We make decisions through a consent-based grassroots system, working with various councils. The keys to sustainable group decision-making are shared goals and values, transparency and trust and character and consciousness work in line with our ethical guidelines. When someone has an idea, they bring it to one of the group bodies or councils that make decisions, and then it goes to the whole community to check for resonance. If there is resonance and the suggestion supports the greater whole, a group forms to manifest it into the different realms – material, social and spiritual. When conflicts arise, we work on the hidden emotional patterns playing out and create spaces for trustful communication.
“Humanity needs to develop the capacity for democracy and this requires the transformation of the inner world. The adoption of grassroots democracy is appropriate when all participants are able to take on responsibility for the group. This requires people that follow their conscience and are ready to place the common interest above their own. When this is in place grassroots democracy develops naturally as a basic form of living and working together.”
Where Decisions Are Made
You could describe Tamera as a “council republic.” Councils at various levels – overall vision, overall coordination, subprojects and special working fields – deal with their issues and make decisions or prepare them for decision in the whole community. The councils consist of the people who take responsibility for the project and are trusted. They have the responsibility to regularly publish their work to the community and present suggestions. The community makes decisions through consent, meaning members can question suggested decisions if they can’t go along with them. Our decision-making bodies are:
- Planning Council – works on the overall global vision of Healing Biotopes and manifesting it in Tamera, driving for the project’s overall development.
- Carrier Circle – includes all project leaders who come together to support each other in their subprojects and tackle issues of management, organization and social design concerning the whole community.
- Women’s Council – provides advice on social and healing processes, questions in love and sexuality, conception and birth.
- Finance Council – looks after the economics of the community and takes care of the transition to a new economic paradigm.
- Manifestation Council – works on physical manifestation, like infrastructure, building, etc.
- Social Groups – all members of the community are embedded in a social group, where they spend time in Forum together, and share all aspects of their lives. They accompany the children of the group’s members and take care of each other in situations of need.
- Plenary – Our weekly gathering of the whole community is a community decision-making organ where people can bring relevant and creative ideas and plans, and ask for resonance and feedback.
Dealing with Conflict
Many conflicts aren’t about the subject itself, but about hidden emotional patterns, ego interests and interpersonal conflicts attached to them. This is why we do consciousness and character work, like Forum, to disentangle the psychological issues from the topic and dissolve them. If conflict still remains, because there’s genuine disagreement about the subject, we know we need to continue conferring until we can find agreement. Sometimes this prolongs our decision-making process, but it’s key for building and maintaining trust within the community. In a system of trust, you can’t impose decisions if they aren’t supported by the community.
Examples of Group Decision-Making
Sabine Lichtenfels had a vision to build the Aula as an auditorium for our international peace training and shared this vision. The picture became clearer and got resonance through different opinions being shared about it. So it was a vision that was called in, rather than a decision made by consensus.
This process was mirrored when building Lake 1. Inspired by the clear impetus of ecological visionary Sepp Holzer, our ecology team proposed to radically transform our landscape and build a massive water retention space between the Cultural Center, Guest House and Aula. Though most people couldn’t at this point imagine the lake would ever receive enough rainwater to fill it, after intense debate, it was the community’s trust in our ecologists’ professional competence and the power of strong vision that made us decide to create the Water Retention Landscape. (In the end, they were proven right.)
Results and Practices
- Decisions in community aren’t made in private. In a community of trust, we share our daily lives and let each other’s feedback inform our decisions.
- Trust is at the heart of the new paradigm in group decision-making. If you want to engage in the decision-making process in community, you have to engage in the trust building process. This might slow down the process, but any decisions made are more sustainable.
- We focus on building our individual natural authority by speaking our truth and becoming conscious of the decisions we want to make so that we don’t misuse this power unconsciously.
- The more people collaborate for a common purpose, the more coherence a group can build. To be able to effectively make decisions on the details, we need to share a strong overall vision. When we unite in a higher common vision, we have great creative and transformative powers.
- An essential step of global healing is to move from isolated decisions to collaborative decisions, where we put ourselves into service for the common goal of the community, for the benefit of all.