Experiments in We-Mysticism with Patricia Albere

On Sunday I was joined by Patricia Albere for “Collective Awakening: What makes it possible? And why is it important?”

Patricia Albere is the founder and director of the Evolutionary Collective in New York and San Francisco, where a committed group works inside a highly focused container that provides a rich environment for this shared consciousness to reveal its potentials. She has consciously structured her vision of a new culture of mutual awakening in very specific teachings and processes, identifying Eight Activating Principles of Evolutionary Relationship and Seven Vectors that define a particular location in consciousness.

I was excited to be able to have a public conversation with Patricia about what makes real mutual awakening possible. Thich Nhat Hanh famously suggested that “the next Buddha will be a sangha” and I agree. I consider the work of growing that new, higher “we-space” to be one of the most important cutting edges in our current cultural experiment.

Although I haven’t previously brought it into this series, Integral We-Space has been a focus of my work for some years. I’ve led and experienced mutual awakening with most of the leaders in the field, and I’ve written several papers about it, including a history of Integral We-Space. It’s an explosive field of innovation. And I think it has the potential to transform human culture.

But truly transformative spiritual work is not easy. Otherwise we’d all already be enlightened. Individual awakening is profound, and so is mutual awakening. We are all suggestible, and we can go into delicious altered states just by deepening into eye contact, so it’s easy to delude ourselves. So I was excited to be able to have a public conversation about what makes real mutual awakening possible. Patricia defines mutual awakening, or inter-subjective awakening, as being awake together inside of reality and going beyond our separate, subjective experiences to a shared experience of enlightenment, of awareness, of life itself. In practice, she says, “I’m letting my consciousness locate itself at the origination point of yours.”

Paradoxically, Patricia says that individual awakening is not a prerequisite for mutual awakening. She noted that in his book, Runaway Realization, AH Almaas suggests that Existence, and awakening, is mysterious and complex, opening up into endless possibilities. Then she put it another way: “If I was Existence, I wouldn’t get stuck in one way of having anything happen,” including awakening as an individual, rather than collectively. Why not both? She says neither she nor Peter were enlightened individually when they began their journey of mutual awakening, and yet they came together in intimacy with each other and the evolutionary impulse, and awoke inside of something new together.

I’ve practiced, and led, several different approaches to mutual awakening, some which involve deepening into intimacy with each other and becoming more connected, such as Circling, which has been called a kind of inter-subjective meditation.

Then there are experiments such as Andrew Cohen’s, where his students awaken as the “evolutionary impulse,” or David Boehm’s original work on dialogue in the sixties and seventies focused on undoing the fragmented modes of consciousness that have led to our world crisis. I asked about the purpose of collective awakening. Is there a purpose? Is it just an experiment? Is it just something we do for fun?

Patricia said that there is value in many approaches to collective awakening. According to her, as long as a group is committed to go into the deepest kind of consciousness that can come through them, then life will bring in whatever is needed in that moment. What comes through is what existence wants to bring through.

Regarding the Evolutionary Collective, she feels that her role is to create the right container and impetus for the participants. She says she is “utterly helpless” to shape the broader results. But she trusts that the way the work will be translated and applied by the teachers, thought leaders, everyone in the group with their various backgrounds and visions, will be helpful to the process of transforming global consciousness and addressing our world crisis.

I asked her about possible pitfalls—after all, like individual states, collective states come in many shapes and sizes. They can be deluded or enlightened. Some are merely self-indulgent consolations of the individuals involved, and some generate a group ego. How can the “We-Space” be activated so we become love in action in a way that extends beyond our experience in the group?

Patricia said that at the beginning, even as an individual mystic, you are often given extraordinary experiences that draw you to the path. Then there are other phases in the journey where you have to transcend your limitations. Perhaps your self-identify “gets erased,” or you can’t feel God. She said this happens with mutual awakening just as it does with individual awakening.

But we still need to push forward, to experiment with mutual awakening, and to become wholly able to surrender to what’s possible. Patricia pointed to the individual mystics and saints and holy people who historically inspired people in the path of personal transformation, and described her vision of a “we-mysticism” of “multiple beloveds” who are willing to continue to be authentic and to purify and keep diving in.

The transition to true sustainability and the transformation of the complex crises we are facing will take a Buddha that is a Sangha. Our current experiments and innovations with mutual awakening may be part of how we find our way to the new kind of consciousness and culture that our crisis calls for.

Even though I’ve devoted my life to this work, I am humbled by the enormity of this aspiration for revolutionary transformation. I felt that acutely during my dialogue with Patricia. I expressed my sense of being sourced by a larger intention, and so did she. We are both inspired by the potentials of a Higher We.

I invite you to access the audio. You’ll get a chance to listen in on a brief, live engagement where Patricia and I move through a spontaneous practice of mutual awakening,



Collective Awakening: What makes it possible? And why is it important? with Patricia Albere

This Sunday, Sept. 20th at 10am PST, I’ll be joined by Patricia Albere, the founder and director of the Evolutionary Collective, for a dialogue we’ve entitled “Collective Awakening: What makes it possible? And why is it important?”

We’ve all been in groups that bring us alive and others that deaden us. Recently, more and more people at the leading edge of consciousness and culture are experimenting with practices that actually enable groups of people to awaken collectively.

This hinges on a shared movement beyond the familiar horizons of the individual “I” into a subtle experience of contact and conversation based on a shared unfolding experience of the intersubjective field, the “we-space.” People practice tuning in to mutual resonance and subtle experience. The practice also involves staying radically present, and inquiring into what is actually here, with enough focus and spaciousness that genuinely new awareness and collective structures are able to emerge.

We now see a rich variation of we-space offerings in the broader integral community. Something real and significant is happening. What’s unique is the conscious intention to create conditions where higher intersubjective practices and structures can be continually co-generated and co-evolved by a community of participants. A new higher order of intelligence resides in the field. “We are smarter than me.

Clearly, with the human world in crisis, new ways of relating to one another are urgently needed.

Patricia Albere is a leader in this field. She is the founder and director of the Evolutionary Collective with live hubs in New York and San Francisco and a virtual community around the world. She’s also written about this new body of practice, contributing important original ideas.

I’ve also been exploring, teaching and writing about the “higher We” for several years now, so I’m looking forward to this public conversation with Patricia.

On Sunday, we’ll discuss our experience and understanding of collective awakening and the necessary conditions for it, and reflect on the nature of this emerging collective practice, the latest innovations and state of the art, and the possibilities we see emerging at the leading edge of this exciting frontier.

About Patricia Albere

Patricia Albere is the founder and director of the Evolutionary Collective in New York and San Francisco. At age 19, she was hired by Werner Erhard, growing quickly into roles with major responsibilities at est and the Landmark Forum. By age 33, she had already spent thousands of hours conducting transformational trainings that touched the lives of thousands of people.

She then embarked on two periods of deep study with Bhagwan Rajneesh and A.H. Almaas. In the process, she met an extraordinary young German man named Peter who became her partner for four years. A relationship of tremendous intensity and aliveness opened up in a way that forever changed her, opening up new experiential pathways, and radical insights into the potentials for the inter-communion of two souls in a mutual awakening.

Seven years ago, she found a way to share that new paradigm with others through her current work, the Evolutionary Collective Intensives. In them, a committed group works inside a highly focused container that provides a rich environment for this shared consciousness to reveal its potentials.

She also hosts the weekly radio program, Evolutionary Collective Conversations. She lives in Sausalito and New York City and is currently completing a book called: Mutual Awakening: Unleashing the Transformative Power of Relating expected to be released in 2016.


*Sunday, Sept. 20th at 10:00am Pacific; 11:00am Mountain; 12:00pm Central; 1:00pm Eastern

*Find Your Local Time

Please Note: There will be a limited number of lines available on the live conference call, so we encourage you to listen online if possible. To make sure you can get through by phone, we encourage you to dial in early.


Join the Dialogue: About one hour into the dialogue, we’ll open up the lines and you’ll have the opportunity to interact with us directly over the phone or via instant message. Here’s what to do:

To interact live by voice, dial into the conference line number and wait until we ask for a question from someone in your region, or

Send us your question via instant message in the teleseminar window on your computer, or

Send us your questions and comments before or during the live dialogue by posting them on our Beyond Awakening Community Facebook page

We look forward to your attendance!

The Beyond Awakening Team


The Unexpected Gifts of “Scenario X”

On Sunday I was joined by revolutionary futurist and meditation teacher Peter Russell for a dialogue we entitled ““Supposing it’s too late…what then?”

Peter’s combination of penetrating intelligence, discernment, and spiritual depth have kept him at the forefront of enlightened futurism for over 30 years. He continues push into daring, unexplored territory, with discriminating intelligence, courage and sincere, sustained care. He’s a brilliant thinking and conversation partner, who has expanded my own feeling contemplation of our evolutionary emergency, even as he has challenged me.

Peter’s spiritual insights stem from his realization, after deep study and long contemplation, that all religious traditions essentially point to one thing — the necessity to find freedom from ego-driven, “what’s in it for me” thinking, a level of consciousness that may have been appropriate in the primordial past, but is no longer effective. On the level of our collective consciousness and behavior, this kind of thinking is the destructive root of our world’s varied, seemingly intractable problems.

I wanted to invite Peter to dialogue on Beyond Awakening to expand on what he learned from his work with formal scenario planning; in particular the consulting that he did with Shell Oil where he was part of a unit tasked with looking 25 to 30 years ahead at the geopolitical, social, and environmental feasibility of building refineries in different parts of the world.

At the end of the study, the unit presented Shell’s board with Scenarios A and B, modeling a long timeline into the years ahead for Shell and the regions where its refineries might be based. But he and his team also conceived a Scenario X that was never shown to the board. It detailed a scenario where the unraveling of civilization was already underway.

Much of our dialogue was about denial and the process of emerging from it. Peter described how he had to break through his own denial. He described tucking Scenario X away when the Shell project was done, not giving it any more thought. But at one point, he realized that by keeping Scenario X in shadow, he was denying a possible reality and narrowing what he could “be with” as an individual and thus offer as a teacher and thinker. And if he was doing that, what about the rest of the world?

Peter started to honestly confront the question “what if it is too late, what then?” How should he be? How should he teach? What could he offer people for the transition that would ensue during such an unraveling — the pain, the suffering, the break down of life as we know it. He realized that being secure in ourselves, creating deeper community, developing flexibility in thinking, spontaneous creativity, and greater compassion and care — these were the key qualities that would be needed in Scenario X.

The very same resources, skills and capabilities that will be needed to transform and “save” the world are those that will be needed to bring care and compassion to its unraveling. So the direction of his practice and the content of his teaching would remain the same. But the context would change. A greater depth, sobriety and presence arrived, along with freedom from agendas and imagined outcomes.

Peter’s conclusion paralleled my own insight 12 years ago, when it dawned on me that emotionally I didn’t want to commit with the fullness of my being to my sacred activism without being able to believe that it would all work out. It was humbling to discover the terror and denial that underlies that attitude. But ultimately it allowed me to make the whole-hearted commitment that I am living today — I have found an unqualified “Yes!” to life—no matter what. Even in the worst-case scenario, I want to go down embodying my values and my character, “being the change” that could have turned things around.

Peter’s greatest realization is radical— he doesn’t blame anybody for the current state of the world. We are all part of the system, and there isn’t anywhere “we’ve gone wrong.” Individually, and as a culture, we’ve always made the decisions that we thought were best, given our limited understanding, and our particular psycho-spiritual make up; be it the oil executive, the Greenpeace activist, or the Koch brothers.

We both confessed that it’s really, really difficult to fully let in the implications of Scenario X — even for lifelong spiritual practitioners like ourselves. But we both agreed that if we are to fully embody our best virtues, to realize our purpose and express our essential character, it’s necessary to penetrate denial, to give up avoiding anything, to face reality squarely, letting in the fact that things may be far worse than we hope.

We didn’t predict Scenario X; or what it would look like if it came to pass.

What we said is that our contemplation of our world crisis, our existential confrontation with that crisis, and what we can each bring to it, tends to be made superficial by our reflexive inability to look at the worse case scenario.

By including Scenario X, we are breaking an unspoken taboo that we must all be hopeful, and only hopeful. Why? Because otherwise we couldn’t bear it. But by looking away, we enact and affirm our psychological weakness. Perhaps by facing it, we can ground our consciousness, practice and commitment in the most radical, durable bedrock of our being. This is important, even if the future will turn out far more creative and benign than we often fear.

 It was an extraordinary dialogue, both sober and uplifting.

Peter and I shared about how we are practicing as individuals, and in relation to others. He shared an approach to meditation “without even trying,” and a beautiful relational practice based on the golden rule. I shared a simple practice of using heart-feeling and eye-contact to subtly melt through the veneer of separation that we tend to enact in public.

We also discussed many other topics, expanding this consideration. Peter reminded us that the first global TV broadcast via Telstar carried the Beatles song: “All You Need Is Love”. We ended by responding to many incisive live questions and comments from listeners.

I invite you to listen in here.