Developed by
Dr. Judith M. Newman

Reflective Practitioner

Paper #9

Model 2: A Sense of Being (Body, Mind and Soul)
and Skills Required

Deborah Lange

"Reading furnishes the mind only with the materials of knowledge, it is thinking that makes what we read ours" John Locke And I would add, "that it is experiencing with all of our senses, body, mind and spirit that integrates what we read into our being to become more conscious, to increase our choices to be better people".

In this brief paper I share a story from my quest to increase my personal and professional effectiveness, become more congruent, and be a better person in the world. This story is a personal insight gained through reflection in action (Schon 1974) in my home setting some 11 years ago and the subsequent path that I have taken on my quest. My ultimate aim is so that I can be there for others in work or personal settings so that they may gain insights that will help them be better people and work together to be better groups that achieve better outcomes related to economic, social, aesthetic, environmental and ethical ideals. (Ackoff 1988). My desire in writing this paper is to engage in conversation with others at all levels of human experience.

A Surprise Insight: 1987

I was stressed and tired at the time. Michael, my six year old had teased me just one too many times. I was ready to snap. Then it happened. He did it again. My small frame grew tight and taut, my shoulders raised, I turned sharply, loomed up into what must have seemed like a monster to a small child, arm poised ready to strike. I didn't.

In an instant something happened, I could see myself as if I was standing in front of a mirror. (Grinder 1995) Who was I? I had turned the clock back; I was my father, angry, being physically threatening. Michael was me as a child, shaking hovering, fearful, wide-eyed and innocent, what have I done? My body slumped; tears fell from my face. Instead of hitting my son, I drew him gently to my body and hugged him, sobbing.

After comforting my son I slumped in a chair and thought, who am I? I espouse peace and love and kindness and here I am acting violently, intimidating, threatening a six-year-old. How can I become more conscious, how can I become a better person? How can I be more congruent? What was it that made me see more clearly at that critical moment? How can I see earlier in an interaction so that I don't become a person that I don't want to be? I knew "about" Schon's models how could I learn to be more Model 2?

In that critical moment I felt in some way that I was in a different consciousness to my previous conscious state. As if I had the ability to be in two or three planes of reality (Kitchener 1983) at the same time. 1) being in the act 2) thinking about the act whilst doing it and sensing the affect on me and the other person 3) thinking and feeling what I was thinking and feeling whilst I was thinking it, sensing it and doing it.

This critical incident where cognitive dissonance (Dalmau 1992) occurred helped me realise that I had to "know" the theories within a deeper sense of myself not just know the theories in my head. The experience affected my whole state of being. My thoughts were thrown into confusion which allowed cognitive re-framing to occur. My body was affected - I felt the entire sense of incongruence in my body and shifted from one highly emotional state to another. My soul was affected -- at some level that I do not understand and can only describe as a change in energy or a change in spirit - and so at all levels this changed my state of being.

This led me down a path of personal and professional development that included work on the body -emotional (Goleman 1995), and motor skill development (Grinder 1994), mind and soul - spiritual development (Hall 1991). I have predominantly focussed on the connection of my thoughts, feelings and actions to become more congruent, more connected with a deeper sense of myself, connecting Body, Mind and Soul (Suryant 1996).

This path took me to an internal world. I could not find the answers I was looking for in text books, or if I found them I could talk about them but I could not do them or "be" them until I focussed on myself and the consequences of my presence on others. I explored my feelings and emotions, where they came from, the triggers, my habitual patterns of action, my underlying values and beliefs. A journey that went deep into the underworld with Persephone. (Downing 1994).

In the external world I wandered at will (Wheatley 1990) seeking out intuitively other disciplines. I have sought out the new scientists, (Bohm, Sheldrake), the biologists (Maturana), the social scientists (Reason), the therapists (Carkuff), the philosophers, (Bookchin), the psychologists (Hillman), the Buddhists, the Balinese, the artists and actors and many others that have helped me on my quest. And I learnt and I am still learning skills (Grinder) and strategies to be and act in a Model 2 way from wide ranging sources and accessing insights from delving into multiple intelligences (Gardener 1993). Non- rational, aesthetic actions through drama, singing, music, dance, art, story, celebration and ritual (Houston 1982) to name a few have been just as important as critical reflection through conversation to help me be more congruent and to help me work with others for their learning and professional outcomes.

Technical skills and strategies from the rational domain alone are not enough. I may have the external techniques but unless they are connected at a deeper level to my values and beliefs, from my heart and my soul, to my sense of being, I may still be incongruent. I believe Model 2 is a way of being that is sensed through our body, mind and soul, through a sense of ourselves that is more than these three. I am curious about other people's experiences beyond what is recorded in academic papers. What is it that is not said that is the significant part of the experience? What have been significant experiences that have helped others make a shift towards more Model 2 ways? If the experience was designed how was the experience designed? How do others design experiences where cognitive dissonance occurs creating a shift in awareness? If the experience came as a surprise what were the conditions that allowed this to be so? When cognitive dissonance has occurred what does this trigger as the way needed to go forward? What paths have you the reader had to follow? Where have those paths taken you? What is it that happens to a group when I can see, feel and hear a shift in the collective sense of being of the group? What is significant in that moment? How does it happen? How can I create the conditions for similar experiences to occur with others? How do my insights increase my personal and professional effectiveness? How do group insights increase the effectiveness of the group? These are some of the questions I have asked as a result of my experiences working with groups and individuals in holistic ways.

It has not been learning about Schon's models it has been living and experiencing the fullness of my humanity and the humanity of others that has helped me on my way. It has at times been painful; it has at times brought up shame, embarrassment, and humiliation. I have felt attacked, I have felt intimidated, I have felt inadequate, and I have had to journey into the unconscious as Persephone did, to unravel the mysteries of my unconscious behaviour. I have walked forward three steps only to be knocked back four. I have had to pick myself up again to climb a new hurdle, overcome an inner obstacle and re-gain the energy and will to go on. I have consciously chosen to be Model 1 at times and had to live with the result and myself.

We can consciously know that we are acting incongruently and still be incongruent. I believe conscious knowing needs to be integrated with emotional and spiritual development that makes a shift in our sense of being. Even then it is not a one way street. Our behaviour moving habitually, at times spontaneously is often surprising. How many times do we say, "I can't believe that I did that? I know xyz.' Depending on the context, our skills and our state of being in a moment in time, we can revert back to die hard incongruent habits. We must remember we are human, we are not perfect and support one another in these endeavours to become better people. Making this connection has impacted on how I create and design learning experiences how I work with others in creating and design the work environment and the articulation of skills for personal and professional development.

The foundation stone laid by Argryis and Schon has been strong. The challenge for me is to build on this and make a difference to who I am, and work with others to make a difference to individual identity and the collective identity of groups and the outcomes we achieve in life. If we only know the theory in our head we may well be highly congruent as the General is in the following story. Is this the congruence we are aspiring to? A mental state, that is separate is from us, detached, from emotional and spiritual connection. And yet.there may be only a few of us who could reach the state of Model 2 of the Zen priest who meets the General.

"During a time of civil war in Korea, a certain general led his troops through province after province, overrunning whatever stood in his path. The people of one town, knowing that he was coming and having heard tales of his cruelty, all fled into the mountains. The general arrived in the empty town. Some of the soldiers came back and reported that only one person remained a Zen priest. The general strode over to the temple, walked in, pulled out his sword, and said, "Don't you know who I am? I am the one who can run through you without batting an eye."

The Zen master looked back and calmly responded, "And I sir, am one who can be run through without batting an eye." The general, hearing this, bowed and left.

[Zen from "Soul Food" Jack Kornfield & Christina Feldman, Harper San Francisco 1996]


Ackoff R.L. (1988) 'Levels of Corporate Development" Systems Practice 1: 133-134

Argyris, C. and Schon, D.A. (1978) "Organisational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective" Addison Wesley Reading Mass

Bawden, R. 'Learning to Become a More effective Organisation: A Critical Systems Approach

Bookchin, M. "The Philosophy of Social Ecology" Black Rose Books 1990

Dalmau, T "Using incongruence and dissonance using them constructively to improve the effectiveness of senior executive teams" Paper presented at the Fifth international conference on thinking 1992

Downing C. 'The Long Journey Home Re-visioning the Myth of Demeter and Persephone for our Time", Shambala 1994

Gardener Howard, "Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences" Fontana Press, 1993

Goleman, D, "Emotional Intelligence" Bloomsbury, 1995

Grinder M. "Permission Workshop Notes, 1995

Hall B, " Spiritual Connections" Values Technology, 1991

Hillman, J. 'The Soul's Code in Search of Character and Calling" Random House 1996

Houston, J. "The Possible Human", Jeremy P. Tarcher/Perigee 1982

Kitchener, K. (1983) "Cognition, Meta-cognition and Epistemic Cognition: A Three Level Model of Cognitive Processing" Human Development 26: 222-232

Morgan, G. (1986): Images of Organisation. Beverley Hills: Sage Publications

Suryant, Luhketut & Wryca, P. "Moksha, A New Way of Life, Practical Wisdom" PTBP Dempasar 1996

Wheatley, M. "Leadership and the New Science" Berrett Koehler, 1992

Deborah Lange
Facilitator of Change
Self-organising systems, learning organisations, personal and
professional development
24 Marine Parade Seacliff 5049 South Australia
Ph 0418 833889 Fax 08 8296 5954

This document in both electronic and hardcopy forms may be copied in part or whole provided such copying is for educational or trainingpurposes only, the copies are not sold for monies, and the source reference is retained.

[Return to the list of Conference papers]