Raum für Evolution – Holding Space and Deep Listening

Holding Space for and Deep Listening to your Evolutionary Potential

Life is a continuing stream of choices, where during the first half of our lives we try to maximise our desire for happiness, and during the second half of our lives, if we continue to evolve, we try to maximise our desire for meaning and fulfilment. Every human being has a set of forces within him to safety and defensiveness out of fear and a set of forces impels him forward toward wholeness of Self and uniqueness of Self.

At the core of the theory of human evolution are two ideas: first, we grow and evolve in stages, and second, each stage has its own specific needs. What motivates us is the satisfaction of the needs of the stage of psychological development we have reached and the satisfaction of the needs of the stages of psychological development we have passed through where we still have unmet needs. When we are able to satisfy our needs we experience a sense of internal stability and external equilibrium.

Most people have no concept of what stage of psychological development they are at, what stages they have passed through, or what stages they still need to master to find fulfilment in their life. Finding happiness, meaning and fulfilment is not always easy. It sometimes involves making tough choices; choices you have never had to make before.

Figure 1 – Stages of Developement

As you uncover the evolutionary complexities that lie behind your existence you will come to understand and appreciate why few people and almost none of the scientific, social, religious or psychological disciplines have been able to grasp the whole. Our parents, our priests, our scientists and even our psychologist and psychiatrists are so deeply embedded in their own cosmologies – cultural, religious, scientific, and psychological – that their answers will be for the most part incomplete. Each of these belief systems deals with different aspects of our reality and each has their own vocabulary.

Evolutionary integral coaching is about human emergence, the ability to access insights that lead to new ways of thinking which supports growth and development, helping people to participate in their own evolution and get better at being as well as doing. A domain of leadership coaching, executive coaching and life coaching. Evolutionary integral coaching helps people understand what stage of psychological development they have reached, how well they have mastered the stages of development they have passed through, and what stages of development remain for them to master. The approach is evolutionary and holistic; the purpose is Self-realisation and human emergence.

Holding Space

Holding space is a conscious act of being present, open, allowing, and protective of what another needs in each moment. It’s a broadly used phrase to define the act of „being there“ for another. To embrace another in acceptance is an act of compassion in and of itself. Holding space is something that seems simple, but actually takes a lot of practice and involves self and aftercare for the person holding space. When people feel that they are held in a deeper way that they are used to, they feel safe enough to allow complex emotions to surface that might normally hidden. To truly support people in their own growth, transformation, grief, etc. we can’t do it by taking away or trying to fix the problems. Holding space is a complex practice that evolves as we practice it, and it is unique to each person and each situation.

Deep Listening

Deep Listening is a way of hearing in which we are fully present with what is happening in the moment without trying to control it or judge it. It means listening to the spoken and the unspoken, to the voice of reason, as well as the voice of emotion. Deep listening is when the mind is open, curious and interested. It is a practice of presence that involve all three of our centers of intelligence: Head, Heart and Hara. The four levels of listening refer to the place of our attention.

Level 1 – Downloading: I listen in order to confirm what I already know. I project my reality on to the world.

Level 2 – Factual Listening: I listen from the outside. Becoming aware of differences – data that contradicts my worldview or theory.

Level 3 – Empathic Listening: I listen from the place of communication. I take the footsteps of someone else, allow for emotional connection.

Level 4 – Generative Listening: I connect myself with the highest potential of the system and myself.

Shadow Work

Shadow Work is a personal growth process which brings your hidden power out of the shadow and into light. The term „shadow“ was first used by Carl Gustav Jung to describe the repressed or denied part of our Self. Our shadows are all those parts we have split off, repressed or denied – the part of ourselves we are afraid to show. You can identify your shadow by looking at what you project onto others. You can also notice the traits which you admire the most in others. I believe that the core of every shadow contains a nugget of strength and power. In an atmosphere of complete privacy and safety, you will find yourself easily accessing very deep states of emotions, resolution, inspiration and creativity.

Generative Dialogue

Communicating with one another comes in various forms. Sometimes we communicate to express our opinion, convey information, or to signify how we are feeling. As well, there tends to be a persuasive aspect to much of our communication in that we use words and images to “sell” our ideas, values, and opinions.

Generative Dialogue is an expansion of Bohmian Dialogue, discovered by quantum physicist, Dr. David Bohm. Bohm believed Dialogue to be a process of ‘thinking together’ in the course of which a valuable form of relationship of trust can emerge. Bohm’s model of Dialogue is centered on shared meaning and mutual understanding and his belief that Dialogue can help us to understand the “often incoherent ways in which we think, helping us to address the root causes of a range of contemporary problems”.

Generative Dialogue means to form a space of deep attention that allows an emerging future possibility to „land“ or manifest as well as a future self showing up. A realm of collective creativity, speaking from what is moving through.

Evolving with Integral & Presencing

Waking Up – get present, mindful and alive with the most powerful understanding of spiritual growth available

Growing Up – learn to take and see new perspectives that broaden your mindset

Cleaning Up – do the emotional housecleaning that settles your fears for good and unleashes your real power

Showing Up – apply yourself to what you want the world to become, with new capabilities to listen, teach, persuade and lead

When you have as a resource someone you can trust who has an intimate understanding of the stages of psychological development because they have been through the process of human emergence themselves, then you are in a good position to make the right choices – the choices that enable you to find a sense of fulfilment. In other words, when you have an evolutionary integral coach, someone who understands what you are going through, you are in a good position to make the choices that will help you to accelerate your evolution.

Growing Up and Waking Up –
the two sides of personal growth

The process of development through knowledge of psychology of the West is called growing up. The experience of what one has on the Eastern meditative traditions is called waking up. A truly encompassing integral approach has to have at least these two major factors of human development included. Psychology has been blind to that, before Jung, the transpersonal psychology and integral psychology has brought in the subject. In Integral Theory we have stages of personality development and spiritual state-stages together finally, for the first time integrated.

Psychological development starts before birth as perinatal psychology, a stage we call Level 0. It continues after the physical birth and from age 0 to 1 we have Level 1, also called Physical Self. Followed by the mother-child relationship on Level 2 (Emotional Self) between ages 1 to 3, the psychodynamic playful and stormy, pre-operational Level 3 (Egocentric Self) between ages 3 to 7 years old. Then when the mental control wins over the impulsive self, 4th stage emerges, the concrete operational rule-role mind between ages 6 to 12 (Role Self); followed by the formal operational Achiever Self from age 12. That brings an independent rational thinking. From this point on development is not strictly age bound. Still experience shows that for a genuine post-conventional, post-modern, Emphatic Self we need some adult maturity. We earliest suggest it’s arising in the mid 20es, or even later. Even further development are the Integral Self and higher stages. Another way to describe development is the increasing capacity of perspective taking that goes with increasing empathy and social skills, from the early egocentric stage to the late cosmocentric one.

Figure 2 – Levels of Consciousness

Depending on our experiences during the formative years, the time we reach our late 20s, we either move naturally and easily into the Empathic Self stage of our development (post-modern, worldcentic stage) or we spend a good part of the rest of our life, if not all of our life, trying to find ways to master our deficiency needs, our unmet basic needs. Most educated people, brought up in democratic societies, lie somewhere between these two extremes. They are able to satisfy most of their deficiency needs but find it a struggle to move through the Empathic Self and Integral Self stages.

If you are reading this article, you are most likely one of these people. Your parents and the culture you were brought up in probably did a reasonably good job in helping you to satisfy your basic needs, but not good enough to allow you to sail smoothly through the Empathic Self and Integral Self stages. You are more than likely to have learned some limiting beliefs when you were a toddler, a child or a teenager about not being able to meet your basic needs – not having enough, not being loved enough or not being good enough.

Vertical Development

Vertical Development is the transformation of how a leader thinks, feels, and makes sense of the world. It includes the development of both mental complexity and emotional intelligence. While vertical development focuses on the how, horizontal developing targets what a leader knows. Horizontal development represents the knowledge and skills we acquire while operating at the same level of cognitive, emotional, and relational complexity. Vertical development broadens our views and permanently heightens our awareness, making us both wiser and more caring.

Vertical Developement = Mindset Transformation
– Improves how we think and how we interpret any situation.
– Essential to address complex problems, cultivate high-stakes relationships, and navigate rapidly changing, uncertain circumstances.
– Develops our mental complexity and emotional intelligence, literally upgrading our leadership operating system to be more wise and caring.

Horizontal Development = Competence Development
– Increases what we know and strengthens technical expertise.
– Essential for using known techniques to solve clearly defined problems.
– Develops functional knowledge, skills, and behaviors that strengthen our leadership toolkit.

Four forms of Intelligence

It is our (life) task to develop the four forms of intelligence evenly and to consciously live their interplay in everyday life.

Mental Intelligence
Mental intelligence stands for logical-rational thinking with the ability to analyze, structure and order data and facts and to plan target-oriented courses of action. Cognitive intelligence is the ability to consciously take the perspectives of the first, second, third and fourth person and others.

Emotional Intelligence
This form of intelligence consists in not only perceiving one’s own conditions, but also those of the people around them. It has a strong interpersonal or social component, the ability to empathize with others. Emotional intelligence is the measure of the ability to get involved with one’s own feelings and those of the people around them, but also to assess how one’s own emotional states interact with those of the people around them.

Somatic Intelligence
Somatic or physical-kinesthetic intelligence is about the ability to understand the communications of the body, to perceive its states and to make use of its many faculties. This is about the ability to use signals of wholesomeness, pleasure or aversion to perceive which behavior could be beneficial or harmful. The entire autonomic nervous system is involved.

Spiritual Intelligence
Spiritual intelligence is an essential, fundamental human competence that enables us to deal with questions of value and meaning and to provide supporting answers. It is the ability that allows us to experience our life in a larger context.

Four areas of Action

The personal, individual (micro-level), the intersubjective (meso-level), the institutional (macro-level) and the global-cosmic (mundo-level) are intrinsically tied together. Acting on the micro level influences developments on the meso, macro and mundo levels. Careful handling of one’s own body promotes the ability to act with powerful self-competence on the micro level. The action space of the meso level includes the immediate relationship level, the „WE“ of a two-person relationship, in a family, among friends or in a work team.

Eight levels of Leadership

One of the most widespread models of vertical development for business application was developed by management scientist Bill Torbert, based upon research by Jane Loevinger and Susanne Cook-Greuter. This eight-stage model is profiled in a highly-popular Harvard Business Review article called „Seven Transformations of Leadership“. This model is based upon 40 years of research involving tens of thousands of leaders.Torbert describes eight levels of leaders mindset development, each representing increasingly complex mental and emotional capacities, each a new way of seeing the world.

Figure 3 – Levels of Leadership

Attachment and Emotional Coaching

British psychologist John Bowlby was the first attachment theorist, describing attachment as a „lasting psychological connectedness between human beings“. Attachment is an emotional bond with another person, a product of evolutionary processes and becomes an engine of subsequent social, emotional, and cognitive development. Neuroscientists believe that attachment is such a primal need that there are networks of neurons in the brain dedicated to setting it in motion in the first place and a hormone that fosters the process. Attachment is something we all have. Anybody and everybody around us has an attachment to something and / or someone.

Emotional Coaching is about helping people to become aware of their emotions and to manage their own feelings. It involves teaching about the world of „in the moment“ emotion, showing strategies for dealing with emotional ups and downs and using moments of challenging behavior as opportunities for growth.

Opening Up to Love

We have only the one word – „love“ – to describe an absolutely massive body of feelings, relationships, perceptions, and insights. We use the same word to describe our affections for our each other, for our family and friends, for our dogs and cats, for God, and for ice cream. Which makes a fair bit of poetic sense, there really is only One Love that refracts and recombines itself all of these different forms.

Waking Up to Love
Contact the One Love that connects everything to everything else, that opens and deepens and widens the channels between us, and that allows this eternal love to move more freely through us and through our world.

Growing Up to Love
From the physical and sexual forms that perpetuate our species, to the familial love that we feel for our wives, husbands, sons, daughters, and parents, to the platonic love we feel for our freinds and role models, to the many shades of romantic love that only began to emerge a few hundred years ago during the shift to worldcentic stages of being and becoming – with every new stage, our capacity to give and receive love grows. This is one of the central straegies of evolution itself – with every step our heart grows larger and more of the universe is included in our loving embrace, creating new wholes where there were once only lonely and disconnected parts.

Cleaning Up Our Love
There is a dark side to love, and it has many names. Fear, narcissism, obsession, and pain are among the most well known. All of them present themselves as allergies, addictions, and obstacles to love, common excuses that we use to avoid the slings and arrows of the heart.

Showing Up As Love
When it comes to showing up as love and allowing the fruits of our practice to spill over into the rest of our world, it’s helpful to think of the many different ways we can inhabit our love, right now in real time.

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