= a practice, described in a book and an article series by Ria Baeck and Helen Titchen Beeth
Book, 2015 – 2019
- Book: Collective Presencing: an emerging human capacity What becomes possible when we are truly present together by Ria Baeck
“In this book you will find none of the gloom and doom scenarios that crowd so many books, articles and websites these days. I prefer to dispense with these and focus instead on what is possible. The quest narrated here centres on how we can rediscover the sense of wonderment in life and participate in the radiance and magnificence of all that is. Ourselves included. Our work included. Others included. Everything included.
These pages describe a body of work that has emerged from a practice of action research, not in a context of academia or Fortune 500 companies, but rather from small circles of women with a deep commitment to attend to Source. Accordingly, I can refer to no Big Names: it was just us. It wasn’t even me – although I am the one writing this book, because I was always the one most eager to understand what is behind and underneath our experiences. No, it is about the principles and the patterns of our collective inquiry.
The book started out as an article supplementing ‘Theory U’, as developed by Otto Scharmer, because, inspiring as I found his framework, it didn’t seem able to accommodate what we had been living in our many women’s gatherings. The practice that we came to call Collective Presencing seems to tell us something about evolution itself, about a new human capacity beginning to emerge, and about the new paradigm that we see and feel unfolding through us. The framework I found that best fit our experiences was Jean Gebser’s description of the mutation of consciousness, written half way through the previous century. The book at your fingertips seeks to articulate how we can live in the new Epoch that is dawning during our days.”
Articles 2012 – 2013
- Collective Presencing: A New Human Capacity. By Ria Baeck and Helen Titchen Beeth. Kosmos, 2012–2013
- Part 1: https://www.kosmosjournal.org/articles/collective-presencing-a-new-human-capacity
- Part 2: https://www.kosmosjournal.org/article/the-circle-of-presence-building-the-capacity-for-authentic-collective-wisdom/
- Part 3: https://www.kosmosjournal.org/article/collective-presencing-embracing-a-new-paradigm/
- Part 4: https://www.kosmosjournal.org/article/collective-presencing-part-four-the-circle-of-creation-building-capacity-for-generative-collective-action-in-service-of-life/
"This is the first in a series of articles introducing the phenomenon and practice of Collective Presencing, a new capacity evolving in humanity at this time. Great thinkers have foreseen its coming—we recognise it in Aurobindo’s descent of the supramental and Teilhard de Chardin’s noosphere. But what exactly do those terms mean? Where these gifted individuals intuited and envisioned the birth of this new collective capacity at the dawn of the last century, we are now starting to be able to describe it from experience. While many might recognise the phenomenon from transpersonal group work and other such practices, so far as we are aware, this is the first attempt to articulate it as a path and a set of capacities that can be intentionally developed.
We live in complexity all the time these days. There are no simple solutions—not even complicated ones. As our life conditions have complexified, so has our capacity to deal with complexity. And yet the globalisation of our species has itself provoked a constellation of systemic threats of such nightmarish proportions that no one seriously imagines that any one mind can navigate a rational path to salvation on behalf of the whole. And yet that is what we keep trying to do, as we wait in vain for the inspirational leader who can extricate us from the mess we’re in, throwing up our hands in disgust at the antics of our politicians, our governments, our industrialists, our economists, our environmentalists, our scientists… all those ‘theys’ who should do something about the state of the world.
Deep down, though, we know that when we look to our leaders for solutions, we are looking in the wrong place, in the wrong way. Understanding how the universe evolves can provide some clues—the process of complexification that has been underway since the dawn of cosmogenesis has been accompanied at every step by an interiorisation, which allows the mind of the living universe—and certainly that most complex of beings, man—to interpenetrate ever more deeply with the subtle workings of the Kosmos.
There is overwhelming evidence that human consciousness is evolving, moving from collective tribal living, where the individual was totally embedded in the life patterns of the collective; through a gradual, often painful, process of individuation, with the emphasis on the will and sovereignty of the individual; to what is emerging in our time: a conscious return to collectivism where individuated, or self-actualised, individuals voluntarily—sometimes temporarily—pool their consciousness in a search for the elusive collective intelligence that can help us to overcome the stupendous challenges now facing us as a species as a consequence of how our developmental trajectory has manifested on the physical plane thus far.
So human evolution has something to do with human consciousness awakening first to itself, then to its own evolution and then to a recognition of and, finally, an embodied experience of the ways in which we are organically part of a larger whole, as we have always been but have forgotten. As we enter this new stage of individual/collective awakening, men and women are being increasingly called to practice the new life-form composed of groups of individuated individuals merging their collective intelligence as the ‘Circle Being.’
These collective entities are not made up of a specific, finite group of individuals who stay together continuously. Their DNA lies in the theme of the inquiry; their metabolism is the individual and collective practices that enable men and women to join the collective inquiry. To join the circle is to offer ourselves up to a larger purpose for the duration of our participation and to allow ourselves to be used by the Mystery—our bodies and minds as sensing organs of the whole, and our lineages, biographies and knowledge as resources, filters and facets of diversity through which the future bubbling up in the middle, called forth by the shared focus and consciously-held intent, can find unique expression.
What if creating these collective beings is simply the next step of human evolution, an expression of our next level of complexity as a species, and the next step towards the ever-deeper integration of complex consciousness into the fabric of the Kosmos?
One such collective inquiry, unfolding over the past 5 years, has been held by a core group and a loose network of women, mostly based in Western Europe and the US, engaged in a practice we call ‘Women Moving the Edge.’ From the outset, the focus of inquiry has been on moving the edge of collective intelligence, which has become an embodied exploration of the feminine principle as it is manifesting in the Kosmos at this time. Through periodic gatherings of between 5 and 18 women and regular conference calls with a small core group, we have danced, sung, sat, spoken, painted, wept, laughed, eaten, contemplated and constellated ourselves into an ever deeper experience of individual and collective connection to Source.
The findings of this ongoing collective inquiry are now coalescing into an articulation of this new human capacity, which we are calling Collective Presencing. Not only are we now able to recognise some of the components of this capacity and identify practices that can help us to develop it, one of its essential aspects is that these practices can connect us not only with the natural realm of our living planetary home, but also with the field of unmanifest potential that lies waiting in the subtle dimensions.
The purpose of this article, and others to follow, is to begin to unpack some of these practices and to share our intuitions about what they make possible."