Michael Stern & Michael Pergola
The deeper field invites me into a more embodied experience of life, where I more fully feel ‘the whole’ – the interdependent systems of which I’m a part, and where I may choose to navigate intuitively and creatively using an inner compass. The subtle skills and sensitivities intrinsic to Whole Field work – through tools such as systemic constellations for example – are applicable at work or at home, in leadership or project management, or in the most intimate aspects of life: in my health or my relationships, in the place of my deepest seeking…
– Stephen Busby
Integral Alignment, the NYC-based community of integral evolutionaries, was honored to recently host Stephen Busby on his first ever visit to New York. Stephen, who came over from Findhorn, is a soft-spoken yet powerful facilitator of the intersubjective field. Stephen’s expert guidance allowed those of us who were lucky enough to participate to embark on a journey into the subtle but potent realm of experience lovingly referred to as the “We-space”. This is a place we can enter only as a collective, as a group with a shared intention, where qualities such as authenticity, transparency, and mutuality create the potential for profound energetic movements of healing, integration, and evolution. According to many leaders of the integral community, the We-space holds the key to the future of human evolution.
Stephen has a background in the systemic approach of Bert Helinger’s Constellation Work, and after completing Thomas Hübl’s 3-year Timeless Wisdom Training, he has taken that approach to a new place by integrating the skills and capacities developed through Thomas’ Transparent Communication practices. The result is a profound method of attuning our individual body-minds to become highly sensitized and receptive to information and energy that is available within the field of collective consciousness, and a set of simple tools and techniques that allows us to work directly with that information and energy on an intuitive level.
Stephen works primarily with people to identify areas of evolutionary potential in an individual’s or in a group’s subtle energy field, guiding people through a process to release any blockages to the natural flow of energy and creating space for the essential qualities of that energy to arise and take form in a creative way. Stephen also works with organizations to push forward the evolutionary edge of leadership innovation and project management.
While in New York, Stephen held several events addressing all of these areas of his work. What follows are brief descriptions of some of these events which are intended to give a flavor of the experience, as well as some first-person reflections. The first event discussed here addressed the theme of Business and Consciousness, and then we will take a look at the workshops that focused more on Stephen’s Whole Field Work.
Business and Consciousness
I believe that in order for our integral evolutionary spiritual community to have a major impact here in New York, we must find ways to connect with the world of business and support the movement towards a more conscious economy. In Europe, Stephen works with organizations to help them see how the practices of Transparent Communication and an awareness of the role that consciousness plays in a business context are powerful tools for achieving practical goals. So we invited him to share with us some of his learning from that experience.
Stephen started by pointing out that “the flavor of mainstream business is generally uninspiring,” and that there is an extraordinary amount of latent creative energy getting lost in unsupportive environments that are reminiscent of pervious era in terms of how people work together in order to find fulfillment and create value for themselves and others. However, the popularity of concepts like Charles Eisenstein’s Sacred Economics, and the rise of the Creative/Conscious Capitalism movement, are strong indicators that if we could kick-start the activation of consciousness in mainstream business, it would be a primary portal for evolutionary change and have a tremendous impact on a systemic level.
As many people are quick to point out, the current times of crisis also represent rich opportunities, but they demand that we listen carefully to a deep inner call that, as we discovered over the course of the week, becomes much easier to hear in the context of a group of people with a strong shared intention to listen. This is the work that Stephen facilitates with organizations, and the primary challenge in this situation is communication – how do we encourage people who speak the language of business to be interested in concepts like consciousness, energetic patterns, and the We-space?
One answer may lie in what Stephen and Thomas refer to as “symptoms”, which are the easily perceivable consequences of deeper energetic movements that are occurring outside the range of our normal perception. From this perspective, we may view the primary goal of most businesses – profit – as a symptom of some deeper, less conscious energetic pattern. When we explored as a group what this might be, we discovered several interesting possibilities: legacy, the impulse to make a lasting difference for future generations; abundance, the impulse to thrive beyond mere survival; and creativity, the impulse to manifest more expressions of the divine energy.
We then looked at how these impulses show up in the business world, and saw that the key was innovation. All business people, and particularly entrepreneurs, are interested in innovation; as Holacracy points out, if an organization isn’t experiencing evolutionary tensions it’s probably dead, and especially in today’s business world. But innovation looks very different from the perspective of this work, which is first and foremost an intentional exploration of consciousness. In the first place, we are not talking so much about improving on ideas of the past as we are about pulling, or “downloading”, the future into the present – to become the future here and now. In order to do that, we need to learn the inner disciplines of presence – a highly attuned state of sensing reality – and transparency – the capacity and willingness to directly connect with the energetic level of our experience and then communicate authentically from that place.
Engaging with each other in this way allows the group to recognize the field “between” us, and experience a shared intelligence that transcends any of the individual members. This allows us deeper access to the systemic and archetypal structures in consciousness that normally define our energetic experience, and moves us from the personal to the impersonal. As our awareness expands to actually contain those structures we create the space for new insights to arise, and as the energy of the group becomes more and more synchronized and aligned, there is the possibility for the crystallization of new structures that reflect a higher level of development.
By leading us through this process of exploring the field (and, importantly, helping us understand the process as we moved through it) Stephen guided us towards identifying several important aspects of our collective experience, and a revelation of some very new possibilities for the world of business. We saw that this new form of innovation relied more on collaboration than on competition, and that it demands humility and selflessness to allow the innovative energy to flow naturally in its own way. And thus leadership in this context is no longer about a certain individual who has the ideas and the strategy to direct the process in a predetermined way, but rather it becomes a quality of the space itself when the individuals enter into a fearless relationship with what is present in the space.
We began to sense that in this context companies of the future would most likely be smaller, more dynamic, and finely tuned in to their own evolutionary purpose and developmental process. We can also understand that the systemic nature of the field means that symptoms which arise as tensions in the business world may have their cause in another area of life and that these issues can not be fixed at the level of manifestation. And then we can start to glimpse a sort of convergence point, where the boundaries between business, education, and spiritual practice become more permeable, and the term “business” can be rightly understood as applying to all areas of life where we interact with the various social systems of energy exchange.
If the universal principles of Beauty, Truth, and Goodness are indeed also good for business, then this new form of innovation should play a key role in any company’s efforts to evolve. By tapping the latent potential of business to be a powerful channel for the creative life force, we can start to heal the split many of us feel between what we feel called to do and what we feel we need to do to survive. And in the process we can develop thriving companies, full of abundance, powered by consciousness, and which leave a life-positive legacy for future generations.
The Whole Field of Life
In addition to this exploration of the potential consequences of bringing more consciousness into the realm of organizations and business, we had the opportunity to explore the intersubjective field at an even deeper level during the weekend workshops. Using recent innovations in systemic work we were able to expand on the experience of a shared reality that we had begun to taste in the discussion of Business. And we began to see that taking an approach to life that was grounded in this field of shared intelligence was profoundly transformative not just for organizations but also on the personal, interpersonal, and systemic levels.
In a retreat with a Brazilian shaman, Michael P. had a direct experience of the field of energy and interconnection, which binds us all as unique arisings of the One. He sensed a viscous presence, much like a transparent honey – sweet and clear but not sticky, rather primordially clean – that permeated the space between our apparently separate selves. He could see that each action, thought, feeling or experience was part of a larger whole that rippled through the field in both subtle and apparent ways. It was as if the inner sight became clearer and he saw and experienced reality in a new way within the altered state evoked by the retreat. That realization has stayed with him over time, deepening in the light of subsequent experience.
Stephen’s Whole Field work leads to a similar state of awareness. In one form of the work we joined with a group of people who are asked to represent the aspects of an issue that confronts us. As we create a dynamic sculpture with our small group, we explore the various energies that constellate that experience, and as the individuals repositioning themselves in new configurations we gain new insight into the situation. The subtle movement of the players in a constellation, even a small change in direction, can have a profound impact on our understanding and experience of the issue at hand.
As we relax into the larger field of energy and intelligence that holds our specific life experience, we begin to discern that we are part of a larger history that includes, but extends beyond, our personal history or genetic lineage. As we sense into a new understanding of our so-called “personal issues”, we begin to see that the questions and challenges we face may not be as personal as we imagined. The collective energies and transpersonal field that holds our individual sense of experience may be even more alive than the story we have been telling ourselves, the feelings we have been attached to, or the bodily tensions that have a hold on us. In this process a new level of understanding begins to arise, often accompanied by a felt shift in the energy field we are swimming in. Even more astonishing, we realize that we are swimming in an energy field that had previously been unconscious.
As this process unfolds we seem to develop a new capacity to sense into the many levels of reality that surround us. A “subtle organ of perception” begins to come forward that allows us to take in a whole new range of intelligence. It seems to be a powerful intelligence: one that offers a new level of collective engagement as it threatens the consensus trance of the primacy of our separate self-sense. Our experience was of a reconfiguration of the spiritual immune system that had kept that capacity to experience the field of energy and intelligence at bay, and had maintained the absolute legitimacy of the separate self, personal story and cultural worldview that had been impressed on our souls since birth.
The experience was simultaneously disconcerting and liberating. For some it might even be terrifying. The holding environment created by Stephen, however, was inviting and at the same time completely respectful of each individual’s capacity and willingness to entertain the experiment by “entering the field”. No one was pushed in any way, and in the safety created each of us was given the opportunity to take a small step, or a larger leap, beyond our comfort zone. As we ventured into our evolutionary potential a new sense of experience, subtle but powerful, began to emerge. While the work took a variety of forms in addition to our personal issues or opportunities (such as the relationship of the feminine and masculine archetypal energies or how we might approach the field of consciousness in a business context), in each case our personal experience was held in a systemic context.
The flavor and experience was consistently an invitation to a new capacity of perception and a deeper experience of the energies that have had a hold on us. In the process a new level of freedom began to show itself, and a renewed potential to ignite the deep yearning of our soul as an embodied form began to take shape. In addition to the skillful and safe space that Stephen created in the context of the weekend and evening workshops, or in the private sessions he ran, what stood out for many of us was the potential to take this experience into everyday life. Just imagine what it will be like when we can bring a new and powerful capacity to sense into the subtle energies that surround us, and often control us, into our families, love relationships and daily work environments.
We look forward to welcoming Stephen back in April 2013, when he will be offering a 4-day training program in becoming more sensitive to the hidden information available in any field and to working more creatively with it. The program is for anyone who would like to work with more depth or impact in coaching for instance, or in education, business, health- or social-care, therapy, and more, or for anyone who seeks to deepen their relationship to life by more fully embodying their creative potential. As information becomes available the details will be posted on www.integralalignment.org. We sincerely hope you can join us for what promises to be a powerful and transformative event with a wonderful group of people.
About the Authors
Michael Stern and Michael Pergola are the organizers of Integral Alignment, a community of integral spiritual practitioners and evolutionary agents of change in New York City. Their mission is to co-create a conscious culture through embodying the teaching, “All Life Is Yoga.”
Find out more about Stephen’s work and schedule at www.deepsystemshealing.com