C. Otto Scharmer is a teacher at MIT and part of the team that wrote the book Presence and built Theory U. At age sixteen, he was told by his school superintendent that he was to go home immediately. What he found shifted his life. Many years later, his life hypothesis is that there is a future seeking to emerge that is waiting for co-creators to birth it.
This scientist is suggesting we can co-create the future by our choices. This morning, a news program reviewed trending “safe rooms.” These are an update of the hurricane-tornado shelters which will resist home invasions and terrorist attacks. My grandmother had a “storm cellar” where she also kept fruit and vegetables. As 2016 approaches, we have the choice. How will we mentally face the future? Hunkered down in a safe room—a hiding place—or to be open to a future seeking to emerge? We do not have to make a physical choice, but we will make a mental-spiritual-emotional choice.
What Otto Scharmer found was his family’s 350 year old farmhouse burned to the ground. There was “nothing—absolutely nothing—left but the smoldering ruins.” Scharmer describes his reaction and what happened to him:
“I suddenly realized that there was another whole dimension of my self that I hadn’t been aware of, a dimension that didn’t relate to my past, to the world that had just dissolved. …I began watching the whole scene from that other place. I felt my mind expanding to a moment of unparalleled clarity of awareness. …with everything gone, I felt released and free to encounter the other part of my self, the part that drew me into the future—into my future—and into a world that I bring into reality with my life.
“The next day my grandfather arrived. He was eighty-seven years old and had lived on the farm all his life. He had left the house a week before to go to the hospital for medical treatments.
“Summoning all the energy he had left, my grandfather got out of the car and walked straight to where my father was still working on the cleanup. He didn’t even turn his head toward the smoking ruins of the place where he’d spent his entire life. He simply went straight up to my father, took his hand, and said, ‘Keep your head up, my boy, Look forward.’
“…(Grandfather) shifted all his remaining life energy on shifting my father’s attention from reacting to the past to opening up to what might emerge from the future.
“It also evoked a question in me that still remains: What does it take to connect to that other stream of time, the one that gently pulls me toward my future possibility?”
(“Presence,” Peter Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, Betty Sue Flowers, 2004 Published by The Society for Organizational Learning, Inc.) Page 81-82
There is enough in this book’s teaching to make me uneasy. It has the feel of what has been called New Age philosophy. There is also enough with biblical base to stir my imagination and faith. I’m going to discern carefully and go with what my soul or spirit is stimulating.
I am confronted with the question: what shall I do to know the future I’m involved in that God wants to emerge? How does He want me to respond so I can connect with His plan?” I can’t directly influence the outcome of the 2016 elections. I can’t influence the governing of Argentina or any place in Europe. I can influence my world with my choices.
Many leaders use the time between Christmas and New Years to contemplate what they are to do with the New Year. The founder of Panera’s says that business was birthed as he sat on a beach contemplating. I believe there is a tool to help us hear and see the future that is “seeking to emerge.”
What does it take to connect to that other stream of time, the one that will gently pull me toward my future possibility?
©2015 D. Dean Benton—writer & wonderer