Note: Collin’s Existential Barn Dance on Thursday has been canceled and will possibly be rescheduled.
Human Collaboration w/ Forrest Landry. July 8th @ 9:30 PM ET. RSVP here.
July 7, 2020
I was chatting yesterday with the crew who organize the Collective Presencing sessions at The Stoa. We were talking about how Collective Presencing can be purposed to answer some of the unanswered questions at The Stoa.
I mentioned that Collective Presencing and other collective insight practices could serve as a communitas first aid, but that feels like tortured coinage, so I’ll run with communing first aid instead. If a question comes up, that is burning for a group of people, they can find time and wormhole themselves to a practice space that affords collective insights to emerge, all the while strengthening group bonds. This would be awesome to have.
David Swedlow, who is a part of the Collective Presencing crew, said he thought The Stoa is the best example of a Meta-Sangha he has seen thus far. David was repurposing the sangha term beyond its Buddhistic origins to refer to wisdom practice communities in general. I was curious about this term so I looked it up and saw that Vincent Horn, who is coming to The Stoa this month, wrote about it previously.
Meta-sanghas differ from normal sanghas in that they do not themselves offer a specific system of contemplative practices and individual training to be mastered, or offer a coherent and agreed-upon definition of what success looks like. Instead, they invite in leaders & members from multiple systems and offer a framework for exploring their experiences and conceptions through cross-paradigmatic & multi-lineage exchanges.
It is great coming across a term that gets what you are doing. This is how I am seeing how the wisdom gym evolving: messily, randomly, and organically. I can see hundreds of different practices situated in the gym: breathwork, shadow work, meditation, critical thinking, high-intensity training, etc. I can also see spiritual teachers, psychotherapists, and other wisdom practitioners wanting a spot in the gym once this project grows.
I think it is the wrong move to be too obsessive about engineering the perfect ecology from the start. I see other people in this space, who are doing similar things, attempting to engineer such an ecology. I imagine why this is the case is that they are being influenced by monetizing the ecology, which would encourage them to have a transactional offering that will be worth their customers money.
The Stoa is not providing a transaction. It is providing a gift that people can use, if they want to use it. Thanks to this frame I am not concerned about getting the ecology right, or even having a coherent framework that will influence its development. I sense all of these will come, and I sense it is the right move to shut my mind down and listen, so the daemon can do its thing.
When I was writing to Andrew about a DIY Ecology of Practices I was in the beginning phases of thinking about this meta-sangha idea. I think it is the right move to have a place where you can discover your own ecology of practice, along with a way to discover a new one when the old one does not serve you. Like I mentioned to Andrew: the best ecology is the one that gets you to the next ecology. It is like those choose your own adventure books, but the adventure will be choosing your own ecology.
I can get scientific about this later, which is what I intend to do in my adjunct researcher role with John Vervaeke’s wisdom lab. Prematurely being scientific about something often neuters the thing. Instead, I will listen, and misquote that cliched line from Field of Dreams: If you build it, they will come.
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