Note: this blog is an early draft of a book that has now been published with more details about each of the principles and original art. See https://leadingfromthefield.com.
This book is dedicated to Hans Andeweg and Rijk Bols, who have pioneered the field of ECOtherapy (now called ECOIntention), as well as to those people present and future who embark on this sacred work.
The inspiration and much of the content of this book comes from the writings and work of Hans Andeweg, in particular Scheppend Leven (2011) – due out in English soon as The Universe Likes a Happy Ending. I have filtered the concepts through my own experience to come up with the twelve principles.
Peter Merry is a leader and social entrepreneur who has spent most of his adult life in an ongoing quest for how to be of greatest service to the transition towards a more life-affirming future for people and the planet we inhabit.
On that journey he has been a theatre director and actor, a teacher of English in Paris and northern Ghana, an environmental activist and International Co-ordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales, a MSc student in Human Ecology, an international youth trainer, co-founder of the business Engage!, an organisational development consultant, public speaker, founder and Chair of the Center for Human Emergence Netherlands, PhD student with and Director of the Wisdom University in Europe, husband and father of three boys. In the energetic realm, he has trained in clairvoyancy and geomancy, and is currently completing the four year vocational training in systemic energy tuning with the Center for ECOtherapy.
He lives in the ecological neighbourhood Eva Lanxmeer, in Culemborg, the Netherlands, with his Dutch wife and three children.
As we stand on the edge of a new era, with old beliefs, institutions and values crumbling around us, a new realisation is dawning in the minds of many. This is not just an upgrade of our current civilisation. This is a new starting point. From this point on, the foundational assumptions of our civilisation change.
The world we see around us has emerged from assumptions rooted in a belief that what is real is what we can see around us, what we can measure and what we can put a price on. It is rooted in a quest outside of ourselves for the unique distinctive nature of all parts of reality, for definition, naming and control of what we see out there. It is focused on ever increasing growth, progress and expansion, on unlimited possibility in a direction whose only values are about direction and development itself. It is the domain of the mind, abstracted from the apparent limitations of the material and the body.
As such, this movement of humanity on earth is a sacred expression of life. Life does indeed seek out the sun, growth and blossoming. Yet it is only half of the story. When we base our lives and civilisation on only half of the truth, we are likely to lose our balance. In our desperate search for more, bigger and greater, we have overstretched ourselves, and abused the hospitality of the home and family that make our life possible. We are wobbling precariously, drunk on our own exuberance. We now face a choice – re-integrate the other half of what is true, or topple over in an ugly, painful way into the very muck we ourselves created.
It has not always been this way for us, the human species, this particular offspring of planet Earth. There was a period when our starting point was intrinsic interconnectedness, when time moved in cycles rather than lines, and was inherently related to physical place. We took decisions in consultation with the Earth and other life forms that we share this planet with. Yet in its own way this era also reached a limit, proving too suffocating for the creative expansive self-expressive urge of life that also rages inside of us. So we embarked on a journey to express that part of life in ourselves. However, in the energy which that released we forgot to nurture and reintegrate the values of relationship, belonging and interconnectedness that characterised the previous era. Which is why our unrooted wild expansionism has brought us, and many of the other beautiful species we share this planet with, to the brink of extinction.
I do not believe that the human species is inherently evil, and deserves to die because of the pain we have caused to others. I believe we are one of the most creative, beautiful and inspiring expressions of life on this planet. We are just at a particular moment in time where we need to seriously evolve, or face the consequences. The laws of nature apply just as much to us as to any other species. Survival of the fittest is not about survival of the strongest, but about survival of those that can fit the best into their context. Our context is the Earth, and our challenge right now is to reintegrate the other half of what is true. To growth, distinction and intellect, we need to add stillness, oneness and intuition.
That is what this small book is about. If we assume, as both the new scientists and ancient wisdom traditions tell us, that all of reality is actually composed of interlocking dynamic energy fields, that life is a continuous process of organising energetic information into form, then what does that mean for the way we need to lead our organisations, be they business, civil society, government, community or even family systems?
We have chosen to use the word “field” to describe the space that exists between things, or out of which things arise. It is our way of pointing to the oneness and interrelatedness that our ancestors took for granted. “Field” comes originally from the Sanskrit word “prthú” meaning “broad”. So in its essence we are complementing a hard-focussed view into the separate details of reality with a soft-focussed view of the broad unity of reality. We are not used to looking in the latter way. We get to see and sense the broad field of reality by accessing our inner worlds of knowing, our intuition. It is not accessible via or cognitive minds, which, by their nature, seek out separation and identification. We have to learn to quiet our analysers and allow the voice of the field to make itself heard in us.
It is from inside that we can learn to perceive, interpret and enhance the energetic fields of the collective systems that we lead. This book is a short beginners “field guide” to how to go about that. How do we as leaders today learn to steward the energetic dimension of the organisations we are trying to support? When we learn to complement the half of the truth that is about manifest performance statistics, measureable results and expression in the world, with the other half of the truth that is about emerging potential, coherence and interrelatedness, then we unleash the promise of integrating heaven and earth. The forms we create in the physical world will be resonant with the principles of oneness and vitality that exist in the energetic worlds, and will serve life in many ways.
As leaders our role will shift from trying to make sure that everything is working increasingly perfectly in the material and relationship worlds, which is impossible anyway, to bridging the energetic, relational and material architectures of our organisations. We need to increasingly direct our attention to the dynamics of the whole, trusting that if the energy is coherent across the system, then the parts will know what to do to be of greatest service to the whole, and will self-organise to do that – just like a healthy body.
In this book, I am assuming that the reader is willing to accept the existence of an energetic dimension to reality, so I am not going to be making the case for that. If you want to convince yourself more of that, you can for example read the publications of Lynne McTaggart, Rupert Sheldrake and the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research.
My starting assumption is that every living system, everything with a boundary and name – from family to community organisation to department to multinational – has an energetic field associated with it that is continually informing what happens in our visible material world. If that field is not well integrated into the organisation, or carries stressed or blocked energy for example, then the relationships in and around the organisation, and its performance in the world will suffer. The leader of an organisation is the person with the greatest influence on that field, and through our attention and intention, we can enhance or detract from the quality of that field. It is not something we are generally taught in business schools or on leadership courses, yet it carries huge potential for us to co-create organisations that inspire people, serve life and get things done.
This small booklet (when published!) is designed to be something you can carry around with you, to remind you of some core principles and practices of resonant leadership and energetic stewardship. The principles are distilled from 30 years work in the field. I experience them as simplicity the other side of complexity. Allow the words and images on the pages to sink in. Breathe them in, let them resonate with your body, and release your mind to work out what you need to do next to best embody them.
As a leader of organisations myself, in the early stages of exploring the implications of this, I invite you to join me in this inquiry into what I believe is the future of enlightened leadership on our planet today.
Know the boundaries of your leadership.
Know who and what are you accountable for.
Be in authentic relationship with those you are accountable to.
Be in touch with the stillness in yourself.
From this place you can engage with the energy field of the system you lead.
Pay attention to all parts of the system you lead.
Your attention directs the life force.
Feel through your heart what is alive in people and other parts of the system.
Hold it all in the understanding light of your compassion.
Be clear on your intentions, pay regular attention to them
and visualize their realization
Be actively interested in the content
of what is being worked on by people
Work with the natural rhythms of time.
Go when it flows and stop when it blocks.
Pay attention to what wants to happen now
and take the next natural step.
Be aware that words, numbers and geometry form energy.
Be conscious in their use.
Always be aware that you are being hosted by a physical place on the Earth.
Greet each place, ask what it needs and treat it with respect.
Be curious about pain that is held from the past.
Bring it into the light.
Explore what it has to teach for the present.
Enjoy the playfulness of each moment.
Amusement and fondness keep energy moving.
For more information on resonant leadership and energetic stewardship, I recommend:
Andeweg, H (2009). In Resonance with Nature. Edinburgh, Floris Books
Andeweg, H (2011). Scheppend Leven. Cothen, Juwelenschip
Jahn, B & Dunne B (2005). A Conversation with Jahn and Dunne. On The Pear Proposition [DVD/CD]. Oakland: StripMindMedia
Laszlo, E (2004). Science and the Akashic Field. Vermont, Inner Traditions
McTaggart, L (2001), The Field. London, HarperCollins
Merry, P (2009). Evolutionary Leadership. Pacific Grove, Integral Publishers
Sheldrake, R (1981). Morphic Resonance (4th Ed.). Vermont, Park Street Press
Talbot, M (1991). The Holographic Universe. London, HarperCollins Publishers
The Center for ECOtherapy – www.ecointention.com
The Center for Human Emergence – www.humanemergence.nl
Wisdom University – www.wisdomuniversity.org
The Intention Experiment – www.theintentionexperiment.com
Institute of Noetic Science – www.ions.org