sure what anybody contributes to the group.  When I ask about the energizing group, people describe it as enlivening.  They have more energy afterwards than when they started.  Anything seems possible in the group.  They have lots of creative ideas.  Everyone in the group does, building off of each other, usually ending up in places they would never have seen before.  It is really cool.  Many people say that in this group they experience abundance all over the place.  This leads me to ask, “If this is an experience of abundance, what is the other experience?”  Most people respond, “Scarcity.  Nothing.  It is very hard.  There is a much lower vibrancy to the group.”

This is fascinating.  The awful place is an experience of scarcity and the great place is an experience of abundance.  And, now, we are getting to a critical insight.  I ask, “If you could live more in the abundant world, would you?,” to which the response has always been, “Yes.”  I counter with, “Then why don’t you?”  This starts us on a new path.  When people then respond that it is hard to live in greater abundance in most groups, I suggest that maybe it is and maybe it is not.  To tease out whether or not it is, we need to understand a little more about the differences in the two experiences.

My request to you

Please reply in these pages to share your own experiences, thoughts on what I share, or questions that arise.  I invite you as a citizen scientist to participate in the naming of the emerging field, which I refer to as ecosynomics, and in realizing the higher harmonic vibrancy available to all of us.