From a world that works for so few...
COMMONWAY
INSTITUTE
Creating a World that Works for All.

“From before I can remember, my life has been shaped by a question:
In a world that works for so few,
how can we create a world that works for all?”
What is
Commonway? 
The Vision 
What We Offer 
The Need 
Core Values 
Lectures
and Workshops 
Leadership 
Publications 
Inclusivity Training 
Bridge Building
Activities 
Three Valleys Project
About This Website 
Sharif M. Abdullah



 
The
Need 
for 
Commonway 
The Push: “The Worst of Times...” 
America is pulling itself apart at the seams.  The dividing lines that separate us – lines of class, caste, color and ideology – are getting wider, with no end in sight.  We have lost our spiritual center.  No one person or group can solve our problems:  only by learning and practicing inclusivity will we be able to pull together instead of pulling apart. 
The Pull:  “The Best of Times...” 
We stand on the brink of one of the most profound cultural and spiritual shifts in human history.  All around the world, people by the millions are actively catalyzing a world that works for all.  People are meeting the challenges of our times with creativity, joy and a deep spiritual reverence.  They are acting like their lives have meaning in the world.  These turbulent times are calling forth authentic leaders who are adept at surfing through chaos.  These leaders are creating a world beyond war and beyond fear:  a world that works for all.  Our job: to encourage people to walk this path.   
[back to top]  
 
What
is
Commonway? 
We help people understand human ecology and show them how to catalyze inclusivity -- both within themselves and in the world.  We do this through workshops, classes and other learning opportunities. 
  We also conduct projects, events and activities for organizations and individuals that catalyze and demonstrate inclusivity.  We do this as consultants to other organizations (client-based projects) and as internal activities (CWI-sponsored projects). 
CWI is an inclusive social change organization, dedicated to creating a society that works for all. Our goal is to foster inclusive, sustainable human societies on an ecologically viable planet. 
  We are “Advocates of the Whole”. We help organizations and individuals catalyze beneficial, value-driven transformations within themselves, their organizations and our society as a whole. 
The essence of our work is ridding ourselves, our organizations and our society of fear.  The root of our problems lies in fear, and the stress, anger, hostility and violence produced by fear.  Fear is simply another form of violence.  We encourage people to cross the boundaries that separate us.   
  It is only through a profound shift in consciousness that a new society can be born. We all must undergo this shift.  A change in consciousness must precede any change in institutions, laws or social patterns.  The necessary change is specific: from “I am Separate” to “We are One”. We can’t solve our problems with the same consciousness that created them.  Our deep divisions and seemingly insurmountable problems are leading us to new ways of working together. 
We have to move beyond “honoring diversity” to embrace inclusivity. We must learn and practice human ecology: building healthy, balanced and dynamic human interactions from our currently toxic ones.   If our society doesn’t work for everybody, it doesn’t work for anybody. 
[back to top]  
 
The
Commonway
Vision 
A Society of the Spirit 
Creating a society that works for all is a sacred act.  Every spiritual, religious and wisdom tradition leads us to the same conclusion:  working for others is the highest form of spirituality.  Our true values lie beyond empty posturing, political sloganeering and campaign rhetoric.  We are stronger than our fears and better than our limitations. 
An Inclusive Community 
The purpose of Commonway is to teach and practice inclusivity. Inclusivity is recognizing that my life, my fate, my future is inextricably linked to yours.  Building community with those who are not like “us” is the challenge of the next millennium, a challenge that is essential to our survival.  With inclusivity, there is no “Other”; identifying with and connecting to “The Other” makes violence unthinkable and true community possible. 
 
A Community of Consciousness 
It is only through a profound shift in consciousness that a new society will be born. We all must undergo this shift.  A change in consciousness always precedes any change in institutions, laws or social patterns.  The necessary change is specific: from “I am Separate” to “We are One”. We can’t solve our problems with the same consciousness that created them.  Our deep divisions and seemingly insurmountable problems are leading us to new ways of working together. 
Einstein said that we cannot solve our problems with the same consciousness that created them.  Our deep divisions and seemingly insurmountable problems are leading us to new ways of working together.   
A Healthy Culture 
We can re-create our culture. We can create new patterns of behaviors, ones that are based on our highest values, not our lowest fears.  We can transform our fear-based culture to one of integrity and authenticity. 
  Our current culture is repressive: we are afraid of each other, and act out that fear on a daily basis.  Fear is an essential element of our institutions: we buy things because we fear each other and we don’t feel good about ourselves. 
[back to top]  
 
Commonway
Core
Values 
Our true values lie beyond empty posturing, political sloganeering and campaign rhetoric.  We are stronger than our fears and better than our self-imposed limitations.  Through CWI, we are encouraged to discover and practice our core values, which include: 
 
Inclusivity: Acting Like We Are One 
The purpose of Commonway is to teach and practice Inclusivity.  Inclusivity is the Golden Rule in action. Inclusivity is recognizing that my life, my fate, my future is inextricably linked to yours. With Inclusivity, there is no “Other”.  Inclusivity -- identifying with and connecting to “The Other” --  is what makes violence unthinkable. 
Human Ecology: Balancing Our Relationships 
The purpose of Commonway is to help people learn and practice human ecology, the transformation of all toxic and dysfunctional elements of our society for a healthier and more sustainable world. If our social/cultural/spiritual life is an ecology, at present it is a highly toxic one.  Human ecology is the healing and dynamic equilibrium of human populations with each other and with our environment, with the goal of affirming and sustaining life in all its diversity. 
Commitment to a New Society 
CWI helps people achieve a balanced human environment by teaching a new form of social/cultural activism: “The Advocacy of the Whole”.  CWI teaches non-violent and inclusive ways of addressing and resolving issues. 
In the face of crisis, conflict and disaster: 
  • We can learn to think differently about our problems, and therefore invite new solutions. 
  • We can learn to work in ways that model our highest ideals instead of our lowest fears. 
  •  
  • We can learn to pull together instead of apart. 
  • We can operate from shared values and common purpose, instead of shared fears and antagonism. 
  • We can find safety and security in inclusive community, rather than separation and conflict. 
  • [back to top]  
     
    What
    Commonway
    Offers 
    Lectures and Workshops 
    Through keynote presentations, lecture series, and interactive workshops, participants are engaged in understanding their own culture.  participants learn how to catalyze inclusivity -- both within themselves and in the world.  

    Commonway offers a number of different workshops and trainings, tailored to the specific needs of your organization.  For more information on lectures, workshops and trainings for your organization, please contact Commonway.

    Inclusivity Training 
    Groups of people have their own norms, modes of behavior, customs... their own culture. We help people understand these cultures and understand inclusivity. We show them how to catalyze inclusivity -- both within themselves and in the world.  We do this through workshops, classes and other learning opportunities. 
      “Inclusivity Training” is a highly effective tool that can help your organization function as a community, by removing the barriers that prevent communication and understanding. (Many times, “Diversity Training” feeds this fear and causes further separation.  Commonway training is different.) “Inclusivity Training” has been used with a variety of participants, including police officers, corporate executives, blue collar workers, public officials and others. 
      We also conduct projects, events and activities for organizations and individuals that catalyze and demonstrate inclusivity. We do this as consultants to other organizations (client-based projects) and as internal activities (CWI-sponsored projects).  For further information on Commonway's projects, events and activities, please contact Commonway
    [back to top]  
     
    Publications   The Power of One: Authentic Leadership in Turbulent Times and the soon to be published Inclusivity: Creating a World That Works for All bring the Commonway vision to a wider audience, and challenge readers to apply the principles of authentic leadership and inclusivity to their own lives. 
    In addition, Commonway publishes a number of other writings, all on the theme of creating a world that works for all. These writings include:  
    • The Philosophy of Inclusivity (in English and Spanish) 
    • Feeding Our Hunger for the Sacred 
    • The Mender Revolution 
    • Exiting Dystopia 

    • Also, there are other publications that feature the work of Commonway; these include:  

      Values At Work by the Context Institute 

      Bridging the Racial Divide  by  The Center for Living Democracy   

    • Bridging the Racial Divide
      [back to top]  
     
    Bridge Building Activities  
    Commonway Institute seeks and creates opportunities to bring people together in activities such as the Three Valleys Project (3VP).  The 3VP, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, worked over a two year period to build bridges of understanding and civic engagement among potential adversaries in small towns.  Latino and Anglo youth, farmworkers and growers, law enforcement and schools, and other stakeholders met in facilitated roundtable discussions that eased cultural tensions and built common ground. 
    [back to top]  
     
    The Rosetta Translation System 
    The Rosetta Translation System permits two or more groups of people who do not speak the same language to talk directly with each other with little or no “lag time”. Developed through our Three Valleys Project experience in bi-lingual community dialog, our translation system is a tool by which two or more groups from different linguistic backgrounds can gather and communicate face to face.  ROSETTA  allows  interpretation to take place faster and smoother than ever.  Our equipment allows translation to take place “in the background”; there is no interruption of the flow of conversation. [Click here for more information on Rosetta Translation System.] 
    [back to top]  
     
    Commonway's Leadership 
      SHARIF M. ABDULLAH is a leading proponent and catalyst for inclusive social, cultural and spiritual transformation.  

    Sharif has worked with thousands of individuals and facilitated scores of transformation, empowerment and leadership sessions for various public and private organizations, including city and county governments, federal agencies, international bodies and large corporations like Freightliner Corporation. 

    In addition, Sharif has facilitated workshops with organizations like Association for Humanistic Psychology, Institute of Noetic Sciences, the International Conflict Resolution Conference, Institute for Sustainable Development, and others.    
      Sharif is the author of   The Power of One: Authentic Leadership in Turbulent Times  and the soon to be published Creating a World That Works For All.  In addition, he has published many articles on the subjects of values, personal and cultural transformation and empowerment. 
    [Click here for Sharif Abdullah's Homepage] 
    [back to top]  
    For more information on Commonway's philosophy, mission and activities, please contact:
    Commonway Institute
    P.O. Box 12541
    Portland, OR 97212
    (503) 281-1813 (voice)
    (503) 249-1969 (fax)
    e-mail address: mail@commonway.org

    ©Copyright 1998 Commonway Institute
    [back to top]