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Episode 76

Collective Presencing & Fostering Collective Intelligence

As the negative effects of hyper individualism continue to reveal themselves on a personal and global level, could it be time to look to collective practices to lead us into the future?

In this conversation with transformational change agent Ria Baeck we explore the emergent practice of Collective Presencing, how to foster collective intelligence and the new methods of evolutionary creativity available to us.

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What is Collective Presencing

Collective presencing grew out of the desire to explore how to be in circle together with a shared intention and specifically how to create the conditions to prompt “the magic in the middle” – a qualitatively particular experience that sometimes occurs in circle.

The magic is a sense of timelessness that leaves one with the feeling of having been deeply enriched but without an obvious cause and effect trail that created that sense. Presence and deep engagement with the process from each member of the circle are prerequisites and this creates a kind of group flow. Slowness is another signature characteristic of the process, as well as silence.

At some point the distinction between self and other disappears; the line where personal identity ends and the collective begins becomes blurred. Here everyone is resting in a shared awareness, a silence that is not empty but rich and humming with aliveness and intelligence.

From Individual to Collective

In the West we have an individualist model that is focused on individual identity and that reduces our relational focus; not just with other people but with objects, with the world around us. The aim is for individual advancement rather than bringing our unique gifts to a collective vision for the betterment of all.

In order to reach a state of collective intelligence the individual identity has to recede into the background. Each new group takes a while to come into coherence together as they learn to leave the focus on the personal behind and open to information from another level of awareness.

The structure of the practice is simple; use a talking piece, do a quick check in, dive into the dialogue, brief check out. Groups that work together over a period of time find that they can more easily and quickly attune and get into a profound collective state of awareness.

Towards a New Way of Knowing

We’re at a point in our evolution where we need to find new ways of knowledge, of innovation, of wisdom; collective intelligence is one path that can lead us to new solutions. Integrating different way of knowing (felt sense, embodied awareness, deep presence, heart intelligence etc.) is also an important capacity that will help us move forwards.

“We don’t have time anymore to do things quickly”. This paradox that Ria offers is key to leaning into deeper levels of wisdom and freeing up the energy that is ignored or unconsciously woven into solutions that are created without deeper levels of slowness and presence.

We have an endless supply of evolutionary creativity available to us at all times – what we need to do is learn how to tap into it, and Collective Presencing is a powerful way of doing that.

Resources Mentioned:
Rebel Wisdom
The Stoa
Dave Snowden
Theory U
U Lab
Presencing Institute
Art of Hosting
Dragon Dreaming

About Ria

Ria Baeck

Ria Baeck is a transformational change professional and the founder of Vitis, whose core purpose is to foster deep transformation in individuals, organisations and society. Ria combines deep compassion, bodily awareness and a lust for life to facilitate transformation in individuals, groups and larger systems. She trained in and worked with Systemic and Organizational Constellations and holds a master degree in Clinical Psychology.


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