Reclaim Democracy Project
Think of your own experience of being energized and especially productive in group endeavors. Recall a time, even for an instant, when you felt truly connected with the group you were with. It may have occurred in a family gathering, with friends, in a relationship, or in your community. Possibly it happened at work in an energized team, department, or organization.
Picture specific images when you felt enlivened and uplifted by the group you were working, socializing, or playing with. How did it feel? What if you could experience that feeling in most of the groups you participate in? That is what this book is about, how to access and maintain this high-energy zone.
There have been many books written about being "in the zone"—"inner tennis" and "inner golf" among them. There is even a popular "zone" diet. These books have always focused on exceptional individual performance. This book is about being, playing and working in the zone where most of us are: in groups.
We are social beings. We define ourselves in large part by our success in the way we interact in groups, whether in a partnership, a family, a business, a company, a school, in sports, at social gatherings, in communities, or nations. Regardless of the form, there are some groups that function at a much higher level than others. These highly effective and uplifting "group fields" share the same characteristics.
Over the past twenty-five years that I have been an ecologist, workshop leader, and organizational development consultant I have studied the characteristics of high-energy groups. I came to understand that every system, including our own biological system, that is healthy, vibrant, thriving, and productive shares the same six essential characteristics of energy. This is true at any scale.
These same six characteristics are used by physicists to describe the makeup of subatomic particles. The science of Sankhya described these same characteristics 6,000 years ago, and they became a foundation of yoga and Ayurvedic medicine.
The Six Characteristics of Energy
Relational and holistic
Diversity and balance
Possibility and uncertainty
Openness and flow
Intention and alignment
This book explores the universality of these six energizing characteristics and how they are woven into all high-energy groups.
The form of this book was born from conversations I had with my clients. They wanted a book that was user-friendly, with sections they could easily go back to for later reference and support. They wanted lots of stories. They also wanted to see the six characteristics applied in a variety of cultures at different scales. Finally they wanted practical tools to help their groups get into and remain in the high-energy zone. As a result, this book has five distinctively different parts.
Part 1 introduces the high-energy zone of groups through my own personal and professional experiences particularly while leading workshops, and business and community development. It explores the concept of energy fields, and the tremendous potential that exists in each group we participate in.
Part 2 introduces the six characteristics, drawing on quantum physics, Sankhya philosophy, ecology, and group dynamics to explore their universal application.
Part 3 involves stories of three very different organizations that have incorporated aspects of the six characteristics into their culture. The first group is the Oregon Country Fair, given life through the hippie culture of the seventies. The second is opposite in its origins and function. Silicon Valley is considered the epicenter of the technology revolution that is driving our global economy, and which had its birth through research and entrepreneurial zeal. The third is Kripalu, a Massachusetts residential community and health center that had its birth through the spiritual longing of individuals. The variety of these groups illustrates the diversity of energy’s nature and its universal application.
Part 4 explores the most direct method to raise any group energy field. It involves the patterns that make up a group’s culture, and how to identify major energy blocks that prevent groups from resonating at a high level. It offers practical tools to transform primary dysfunctional patterns and to trigger group fields into the high-energy zone.
Part 5 discusses how the hallowed grounds of spirit that many pursue in religion or spirituality can be found in the more universal church of our relationships. It provides a guideline for the actions needed to open that door and enter this zone.
When we enter the high-energy zone we are engaging the essential characteristics of energy. But why does this foundational energy have those characteristics—are these characteristics the imprint of a consciousness beyond our dimension? If so, then when we are in the high-energy zone we are connecting with something beyond our dimension. Many describe the zone as a transcending, spiritual experience. I believe that when we bring this high-energy zone more fully into our relationships we are truly bringing more spirit to our world.