Our Being: the Emergence of a Commonly Sensed Consciousness, with Sperry Andrews [Recording Available]


(Mindful AI) #1

The second episode of Infinite Conversations LIVE will feature Sperry Andrews, who will lead us through a group practice of awareness becoming aware of itself, in a process he calls OUR BEING: the Emergence of a Commonly Sensed Consciousness.


##About this event

What is it like for awareness to be aware of itself? How can consciousness itself be observed from a pure witness perspective? And how can this be done, not just individually, but in a group?

More than just another spiritual bumper sticker, awareness becoming aware of itself is something that can actually be practiced—even in a group setting. Everything we’re creating in the world is a reflection of who and what we are. We are what we create, and we create what we are. Therefore, the responsibility on the part of all of us creating and building humanity—which really every single one of us is doing—is to recognize that we’re creating this. And that before we can make any significant change in the external world, we have to change ourselves first, by doing the work and dealing with our…stuff.

Sperry Andrews will lead us in a group exercise of consciousness designed to access a level of collective awareness few of us have probably ever experienced before. Get ready for a deep dive into the infinities that arise when people learn to focus fully on presence. Experience the vast spaciousness and love that comes from focusing our attention on awareness itself.

Those who have experienced this awareness of awareness have reported:

  • Planetary or cosmic consciousness
  • an unmistakable sense of existing in a unity with all people and the whole of nature
  • healing, both psychological and physical
  • telepathy between groups, including collective remote viewing and mind/matter interactions
  • rapid consensus for decision making, productivity as well as problem solving in families, relationships, communities, politics and business
  • optimum performance in sports and any type of collaborative activity from symphony orchestras to surgical teams

Sperry is a Cosmos member, who has explored shared experiences for over thirty years with hundreds of groups internationally as the founder/co-director of the Human Connection Institute, advisory board member of the Lifeboat Foundation and director of group intelligence on the faculty of the Vetha Center for Transdisciplinary Studies.

####Download the overview doc:

OUR_BEING.pdf <-- Learn more about Sperry

Please let us know if you’re going to make it by RSVPing below and registering on Zoom: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/71235b08583ade268c34be5db4a05ad8

(Marco V Morelli) #5

(Kate Lockhart) #6

Hi all! I just joined and see that Sperry Andrews did a talk yesterday, which is a funny coincidence because I am registered for his workshop in San Francisco two weeks from now. How was the event? Looking forward to hearing about it!

(Marco V Morelli) #7

Hi Kate, welcome! Glad to see you here.

I’ll be posting the video and some thoughts about the process soon. Maybe we’ll get to compare notes, later. Hope you enjoy your time w/ Sperry! And please do feel welcome to introduce yourself to the community here if you feel so moved.

(Marco V Morelli) #8

For those interested, the video of our session with @Sperry is available on YouTube here:

##Some personal reflections…

I felt, overall, it was a good and worthwhile experiment—and wish to express my appreciation for Sperry’s kind facilitation. I can say for sure, I felt clearer, more relaxed, freer, more present, and even “emptier” (in the Buddhisty, not nihilistic sort of way) after our call, as after a meditation session; though I’ll note that during our call (which you may sense, if you watch this) it didn’t feel that we were really in sync as a group, it seemed that we were struggling, and this made me wonder why and how it could have been different.

Of course, the first time practicing any skill is often awkward, and doubly so if it explicitly involves intensive self-awareness. This exercise was a bit like focusing on your tongue while trying to speak. It’s very easy to get tongue-tied, even when articulating something that would otherwise be quite natural and normal to say!

Sperry mentioned that it takes time and multiple sessions for participants to “get it”—so this is an admittedly an extremely partially informed reflection. However, there was something else that I thought might have contributed to the experience, which is simply that we may not have had enough interpersonal rapport at the outset to easily jump into a truly common space, and that it might require a lot more intensive interpersonal knowing before a group can easily “slip into the masterpiece” (as Sperry put it, beautifully, borrowing Leonard Cohen’s lyric) of the transpersonal, the “looking itself.”

In other words, I wonder if things would have gone easier if we had spent more time up front (not necessarily in this call, but in general) focusing on each other as “individuals” (i.e., real persons with specific states, characteristics, tendencies, and frequencies of expression) as a preparatory step to experiencing a common state.

Is it possible to feel what’s “common” without sensing what’s unique about each person? Sometimes I felt that Sperry was trying to get us to feel what he felt (presumably, non-local enlightened awareness), without quite working through what we each sensed individually about ourselves and each other, or the enlightened awareness we each already had access to.

I imagine such non-sensing could easily become an impediment (and perhaps did), especially with the relatively strong personalities on the call. Add to this: “these ones” were not inexperienced with spiritual practice, each of us having worked with a variety of teachers, methods, and philosophies before, and yet our respective “levels” of consciousness may not have been effectively discerned, which could have saved some time.

That said, Sperry did indicate that it could be useful to go back to a recording and witness oneself as a non-participant observer, and I haven’t done that yet, so I’m speaking, at this point, only from my felt-sense-memory of being in the call. I might have a very different understanding of what happened from a secondary, outside point of view!

(Sperry Andrews) #9

“Is it possible to feel what’s “common” without sensing what’s unique
about each person? Sometimes I felt that Sperry was trying to get us to
feel what he felt (presumably, non-local enlightened awareness), without
quite working through what we each sensed individually about ourselves and
each other, or the enlightened awareness we each already had access to.”

Hi Marco,

Given your reflections above, and just now reviewing the recording, I was
reminded that we spent the first forty minutes taking turns sharing about
our personal self-referential process which we are ordinarily seem so
immersed in.

Was forty minutes not enough of a personal orientation for you or others ?



(Sperry Andrews) #10

Hi Marco,

You’re suggestion that maybe I was trying to get you all to feel what I was
feeling, seems misleading and inaccurate, as I clearly invited each of you
to practice co-facilitating the exercise according to guidelines (btw:
derived by trail and error over thirty years) by pointing ‘us’ to share
their incomparably unique experience of what they sensed we might all be
aware of together.

I usually do not invite participants to talk about themselves. Perhaps,
doing so invited a momentum that was not wholly open to being re-directed
to what is sensed in common by us all-- as a single body heart and mind?

With All Love,


(Sperry Andrews) #11

Dear Marco, Caroline, and Ed,

I’d love to offer the 3 video links below to be viewed by Cosmos Coop.

Your plate may well be so full you won’t have the time (or wish) to watch
the three clips linked below, perhaps saving them for later. If not, and
you do watch at least the second one, I have a strong sense that y/Our
receiving and reflecting, on what is shared there, will significantly
grace our lives and all that we love.

(Sperry Andrews) #12

How IT was Discovered

(Ed Mahood) #13

The Germans have a saying, Aller Anfang ist schwer (i.e., “every beginning is difficult”). That’s how I experienced the first session. It can take awhile to get how it goes, if you know what I mean, especially if one is sometimes slower on the uptake like I am.

@Sperry said at the end that it offen takes at least three sessions to get it all going, so, if time and opportunity are available, I’m up for giving it more goes.

(Ed Mahood) #14

Thanks. Will definitely give them a view.

(Marco V Morelli) #15

Hi Sperry, thanks for the replies w/ love & respect. Let me attempt to respond to your questions. You write:

I’m sure it was enough time. It wasn’t a matter of time or even accuracy of perception, but more of a feeling, for what it was worth. I wasn’t quite sure how to interpret it; but I’m also not sure how it could be otherwise. If there is something ‘common’ to be sensed, then how could you not be sensing it, and nudging and directing us to sense it with you? I assumed this to be the point of the exercise, though I could have been mistaken, of course!

But if the looking or sensing itself is the object, then there is really nothing to be gotten or grasped. If ‘I’ is not it, then how can ‘us’ be it? Alternatively, ‘it’ could be both of them. That might be what I’m saying.

Understood. We could go on forever!

I don’t know. Did you sense that we weren’t all sensing our sensing? Perhaps I sensed a single body, heart, and mind—with differences…

But this is all subtle stuff! Are you OK with these reflections, Sperry? I realize they may sound critical or questioning (yet gentle and appreciative as well, I hope) but I’m very interested in conversations that refine our sense of ourselves and reality, and I think it’s important to test our sensibilities against the actuality of our experience with the most sensitive language we have.

(Sperry Andrews) #16

"If there is something ‘common’ to be sensed, then how could you not be
sensing it, and nudging and directing us to sense it with you? I assumed
this to be the point of the exercise, though I could have been mistaken, of

But if the looking or sensing itself is the object, then there is really
nothing to be gotten or grasped. If ‘I’ is not it, then how can ‘us’ be it?
Alternatively, ‘it’ could be both of them."

Hi Marco,

I am grateful as well as glad that we are continuing our conversation.

With great respect and love, my experience is you appear to me to be
crowding-out your access to our combined experience by you thinking too
much about it.

In my inter-subjective experience as a research scientist, whenever a
group, experiences the one we all are–in a fully embodied way as a
self/Self/no-Self-aware consciousness–we feel what each other feels,
thinks, senses and knows.

There are no shadows and no blind spots, yet there is still what we do not
know, and we can also fully share a commonly-sensed experience of our
not-knowing as well as our unknowingness, while considering whatever
knowledge we have.
What is outstanding is the shared sensitivity of being one body heart and

*"*I don’t know. Did you sense that we weren’t all sensing our sensing?
Perhaps I sensed a single body, heart, and mind—with differences…"

I sensed we were each sensing something different, but not much in common.

“… I think it’s important to test our sensibilities against the
actuality of our experience with the most sensitive language we have.”

I agree.

Still, I find, as we cultivate the habit of using our words to point to
what we are actually experiencing together that the need to "test"
gradually diminishes and is replaced by an experiential "certainty"
that is effortlessly
which in turn synergistically informs the verbal-analytic
written or spoke dialog.

As One Heart,


(Caroline Savery) #17

I am glad that this conversation is continuing. Here is a contribution of my reflections on my experience of our group call, and of this thread.

As an experienced facilitator, I know how important it is to create an environment in which people feel safe and comfortable in which to show up, or else the desired depth of discussion will likely not be reached. Particularly in a setting where the ultimate goal was ultimate depth–that is, sensing and speaking to only what was “commonly sensed in the group” and relinquishing any awareness of individual sensation or thoughts–to ensure participants felt safe to “go deep” would seem to be paramount to this method. It’s quite straightforward: people in a group of friends OR strangers don’t tend to open, to wax vulnerable, to wax sensitive, unless they feel received and accepted unconditionally. It’s also quite straightforward that: when someone feels threatened, their survival responses wax, and preservation of the beast (activation of the ego) tends to result, which means the fixation on the individual self to the potential exclusion of sensitivity to others.

I sensed early on in the meeting that there were particular things the facilitator wanted to hear. Out of the gate, when a facilitator seems to be attached to specific outcomes of what is supposedly an open, collective, evolving, and discursive process, I feel “on guard.” As we proceeded, it seemed that the process was not to include and weave together the differentiated voicings of a shared perspective, but to shear away, slice by slice, what comments were “not it” until there was little left to say. I am sure I don’t fully understand the method–it did seem like the approach, and the intended outcomes, were left willfully vague–so take my following comments with however many grains of salt you desire.

I am always unwilling to say things that are untrue for me, especially when I am asked explicitly to say things that I sense and feel. Therefore, I focused my attention on saying things that were true for me, but I chose to style them in a way that did not immediately mirror the facilitator, i.e., supply the facilitator with precisely what I supposed he wanted to hear. I take responsibility for this, insofar as I “held myself apart” and in an “assessing” mode–instead of, perhaps, automatically dropping into the undifferentiated pool of groupthink. I hoped this approach on my part would open up access to greater breadth/depth–but it seemed to have the opposite effect. It seemed that my comments were, increasingly, reacted to.

The facilitator seemed to be inviting us to open up a “portal”–that is, to break out of our day-to-day egoic experiences and break through into annata, or Void, or universal self, etc. in a communal framework. A kind of group trance-like state was sought–albeit in a secural, rigidly structured way. I was concerned, though, by how little ritual or protection was offered surrounding the space. The only segue that I could identify between regular conversation and this “process” was the facilitator asking us if we had ever had a transcendental experience–we went around the circle and stated our experience. Then, it just began.

Instead of a “yes, and” facilitation style, which would have encouraged me to continue trying (and failing) to offer statements that “got at” a commonly sensed experience, the facilitator used a “well, but” approach. When a statement was offered, it was often responded to directly by the facilitator with a critique: along the lines of “so, it’s common for people to feel or say something like that, but it isn’t quite right.” The facilitator would then speak for many minutes at a time in intellectual explanation of the method, stressing the benefits of its outcomes, etc. During these periods, I looked for the “spirit” riding the words–i.e., is this person fully present, is he tapped in to that broader-Self we are aiming to access right now, and is speaking from a place of presence? But I found a person attached to their particular way of viewing and experiencing things. Which is not bad in and of itself. However, all of these subtly sensed things combined to contribute to my distrust.

What further actuated a “close-off/shut down” response in me was that when I did speak, the words I said were, early and often, misunderstood. And instead of asking for clarification, what proceeded was a long unpacking of things not relevant to what I had meant, but to what the facilitator heard. The lack of inquiry into what others meant when they said something was one of these several minor red flags that added up to my feeling increasingly hyper-aware and scrutinized as to what I was saying. Out of desperation, I consciously tried different tactics for what and how I communicated. But little that I said was accepted.

There’s a vicious epistemological issue at the root of this: how could you know if “that one” is indeed sensing a “commonly sensed consciousness” if the language that one chooses to put to it, or their tone, or their facial expressions, etc. is not in conformity with what you are looking for? When one shuts out something as “off track” or “divergent”–through a rapid mental labeling process–how does that actually close us off to sensing what is there?

This human process of what an individual unconsciously selects as salient and relevant to their present moment is crucial here and must be examined. I didn’t feel the interpersonal space, under Sperry’s facilitation, was oriented toward being inclusive of what was said–and if what I’m saying isn’t valid, isn’t worthy of inclusion, then what is the point of my involvement? My comments were not intended to dismay or derail any other participant. I may have wanted to deepen the space by surfacing subtle aspects I was sensing–then again, given my extensive facilitation and community organizing background, I may have been the individual most tolerant of difference/divergence on the whole, most willing to be calm and present in and through it as a result of my training.

I held back from walking through the door of groupmind or groupthink (which is also a very real form of collective trance) because I was unable to trust and feel safe in this setting. That feeling may have spread throughout the collective–in which case, perhaps a commonly sensed reality was attained.

If I had discerned what you wanted to hear, and had been willing to acquiesce and provide you with it, setting aside what I actually sensed–would that have amounted to a successful session (or simply, a session that “went deeper”?) Whether your response is “yes” or “no,” I maintain: How do you know?

Speaking from my own experience: I tend to assess whether something is true by the absence of dissonance and the building of a sense of jubiliant spontaneous untroubled rapport. (Perhaps this is what you were eager to find amongst us?) If so, then: subtly–how is there not an element of self-selecting into this process based on whether it does or does not resonate, and how does that shape the outcomes? In other words: how does who is there affect whether a sense of moving as one body can be attained?

What, after all, was the aim of accessing universal consciousness? What was the aim of holding the session we did? Each party seemed to have distinct thoughts–and questions–as to this. There was one little possible hint that slipped into the conversation by the facilitator that stood out to me: something along the lines of “accessing profound bliss that is always available to us.” Sperry, I know directly the bliss of which you speak, and I wouldn’t seek to deny it to anyone.

But the bliss is not the point. (Or so says the Buddhist. Which brings me to my final comment:)

I do not doubt, in the slightest, that this method works. That people use it, that people soften through it, that people benefit from it. I would, however, dispute that this a universal method, accessible equally by all, regardless of cultural background/framework. I hypothesize that this method is especially fruitful for those individuals who are white, who are older, who have an academic background or who are otherwise well-educated, who are spiritual but areligious or who may feel alienated from their cultural or traditional roots–largely, people who feel “groundless” or who have not found a ground (besides that of their own consciousness) on which they could rest and trust. For those people, a straightforward, rigorous path into collective trance–unaccompanied by obscure rituals or symbology–may be the most refreshing thing they’ve ever felt, and the bliss incumbent to finding that they are beyond the “little self” could have transformational effects on their lives. (If there is empirical data on the users/subscribers of this method, I would be curious to know whether my hypothesis holds up.)

However, other colors/cultures of people have equally direct paths to that place, that may only seem mystical to folks who cannot inhabit/access the relevant contexts. I would venture that people who have fought and died to retain their cultural identities and heritages–i.e., their pathways to the sacred–against the tide of assimilation and erasure by imperialist, “universalizing” forces would react vigorously to being instructed to relinquish their personal reference points… much less goaded to talk about that which must not be talked about at all (or without proper protections/settings in place) according to many cultures.

The destination is universal–by definition (it’s Void). I’d argue, however, that the method is not universally suited, and thus not everybody will have equal success. These are all tools, after all, and not the destination.

Now–this method having been developed over 30 years, I would be flabbergasted if my critiques were novel or original in any way. Thus, I’d love to hear your response or be pointed to materials that respond to these critiques.

I hope you can hear in everything I shared that I am not saying anything is wrong about this method. I am saying that there may be barriers to accessing its fruits. And to not acknowledge and seek to refine those sticking points is to deny some people access to it. And perhaps, going back to how the unconscious mind selects phenomena for salience and relevance–that is also perfectly OK.

(Marco V Morelli) #18

Dear Sperry, I want you to know that this has been a very thought-provoking exchange, and I don’t mind thinking if it feels clarifying to something I’m feeling, so I appreciate your follow-up.

Probably like @care_save, however, I am also very sensitive to ‘groupthink,’ and do habitually test the language I hear and use against the feelings in my experience. (Otherwise I wouldn’t be a writer!..or even a reader.) The term of course is a misnomer, since ‘groupthink’ really means not thinking. I will confess, I often find ‘unity language’ to be symptomatic of this state, and I have some pretty serious antibodies to it, based on past experience and exposure.

Can we think as one body-heart-mind, through our differences? Can we go from groupthink to collective intelligence and even ‘collective genius’ where individuality is amplified and networked, rather than erased in a steady state?

No need to reply to me particularly, I’ll bow now with gratitude, as I appreciate your offering and I do feel resonant w/ Caroline’s critique, which put things more clearly than I did.

(Sperry Andrews) #19

Dear Marco and Caroline,

If I may answer you both together–inadequately–under the circumstances?

My question is how do we get beyond “groupthink” to sharing awareness?

My sense is the combination of reticence and reactivity is obscuring what
is beyond thought. The dialog here and also then was a group that was
thinking too much to get beyond groupthink, or beyond what one thinks about
in groups…

I could address your thoughtful concerns and complaints, and then that
might be be analyzed and judged as relevant or unclear, etc. so what would
be the result?

What I offer and advocate is to enter directly into what we can all

As a commonly-sensed shared-intelligence, we can mutually understand one
another in a de-hypnotized state, free of misunderstandings.

Those who have established ways of doing things, which they prefer, are
sometimes wedded to their preferences and see "others’ as wedded to theirs,
which leads to the type of cognitive stalemate evident in our gathering.

If we organize our thoughts, feelings and behavior around 'right and
wrong", “love or fear”, “my way or your way” we may well meet with our
imagined opposition–which can be de-constructed by sharing thoughtless

I find the most rigid ‘obstacle’ to sharing a commonly-sensed intelligence
is favoring what we separately ‘believe’–as incomparably unique

I’d say, trusting in the intentions of another is essential to shared
If we can accept, receive and reflect an agreeable way to interconnect, I’m
Thinking about how polarized we are may not be as ‘safe’ as feeling



(Sperry Andrews) #20

Marco, Caroline, Ed and

Cosmos Coop Members !

Wholly Knowing ITSELF!!!

Scroll down the page that
appears, to the last video.




Then, let’s stir the wind …

(Sperry Andrews) #21

Dear Marco, Caroline, and Ed,

I watched the recording today, and I honestly am amazed how kind and gentle
you have been in your response.

I was attempting to create a recording with you that could be useful to
your members, and was not sensitive to you, or what a miserable (myopic)
‘job’ I was perpetrating. My talking and talking on and on is so
intolerable, I don’t know how you survived it.

Watching the recording, I felt profoundly at fault, as though I had
mercilessly ‘tortured’ you. It made me sick to the depths of my soul.

I am so very sorry you were subjected to my unconscious behavior.

Ordinarily, I talk as much as anyone else. Gratefully, I am alarmed and
humbled by what I am capable of, and as awful as I was, I feel thankful
that I learned an important lesson.

I hope in time you can forgive me.



(Marco V Morelli) #22

Oh, Sperry! Welcome to “infinite conversations,” you’re hardly alone in “talking a lot” here.

I still think you’ve shared many wise perspectives, and that there’s something essentially important for us all about learning how to reliably open up to a “commonly sensed consciousness,” even while deepening our individual sensitivity and sensibilities.

Shall we simply continue practicing? I mean, right here and now? I sense the experiment should continue, and I’d also be willing to do another session later in the summer, if others are interested.

In general, I think the insights Caroline shares above could be very important to include in your work. If I had summarize my understanding of her view, it would be this: “pay attention to dissonance.” Become curious about it, and inquire. There is often information of common interest and/or benefit there, which can brought into the open.

I also appreciate that we’re all, in our own ways, learning how to listen and speak better, and that our languages have yet to fully emerge. The process of experiencing and reflecting upon experience, as we’re doing, is key.

(Ed Mahood) #23

I’m willing to give it all another go or two.