I remember in college I came across something called Creative Visualization, by Shakti Gawain. It was developed from a concept that through meditation you can create the world in which you want to live.
There is a strong mindfulness component to this process. You have to be able to clarify your creation from the inside and then take the required actions to formalize and concretize that vision externally – on the outside. I thought of it as a Platonic concept, that things are created twice, first in our minds and then in the physical world.
Visioning is a process where an individual or a group creates a picture either physically or imaginally of where they want to be in a future space and time.
I really like the practice of this for individuals because I think it increases a person’s awareness, observational skills, and mindfulness. It develops the skills of attention and intention, perspective and perception, as well as a course to get where you want to be.
Leadership consultants are always talking with corporations and professional groups about the concept of visioning; using Mission statements and developing a verbal/written description of the guiding principles and vision of their purpose and outcome.
In theory this idea is GREAT, but in practice I have some concerns about how to maintain and create from a visioning perspective in a group.
There are several steps in the process of visioning.
It needs to be intentional and collaborative if it affects a group. First there is an evaluative process where one gathers information to develop the vision. This is a process of development – many pictures will be developed and refined until one feels they have created the fullest and best picture – their vision.
Then there is an identification process where one describes and makes tangible the vision. This too is complicated and requires thoroughness, stick-to-it-iveness or perseverance, and a combination of strength and flexibility. Working through this step and the first step, requires an inner knowing of what Has to be there and what is negotiable.
Then there is a group or an individual who acts to hold the vision as various steps are taken to put into place the tangible aspects of the vision – the concretization of the vision.
Holding the vision actually is the most difficult job.
This is because as the vision is translated to the whole of your community – whether that be your family or a larger community – there is a reaction and reverberation to it which causes a change to the vision – the holder of the vision has to be standing in the center of the vision in order to keep the vision clear.
When a consultant comes into a group to develop the vision, the consultant is often the best holder of the vision but she is often not part of the group – she leaves after her job is finished in developing the vision. The vision is then given to someone to hold its clarity.
This transition from one vision-holder to another is where I see a natural and often debilitating break down of the vision.
Any lack of centeredness, or minor confusion or dissonance with the original vision-holder can begin to reverberate out and cause a distortion in the vision. It’s like static electricity and how that can affect or distort your TV picture – sometimes eradicating it.
The holder of the vision must maintain a stabilization of the picture through their own being. If that person is not wholly standing in the center of the vision, clearly, she will be thrown off by the many small differences of opinion regarding the meaning, intent, and description of the vision.
This spin-off can feel really disconcerting and the reaction of others toward the vision-holder can include feelings of anger and frustration. This then, can derail into a negative set of interactions further degrading the vision – all as a result of normal static to the vision when the vision-holder is even slightly unclear or slightly unable to describe effectively the vision.
I suggest you practice creative visualization – creative inner picturing of what you would like to create in the future – individually first, before participating in a group or community visioning process. In this way you can develop your skill at vision-holding: standing in the center of the vision.
If you would like to embark on a visioning process. Start with developing a basic description of what you want to create, or where you want to be, or how you want to be described, in the future. You can do this with writing out goals or a description of what you want to create. Make a collage or drawing of the different aspects of how, what, where you want to be.
Then refine that through writing, evaluating and investigating it from all perspectives.
Keep the idea/picture close to you. Do not share your idea/picture until you feel you are standing in the center of it and have a good handle on how to create it. This allows you to remain in the center of the vision without being thrown off by others’ mis-perception or disagreement with you.
This can be a very educational process – have fun with it so that your joy can infuse the visioning process. You can use focus on figure/ground, and paradigm shifting and mindfulness to help you in discovering and re-discovering the vision.
See you tomorrow.
May 9, 2010 at 7:18 pm
This seems to explain a lot about why things often don’t work out as expected when a group tries to accomplish something.