The Power of a Shared Vision
When a critical mass of people (9.1816 percent) come into agreement, like believing that something is happening—it happens. It becomes the dominant paradigm, the background of shared “reality.” It makes no difference to the outcome whether people like it—what they believe is happening—or hate it. It doesn’t matter whether they are condoning it or wishing it would never exist.
Our bodymind, spirt and soul rule out the polarities, like loving it or hating it, as if they do not exist. The trinity of body, mind and spirit is image oriented. For example, try to not focus on an elephant. Before we had time to censure our mind, the image of an elephant probably floated up into our imagination. The mind orients its creative attention around images and stories. It basically ignores the polarity of loving it or hating it. If we are focusing on it, it’s coming at us.
Take for example a town where a critical mass of people living there believes, in their gut, that the criminal element has taken over their once-peaceful neighborhood. The people who believe their town is lost to criminals are actually making it happen. They are busy creating it, even though that’s probably the last thing they would ever desire.
We directly contribute to the reality of anything we believe is happening. We must take responsibility for the fact that each of us co-creates whatever we focus on. Our beliefs are the creative portions of the equation. When a critical mass of people believe something, their shared belief creates the outcome.
There have been a lot of stories about crime-infested neighborhoods where the citizens got together and reclaimed their hometown. By a critical mass of citizens coming together with a shared vision of their neighborhood, and doing the work, they successfully turned things around and brought their town back to a place of peace and beauty.
Challenge your beliefs and things you hear or hear yourself say with a simple question, “Is that how I want to create my world?” If you find yourself no longer believing something you had previously accepted as reality, shoot that sacred cow dead. Replace it with how you want to create your world.
True wisdom begins with challenging everything you once believed. In the process of waking up, you should leave whole herds of dead sacred cows behind you. If you are reading this, you are most likely at the stage where most of your learning is actually unlearning, even if you are in a college PhD or master’s program.
Because of the power of our attention, what we believe creates outcomes that can be positive or negative. When a critical mass of people agrees on something, no matter what it is, that becomes the shared reality of that group of people. We all float along in a river of shared intention. Everything we observe came about when a critical mass came into a shared agreement that “it exists.”
There are times when we need to believe something, whether or not there is evidence to support our beliefs. These are power moments. Our choice, no matter which way it goes, causes a whole stream of events to occur. Our beliefs change everything.
For example, in the late nineteen-seventies and early nineteen-eighties, there was a movement to build the Auburn Dam in the Northern California foothills. More of the local people hated the idea of what that dam would do than loved it. But that didn’t matter. What mattered was: Most of the people, including myself, were focusing on the dam as if it existed, even though most of us were very much against it.
Our shared assumption that it was happening was the perfect formula to make it happen. Major efforts were already underway to build that dam. They were about two hundred million dollars into construction. It would have been the most expensive dam in US history, costing over a billion dollars.
So many of us love that area around the North Fork of the American River. If the dam were completed, up to fifty miles of richly forested valleys would have been flooded up to the base of some of the best skiing in the world, like Squaw Valley. The lake’s modulating effect on weather would mean even less snow. The wildness of that area would have gone extinct. When that happens, the wildness goes out of us. The rivers are our veins. Our spirit flourishes when we are kayaking, hiking, playing, meditating there, or even thinking about that sacred river.
I started talking with thirty people in the Auburn area. We all agreed on the image of the river running wild and free. That image became our shared visualization. We agreed to take a few cleansing breaths to interrupt the pattern any time we heard about the dam, read about it in the news, or even thought about it. The object was to keep our focus on the image of our beautiful river running wild and free, no matter what we heard or read about the dam. Those people recruited others until there were more than a hundred people keeping their focus on the image of the American River’s North Fork running wild and free.
Fear-based intentions only increase arithmetically (one plus one plus one is three). The power of shared intention increases logarithmically, especially when powered by loving feelings. Their numbers multiply times the third power. That meant one hundred people, multiplied by one hundred, and that total multiplied by one hundred. That adds up to the power of a million people. That’s a lot of power of shared intention.
Early that spring of 1984, we had a major storm the newscasters called the “pineapple express.” Where I live in Grass Valley got eleven inches of rain per day for two days. That was followed by nine inches a day for the next nine days. That’s a lot of water. By the fifth day the low parts of the roads in our county had become creeks. I had to ford five creeks every morning and afternoon to get to my office and home.
About a three-hundred-yard-long section of the heavily-treed Highway 49 gave way and slid down into the American River. Trees washed down and clogged up the dam’s secondary bypass system. The floodwaters rose up over the top of the earth-filled dam they had built so far. Then the awesome power of all that water washed the dam away. Yes!
Two months later, the Army Corps of Engineers issued a scathing report, outlining significant reasons why that ill-fated dam was a bad idea. Their main issue was that both sides of the earthen dam were anchored into cancellous rock that could easily fail under sufficient pressure. The unstable rock, on both sides of the river where the dam was anchored, went back as far as they could measure.
The report said that if the dam failed at anywhere near capacity—a distinct possibility—the downriver flood would devastate most of Sacramento. A wave up to forty feet high would have hit the state capitol in downtown Sacramento, causing an epic flood, killing many thousands of people.
South Yuba River Citizen’s League (SYRCL) and Friends of the River formed up later that same year to protect the Yuba and American Rivers. Now questionable Environmental Impact Reports are completely scrutinized. The river is safer now because of the power of shared loving intention. This is an example of the power we have when we focus it positively.
As more groups of people achieve critical mass, whole new realities will emerge. All throughout history there has never been as many people waking up as there are now. Not ever! All change happens at the grassroot level. Change always starts with small groups of people deciding what needs to exist and keeping focus on the outcomes they desire. Government and the media will always be at the trailing edge of those changes.