What is “Group Mind”?
Group Mind is the group culture or set of assumptions about what is normal and right, how to do things, even how to speak and behave. There is Group Mind on the global level, which assumes humans’ place in the world, believes in laws, reward and punishment, how to treat the planet we live on, and so on.
Group Mind is like the ocean of beliefs we swim in. They are so much a part of our world that we may not even realize that they are there.
When do you notice a Group Mind Thought?
Differences in Group Mind have been very obvious in the recent political scene, with our country split right down the middle into polar opposites. Differences in group mind are quite obvious in the recent discussions on gay marriage and birth control. Like a subculture, each side feels very strongly about their position.
Group Mind can also be as subtle as whether it is polite to put your left hand in your lap when eating dinner, or if it’s polite to keep both hands above the table.
Personally, I notice it most when I don’t agree with it, or when it is foreign to me. For example, when I was 11 years old, I moved from the East Coast to the Midwest. It was an enormous culture shock, which means that the group mind n the small Illinois town was quite different from the small town outside New York City that I was accustomed to.
From the accent and rate of speech to the colloquial terms to the schools to my fellow students. In sixth grade back East, we were kids. Just 2 weeks after arriving in Illinois, a boy asked me to go with him. “Go where?” I asked. “Go steady.” Confused, I said, “I’m 11 years old!” Going steady was for high school kids. Back East PE class was all tumbling and gymnastics. In the Midwest, it was all team sports, which I had never played.
Then in the mid-70s I came to Sonoma County, I was thrilled to find out that there were other Birkenstock-wearing vegetarians. I was the only one of those in my little midwest town.
Never Been to a Different Culture?
You don’t need to visit a foreign country or even a different part of our country in order to see examples of different group mind ideas. Even watching a movie or television show can highlight Group Mind.
Even looking at photos of your parents as kids or of you as a child, it’s obvious how much things have changed – fashion, home design, but also thoughts and what is considered normal.
Especially period pieces from different eras and different cultures. See if you can notice the beliefs and culture underneath a way of being. The unspoken rules that govern that culture are their particular Group Mind. Think of the different group mind thoughts that were part of the 2 subcultures represented in the popular series Downton Abbey.
Where Is Group Mind Not Serving You?
So we can start looking at the beliefs in our own subculture and choosing which ones to keep and which to let go. A great practice is to start noticing our beliefs and the beliefs that are so part of our world that we assume that they are truth.
What About You?
Do you notice group mind often? Have you looked at the group beliefs around you and chosen the ones that fit you?
Want Some Support?
If you would like support in looking at how the beliefs you grew up with affect you, you might enjoy spiritual coaching. Here’s more about it.
If you live in the San Francisco North Bay area, you can book an in-person appointment here.
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