[Excerpt from TT: 2007-07-08]
[Lightspring] Many of us have been struggling lately with the concept of community. Within the loose community of Michael students, it seems that there are varying degrees of longing for community, as well as differing definitions of it, which is all to be expected among a large group of people. Isn’t the whole point about manifesting love as a group, while at the same time exploring group dynamics and learning from one another, and how can we best do that, given the current limitations of group makeup and communication options that are available?
[Michael Entity] We have always referred to our groups as “groups” as there has never been a lot of cohesion throughout those who are interested in our Teaching. For one thing, True Community can only be accomplished for those within physical proximity of each other. This is why this task is so daunting and met with such obstacles by those seeking it online. Trying to create a community in such an ephemeral and intangible space such as the Internet can never be done on a level that is True. Community can be mimicked online, but not established. In the same way that we have just described the evolution of a Mature Soul government, so too is the evolution of a group sharing an interest in a teaching (or any other focus). The consideration must be made for what each group needs and wants before there is cohesion, if cohesion is possible at all. For those who put effort into physical interaction, True Community is most likely and this CAN be carried back online to some degree, but limited to those who have had the physical contact. This is why there was/is such inspiration and motivation within the groups that form in physical space, but then somehow find this does not translate online.
Accessing the Internet is easy, as opposed to the efforts of making physical contact. This means it is easy for those who have no interest in supporting “community” to be a part of that dynamic. Often these fragments are obvious and often they are not, but they will remain an insidious force that will generally keep cohesion from ever being feasible. In Physical space, these same people are more obvious and their behaviors can find evolution by being around those who model more mature behavior, but online, they can be locked into patterns that cannot be interrupted at a distance.
All of this being said, creating True Community is only as easy as the effort of all involved. Even if one person is part of the process who does not share the same effort or ideal, everyone is affected. It can be a tedious and long process to build and sustain True Community.
In terms of the “whole point being to manifest love as a group,” this can only be done to the extent that each individual has done this within his or her own life, and most are not interested in manifesting True Love, or Agape. To do so is a terrifying prospect as it involves detachment from many things that are used as personal identity and purpose within the life. For most, Love is experienced in pockets of interactions, or time, but not as a state that can be sustained for a group or community.
To help in your pursuit to create True Community, we would suggest the following:
ONE: to realize that it is something that must be done with at least a physical counterpart that is nurtured regularly to some extent.
TWO: to identify online cohesion as GROUPS, not Communities (at least in concept) and allow room for divisions that are in place for various reasons that not all will understand or want.
THREE: to use INVITATION, not EFFORT, to create cohesion online. If there is frustration or effort being applied to create cohesion online, then the direction is more about the one making the effort, not the benefit of the group.
FOUR: understand that the whole point is not about manifesting love as a group, but manifesting love as individuals, creating a sum that is greater than the parts. This takes time and energy and personal development that can be lost in the efforts to proselytize cohesion on a group.
FIVE: Cohesion in a group is something that forms, but is not created. It is a natural byproduct of invitations and those who are participating, and the shapes and overlapping are as ephemeral and amorphous as the space in which it has been forming. There will never be anything static about Groups.
SIX: Whether speaking of True Community or Groups, there will always be a process of evolution that includes the 7 Stages of Initiation, Discrimination, Stability, Corruption, Healing, Integration, and Neutrality (a stage that can be inserted at any point within the process to bring about a break to the process).
Again, this is a subject to which we could devote a long discussion, but we believe this gives some food for thought for now.