From Friday 9 through Sunday 11 February 2024, right when the Year of the Dragon began on the 10th, the Awakening to Humanity’s Sacred Mission Symposium took place. We had over 2400 people register from 86 countries with dozens of organizations and over 50 Keynote Speakers and Keynote Listeners. At any given moment over the three days, between 160 and 300 people were in the Zoomroom and many more participated via the livestreamed sessions. A truly amazing event just for the sheer magnitude of it!
But what made it really stand out was the way it danced. The whole event danced, and everyone in it, from Visionary Speakers to Space Holding Meditators to Movement Flowers to Breakout-empowered Participants, we all swayed and pulsed and flowed throughout the three days. But what was the music that danced us so?
An experience of deep listening
The Symposium was designed as a wake-up call, but not so much one with alarm bells and awooga blaring klaxons and instead one that recognized that, as the saying goes, “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for” … and we’re not waiting any longer! With a delicate balance of presensations from well-known figures at the vanguard of consciousness studies and practices of how to human well, to movement and stillness exercises that brought us inward and outward in connection with life, to breakout sessions where we could engage in petite conversation with two or three others, to dance and poetry and sharing from around the world. It was the kind of wake-up call that said, “hey, you already know this! We’re all here and connected to life in the sacred dance of Interbeing and interesting becoming – how could it by ever have been otherwise?”
Two Paths of Syntonizing
The symposium gently led us onto the dancefloor of participatory co-emergence, or what is more commonly referred to as conscious evolution. We explored two “paths” into augmented sentience. One came through the classical activities (and “non-activities”) of the goinginward path that helped us embody and engage our sacred mission. That path involved quieting “the monkey mind,” releasing into the moment (without the need to “do anything” with it, just being present — fully present), and making yourself “available” to what arises in and through you. These three stages augmented our ability to connect and be in syntony with all that occurs within, through, and around us. The four preparatory non-movements of syntony associated with these stages include –
This path of practice is one of not trying to do something or to act, but of being moved to act. It’s the difference between trying to dance and finding yourself being danced; allowing life to dance you.
The second path is one often practiced by Martial Artists and Qi Gong masters. This path involves opening all the senses, being fully present and aware of your surroundings, coming vibrantly alive and attuned to everything that’s going on in and around you with heightened sensitivity. There is a beautiful scene in the classical film by Akira Kurosawa called The Seven Samurai in which ronin samurai are being recruited for a cause. To test whether they really are samurai, they are invited into a little hut to meet the recruiter, but unbeknownst to them, someone is standing just inside the doorway entrance with a stick that they intend to bring down on the ronin samurai as they each enter the hut, one at a time. The accomplished samurai will have quick enough reactions to be able to meet and deflect the attack without any problem, but those that get bonked on the head are not considered worthy of joining the crew. Now, what happens next is really interesting and perfectly illustrates this second path of syntonizing. One ronin samurai approaches the building but stops just before entering, saying “ahh, no no no, there is a trick here – I will not enter.” His senses were so keen that he could tell there was someone just inside waiting to pounce on him even before he entered the building. He was immediately recruited.
The sort of anticipatory sense-ability involved in this second path of syntonizing can indeed be trained and cultivated. But to my way of understanding, truly awakened connection requires both paths — that of going in and quieting, and that of opening out and enlivening — and it requires them in simultaneity. Awakening to our sacred mission is all about dancing both of these two paths at once.
See my article on “Are You Available? Augmenting Access to the Akasha Dimension” featured at the bottom of the Syntony Starter Kit page for more on these two paths.
Recuerdos del Porvenir – memories of things yet to come
(title of a novel by Mexican journalist and screenwriter, Elena Garro)
Awakening to Humanity’s Sacred Mission is a re-membering of our roles and response-abilities as dancers in the cosmic jam session that has been playing since time immemorial. Time to shake a mean leg – or perhaps a more gentle, loving, and mystery-imbued one. Session 5 on Day Three of the symposium was focused on what became the Embody & Engage session, though I had originally designed it as a session to move from Vision to Action through the theme of “Practices of Interconnection: embodying and enacting our Sacred Mission.” I wanted to move beyond words into sensing sacredness, living into the ideas and words of the Visionary Speakers in the first part of the session — or rather, letting their words and ideas live in and through us. The participatory, immersive, experiential activities of the second portion of Session 5 were designed to help us sense into our individual and shared Sacred Mission — as “human tuning forks” engaging our sense of coherence, of resonance, and in the process, cultivating our Syntony Sense.
In any event, the idea behind the whole thing was to start with this vision-casting symposium and to use it to galvanize an action-engaging movement. That is, to go from the Awakening to Humanity’s Sacred Mission Symposium into another stage of Birthing Humanity’s Sacred Mission Movement. To do this, we realized that embodying and engaging were not enough, though they were a useful shorthand for the full process that flows as follows:
Now there’s a dance challenge worth of Homo Sapiens syntonicus!
Joining the Sacred Dance
At the end of the three days, we were reminded that this is not the end of anything at all. Rather, it should be seen as the beginning of a movement where, together, we embody and engage in the dance of humanity’s sacred mission. It had become clear that Humanity’s Sacred Mission is not a destination. It is not an objective to be attained. Rather, it is a way of being, of breathing, of being danced.
I realized that it is truly a matter of humaning well every day, from moment to moment. When it becomes a regular way of being, there is no difference between the individual/personal Sacred Mission and Humanity’s Sacred Mission. This is a wonderful way to embody and enact the syntony quest.
If you’re feeling the rhythm pulse through you and you’ve got the urge to dance and be danced, come join us on the dance floor at Jon Ramer’s amazing interactive Kumu map. By clicking on the ‘focus’ button in the legend on the top right, you’ll be able to zoom into any circle you select and see all the people, organizations, and initiatives swinging and swaying together!
To see what this event was all about, check this link on my Events Page where you will find a recording of the session that I designed and ran.
I was once asked to create a little exercise on syntony for teens and pre-teens based on a lecture I delivered to the annual conference of the International Society for the Systems Sciences in 1999 in Monterey, California. In fact, I held a special Youth Session for the children of the parents attending that conference specifically for this purpose. My conference lecture was titled “Syntony as an Organizing Force in Societal Evolution”, but that title just wouldn’t do for the youth session, so I rephrased it as “May the Force be With You” (very original, don’t you think?). You don’t have to be a Star Wars fan to get the reference, but it helps…
Here’s the research question I posed: What’s the difference between The Force and Syntony? After all, they seem pretty much alike:
both exist all around you (not just in you)
both involve a set of skills and competencies that you need to develop
both don’t simply “happen” by either trying to force it or just wishing you could command the energy of the universe at will
both need you to make them happen — they don’t just happen to you (no matter how much you want them to)
both require attention and a kind of “tuning in” to something bigger than us
both call on you to use your power creatively and responsibly
both are tremendously cool (even totally awesome).
If you were to think about this Hollywood notion of The Force, without all the hype and all the pure entertainment bull that surrounds it, do you think there is anything like it that REALLY exists? If so, how would you go about learning about it and putting it to use in your everyday life (because we can’t all become Jedi Knights for a living)? And while we’re at it: what’s the difference between Spirit and The Force and what you understand Syntony to mean?
I am one with Syntony and The Force is one with me…
So, the main questions I think young padawans can help me learn about are those.
I’ll repeat them here:
If there were such a thing as The Force, how would you help others understand what it is (without turning it into mere movie magic), and how is it different from and similar to Spirit?
How would you learn (and help others to learn) how to tap into it and become skilled at using it every day, all the time?
That’s the training exercise. Just remember, this is not a joke for me. I really want to find out these things, and you can help.
I was asked to “explain how matter stays in form… how does it know what to be? How does my pen stay a pen? How am I sitting on a chair?” Excellent questions, right?!
Natural process clump together – and that’s good!
Well, it’s vibration and coherence and the law of affinity that creates the clumping. As Niels Bohr was purported to have said, nature plays with a sticky deck of cards… Things don’t happen according to a random distribution of probability. They clump. Your pen is such a clump, but it is made of so so so so so many smaller clumps (forming leptons forming hadrons forming atoms forming molecules forming cells and so on up to forming galaxies, galactic clusters, superclusters, and branes). It’s all entangled and intertwingled. The thing is, stuff tends more to fall together than it does to fall apart. Or rather, when it falls, it clumps.
As my friend David Schulhoff says, “it is the shuffling of the deck between hands that creates the play of emergent order each round the cards are dealt.”
So, what causes the clumping? Vibration. If things vibrate in ways that match in harmonic resonance (I just wrote in hormonic resonance, and that may be true at other levels!), they cohere. This coherence forms a local attractor that brings those resonating vibrations into connection. If they are vibrating at high frequency and high amplitude, they form what appear to be solid stuff. If they vibrate at low frequency and low amplitude, they form what appear to be thoughts, spirit, emotion and immaterial stuff. If they are right in between, they appear as both – as wavicles that sometimes behave like particles and sometimes like waves.
Does this make sense? In contradistinction to what we were taught in school, there is no “thing” there – only packets of coherently resonating vibration. These find each other out of the simple dynamics of affinity. They create space for each other, call to each other, and fall into each other to form larger packets of coherent vibration, be they material or immaterial. This is the tendency toward wholes that defines our universe, a tendency called holotropism. We see it all around us as love.
I was thinking about how to sense into these attractors – how to know that we’re not entering into coherent relationship with some aberrant expression of local deviation from the general holotropic trend. I mean, it’s perfectly possible to align with the wrong side of things, to innocently support the villain or to unwittingly sign up for a false and deleterious crusade. Sometimes people even manipulate us and take advantage of a trusting disposition – this is what is referred to as falling victim to a con, or in more contemporary jargon, to a ponzie scheme. In any event, one doesn’t have to be particularly gullible to be hoodwinked like this; the fact is that it even happens in nature. So how do we avoid being lured into less-than-syntonious situations?
Using your Syntony Sense to discern flourishing dynamics
It occurred to me that one way of sensing into the “rightness” of the flow is by converting our impression of what is going on into a sensory perception. For example, asking “what color would this situation/dynamic/condition be? Would it be sharp or smooth? Soft or rough? If it had an odor, what would it smell like?” Thinks like that help me sense into whether or not this is an attractive or a repulsive experience. I could also try to imagine if what I was perceiving and experiencing was a cloud, then what kind of cloud would it be? Or if it were water, would it be warm or refreshing or turbulent or deep? The key here is to perform a creative translation function from the conceptual/rational/analytical consideration of what’s going on to some other analogous expression that captures the essence of the experience. In effect, this is an act of alchemy – of spiritual alchemy, transforming one type of perception into another, and in the process, distilling the nature of the experience in a way that makes evident the quality of its quintessence. What the experience is transformed into is less important than the act of transformation, itself. It is through this act that the sense of rightness, of goodness of fit, can be discerned, and this helps us know whether it is in accord with the fundamental holotropism of the cosmos or out of syntony at a deeper level of coherence. Will this lead to certainty? No, I don’t think so. But it will give you a better sense of whether you want to embrace what’s going on with arms wide open, or brace yourself against it with arms tightly crossed.
If you want to dive deeper, you can find more on this topic here
A conversation with Hazel Henderson on the Love Economy
It was great to share the stage with Hazel. She spoke about the Love Economy as a system of caring for all productive work. I like that. Especially as it relates to the work of women in many societies where their contributions are traditionally seen as volunteer and invisible work. It reminded me of this quote I saw the other day:
“The majority of our mental load and emotional labor as modern-day mothers comes from constantly and creatively trying to piece together some semblance of a village, stepping into roles meant to be filled by other village members, and unconsciously grieving this soul-crushing loss (which is hidden in plain sight). We hugely underestimate the weight of villagelessness on mothers.” ~ Beth Berry (@revolutionfromhome)
Tru dat. The moderator, Rick Ulfik (of We, The World) asked us whether we can build an economy that works for all. Basically, we agreed with the quote from Mahatma Gandhi that “The world has enough for everyone’s needs, but not everyone’s greed” — especially if we learn how to follow the patterns and processes of nature.
How do we remember that? I mean, it seems as though we’ve forgotten this simple truth… That’s why I like the Solarpunk Movement — it frames the future in terms of nature’s abundance and in terms of empathy and altruism, not in terms of the mistaken notions of survival of the fittest and cut-throat competition.
Ethical aspects of inclusive economics
This is at the heart of syntony, after all. It’s just a matter of what messages we choose to tune into, as Rick pointed out and Hazel reinforced with mention of her Ethical Markets Media program. Jack Strasburg (Coordinator for We, The World’s Economic Justice Campaign) mentioned the Ecological Footprint (developed by my friend Mathis Wackernagel) and the Global Footprint Network (of which he is President). Yes, indeed. A tremendously valuable tool, no doubt. And… it only measures all the damage we are doing. My friend Kathryn (Bottrell) Ananda of Australia has developed the Positive Handprint as an alternative (but complementary) measure of all the positive, life-affirming, future-creating, opportunity-increasing activities we do/make/are. I love that idea since it feeds into that evolutionary narrative of the type of Solarpunk future we know is possible.
How do we know? By using our syntony sense. By remembering that we are part of a grand narrative of the cosmos becoming. By knowing that we are the most highly sensitive instrument ever produced on this planet to tune into those Positive Handprint type engagements with life. And by harkening to that poetic Spanish phrase of recuerdos del porvenir — memories of things yet to come. This is the syntony potential that we can grow into, that we can elicit, that we can help emerge and flourish. If we listen for it with our syntony sense attuned…
Later… I thought about how much my brother Chris Laszlo is doing in this area. His work truly informs and is informed by a deep understanding of what it means to engage in productive processes that contribute to the narrative of flourishing in our world. His work at Case Western Reserve University as professor of Organizational Behavior and as an independent author on such topics as quantum leadership, flourishing enterprise, and sustainable value generation make him a leading authority on the emergence of this new paradigm in business and economics. It is wonderful to be so connected and intertwingled with people who are truly being the systems they want to see in the world! What an amazing experience to have ventured into this area myself, knowing that others are far more knowledgeable and able to work with it than I am. But just knowing that they are there, and that I am connected with them — from Chris to Hazel to you right now — is what makes this co-emergent narrative so magical, so possible, so real. Syntony in action!
The «8th International r3.0 Conference» on “Thresholds of Transformation – Piloting Regenerative and Distributive Economies and Cultures”. I was on a panel dedicated to Education & Governance – Necessary Systemic Transformation of Education together with Dr. Anneloes Smitsman – https://conference2021.r3-0.org/agenda/#plenary4
It felt like we were engaged in a conversation about learning how really to “be the change we want to see in the world” – together!
A conversation about how to emerge a learning society
What was so wonderful about this is that we had worked really hard on putting together a major report, under Anneloes’s leadership, called the «Educational Transformation Blueprint» which you can access and download here – https://www.r3-0.org/blueprint-9-et/. And now this conference was like harvest time! We could share what we did and why it felt so important, and that somehow created a field of joy. It felt like I was in a warm ocean, one that we had helped well up and populated with all sorts of amazing sea creatures in the form of ideas, themes and entire chapters that formed this narrative of change.
The change we were focused on related directly to the work of the organization that was putting on the show: the r3.0 Organization, developed and headed up by Ralph Thurm and Bill Baue. Through it, we got deeply involved in exploring redesign for resilience and regeneration for a green, inclusive, and open economy, and in this particular case, an educational transformation blueprint to help guide our way into a true learning society.
Reflections from a conference dialogue on the future of education
More than just a simple blueprint for the future of education, this report – and the conference event to mark its release – provided a set of binoculars to explore the emerging horizon of educational transformation. In addition, it provided a good set of sails to catch the winds of change, and a handy and practical compass by which to navigate the sea change it involves. The Educational Transformation Blueprint charts out the life-long and life-wide learning that heralds a new era in empathy-oriented education based on relational intelligence. From a systems perspective, this is the power of syntony as an organizing force for the comprehensive redesign of educational systems, and indeed, of societal systems in the living and breathing context of our ecosystemic world.