BUILDING CONSENSUS WITHIN THE CORE GROUP
Work within the Core Group requires a certain level of decision-making, and to work effectively, as an integrated whole, members should work together rather than against each other when making decisions. This is called consensus-building - the coming to agreement by everyone. It requires that we take into account the viewpoints of other participants, and seek through our contribution the wider context that integrates each viewpoint within the group, so that decisions are made in the interests of the group as a whole. It should be realised that every individual is valuable within the consensus-building process because they represent an aspect of the whole truth.
Building consensus requires that we give and receive, that we be willing to observe and respect what other participants have to offer, and to contribute with awareness. When participants are unclear, requests for clarity should be made. Similarly, when guidelines are broken, core group members should ask for time to address the issue, clarify group agreements, and refocus.
Consensus-building often breaks down when there is a lack of clarity, or when personal desires take over an individual. The latter often occurs unconsciously, particularly when we overlook divisive ego-based patterns that suddenly, and sometimes unconsciously, find expression when an opportunity comes along. When this happens we have three options. We forge ahead on the same track, possibly upsetting others and ourselves even more; we retreat to avoid conflict but allow feelings within us to simmer, unaddressed; or we talk openly about our difficulties together, with a personal willingness to recognise and address unresolved patterns or confusion within us. Consensus may be reached when we opt for the latter of these three.
In consensus-building, the "discussion table" is not a place for reactive and undermining comments; it is not a place for criticism; and it is not a place for opposition. All these encourage divisiveness and further ego-based reaction. The discussion table is a place not just for expression, but for sensitivity and listening, not just to others, but to Spirit. It is a place of great respect, and when you sit down at this discussion table, you need to do so with reverence, gratitude, and purity of intent, knowing that you are not just deciding upon something for yourself, but for the whole too. This is the point where the dualism of the individual and the collective is transcended.
It may sometimes happen that a participant, although genuinely committed to achieving consensus in the manner described above, has an objection to what the rest of the group can find agreement on. Even if one person has an objection, that means that all are not in agreement, and so discussions should still continue, and not be ended for the sake of making a majority or partisan decision. This is not the same as vetoing a resolution. The consensus-building process should not end at an impasse, but should motivate all concerned to think again, broaden their receptivity, and expand the channels of communication with each other and Spirit so that a new overall perspective can be formed that embraces all and makes consensus possible. When one person objects for genuine, non-egoistic reasons to what is being proposed, it is probable that they have been sensitive enough to spot what others have not - namely, an aspect of a complex situation that is missing from what the group has intended to be a whole-systems, inclusive view of the subject being discussed. When an objection is raised, it does not necessarily mean that a different decision needs to be made: it could just be that a missing viewpoint needs to be fed into the discussion process. When discussion is further elaborated upon, it becomes possible to uncover the broader truths and to dispell assumptions that were initially made in the absence of the full information. Then the objecting individual, the rest of the group, or all concerned, can modify their views in order for consensus to occur.
In the virtual consensus-building circle that we occupy as core group members, it is recommended that each participant considers making the time to begin their correspondence by attuning to the group through meditation or any other means, so that we reconnect with the highest expression of our group consciousness, and with the bonds of love that can unite us. Visualising for a few moments every core group member linking hands in a circle, regardless of the barriers of time and space, is one suggested way of attuning to the group consciousness.
This group attunement may seem rather demanding and unnecessary, particularly in view of the pressure of time that is often upon participants. Yet, if participants are committed to unfolding the highest potential they have as group participants, and respect the opportunity that Spirit has to work with them, then this is a wise investment of time and energy, and may in the end more than make up for the time and energy that could be wasted when group relations are jarring because participants are not attuned to the group.