Collaborative Change

What if there were no leaders only collaborators? Inspired by a conversation with a friend and a post by a fellow traveler, i started to think of the implications of ego on social entrepreneurship. In particular, i wonder what would happen if we’d all started collaborating. So, let’s start here: I will share my half-baked and still somewhat disorganized ideas and we can see if we can come up with something together!

I’ve been trying to establish some sort of business for a while now – it’s something around life design, going deep into our visioning by starting with the world we’d like to live in to transform the world while we transform ourselves. It would also include my ideas around cultural trauma, the trauma that arises from the normative forces of mainstream culture.

It’s not going anywhere. Somehow the energy is just not flowing. So, i’ve started to muse over what might be getting in my way. During a conversation with a friend something started to emerge: The business model of an individual teacher/healer is just not appealing to me. I’d rather create a learning and teaching community where some of us live together to learn and teach, similar to Zen communities where a teacher trains her disciples under her watchful eye until they are ready to pass on the teaching because they get it.

Then i read about ego in social entrepreneurship and realized how much ego had been in my endeavor: I want to spread my idea of cultural trauma even though i know it’s not all that different than David Loy’s idea of a sense of lack, Tara Brach’s idea of the trance of unworthiness, or Brené Brown’s work on shame. And these are just the people i can think of right now!

Then i had another conversation with another friend and i started to wonder: What if the teacher becomes less important than the message? David, Tara, and Brené also basically talk about the same thing: How the current mainstream culture is creating these feedback loops that trap us in life-alienating and painful ways of living. What if we’d all work together and let drop away the need for our names to appear?

Yeah, yeah. I, too, hear the voice: Who am i to include myself in this? Well, okay, so maybe we’re not all at the same level of understanding, after all some folks have been thinking and teaching about this far longer than i have, for example. So, what if instead of me trying to articulate my ideas around cultural trauma, i could just plug myself into someone else’s teaching? What if there actually were a structure in place where the teaching is passed on in a deliberate and organized way? Like in (Zen) monasteries for example. With an important difference, though, because we’d have an eye on democratization, that is, again the teacher becomes less important than the teaching. I could imagine that this might become a much more powerful and effective way to disseminate ideas because we could balance the quantity and quality of the teaching. Right now, it seems people like David, Tara, and Brené are focusing more on quantity – reaching as many people as they can. While this is important, maybe this isn’t the most effective way of getting the message out.

So, i am envisioning something even beyond becoming the student of someone: I am looking for something where the message becomes more important than the messenger – and the messengers are supporting each other. This would help us step outside of the current teacher-student paradigm in which some people know more than others. Yet, some people do know more than others, so how can we create an educational paradigm that acknowledges that without creating the hierarchies of the current model? Or to put it into the context of my ideas: How can we all collaborate, learning from and teaching each other, in a supportive environment that shifts the focus from the messenger/teacher/guru to the message and creates an umbrella that supports us all?

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