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Cohesion – The whole is greater than the parts

The form of leadership we encountered during our stay in the Amazon left an impression.

Here in the West, we really only know one form of leadership – directive. That is, one person is the boss and says where to go: we see this in our economic system, in politics, and often even in the family. Result: oppression and struggle (competition is nothing else). Our western normality. This means of leadership may be more productive than the other 2 (Inactive & Dispersive, see below), but is definitely not the measure of things.


  1. Inert/Inactive: There is no leadership and nothing gets done.
  2. Dispersive: Something is done but in an uncoordinated manner.
  3. Directive: An authority directs the activities.
  4. Cohesive: Activities are directed by the contribution of each individual.

Direct leadership implies that one person knows more than the others or (exclusevly) bears responsibility. While the others know less or bear less responsibility or none at all. If we look around, few are ultimately happy or voluntary with this form of leadership. Therefore, there is a need for means of control, such as contracts or laws with punishments.

This makes sense in a world where people live cut off from themselves, their heart and their natural abilities – self-identified with their own limited identity, lack and circumstances. Therefore the only means to survive actually seems to be – control & competition.

This is definitely a possibility – but has nothing to do with who we are, what is possible and what we truly love. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Cohesion is our nature!

Cohesion (or swarming behavior) is illustrated by a flock of birds moving as one in the air. Each bird has given up its individuality and became one with the consciousness of the flock.

In human dynamics, this synergy is achieved when each individual acts in the service of the group rather than for the benefit of his or her own identity. However, synergy is definitely not a a renunciation of individuality, – it is not collectivism in which the ‘I’ perishes!!! – but comes about when everyone puts their heart into it, when everyone expresses what they are and love. And everyone is equally seen and heard as part of the whole. Valuable and free of hierarchy.

Then it becomes apparent that everyone is part of the whole, everyone ‘knows’ and everyone serves the common goal naturally. With different ideas, talents and perspectives, but each with inherent value – equally taking responsibility. Thus, each individual becomes a conduit for a thread of the tapestry that the group consciousness is in the process of weaving. What is given up is the need to control the contribution of others. It’s about what you love, not the right process. As a result, something begins to emerge without anyone controlling.

The results that come from this leadership are always touching and great. Because that’s what logically happens when people step outside themselves – let go of their own identity. Then great things inevitably happen. And when a group of people is creatively united by a common vision, this effect multiplies. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

It becomes apparent that we are expressions of a creative spirit that transcends the limited mind and our accumulated knowledge & experience. And there is a power that produces results beyond what the mind could ever hope to achieve – in ways that surpass anything the mind can foresee.

Lived cohesion in the Amazon

We had a true experience of lived cohesion and this natural form of leadership in the Ecuadorian Amazon with the Sápara Nation. Everyone was included: the tribe members, we as guests, the forest, nature and ultimately the whole earth – Pachamama with her inhabitants: all parts of the whole. Everyone was included, sharing and receiving until everyone had contributed and was heard. Always with an open heart and understanding. With warmth, inherent appreciation and an intangible vision that ultimately includes all of us – the whole earth.

In this environment, an indescribable calm and serenity could be experienced – everyone ‘knew’ he/she was just right, was in his/her place, was needed and appreciated, just as he/she is.

Freedom. Being. Naturalness. So simple.

The Sápara really live their dream – their heart. An expression of the creative spirit – that goes beyond what the mind can grasp. An impressive ‘lesson’ for my westernized mind.

Manari Ushigua, the head of the Sápara Nation, summed it up:

“Every individual has equal value. There is no one better or worse. Like the trees. All are different – in size, age, location, bearing fruit or not – but none is worse or better. Each is unique with a different task and function. All are equally important and part of the whole.”

Manari Ushigua

Time for a paradigm shift? What do you think?

Now one is tempted to think that this only works in the Amazon. NO. We all have this possibility in us, and this is independent of the external circumstances. Because we ARE the expression of this creative spirit.

For anyone who wants to tap into this experience, I highly recommend a trip to the Amazon Basin (e.g. with the Bullens Heimann & Friends Foundation or the Pachamama Alliance). It is a truly exhilarating experience that transcends the limited mind.

Whoever wants to tap into this form of creative & fulfilling collaboration without a physical journey is cordially invited to the curriculum ‘Structural Creativity‘. Because to create in synergy & cohesion as a group, there is actually a ‘manual’ for that. If you are curious & want to tap into your creative spirit, you can find more information here.

The leap out of normality is worth it – because you experience

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Let’s schedule a free 30 min ‘Discovery Call’ today!