Soul Lessons of Groups
Since its founding in 1980, the Institute for the Advancement of Service in Alexandria, Virginia, has been developing a template for leadership and group life that is grounded in soul development. Members of the Institute have joined together in evolving a leadership and group life philosophy and its practical application that open the door of group cooperation and consciousness. Two principles of personal development that have kept it focused and steadfast in its purpose are:
When groups decide to engage wholeheartedly in the evolutionary process, they enroll in the unique curriculum of the soul classroom of group life.
- The participation in our healing process (self-transformation)
- The willingness to extend unconditionally that healing to others (service)
Advancement in understanding and evolving group consciousness has been seeded by Aquarian energies. Whereas the Piscean era focused on authority invested in a leader, the Aquarian era shifts its focus to the group, embracing the authority or inner knowing of the individual members through group cooperation and discovery. Inner knowing occurs when groups receive the Group Soul’s input and insight. The Aquarian Era asks both leaders and groups to shift their style, purpose, and form of leadership and group life.
At the Institute, Aquarian group life serves as a classroom of the soul for the following purpose—to learn how to be in a group as an expression of higher consciousness rather than as an expression of the individual personality. When groups decide to engage wholeheartedly in the evolutionary process, they enroll in the unique curriculum of the soul classroom of group life. The intent of the Institute’s curriculum is to provide a practical road map that brings Aquarian group life into reality. This includes tools and practices for living each of the seven components of Aquarian group life:
- Stages of Soul Development
- Purpose of the Group Soul
- Universal Principles of Group Energy
- Soul Lessons of Groups
- Challenges of the Aquarian era
- Energy Triangle Model
- Spiritual Awakenings
Below is a summary of soul lessons of groups, one of the components of an Aquarian group life curriculum.
Soul Lessons of Groups
The group life curriculum consists of five soul lessons. The first four lessons are shared vision, greater good, right relations, and service. Once a group has mastered these four, it can attain the ultimate soul lesson – to stand strong in group consciousness. Each soul lesson has challenges and integrates experience with knowledge unique to each stage of soul development.
The shared vision soul lesson serves as the underpinning that supports all other soul lessons of group life. A group successfully creates and manifests a shared vision when it learns how to translate personal vision into shared vision; to develop, ground, and sustain a shared vision; and to evolve a shared holographic philosophical framework.
To understand and apply the concept of a group’s greater good is a complex and profound group soul lesson. It depends on emotional, mental, and spiritual maturity, the development of intuition and will, and the practice of synthesis.
Greater good is an ideal of the group mind. Greater good means more good for everyone, the entire group, including the individual. No lesser or greater good exists for either the individual or the group. The greater good for the individual is the greater good of the group and vice versa. Greater good as applied to groups means living Goodwill and Will to Good. It is the livingness of Brother and Sisterhood.
The right relations group soul lesson determines the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of the group and fosters cooperation and group consciousness among group members. The right relations soul lesson for groups includes three values: healthy boundaries, friendship, and integrity. All three values are spiritual principles that hold the intention to see the soul in others and create cooperation and group consciousness among group members.
The group soul lesson of service is unique in that it integrates the previous soul lessons of shared vision, greater good, and right relations. This integration occurs when groups learn to see the bigger picture or destiny of their group and practice True Service, viewing their service as a classroom for spiritual development and group transformation.
To Stand Strong in Group Consciousness
To attain the Aquarian values of partnership, cooperation, and to stand strong in group consciousness, groups must first master the four group soul lessons of shared vision, greater good, right relations, and service. At this point all the pieces have been assimilated, and the group is open to and embraces the fusion of group personality with the Group Soul. Then a significantly increased and vitalized energy begins to move through the group as the Soul energies flow unimpeded through the group instrument, bringing greater service into its sphere of influence.
(This article is based on portions of Susan Trout’s book The Clarion Call: Leadership and Group Life in the Aquarian Era, Three Roses Press, Alexandria, VA, 2009. The Clarion Call is the third book of The Soul and Service Trilogy, the first two books being Born to Serve and The Awakened Leader. The article was first published in the World Service Intergroup Members Newsletter 2009, Issue 1.)
Copyright © Susan S. Trout, September 2009. All Rights Reserved.