Eight Functions of Consciousness

Teaching of the Week - September 5, 2007

This past spring Rabbi Diane conducted a class on the Dynamics of Spirited Groups. Those who attended experimented with eight "functions of consciousness," as described by Rabbi Shefa Gold, that can help hold and build energy in a spiritual group. The Minyan is known for having a "deep bench" of spiritual leaders. This year is no exception, as many folks have stepped forward to help guide us into inspiring and spiritually expanded spaces during the High Holy Days. What the eight functions teaches us is that the quality of our worship depends not just upon the up-front leadership team, but on everyone’s presence. For this year's services, we invite you to take a look at the eight functions: the Empowerer, the Guide, the Observer, the Container, the Exalter, the Foundation, the Secret heart, and the Bridge. Notice which roles, if any you habitually slip into when you attend a service. Perhaps you might like to amplify those roles more consciously, or to try a new role and see how it influences your experience of the Yamim Nora-im. As more us consciously engage in helping create and "hold" the energetic container, we can dive deeper and rise higher to meet the Divine Flow and bring through blessings of wisdom, wholeness, and peace for the coming year.

Rabbi Shefa Gold’s

Eight Functions of Consciousness

In a Spiritual Group

as interpreted by R. Diane Elliot © 2007

1. The Empowerer Dedicated to the group energy; channels energy through themselves to the center of the group, so that everyone can be nurtured and empowered. Feel into the spatial center point of the group; know that it’s not your own energy that you’re channeling. Rather you’re becoming a conduit (tzinor) to a greater energy that moves through you, amplifying the spirit-force so that the group has more to work with Task: Building group energy 2. The Guide The visible leader; s/he sees and holds to the higher purpose of the group; builds structure and plan; sees and nurtures the potential of the whole and the capabilities of each part. [Note: it is difficult to fulfill this role when the other functions are not being attended to by others!] Task: Perceiving guidance and steering the ship 3. The Observer Practices conscious attention on behalf of the group while still being a part of the group; witnesses the group’s energies and shifts in a non-judgmental way. Holds the questions: who are we becoming as a whole? Task: Perceiving the energy of the whole 4. The Container Guardian of the group; creates safe/sacred space by containing the energy through three methods: arms, heart, and voice... Guards against outside intrusion. Task: Embracing and protecting the energy of the whole 5. The Exalter Raises up sparks of the Divine by seeing them with the “eyes of the hear” and celebrating them; lifts them group through joyful presence Task: Loving whatever is Divine in the moment, exalting it, and bringing it out further 6. The Foundation Creates solidity and support through awareness of “ground;” lays consciousness beneath the group like a dance floor to support the group’s energies Task: Establishing the Foundation for the group energy 7. The Secret Heart Completely effaced in God/Devotion; the deepest part of the group, connecting with G-d on behalf of the group the least known part to outsides; God in the silence Task: Surrendering to the depths on behalf of the group, thus connecting the group with those depths 8. The Bridge Holds different states of consciousness and levels of meaning; senses connections among people, energies and ideas that enlarge the meaning and context for the group; flying with the meaning of words; allowing his/her mind to be blown on behalf of the group Task: Holding paradox, contradiction, and cultivating “stereoscopic mode”