Focus Group

My Focus Group for the book, What Is Consciousness?, has been meeting weekly for half a year. Those conversations have been the most satisfying and fulfilling of my life so far, and they have also stimulated an exponential inner growth in me. The other members have assured me that the same is true for them.

We took a couple of weeks off while I did the final edits on What Is Consciousness? and then decided that we all missed those conversations enough that we wanted to continue. While I was working on the book, different chapters provided the “meat” for dialogue. This time, a different person is picking a few pages of material from a favorite book to provide the topic.

I started with a chapter from Brian Swimme’s book: The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos. I read it on a flight from Fort Wayne, Indiana to San Francisco, California twenty years ago, and loved it. The chapter I picked out for our conversation was one about Einstein—I picked that chapter specifically because as I read it, I could feel the words of the chapter in my body. If you haven’t experienced that yet, pick up a copy from the library and read it—chapter 14—to find out if it happens in you too. Everyone in the Focus Group could feel it in their body as I read it aloud to them. If you ever wondered what the word “resonance” or even, “resonate” means, this experience provides the felt-sense definition.

Distilling the chapter to a couple of sentences, an interviewer wanted to know how Einstein thought in order to arrive at his theories and equations. The interviewer was expecting one of two possible answers, because everyone else had given one or the other, but never anything else. Einstein’s answer was extraordinarily different—he said he thought with his imagination. He said he wanted to know how the Old One thinks. So he would sit in his rented chair, smoking his pipe, and imagine, for example, what it would be like to travel at the speed of light.

What I want to do here is to tell you about each Focus Group member’s “take away” from our conversation.

One person said she realized why we need Abstract art. That is, we need space with no boundaries—no definitions about how something must be done. Nothing that says there is only one (or two) right ways to do something, or to feel, or to think, and etc. She realized that the abstract bestows freedom and grants permission to create life and art from an authentic internal perspective.

Another person said that her biggest take away was to realize that there is no floor in the Universe, and because of that, there is no floor in her either.

A third person concluded from the material in the chapter and our discussion about it, that forgiveness will be much easier for him to achieve from now on.  

A fourth said her biggest take away is the sentence: “How does the Old One think?” It’s that word “how.” Einstein didn’t want to know What, he wanted to know How.

My take away comes from thinking about each one of us, living on this earth, which is part of a system that is part of a galaxy in the Milky Way. That somehow, it is Creativity Itself, that is at the center of, and is supported by the Universe, whether that Creativity is expressed in the bursting-forth birth of a new star, a new book, or a new bloom.

It would take a page for each to explain how each one of us came to a specific take away, so I won’t do that. Instead, I’ll leave it to you to imagine “no one-right-way, so permission granted,” “no floor in the Universe/in you,” “easier to achieve forgiveness,” “How instead of What,” and “you as a creative expression of the Milky Way.”



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