breakthrough thinking. It can even occur in a dyad, as in the therapeutic relationship.
Have the participants talk together—preferably with the intention of deepening their
understanding of the meaning of the chosen focus. That can be “what would improve the
moral significance of our work in the world,” to grappling with a global epidemic like
AIDs, to understanding the deeper implications of person-centered theory. Invite group
members to suspend their strongly held ideas and assume the state of ‘not knowing’; to
listen carefully and closely to others, and speak as authentically as possible; to allow
room for the wonderment of the unexpected to unfold. Make sure the group space is safe
by respecting every person’s contribution; be as present, real, and vulnerable as possible.
In such a climate, the unexamined assumptions that impede creative dialogue between all
of us will reveal themselves and push the group into a higher collective intelligence.
Participants who can reside in what Bohm calls ‘the pool of meaning’, and Rogers calls
‘the transparent spirit of oneness’, will almost inevitably move toward collective wisdom
and a unified learning field where the whole will be greater than the sum of its parts. In
this climate, individuals quickly forget about their personal agendas and competition.
Their minds expand, group attention unites and collective wisdom is unleashed. In such a
state, consciousness is elevated beyond the level of any individual, and the group is more
able to address the vital issues of the global community.
Be aware that there are the common obstacles that can keep a group from
reaching the state of expanded consciousness. Some of these obstacles are:
1) The pressure to conform to the norm. Anxiety about “What is expected”
often inhibits participants from being open, free and courageous.