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Group Practices: Truth

Sometimes what moves a group into collective resonance can be as simple as admitting that the Emperor has no clothes, or acknowledging the elephant in the center of the room.

Usually it is the Emperor or Elephant who must first acknowledge the truth of his condition or her existence. One powerful example of this in the initial study of group resonance included the way a family came together after the mother, who had breast cancer, decided she wanted her family, including her children aged 10 and 14, consciously involved in her dying process. That would have been impossible if she, and others around the family, were unwilling to face the truth of her impending death. See Story. Similarly, in 12-step recovery programs, each participant tells the truth about their addiction and its consequences. See Story. In both the family and the 12-step group, in these examples, all members of the group support each other in telling the truth. The effect of the truth-telling is to deepen the bonds between group members.

In a business or other organization, failure to face or reveal important information often destroys trust, internally and externally. Conversely, truthfulness, even about negatives, can build trust and relationships, offering the possibility of resonance. If you are a leader or facilitator of a group or organization, examine (honestly!) whether the group's practices--and official policies--encourage honesty and protect the bearer of bad tidings.

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