Character and Consciousness Raising Work
Changing from a private to a communitarian way of life is a radical shift, a fundamental reconditioning from “What do I get?” to “How can I unfold my creative powers for the benefit of all?” This means letting others participate and have a say in our lives rather than making decisions on our own and moving from disguise and defense to learning to trust and show oneself to others. Making this shift isn’t a matter of individual therapy, but of actually creating and participating in a community of trust – transcending isolated egos to a “communitarian self” comprised of truthful, autonomous individuals.
Building a functioning community requires a profound commitment. Only 1 out of 7 intentional communities manage to stay together for longer than 3 years. The failure of most communities isn’t because of external reasons, but because they’ve been overpowered by their own unconscious shadow sides, often exploding in conflicts around power, sex, love relationships and money. Community contains a profound dream and promise, but it also confronts us with the collective trauma we carry inside ourselves – a deep-seated structure of fear, mistrust and defense against love in humanity. The success of a community depends on whether it can develop ways to heal the collective trauma and raise our consciousness.
Working on community finds us touching all basic issues of humanity, both the light and shadow sides. If we want to free this world from war, we need to find forms of co-existence where people no longer lie to each other, and no longer blame others for their own mistakes. It’s here – in our interpersonal relationships – where we make the shift from war to peace on Earth. A community where members deceive each other is bound to fail, a group where people blame or scapegoat others still carries (latent) fascist structures. That’s why we’ve worked on social structures that allow people to recognize and transform this collective structure – and build reliable trust.
- Community begins with self-change and the readiness to make the system change that we want to see in the world. Taking responsibility for our thoughts, words and actions, we acknowledge and transform the negative patterns that we carry inside ourselves.
- Responsibly participating in the community and the world is an essential step of healing. Finding our place where we can gift our creative powers for the community and the benefit of all is an important step from isolation to reconnection. The more people collaborate for a common purpose, the more coherence a group can build. A community united by a common global vision has great transformative powers to make a difference in the world and to themselves.
- A healthy community needs its members to be transparent and to give honest and supportive feedback to each other, like feedback loops in any healthy organism and system. Transparency – learning to say what we actually feel and think – and feedback – where we express what we feel and think about others – frees us from fear and allows us to develop our authentic being. We practice daily Forum to create a protected space where expressing truth and giving feedback doesn’t lead to injury, but to solidarity and mutual support.
- Character works requires us to study the historical, political, social, psychological and spiritual backgrounds of the issues of humanity to build a basis of intellectual and spiritual knowledge about what system change is needed. Change happens when we understand and accept the global dimension of the issues, conflicts and longings within us. When we begin to see what aspects of humanity we’re dealing with, we’re no longer victims of our past. This is an existential insight that will change our lives.