Occupy Sangha

George Por's picture

Occupy awakened the fighting spirit that has been dormant in me since the 60s, reconnected me with my passion to go fearless into whatever is next for the (r)evolutions in the world and my consciousness.

This morning, in gratitude I contemplated this question: what is my gift that life calls me to bring into play, for the sake of the Whole? The following notes are an attempt at modeling that play.

First, I became present to how much I care about the best possible future of Occupy, the future of all children living and who will live on this planet. From that deep feeling arose the next question.

Can it be that the current movements of the multitude will fizzle out as it did in the 60s (although for different reasons)? In the 60s we didn’t have the Web, smartphones, Twitter and the other tools of super-connectivity that we enjoy today. Today, we don’t have (yet) a massive desire for freedom and creativity as much in our inner world as in the outer.

Without that desire being alive in large segments of the Occupy ecosystem, without wanting to be free from the tyranny of ego, as much as from any form of injustice and repression, it may not go deep enough to make a decisive difference for liberation. Systems of governance and even property may change, but for full liberation from the past, with lasting effect, we also need to attend to what is happening inside, (particularly in moments of challenge and stress). Going integral is re-claiming the magnificent wholeness of who we are and can be; it is not a luxury but a condition of victory.

Even so, we cannot and must not preach integral to Occupy. The best we can do is to learn from and with the creative spirit it brings to challenging the status quo, and one more thing: to embody an integral revolution in our consciousness, the way we relate to one another, in our shared mind and the way we organize ourselves for making a difference, together.

It may sound a tall task, but doing anything less than that is missing an epic opportunity to make a decisive move against all forms of tyranny. It’s an opportunity that we can turn into reality only together, as an integral (r)evolutionary commons.  

I hope Marco Morelli will share more of his sensing of how a commons in our context may look like. Meanwhile, here are some of my intimations about the sangha aspect of the same community. Primarily, I see it as a community of practice that is pushing the envelop on the domain collective mindfulness and wise action. The better we become at that practice, the more we become those we’ve been waiting for.  

Reading my draft of this blog, my partner Anna, at that point inserted this fertile question: “How would the behavior in such group and of the group show up as being different and attractive to others?” I believe the answer is in love, as it manifests in recognizing the full blossoming of each of us and the whole, as a condition to our own well-being, and having a life that shows it. It’s about listening with such a profound curiosity to each other’s gifts and aspirations that we become the listening that calls forth the speaking of them. An example of that kind of listening is inside the encouragement to express my vision more fully, which I received from Eric Troth, the instigator of a series of conference calls about Occupy Integral.

By the way, when I write “community of practice,” I don’t mean it in some abstract or metaphorical sense, but literally, “a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” (Etienne Wenger)

In my experience as a social architect, hosting and cultivating communities for long time, that concept provides a useful perspective on how we can step up to the task of learning what we need to, and doing it as rapidly as possible. A community of practice starts frequently with the negotiation of the meaning of what we need to learn together. 

One more thing, about the title of this blogpost. When I hear “Occupy Sangha,” I hear it with two intonations. First, as Occupy Sangha, a phrase starting with a verb calling to inhabit a non-denominational space of integral (r)evolutionaries, the community, where we share the experience of our individual and collective self-realization. Second, as Occupy Sangha, a phrase starting with "occupy" as an adjective, emphasizing our alignment with and supporting the best what the Occupy movement stands for and embodies, and carrying it forward in our practices as a community.

If that perspective speaks to you, what is that you see we, as a community of practice, need to learn first?

What other questions do arise in your consciousness, as you read this blog post?

George Pór is the founding editor of The Future of Occupy.


in believing that we are inherently good/connected, I'm thinking if we can just get people talking to themselves, daily, using their heads/hearts...
I'm thinking that simple act will bring us to our natural state of curiosity/listening, connectedness, love.

and I'm thinking the web will afford the revolution the 60s were craving...

George Por's picture

hi Monika,


> he web will afford the revolution the 60s were craving... 


yes, indeed - that's why in the 80s i used to tell my friends that 90s will make the 60s look almost as lame as the 50s were...

I was just too optimist about the timing but now it's really happening. Of course the technology is only an enabler and whether its full potential will be used for integral revolution is up to us... 

Thank you, brother Duri, for asking these questions. I let them work through my system as I read your blog, to see what resonated with my own gift in response.  I am not physically engaged with the Occupy Movement - other than to follow its unfolding, spread the word and raise awareness of what's happening, as and when I can. My engagement with the Integral movement is also less than total these days, as I find it satisfies only a small portion of my being, so I don't show up in Integral circles as often as I once did. My practice these days is the inner and outer liberation you speak of, moment by moment, one layer at a time, one challenge at a time. And that practice for me, is collective.

So my response to your question is this: if the aim of your community of practice is to 'push the envelope on the domain collective mindfulness and wise action', then the core form to practice is Circle (I recommend PeerSpirit circle practice as a good place to start - you know it well!). Inside the circle practice, the inner stance best adopted by as many members as possible is that of 'witnessing' (I describe this in more detail in my blog here: http://iyeshe.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/the-evolution-of-knowing-%E2%80%9...).

There are ways in which this is advanced practice. And yet it is highly developmental, as it creates a safe space for the ego to drop its barriers to loving challenge. Having development diversity in the circle is a prerequisite. Invite the elders and the young to intermingle. Allow the wisdom to flow from the middle, rather than having decisions adopted by the rim.

In conclusion, I cannot recommend strongly enough that the 'Art of Hosting conversations that matter' (google it, dear readers, since I can't insert a link in a comment...) become part of the DNA of Occupy. There are training seminars everywhere, of high quality. I know one is coming up in June in the UK - get some community members to attend, they won't regret it!


George Por's picture

Thanks Helen for your thoughtful and heartfelt comment. 

I resonate with both of your points. The Circle practice, inspired by the Native American and other first people traditions, adds also some beauty, ritual and ceremony, elements of the "Purple" in Spiral Dynamics parlance, too frequently neglected by 2nd tier folks, yet without it the Spiral caanot be whole and healthy.

The "Art of Hosting" approach to host conversations that matter, especially when it's coupled with  the rigorous discipline of the "Communities of Practice" approach  to host transformational communities, can also be very helpful to the beloved Occupy Sangha. 

George, I love your remorseless rigour! In my experience, the circle needs to be held in a 'Turquoise field'. It is not necessary for all those who sit on the rim to be conversant with Spiral Dynamics, of course. And ideally, the full spiral will be represented, with people at different centres of gravity showing up, because then we have the full range of capabilities (at top fitness) available to the whole. Turquoise holding allows each voice to be heard and valued, Yellow presence ensures that the genius of each vmeme is appropriately utilised.

George Por's picture

I imagine that for an integral sangha to transcend and include the Green "each voice to be heard and valued" principle, those voices wil include the voice of planetary concerns ranking above any narrower interest, and the perspective of  world re-ordered for the good of the commons.

Oh yes, George - whilst  wareness that both the Earth and the kosmos are fully sentient and present as we gather in circle might not be present in all hearts, that doesn't make it any less true. Personally, I like to invoke and invite both Gaia and the invisible presences beyond the veil to join the field and arise in the middle each time I sit in circle. It depends on the context and culture as to whether I will verbalise that invocation. Thank you for playing so beautifully in this field you have created here!

George Por's picture

Helen, my first thought about your last sentence was that it's really Terry and Marco, who created the field that I'm playing in. Then came a deeper, grateful realization about the larger field that brought all of us together in this integral (r) evolution. Thank you for your words reminding me of that!

This is a most inspiring article. Having lived through the revival of Spiritual gifts era of the 60's, and the early attempts at a committed spiritual community, I am overjoyed and eagerly looking forward to this wave of the Spirit now sweeping the earth.

Like Helen, I am aware that the mistakes made, because of the level of the meme at that time, are able to be avoided this time. Particularly the ego and hubris of self-chosen leaders is not happening now.

My special gift is Listening, never been recognised in my whole life, but I knew it would come in handy so is well trained and ready.

The loving witness, perfect for an Enneagram 9 person like me. No more lurking around on the Internet, staying quiet at meetings.

I'm out and loud ready for this Occupy Sangha.

George Por's picture

Big thank you, Janice, for being so good at not only listening but also expressing your truth. I much appreciated what you wrote in your Twitter profile,  "not being ready to play little old lady yet." 

The world needs more than ever wise women rising up and speaking from their heart.

Thank you also for the your understanding of Thomas Huebl's message that you shared on Beams & Struts: solutions will emerge when our communities "Put things in order before they exist".  Whatever Occupy Sangha will become, my intuition says that it can be central to ist work.

Would you say more about what Huebl's message means to you? I'm curious what our integral brothers and sisters think about these matters in Sidney. Would you mind to share a link to this blogpost on the mailing list, with your comment.

Thank you for your reply George. I haven't yet met face to face with the Integral group in Sydney regarding these teachings, that happens next Sunday. There is a part of our Facebook page called Presence that is put aside for those wanting to delve deeper into this subject.

As for me, I just "get" what Thomas is saying at a very deep level of my understanding. Part of a yearning that has been long-standing in my life. So much so, that is spite of not having the money to travel, I have committed myself to attending the Integral Next Seminar in Colorado in August just to be a part in this discovery. To add to my certainty that I am on the right track, I received notification on Good Friday that I have been awarded a scholarship. That convinced me doubly.

I have been training myself to live mindfully in the "now" for about 20 years, and have had an Integral Life Practice for the last 10 years, so you could say I have been anticipating this. Maybe that is how I relate to "putting things in order before they exist."

I totally concur with your thought about not preaching Integral Theory to those not seeking it for themselves. We can only be a living example to those around us, anything more will result in conflict. We can't wait for the majority of people to wake up. There will always be those at every level and stage, but we can, subtly and effectively form a group to hold the light and sustain each other, while at the same time making a difference in the world around us.

Many times I have listened to talks and watched videos and played mp3's of Thomas Huebl since being made aware of his teachings and I am convinced of his sincerity, impressed by his modesty and intrigued by the sense of mystery that draws my attention. Hence my enthusiasm.