This paper, inclusive of some participants' comments, also appears as
Chapter 19 in Heron J., Sacred Science: Person-centred Inquiry into
the Spiritual and the Subtle, Ross-on-Wye, PCCS Books, 1998
Report status A study. Place and year Tuscany,
Spiritual focus Generating an inquiry-based theory and a method
of self and peer spiritual awakening.
Subtle focus Generating subtle practices that support
Sociopolitical focus Injecting an inquiry-based theory and a
method of self and peer spiritual awakening into the prevailing culture,
and creating a sub-culture of people intentionally inquiring into this
kind of transpersonal social change.
Twenty experienced co-counsellors, including fifteen co-counselling teachers,
from the UK, USA and Holland, joined me in Tuscany, in the summer of 1996,
to inquire into the possibilities of making a spiritual account of human
nature central to the theory and practice of co-counselling. These co-counsellors
were all members of Co-counselling International (CCI), a federation of
self-govering co-counselling networks from several countries worldwide.
Co-counselling, a form of peer self-help psychotherapy, was developed from
a mixture of influences, including dianetics, in the 1960s by Harvey Jackins,
who called it re-evaluation counselling.
Jackins developed his Re-evaluation Counselling Communities (RCC) with
an increasingly authoritarian and dogmatic hand and RCC has now degenerated
into a rigidly controlled cult. CCI split off from RCC in1974, and has
since then successfully sustained and developed its blend of autonomy and
co-operation, both within local networks and with regard to international
However, the theory of human nature which CCI has inherited from RCC
is entirely humanist, and in recent years there has been a growing concern
within CCI, especially among co-counselling teachers, to explore ways of
introducing spiritual ideas and practices both in the basic training and
in national and international workshops for trained co-counsellors. Following
discussions I had with teachers at a CCI teachers workshop at Harlech,
Wales in 1995, I proposed to run a basic co-counselling five-day training
based on a spiritual paradigm.
What in fact I did, over the first two and a half days, was to present
selected parts of a radically revised theory and invited participants to
explore parts of a radically revised practice. This was offered as a provisional
working hypothesis, in a spirit of inquiry. The discussion of theory and
the feedback on practice both led to a considerable modification of my
launching ideas. The final two and a half days was an entirely free form
co-operative inquiry into participants' own ideas about spiritual transformations
of theory and practice.
What emerged out of all this, for me, was a fully revised account of
my provisional model for a self and peer process of spiritual awakening
and development. I offer it here as the primary outcome of my inquiry with
the teachers, and as a stimulus to further inquiry along these lines.
I call this approach co-creating, since while its origins lie in a revision
of co-counselling, the revision is so radical that a different name for
the result is appropriate. What follows is the text of the manual which
I circulated to participants a few weeks after the end of the inquiry gathering.
Theory and method of co-creating
The purpose of this little book is to
make clear to myself, and to others who may be interested, what kind of
self and peer development I want to practise.
I call this method 'co-creating',
since this term best indicates what it is that I believe in. It is a peer
method, with people working in pairs, each person taking a turn as the
creator, who is busy working in one or more fields, and as the co-creator,
who is supporting the creator according to a contract the creator has chosen.
What is presented here is a working
hypothesis, grounded in a variety of personal and shared experiences. This
working hypothesis is provisional in form, and is in principle open to
revision, amendment and correction as a consequence of further experience
and reflection. There is nothing immaculate about this little book.
Some people may want to use this
presentation to clarify what their own approach to self and peer development
involves. If you are one of these, I offer the book as a stimulus to the
clarification of your own theory and method, and I offer my support in
your work. I hope you will feel free to adopt or adapt any of my ideas
that are valid for you.
Others may want to try out this method
as it is presented here. If you are one of these, I suggest you find an
interested colleague, then each take your time, dip into the book and gradually
get the feel of it. See whether it really speaks to your condition, or
not. If it does, when you and your co-creator are ready, work with it in
a mood of sacred experiment, adapting it to make it work for you, and feeling
free always to be true to your own inner prompts. Use the method as a form
of co-operative inquiry, and when you have got well into things, take time
out every once in a while with your co-creator, and any others who are
exploring this approach, to review and revise its protocols in the light
of your deepening experience. To you too I offer my support in your work.
1. A person is a citizen of the cosmos,
a cosmopolitan in the original sense of the word.
2. The embodiment of a person in this
world is a challenge to express her or his cosmopolitan life and consciousness,
individually and socially, in a context of biological survival within our
My personal consciousness is continuous
with a backdrop of cosmic consciousness which, I feel, includes all worlds,
physical and subtle.
My personal life emerges from what I
sense is an inner wellspring of divine life, a deep centre of indwelling
and unlimited potential.
3. Meeting this challenge of the human
condition generates a deep and subtle body-mind tension which is a form
of cosmic or spiritual amnesia, self-forgetting.
I am challenged to honour both my body
in its total setting and my unlimited awareness and potential.
I am challenged to honour other persons
4. A person's primary distress is the
subtle pain of this cosmic amnesia, the sense of alienation from the cosmic
playground and from the locus of divine life within.
I forget my cosmopolitan status and
lose awareness of the sweep of cosmic consciousness and of the deep centre
My consciousness contracts around a
preoccupation with my physical and social identity, and with time, fretting
about the past and the future.
5. When persons notice their coming
into being, remember and reclaim their status as cosmic citizens, with
expanded awareness and inner attunement, they disperse their primary distress,
the body-mind tension of spiritual forgetting.
This anxiety is not hidden from me,
or remote in my personal history; it is current, generated by an ongoing
contracted awareness, in flight from my continuous coming into being.
It is felt as negative considering and
restless activism, an anxious inner and outer busyness set in motion by
6. When whole societies of people are
in a state of spiritual amnesia, primary distress and its attendant tension
go into overload and burst out as interpersonal hurt, face-to-face wounding.
This is secondary distress, of which there is great deal on our planet.
When I remember, choose to notice, who
I am I feel the happiness of my true estate; my primary pain and body-mind
I am empowered to take charge of, and
respond creatively to, the challenges of embodiment: to live fully in this
world in a multi-dimensional universe.
7. There are two other consequences
of widespread cosmic amnesia within society, and they interweave with the
primary consequence of face-to-face wounding. They, too, are forms of displaced
The face-to-face wounding of secondary
distress becomes self-perpetuating: people who are hurt by people, then
hurt other people, and so it goes on.
This self-perpetuating cycle of secondary
distress is itself always grounded in, and fed by a continuous displacement
of, the primary distress of cosmic amnesia. We sacrifice each other, ultimately,
as a substitute for the inner sacrifice of letting go of our contracted
state and opening up to our coming into being now.
8. The contracted awareness of cosmic
amnesia and loss of inner attunement is a choice made in response to the
challenge of human embodiment; and it is a choice which generates the cycle
There are restrictive social taboos,
contracted values, norms and beliefs which pervade a whole culture. They
suppress people inwardly by the felt climate they create, and they oppress
people outwardly by restrictive social practices.
There is the divisive use of language
to name in order to split: to split subject from object, perceiver from
perceived, person from person, tribe from tribe, nation from nation, species
from species, insiders from outsiders, and so on.
9. The sequence is: I forget, choose
not to notice my continuous genesis, and contract my being, then I feel
primary distress; when this accumulates I displace it into exchange of
interpersonal hurt, and then this contracts my being more.
It is a subliminal coping choice: the
challenge may be easier to meet if I reduce the options and drop the cosmos
and inner divine potential.
It is a self-defeating choice: the pain
it generates goes into overload and displaces into exchange of interpersonal
hurt, which contracts a person's being even further and locks all concerned
in the self-perpetuating cycle of people hurting people.
10. These two different kinds of contraction
lead to two complementary kinds of healing, and the first kind of healing
is the foundation of the second.
The first contraction is to drop out
of cosmic consciousness and to cut off from the inner centre of divine
potential: I choose a limited view of my embodied self.
The second contraction is due to interpersonal
damage done to and by that self-limiting self. Through such damage, I lose
the capacity to attune sensitively to a situation, image it fully, think
about it awarely and act in it creatively. And this is because I carry
around, from the unresolved painful experience, a victim-oppressor imprint
which projects out its distorted images, thoughts and choices; and disables
my capacity for sensitive attunement.
11. Primary contraction, cosmic amnesia,
has a historical dimension and a present time dimension, and the latter
is more basic.
The cosmic contraction of my being,
which I choose as a form of coping, causes primary distress. So healing
primary distress is first and foremost a matter of remembering my cosmopolitan
status and inner divinity: I choose to stop contracting. I attend to my
coming into being. I expand my awareness, and attune deep within, and this
heals the distress by dissolving and transmuting it, although there can
be strong elements of supporting discharge. This kind of healing is the
foundation of the next kind.
The second contraction of my being is
caused by secondary distress, interpersonal hurt. So here I resolve this
distress primarily by emotional discharge and spontaneous insight, with
elements of supporting transmutation, in order to heal and expand the wounded
and wounding contracted state which it holds in place.
12. It follows that the self-perpetuating
cycle of interpersonal hurt, while it is strongly reinforced by past history
manifest as current habit, is not here and now primarily caused by it.
The historical dimension is amnesia
and primary distress at the start of embodiment: during the birth process
and birth trauma. This very earliest pain of self-forgetting feeds into
the primitive exchange of hurt between infant and parent, and the dynamic
of double contraction is set on its cumulative historical course.
More fundamentally, as a person I am
continuously coming into being now, focussing the wide reaches of comic
consciousness and emerging from a centre of divine potential within. As
I do so, I make a choice now not to notice it, to forget it. Present-time
self-forgetting can be influenced by historical self-forgetting, but is
never caused by it. It is caused by my coming into being now in the context
of embodiment, and by the immediate challenge this presents.
13. The basic form of interpersonal
hurt is the victim-oppressor dynamic, and this dynamic is fundamentally
always an exchange, a two-way process.
Whatever cumulative destructive habits
of interpersonal hurt I am locked into, what primarily feeds them and keeps
them in place, is my ongoing present-time self-forgetting, my chosen absence
from my continuous coming into being.
The healing of these habits of hurt,
while it needs deep resolution of past pain through emotional discharge
and insight, has its foundation in continuously remembering and noticing
now who I am and so resolving my current primary distress.
14. A person, in the very act of coming
into being now, is a co-creator of their being in their universe and their
No-one is ever purely a victim or an
oppressor: each participates in the role of the other while being in their
own primary role, and each can, to a greater or lesser degree, switch roles.
Hence both roles are always imprinted
in the primary victim, who will displace them both into further interpersonal
hurt until there is resolution and healing.
I am not just being made, I am co-involved
in the act of making, I participate in the creative process.
Furthermore, you and I are co-involved,
we are all co-involved in the co-creating of being in our worlds. Hence
the deep collaborative challenge of embodiment and hence the phenomena
of widespread collective cosmic amnesia.
The purpose of this section is to outline
four broad areas for the application, the living, of the theory, four ways
of putting it to the test of lived experience. I think all these four ways
need to be concurrent, interweaving and supporting each other, and the
first is the most basic, the foundation of the other three.
1 Awakening to cosmic citizenship
to remember who we are, opening up fully to our cosmopolitan status, our
coming into being now, and dissolving primary distress.
2 Emerging with full self-esteem
and interpersonal regard Healing face-to-face wounding and interrupting
the self-perpetuating cycle of exchanging interpersonal hurt.
Turning about within ordinary consciousness
to notice its great backdrop of cosmic consciousness, of universal free
Attending to the impact of archetypal
imagery from within this cosmic field.
Participating in the free attention
and living presence of our immediate world, and its wider context, in and
through seeing, saying, hearing, touching and moving.
Manifesting in expressive action our
personal charismatic presence.
Attuning to the life-prompts of the
deep centre of divine potential within.
3 Co-creating a self-generating culture
Working in interrelated networks to generate alternative sub-cultures and
to disperse the restrictive impact of conventional social taboos.
Being self-appreciating, and validating
and affirming others.
Being open in relationship, with full
emotional honesty; and negotiating choices based on a clear statement of
Taking time out for healing the memories
of interpersonal trauma through regression, catharsis and insight.
Cognitively restructuring and revisioning
our interpersonal past, present and future.
4 Becoming an artist in living
Choosing embodiment as a canvas for personal and shared symbolic expression
of the meanings we give to, and find in, our co-created cosmos; and so
recovering from the divisive, alienating use of language.
Co-operatively inquiring, in overlapping
networking groups, into transforming, through action, diverse aspects of
Progressively rewriting the scripts
of each and every social role.
Practising planetary consciousness,
being both local and global in thinking and acting.
Being ecologically caring, and symbiotic
within the biosphere and physiosphere.
Using everyday language to symbolize
our participation in a seamless, subjective-objective world.
In all areas of life and work, also
using metaphor, analogy, pattern, to express our meanings, through the
nondiscursive symbols of drawing, painting, movement, sound, film, and
music; and using language in poetic and dramatic, as well as in prosaic,
Using ritual, ceremony and all social
practices as symbolic forms to celebrate the ways we give meaning to, and
find meaning in, our co-created worlds.
Adopting a flexible, aperspectival outlook,
being open to bracket our beliefs and reframe our worlds.
Application within co-creating sessions
Co-creating sessions are one-to-one,
on a reciprocal basis, each person taking a turn both as the active creator
and as the supportive co-creator.
1 Participating in free attention
This is the foundation practice for both creator and co-creator.
2 The powers of free attention
Unrestricted free attention that is everywhere appears to have at least
four major powers, if given an opening by persons to do so. These are four
powers to which both creator and co-creator, for their different purposes,
can be responsive.
Free attention is unrestricted consciousness,
cosmic and abundant, not mine, not yours. It's everyone's and everything's.
It is cosmopolitan awareness: each person participates in its vast scope
and also focalizes it here and now.
Unrestricted free attention can be accessed
through feeling, and by distinguishing feeling from our emotions. Emotions
are to do with the fulfilments and frustrations of our needs and interests.
Feeling is to do with empathy, resonance, indwelling, being attuned to
and participating in our immediate world, and in the universal awareness
that is the continuous backdrop of our ordinary mind. When we feel, indwell
the presence of our world, and this backdrop, we participate in abundant
Co-creators can enter unrestricted consciousness
by gently sustained and silent mutual gazing, noticing and accepting emotional
states while not trying to do anything to them, and at the same time feeling
each other's presence and opening to the wider reaches of awareness within
which their communion is embraced. They can also do so by other methods:
see no. 10 below and Teaching point no. 1 below.
3 Human foci of free attention
There appear to be at least three main foci or centres in the embodied
person, where the four powers of unrestricted free attention can manifest
in the creator to enhance and further his or her work.
It can release latent potential.
It can discharge blocked energies.
It can harmonize discordant or dissociated
It can transmute energies from one state
4 Balance of awareness The creator's
session seems to go well if there is a balance between expanded awareness,
that is, being open to the wider reaches of unrestricted free attention,
and focal awareness, that is, being open to how free attention is at work
in one or more of the three main human foci.
In the enteric brain, that is, in the
belly: especially for releasing latent potential and discharging blocked
energies. The enteric brain, the psychic and spiritual womb, the hara centre
(in Japanese tradition) just below the umbilicus, seems to be a locus of
deep indwelling divine potential. It is a centre for life-prompts: how
and when and where to unfold ourselves in space and time, when and how
to come or stay or leave. It is a place for grounding the process of co-creating.
In the region of the heart: especially
for harmonizing discordant energies, or integrating the dissociated energies
of head and belly. It seems to be a centre for feeling the living presence
and abundant attention of our world in and through the process of perceiving,
meeting and relating.
In the head: especially for transmuting
energies through imaging, revisioning and reframing. It seems to be a centre
for turning about into our continuity with cosmic consciousness, and for
receiving impressions and visions of its archetypal contents.
5 Four forms of awareness
The creator in a session can enter four forms of awareness, doing creative
work in a balance of the first two, and being blocked in a coagulation
of the second two.
6 The work of the creator Here
are some suggestions about how you, the creator, might proceed with a session.
Also before your work begins, choose what kind of contract you want with
your co-creator and let him or her know. See no. 11 below, for the three
contracts. Before your session begins, generate together with your co-creator
a sacred space, a shared field for both of you in your different roles
to access (see no. 1 above and Teaching point no. 1 below).
Expanded awareness in the wider reaches
of unrestricted free attention.
Focal awareness, where there is a sense
of creative space around one or more of the human foci as free attention
is at work within it.
Primary contracted awareness, or self-forgetting,
cosmic amnesia: manifest as a preoccupation with internal negative considering
or outward restless activism.
Secondary contracted awareness: being
sunk in, or acting out, the unresolved pain of interpersonal hurt.
7 Co-creation fields These are
the different fields the creator can range over during a session. I call
them co-creation fields since they are generated in the context of a co-creating
contract. The creator is familiar with them for the purposes of self-direction
and of openness to wide-ranging inner prompts. And the co-creator also,
so that she or he can make relevant interventions, when that is the contract
chosen by the creator. Both the creator, and the co-creator when making
active suggestions, have in mind the field skills proposed in sections
8 and 9 below. What follows is a sketch: co-creators will elaborate it
further in practice.
First up, keep open to the sacred space
you have just co-created: self-remember, let go of cosmic amnesia, open
up to unrestricted free attention.
Second, let go of any secondary contraction,
any agitation of old or current interpersonal hurt, which can be done by
the next suggestion.
Third, focus free attention in a relaxed
body-mind space within the belly, around the hara, the psychic and spiritual
womb, the inner wellspring, while still having a backdrop of expanded awareness.
You create this focus just by feeling and imaging it. You can may want
to precede this simple focussing by any one or more of the following:
Deep, rapid breathing and body loosening.
Sounding, toning, glossolalia.
Explicit evocation of the divine potential
within the hara. This can be elaborated into the next item.
A simple ritual of opening to the divine
Fourth, go Dionysian, which simply means
wait in the relaxed space around the belly-centre, in a completely open-ended
way, without any preconceptions, for a spontaneous inner prompt about which
field to open for the start of your creative work. Or go Apollonian, which
means you take some pre-chosen topic for your work and you check in with
the belly-centre for any prompt about how to (perhaps sometimes whether
to) open it up. The soundness of a prompt is marked by the fact that it
comes when you are inwardly relaxed, and is accompanied by an unmistakable
subtle liberating release of energy.
Fifth, enter the prompted field or way
of opening, and proceed by following further inner belly-centre prompts,
and by making your own creative choices, and by responding to your co-creator's
suggestions (if that is the contract).
Sixth, let the session unfold generously:
be open to the range of fields (see no. 7 below), be open to the range
of field skills (see no. 8 below), and be open to change the contract with
your co-creator if and when it feels appropriate.
Seventh, close the session after opening
up to a felt affirmation in word, posture, gesture, movement, of your embodied
presence as a cosmic and planetary citizen.
As I said above, the soundness of a
prompt is marked by the fact that it comes when you are inwardly relaxed,
and is accompanied by an unmistakable subtle liberating release of energy.
You may then want to reality-test the life-prompt and work out in a more
rational way what seem to be its implications. The issue you take to this
place will usually be quite specific, occasionally it may be very general.
Be open to a response which says, effectively, 'It's up to you'.
7.1 Active presence
This affirms the cosmopolitan person in active embodiment in a variety
of ways, which can be variously combined. By the term 'sacred' below I
mean connected to the whole (the Germanic root of 'holy' means 'whole')
from centre to circumference. Active presence is microcosmic: symbolizing
archetypal forms and energies, and the focus of divine potential deep within.
Sacred postures and gestures and movements
Sacred toning, chanting, singing, glossolalia.
Vocal celebration, poetry, praise, non-dual
Sacred drawing, painting, sculpture.
Sacred ritual, with the passive or active
presence of the co-creator.
7.2 Receptive presenceThis
is opening in stillness to unrestricted free attention and the inner centre.
Creators will have their own favourites. I offer four of mine. And they
can be combined in various ways.
Opening to the divine ground, source,
wellspring of my being in the belly, and feeling the gentle inflow of its
life. I do this seated with eyes closed.
Feeling, and participating in, the living
presence and abundant free attention of the world in the immediate process
of seeing, hearing, touching and moving. The heart region seems to be a
focus for this kind of participative awareness. I do this standing, out
in nature, maybe moving a little.
Feeling a harmonizing figure-of-eight
flow of energy through the heart, encompassing the belly in the lower loop
and the head in the upper loop. I do this seated with eyes closed.
Turning about in the midst of the everyday
organizing attention of ordinary consciousness to notice its continuity
with the great backdrop of cosmic consciousness. I do this seated with
eyes closed; and also, when I remember, in the midst of ordinary, everyday
activities. This kind of opening seems to have its focus in the head region.
This repeats the process for starting a session mentioned under no. 6 above,
but for a different purpose. Focus free attention in a relaxed body-mind
space within the belly, around the hara, the place of inner grounding,
the soul's wellspring. Take to this place an issue, a concern, a decision
to be made, that is engaging you in your daily life, and about which you
are unclear. Hold the issue in the relaxed space and wait, without forcing
it, for a spontaneous response as a visual auditory, kinaesthetic or verbal
8 Field skills for the creator
Here is a range of simple common sense skills for the creator when working
with the different fields.
This is the process of healing the memories of interpersonal hurt, freeing
the soul of the victim-oppressor imprint which projects out distorted images,
thoughts and choices and restricts the capacity for feeling resonance and
attunement. Working in the field of regression seems to be fundamental
for the full emergence of self-esteem, interpersonal regard and basic,
human, emotional autonomy. This field is given very full attention in any
training programme (see Training point no. 3 below).
The royal route is reliving the trauma,
discharging the emotional pain, gathering in the insights and re-evaluations
generated by the discharge. The two interacting ways of the royal route
are through body work and through imagery work. These will be familiar
to co-counsellors and others who practise cathartic methods, and I will
not go into details here. I believe the royal route provides the basic
foundation way for healing memories of interpersonal pain.
A supplementary route is via cognitive
restructuring, which means revisioning and reconstruing painful memories
so that the hurt within them is transmuted and transformed into benign
emotion. See my Helping the Client, Chapter 8, (Sage, 1990) for more details.
7.5 Imaginal opening
This is working with the visioning focus in the head region. Again, creators
will have their own favourites. Here are some methods I have used.
Image-streaming: open the mind to an
impromptu, improvised, spontaneous stream of imagery, which you continuously
verbalize. Speaking it out in words keeps the stream flowing. Let the symbolism
that emerges resonate within you. It may lead to a shift of field.
Thematic imaging: take a theme, such
as your mission, calling or destiny, your cosmopolitan journey, an archetypal
idea, and let it unfold through symbolic active imagination. This is image-streaming
within a guiding idea.
Visualizing the future: empower your
life now by visualizing in detail your abundant future in three, five,
ten or fifteen years time; or by visualizing in detail the abundant future
of planetary society in two, three or five hundred years time.
Idioretinal opening: with closed eyes,
let after-images gradually fade away and then attend, without distraction,
to ongoing vague retinal images, giving them a lot of attention until they
open up and start to become windows for a deeper layer of inner seeing.
Give every slight emerging glimpse the benefit of the doubt, feed it with
attention, let it grow and go with it.
Opening consciousness into inner subtle
spaces, visioning their powers and presences.
7.6 Restructuring belief-systems
Identifying the underlying presuppositions of one's way of being in the
world in general, or in some particular arena of living, weeding out those
that are restrictive and deficient and replacing them and reprogramming
oneself with ones that are liberating and abundant.
7.7 Thinking and planning
This is really two fields, traditionally called theoretical reason and
practical reason. They are as important today as ever they were.
Creative thinking: bold reflection at
the frontiers of your own knowledge and belief in any sphere; thinking
through particular problems and questions, which may lead over into:
Action-planning: deliberating moral
dilemmas and moral issues; deliberating choice options and their possible
consequences; setting goals; selecting means; making specific plans; deciding
what to do next.
9 Field skills for the co-creator
These apply to the co-creator who has a contract to make suggestions to
the client (for contracts, see no. 11 below).
Enjoy and feel a background awareness
of all the fields while focussed within any one of them; and balance working
within a field with appropriate shifts between fields.
Be open to unrestricted free attention
to facilitate the work you do within each of the fields, with its powers
of releasing potential, discharging blocks, harmonizing energies and transmuting
Be open to follow a sudden creative,
spontaneous shift, or prompt to shift, from one field to another.
Be open to making an intentional, experimental
choice to shift from one field to another.
Let go of overidentification with a
field, using it as a defence against entering some other field that is
Interrupt premature closure of a field
when deeper work within it beckons; similarly, interrupt sudden flight
from the present field into another field, where the flight is a defence
against getting deeper into the present one.
Be open to keeping a balance between
working in the main three foci of unrestricted free attention, the belly,
the heart and the head.
Ground the whole process by being open
to prompts from the enteric brain, the hara, the psychic and spiritual
womb, the belly-mind.
10 The role of the co-creator
The basic role of the co-creator is to generate and sustain, together with
the creator, a shared field for accessing the four-fold power of universal,
unrestricted free attention. This power is then focussed both in the work
of the creator and in the creative support, silent or spoken, of the co-creator.
Be aware of the whole range of fields
while the creator is busy within any one of them; and keep a balance between
your facilitation of work within a field, and your facilitation of shifts
from field to field.
Be attentive to the cues which show
how unrestricted free attention is facilitating the creator's work within
each of the fields, with its powers of releasing potential, discharging
blocks, harmonizing energies and transmuting energies; and suggest that
client work with these cues when he or she misses them.
Be attentive to cues indicating any
sudden, creative spontaneous shift from one field to another, and encourage
the creator to go with it.
Suggest that the creator makes an experimental
shift from the current field to another, when you have a strong sense that
this would be fruitful.
When you sense that another field is
beckoning, and the creator is avoiding it by staying too long in the current
field, suggest the relevant shift.
Encourage the creator to stay with the
current field and go deeper, when you sense he or she is prematurely closing
it down, or is in flight from it by moving suddenly to another field.
Make occasional suggestions which support
the client keeping a balance between working in the main three foci of
unrestricted free attention, the belly, the heart and the head.
Ground your interventions by being open
to prompts from your enteric brain, the hara, the psychic and spiritual
womb, the belly-mind.
11 Co-creating contracts The
creator chooses and states a contract for the co-creator's support, before
starting his or her session. The creator may change the contract at any
point in the session. There are three basic contracts.
The co-creator and creator can together
generate a shared field, a sacred space, for accessing the power of universal
free attention by one or more of the following, for more details on which
see Teaching point no. 1 below.
A period of mutual entrainment, with
A period of sustained mutual gazing
(see also no. 1 above).
A period of impromptu active presence.
A conjoint invocation of unrestricted
free attention, and a conjoint evocation of indwelling divine potential;
which can be elaborated into a shared ritual.
The co-creator sustains the shared field
- while the creator is busy with his or her work - and focusses its unrestricted
free attention through supportive presence for the creator, as revealed
in gaze, posture, gesture, and, when appropriate, touch
This means enjoying the cosmic banquet,
self-remembering, letting go of cosmic amnesia.
Dissociating from any twitches of secondary
distress, old interpersonal hurt.
The co-creator also focusses unrestricted
free attention through appropriate interventions as in no. 9 above, if
that is the contract.
11.1 Presence contract
The co-creator is asked to give supportive presence only, with no verbal
suggestions, so the creator is entirely self-directing in her or his work.
This gives scope for an uninterrupted personal journey of inquiry.
11.2 Back-up contract
The co-creator is asked to give supportive presence, with prompts to back-up
the creator's self-direction. These are prompts about work within a field,
and about moves between fields, which the creator has missed in self-directed
working. This has the benefits of two creative, interacting perspectives
Refinements of this contract are that
the creator can ask for: within-field prompts only; moving-between-field
prompts only; or both within-field and moving-between-field prompts.
11.3 Leading contract
The co-creator is asked to give supportive presence, with leading prompts.
These are prompts which propose and sustain directions for the creator
to take within a field or in moving from field to field. The creator may
choose this contract with regard to some area of work where there is a
lot of uncertainty, blockage, confusion.
When doing a training in co-creating,
the following pointers seem to me to make good sense.
1 Sacred space Offer plenty
of exercises in creating a sacred space, a shared field for accessing the
powers of unrestricted free attention. I would offer these exercises first
of all for the whole group, where they are more powerful, and then invite
people to try them out in pairs, as training for opening sacred space in
one-to-one co-creating sessions.
2 Fieldwork and inner prompts
Offer several exercises in which people first learn the repertoire of fields
and then learn to ground themselves in their enteric brain, the belly-mind,
the psychic and spiritual womb below the umbilicus, and open to its prompts
about working within a field and moving between fields.
1.1 Mutual entrainment
The group hold hands in a circle, close eyes, and attune to each other,
feeling the presence of the group as a whole. When brain waves start to
synchronize, there is a shared field of awareness opening out to the great
mirror, the great backdrop of universal consciousness. An option here is
to include synchronous breathing.
1.2 Mutual participation
The group hold hands in a circle, with open eyes, each person's eyes gently
scanning everyone else's scanning eyes. Everyone participates in everyone's
immediate living, manifest presence in and through seeing, touching and
hearing. The group reveals itself as an embodiment of universal, unrestricted
1.3 Impromptu active
presence Group members individually improvise: sacred postures
and gestures and movements and dance; sacred toning, chanting, singing,
glossolalia; vocal celebration, poetry, praise, non-dual prayer; sacred
music. The varied, spontaneous charismatic action opens up a strong shared
field of unrestricted free attention.
1.4 Interactive ritual
By combining together simple, basic declarations with symbolic gestures
and movements, done by everyone as a concerted whole, the group resonates
with archetypal energies and opens up a strong shared field of unrestricted
3 The regression field After
exercises in fieldwork and inner prompts, I would have an in-depth training
in regression, catharsis and spontaneous insight, for healing the memories
of interpersonal hurt. Creators would be trained to be self-directing in
this work, using back-up contracts from the co-creator. This would be a
very important part of the training. And it would be set within the wider
context of spiritual awakening and multiple fieldwork.
Describe to the group the seven fields, with wall charts and maps.
Ask for volunteers one by one, and before the whole group, facilitate each
volunteer to enter and work in different field. Ask people to volunteer
for a named field.
Invite everyone to draw their own map of the different fields with lines,
colours, pictures, verbal labels. Give plenty of time for this, also time
for people to talk about their maps in small groups.
2.2 Invoking and imaging
Invite people to work in pairs, five minutes each way, and take turns just
to practice beginning a session with mentally and verbally invoking an
image of the whole range of fields.
2.3 Single field visits
Offer a series of short sessions in pairs, say five minutes each way. In
each session, the creators take it in turn to work in just one field, which
you specify. Specify a different field for each session.
2.4 Multiple field
visits This is a gymnastic, stretch exercise. Within a twenty
minute each way session, creators are invited to touch base with each one
of the seven fields for two or three minutes each. The co-creator keeps
the creator gently on the move if he or she stays too long in any one field.
2.5 Belly opening
Invite people to work in pairs, for ten minutes each way. The creator practises
opening up to the belly centre, focussing free attention in a relaxed body-mind
space around the hara, with a backdrop of expanded awareness and an image
of the range of fields; and practises waiting for a liberating prompt about
which field to work in, without actually starting to work in it. The creator
can experiment with preceding the focussing by any one or more of the following:
Deep, rapid breathing and body loosening.
Sounding, toning, glossolalia.
Explicit evocation of the divine potential
within the hara. This can be elaborated into the next item:
A simple ritual of opening to the divine
2.6 Depth exercise
Invite people to work in pairs for twenty minutes each way. The creator
repeats 2.5, belly opening, this time going into the prompted field and
being open to further prompts for deeper and deeper work in that field
2.7 Organic exercise
Invite people to work in pairs for forty minutes each way. The creator
repeats 2.5, belly opening, goes into the prompted field, deepening into
it through within-field prompts, and being also open to field-change prompts,
following a sense of organic growth and wholeness in the session.
2.8 Balance exercise
Invite people to work in pairs for forty minutes each way. Repeat 2.7,
organic exercise, but integrate with it making head choices about within
and between field work, as well as following inner prompts.
For an account of cathartic methods,
see Chapter 7 in my Helping the Client (Sage, 1990), always remembering
that, in co-creating, these methods are primarily for creator self-direction
and only secondarily for co-creator intervention. See also mine, and others',
4 The co-creating community
I would propose that a co-creating community is not only a network of those
who have co-creating sessions and attend local, national and international
workshops. It is also at the same time a network of those implementing
together a self-generating culture. This I defined earlier as working to
generate alternative sub-cultures and to disperse the restrictive impact
of conventional social taboos.
5 Political know-how A
co-creating community would also be aware and imaginative about how its
facilitators and organizers balance hierarchy (deciding for others), co-operation
(deciding with others) and autonomy (people deciding for themselves) in
its various meetings, workshops and activities.
Co-operatively inquiring, in diverse
networking groups, into transforming, through action, particular aspects
of everyday life-style.
Progressively rewriting the scripts
of each and every social role.
Practising planetary consciousness,
being both local and global in thinking and acting.
Being ecologically caring, and symbiotic
within the biosphere and physiosphere.
6 Inquiry reviews A co-creating
community would also want to have periodic review meetings, locally, nationally
and internationally, at which the theory and method of co-creating is confirmed
and deepened, or disconfirmed and amended, in the light of ongoing experience
of its use.
June to December 2008: South Pacific
Centre for Human Inquiry. A group of eleven field-test a comprehensive update of
the peer self-help holistic development method of co-creating. For
three new basic update maps see