In her book, “How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going: Leading in a Liminal Season”, Susan Beaumont discusses the field of our attention based on Otto Scharmer’s teaching. Beaumont points out that “The field of our attention is formed by learned patterns for the past. We pay attention to the reality in front of us through habitual judgments. Scharmer uses the term ‘downloading’ to describe our habitual mode of interpreting the present reality in light of past experience. When we download, our learning is limited to reconfirming what we already know to be true…..Nothing new permeates our bubble of interpretation. We only hear what we have already determined to be true…When downloading, we are unaware of all that informs our situation. We operate with blind spots. Our blind spots are formed by the assumptions we make without realizing that we are assuming..We convince ourselves that our reflection on our experience is the same as the experience itself, that it captures the fullness of all that may have happened…”
I believe what Beaumont is discussing here is applicable to not only our individual personal life but also our group/community/church lives. As a priest/pastor, I see that this is one of the main causes to churches’ declining, dying, and closing.