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Building Community From the Inside Out

Spiritual Qualities as the Starting Point

Building community is as much about working on myself as it is about working in a group. If I come into the group thinking that my ideas are the best ones and that everyone else should listen to me, we won't get very far. But if I come into the group with patience, humility and a desire to serve a higher purpose, some amazing things can happen.

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By focusing on these qualities of patience and service, I’m able to interact with the group more peaceably and productively. And as the individuals in the group grow in capacity, so does the group. The group becomes more creative, more expansive, more capable. This, in turn, inspires the individuals to reach deeper, grow more and bring out more of their potential. It’s a virtuous cycle that spurs both the individual and the group to greater and greater achievement.

The prime requisites for them that take counsel together are purity of motive, radiance of spirit, detachment from all else save God, attraction to His Divine Fragrances, humility and lowliness amongst His loved ones, patience and long-suffering in difficulties and servitude to His exalted Threshold. Should they be graciously aided to acquire these attributes, victory from the unseen Kingdom of Bahá shall be vouchsafed to them. ~ 'Abdu'l-Bahá

Take “radiance of spirit”, for instance. For a long time this phrase has been a puzzle to me. This morning I realized… it’s about sending out good vibes.

Think of going into a meeting where you know there are difficult issues and challenging personality clashes. You know what’s going to happen; you’ve seen it before. You’re not really looking forward to the meeting, but you’ve made a commitment, so you go. What kind of vibes are you sending out? And… what kind of meeting will you end up with?

Now think of going into that same meeting focused on being kind to each person. You find something positive about each individual and speak to that quality. Whatever happens, you’ve decided to respond positively. Now what kind of a meeting will you have?

The difference is night and day. I’ve seen it happen. I make a conscious decision to change my approach, but it feels like everyone shows up to the meeting with the intent to make a positive effort. Our consultation goes deeper and is much more productive. It makes me want to go back to see what will happen next. This shift allows us to actually start tapping into our strengths as individuals and release our creativity as a group.

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Test it out… At your next meeting, resolve to find something positive about each individual and speak to that quality. Let me know what happens. I’d love to hear your stories! Here's a story to get you started: Circle Time.

Not to do wrong, to do good, and to purify one’s mind, that is the teaching of the awakened ones. ~ Dhammapada - Sayings of the Buddha 2

Learn more about consultation

Consultation as a Tool for Building Community
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book cover for Collaboration Through Consultation

Consultation is a form of collective decision making that gathers diverse viewpoints in order to chart a wise course of action. It allows a group to look at a problem from all sides and build consensus on the best solution for all involved.

Better Collaboration.

Stronger Teams.

Resilient Communities.

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