THE POWER OF GROUP DYNAMICS
• Why do Groups Form?
• A Reflection on Collective Consciousness
Why do Groups form?
Over the years, working with individuals in both large and small groups has given Nancy and I a good perspective of the dynamics involved in groups that work and groups that do not work. When individuals come together, there are always many issues and factors involved. The first is the reason why each individual becomes a participant. Every person comes with ideas and some bring their own agenda or expectations. Everyone in the group attends with the same concerns and questions about acceptance or rejection, being different, the risks involved in opening up their feelings, and most importantly, finding out something about themselves that they might not be able to handle. The second major factor is the process that the group itself begins for each individual and the process or experience that the group has come together to accomplish. We believe these processes are the sub-conscious needs or urges of every individual to come together in groups for particular experiences.
During the initial few days of our 9-day intensives, we observe silence, awkwardness, impatience, confusion, storytelling, anxiety, issues surrounding trust and mistrust, cautious and safe conversations, testing of each other and of us and the need to feel important. So do these energetic dynamics come only from the individuals themselves or do group dynamics begin to form based upon the roles assumed by the individuals within the group? Is it where you choose to sit that makes you act different than you would outside the group? Are actions of individuals within a group similar to social situations – bringing about a different personality? How do group dynamics play out in different areas/ different locations/ different parts of the country or the world? How do male/female dynamics play a part in group dynamics?
One thing we know, we have been given a unique opportunity of observing individuals within a group, the energy surrounding them and the group, and the issues of each individual that must play themselves out during the group gathering. How many of us have gotten into a group, found ourselves in the middle of the emotional dynamics of others and wondered what was going on? Even the best of us has had this experience. The energy of the group had an effect upon us - perhaps even numbing us. When the group concludes, it feels like we are waking from a dream, wondering what happened. Time seems to be lost forever, never to be recovered. Research into what experts have said about group dynamics confirms our experiences. We do know that sexual energy plays a part among the individuals of every group. This energy can be controlling, petty, often jealous, and always hurtful. Individuals within a group who attempt to manipulate or control the energy within a group are disruptive to the point that other participants feel their learning ability is compromised. It has even been suggested that disruptive individuals should be requested to leave the group. We have had the benefit of being witness to group interaction 'up close and personal' and have felt that it was the energy of each individual within each group that forced the direction of the group's focus and dynamics. Had any one individual not been present during any of the various group processes, the entire set of group dynamics would have played out in another direction. We hold to the awareness that group process can lead to an individual sense of cooperation and coordination. When two or more people gather together for a common cause, participants often combine their talents so their individual creative abilities are increased and their awareness enhanced.
The questions for Nancy and I as teachers now become: how do we continue to teach and assist individuals in a group? Are the dynamics of the group actually more important that what is being taught? Do the individuals of the group come together for certain specific experiences, regardless of what the workshop or course is about? Does the group have a particular purpose in forming? Is there a higher interest or larger picture that must be given credibility? Does the group actually form a consciousness that affects the collective? Each person who has ever participated in a group purpose will have a different perception and thus, a different answer to these questions.
As facilitators, we have felt in the past that our leadership roles meant supporting group participants/students in their individual awakening, thus carrying out the purpose of the group. It has now become clearer that certain group dynamics may overwhelm some of the individuals within that group so the group's purpose itself changes. Our question then becomes, do we interfere with the dynamics of the group in order to continue with the message we are choosing to present? Do we learn from the dynamics of the group just as the group is learning? Are we part of the dynamics and do we play a part in the energetics just by providing a space for the group to form? Deep questions surely, and we firmly believe that we are all learning as we all experience. We learn from the dynamics of those that come to our workshops and become better teachers as a result of that experience.
Individuals who come together as a group bring their individual heritage, experiences, knowledge and awareness as well as fears and insecurities to the group. The dynamics that form are issues brought to the group by the individual participants/students. The issues may be felt and expedrienced differently by each participant of the group. They are however, identical issues for the individuals themselves in their daily lives: issues of power and control, male and female dynamics. These issues must be presented and individually experienced in order for the group participants to fully comprehend the understanding of Oneness. In this way, the group can shift the collective consciousness of the entire planet.
A Reflection on Collective Consciousness
Heart and Soul Healing, my work for over 20 years, teaches about the shifting of consciousness through energetic release. Our intensive courses and workshops assist individuals in becoming more aware of their ability to transform the collective consciousness. This awareness has not been widely accepted, nor understood. It is not easy to accept responsibility for being a creator, capable of shifting the consciousness of feelings and emotions throughout time. Many of us have had life experiences where hate or anger were dominant emotions. If we were young, we were terrified and confused. As adults, we can become angry and defiant. These energetic feelings accumulate over time and become an actual force of their own. They exist for thousands of years as the collective consciousness of fear, anger, hate, revenge and more. We believe and teach that one of our purposes while here on this planet Earth is to balance the different collective consciousnesses - including love. For years, I have said 'We are here on earth to master all of the conditions we place on love', to experience unconditional love for ourselves. The spiritual world might say there aren't any conditions, only love and use the words 'unconditional love' casually, almost in a surreal way. We know as humans in our personal relationships that the concept of unconditional love has often played itself out in a very hurtful, guarded experience. Each of us places certain conditions in life that we will not accept for ourselves merely in the name of love. For me, I have found it was best to find and accept an unconditional love of myself first and compassion for others in whatever space they may occupy in the moment. In this way, I can choose whether or not I want to share their space and yet, I am not judgmental of them, having compassion and acceptance of them.
Within a group, individuals can often find a space to allow unconditional love of self while having unconditional compassion for others. This can occur because certain elements like peaceful interaction, balance and reflection allow individuals within the group to feel the emotion of love and use this as a template to energetically find their own truth, thus freeing themselves from the pain and patterns of the past. We strongly believe that this is what individuals seeking spiritual awakening have the power to do.
So now we reflect that perhaps group dynamics are the base structure
of collective consciousness. After all, each individual comes together
to act as a catalyst or energetic force that will push themselves out
of their own areas of comfort and knowing in order to prepare them for
an expanded view of consciousness in all its energetic forms. Perhaps
that is the purpose. We have always trusted that Source would bring those
individuals together that could learn from each other by being mirrors
of issues needing to be revealed. In this way, we trust that the dynamics
formed by each group actually play a part in shifting the collective
have come together for this purpose.
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