Everyone knows this phenomena: you enter a room and you immediately feel that there is something “strange”. The people, despite they might be friendly to you newcomer, emanate an energy which makes you feel uncomfortable and you want to leave as soon as possible. Or, the other way round, you meet people and immediately you feel at ease, ignited, inspired and you wish this moment would never end.
What is happening there? We don’t have good words for it, we just feel it. We enjoy the positive moments but have no clue how to create them – while we have some idea how the negative energies have been created. That’s not difficult to do, we all have rich experience and certainly would be able to create these situations consciously, by flipping out with anger, aggressivity or all forms of misbehavior.
How can we learn to create these positive and fulfilling moments? Realising the “ingredients” which lead to them and finding words to describe them. From there practice the skills to help emerge these times of shared joy and awe.
Dr. Tom Habib is doing exactly this in his research in human collective behavior. As a couples’ therapist he is well aware of the difficulties couples go through, of the blockages to intimacy and of the experience of deep connection and intimacy which everyone of us is craving, but rarely reaches.
In preparation for Tom’s presentation at the Integral European Conference 2020 I invited him to a conversation about his findings. He emphasises the development from “resonance” to “ coherence” to “we-space”, which is best realised without words, in a deep mutual and embodied understanding, by just being in collective presence. Listening to Tom’s explanation I immediately thought about making music together.
Sometimes a performance reaches this level of “WE” where everyone intuitively connects with their individual actions to the whole. When we “just know” , we start at the same millisecond,, develop the line like riding together on a wave and we fall into this highly energetic silence together which marks the end of the piece, without even needing to look at each other: this is “better than an orgasm”, as many musicians confirm. This is to say: these are so deeply fulfilling moments, highlights in our individual lives which come about by the collective, or “we-space”, as Tom calls it. It doesn’t happen often, but when it happens, it is a deep experience you don’t want to miss in your life!
As to Tom’s presentation at the conference. Although he showed mainly the same slides there, it had a different character. The audience engaged in small groups, the format was presentation and question and answer – not a perfect demonstration of a we-space. In our conversation we at least communicated directly with each other and my role was not just listening. We certainly were in resonance, but certainly not in that we-space Tom was talking about and which I had the privilege in my life to experience as a singer in a few concerts and also in some other group settings.
Since 2016, when Tom did his first presentation at the Integral European conference in Hungary, I followed the development of his research into the behaviour of people when being with others, mainly intimate couples. I recorded his presentations during the years. They are accessible at www.TheWisdomFactory.net, search term “Tom Habib”