David La Chapelle
We honor our colleague
and friend, David, who passed July 21, 2009.
His photo and
writings, appreciatively woven into the CWI website, remind us of
his significant and continuing influence as we seek to deepen our
understanding of collective wisdom.
A poem, Within
This Tree Born Temple, which he wrote in 2003 reminds us of
his strong and compassionate spirit.
What is an underlying question that gives form to your work or interest in this field?
The underlying question that has informed my life work
occurred first to me while on a plane to India in 1976. I had just spend
three days wandering in the MET in New York city being bathed by the
visual history of Humanities journey on this blue planet of ours. I
was on my way to an Ashram north of Bombay in which I was to have a
major spiritual opening. Looking down on the Arabian Peninsula the thought
suddenly occurred to me:
“What is it that is vibrating that holds our
In other words what is substance which registers the
impressions of all the dimensions of our being? What is it that is the
root of our experience.
This question has informed my work and inquiry
ever since and continues to be an abiding form of spiritual practice.
What is your personal experience of collective
wisdom in groups?
There is the wisdom of diversity. The many points of
view allow a more complete understanding of reality to emerge. This
is a co-generational process that has a unique complexion within each
group and situation.
Then there is a dimension of what I would name vertical
wisdom which appears when the energy of the room, and the subtle bodies
of the participants begins to open. This descending current of insight,
most aptly described as the Holy Ghost in the Christian stream, informs
the immediate context of eternal qualities that are based in pure vibrational
awareness. The discursive mind lays down and deep sense of the interconnection
of life arises. This wisdom is the co-emergent field of deepest potentiality.
What is it about the work in this field that excites
you and connects you to your own deepest self?
The aspect of the group field as a form of raja yoga
practice. In other words the ability to discern specific vibrational
aspect of our human experience as mirrored in the participants. The
perception of these states drives the bodies, minds and emotions of
those present into deeper connection with the field out of which we
Please provide a brief storyline or snapshot of
what brought you to this work.
As a child I spent many hours alone at the edge of Glacier.
(My father is a glaciologist). The intensity of natural beauty, the
resonant frequency of so much crystalline water and the prana of high
altitude served to alter my perceptions. My life has been a journey
towards the stabilization of those early states of consciousness that
opened as a child. Along the way John Fire Lame Deer, a Lakota Medicine
man, Baba Muktananda, Izthak Bentov, Ramana Maharshi, and St Francis
have been anchors for my journey. The many hundreds of individuals who
have entrusted me with some dimension of their inner lives has been
a powerful and beautiful teacher as well.
How would you like to be available to others in
I am available to pursue sincere lines of inquiry into
the arising of our experience. Meaningful connections occur as an outgrowth
of this dialogue, sometimes explicit, sometimes not. Phone conversations,
an occasional email dialogue and the recognition of our journey together
through a common link of interest and attention is the elixir of this
Links to this site or others:
Seed Paper: What
Supports the Emergence of Collective Wisdom?
Seed Paper: Exploring
Essence: Collective Wisdom and Group Experience