So, what happens when you bring attentive, deep listeners together in a 2 day, 350 person (+approx 200 more live streamed across the globe) together for a Presencing Global Forum? Sure, people are listening, but who talks and what are they talking about??
First: The Social Neuroscience of Empathy – Tania Singer. What Tania Singer said will stick with me for a long while. Her essential question was: Do humans have the capacity to change and to engage in mental training (train their MINDS)? Here were some of the highlights of her talk for me:
- Empathy vs. Compassion. Empathy: Feel AS someone. Compassion: Feel FOR someone. Too much empathy can be a bad thing! Compassion is a sister of empathy and demonstrates feeling for another person, rather than taking on the emotions ourselves. Brain signatures show different networks for compassion, empathy and pain. Too much empathy can lead to empathic distress which can cause negative feelings and poor health. Compassion is a caring and loving feeling for the welfare of the other person.
- “Diads are the key to intersubjectivity.” WOW. Yea, she said that. Meditation is super important, it lets us develop an awareness of self and a meta cognition with which we can watch our thoughts. AND – becoming aware of different perspectives of ourselves is just as important/meditative. It allows us to ‘get fluid’ with a perspective of self from the eyes of the other.
- Moving from ‘achieving mode’ to ‘being mode’. The idea in and of itself helped me realize that I tend to be in a stress/anxiety producing mode of working to prove myself (to myself or others) and that mode does not tend to leave room for me to feel fulfilled in the present moment. Relaxing is a key to help the shift towards being fully present.
- Her answer: at this point – YES! Mapping (we all know how much I love that) networks in the brain have shown that developing a compassion meditation practice can actually light up new networks and create a shift in human consciousness. Science is catching up!
Next we moved in to Gross National Happiness with Tho Ha Vinh and Julia Kim. Generally speaking, Gross National Happiness is an economic/wellbeing indicator to look at in addition or instead of Gross National (or Domestic) Product. After a brief overview of the major problems the world is facing (Aftershocks of financial crisis, collective ecological footprint that is destroying the planet etc.) Julia Kim and Tho Ha Vinh explained how a global societal shift to looking at happiness and wellbeing would be and IS defining a new world economic paradigm. WOW. Highlights:
- This is not the happiness promises we are told in the media. This is deeply based. It’s the innate ability of the human mind to TRANSFORM suffering.
- It is a non-dual perspective. Meaning that it integrates the oneness of people and land. The approach combines individual, community, national and global transformation using mindfulness and action-oriented learning (a personal favorite).
- Happiness is a condition that can be attained when one is able to balance the needs of the body with those of the mind.
- Wealthier countries are not necessarily HAPPIER ones!
- Tho is currently in Bhutan working with the government to develop a Centre of Applied Gross National Happiness! A place to try this out – move from the ‘talking and thinking’ to the FEELING of it. SO COOL!
“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ~Lao Tzu
Sounds like a revolution of thought. Otto thought so too… a revolution of thought and so much more…
To lead us off into our afternoon of Labs, Otto Scharmer led a talk on the Society 4.0 Revolution. Some of his key questions (as I understood them): Are we really so interrelated? How can we create wellbeing on both a material and spiritual level? How is it that we can make an impact in our key institutions? Who we are as human beings and what do we want to create going forward? As an individual, but also as a society, as an interconnected group? Highlights:
- The problems: Ecological divide – self against our planet. Social divide 2.5 – us against each other. Spiritual divide 3 – inner divide, burnout, depression. 3 times as many ppl killed by suicide as homicides (wars etc).
- We need to reinvent the way we organize ourselves, reinvent the key institutions of our society. Reinvent our economy – with the deeper impulses of social entrepreneurship. Reinvent our democracy – relinking state and government with the direct contribution of citizens. Reinvent education – learning for leadership.
- When we get stuck in one truth “us vs. them,” we begin ‘absencing.’ When we get stuck in our old will, we lose connection. We move into denial. We no longer see what is going on. Shutting off that connection results in self-destruction. We are doing this on a collective level.
- What is the solution? Our current state of crisis is a TRANSITION phase (we’re not dead yet!)! The model that Otto proposes involves the three sectors cooperating with each other to create innovations at the scale of the WHOLE. He sees the whole as an ecosystem (rather than an ego-system) (LOVE THAT!)… that we can operate not just through market competition but through seeing and acting from the whole with collective and common goods. “If we treat everything as a commodity, we will get ‘bad’ results.”
- The new set of economic laws have not been spelled out. It involves changing the way we have conversations with one another – in an economic system and interpersonally. He asks, “How can we map economic systems with how we communicate?” He states that we need to kill what is toxic.
- ….and… use the fuel of CO-CREATION where we collectively bring forth a new reality – thereby renew new economy in our society from within. Co-creation is an exciting idea and not always easy to do. It means that we have to constantly face ourselves and each other when we try and bring different opinions/beliefs together and we have to cut through the crap in order to operate collectively from a deeper place.