What is Relatefulness?

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~ What is Relatefulness? ~

Practices, Methodology, and the Dance of Truth, Love & Interconnection

The most common understanding of relatefulness is a set of practices aiming at truth and love. People come together and relate, mindfully. We talk about what’s present in us, and between us. And we let that change us.

Because of its roots in practice, relatefulness can also be seen as a methodology (set of methods) that reveals new "realities." Doing these has built up an evolving body of knowledge around best practices in communication and group processes, which people think of as “the relateful approach” to things.

BUT, we have to keep in mind, relatefulness is a finger pointing at the moon, and not the moon itself. The actual experience is something much more personal and universal than language can capture. Part of its uniqueness is that relatefulness stays aware of it being a pointer. This also allows people who use this word to hold things lightly, move easily between serious and silly, and stay intimate with what really matters.

This self-awareness around the limitations of the practice means many people find a home in the “communities” that form around relateful practices. We are playing with calling Relateful communities “evolutionary collectives” because they tend to be overlapping, permeable, porous, and ever changing.

At heart, even though it invites us to play with what it points to, relatefulness represents a synthesis of individuality and unity, where self and other blur and interpenetrate. And a dynamic and adaptive framework for doing so.

Below you’ll find a deeper exploration of all of these themes, along with an extensive but not-exhaustive list of what relatefulness is NOT, and links to even more perspectives on what the heck this thing is!

Now let’s go into more detail: 

1) A set of practices for truth and love

The most common understanding of what relatefulness points to is a set of practices that aims at the integration of truth and love.

(Versus practicing aiming at more fitness, or becoming a better musician, or making more money, or being more peaceful). This is the direction we’re headed… and you can tell if you’re going in a good direction by checking if what you’re doing is in line with both truth and love. Here are some other ways to think of the orientations of the practices:

More truth: Practicing integrity, awakeness, discernment, authenticity, honesty, transcendence.
More love: Practicing trust, surrender, empathy, compassion, inclusion.

Note: It can be very helpful to think of it as relational mindfulness, or relational meditation. But for many people this brings up images of sitting silently in a dim room with eyes closed, and relatefulness is much more relational.

2) Methodology for doing these practices 

Many people see relatefulness as a specific method of mystical / spiritual exploration. Here are some other frames that are happening simultaneously in any relateful engagement.

We see methods as ways of subjects interacting with objects in ways that disclose new realities. For example, using the method of a microscope and using the method of a telescope will reveal ‘realities’ in the seemingly same region of space that are simultaneous and quite distinct. Relatefulness is a system that helps you engage any of these methods to reveal distinct truths that are otherwise occluded.

  • Conversation that’s deeper and more attuned 
  • Entering flow
  • Facilitating self-transcendence (transcending the subject/object distinction), unity, and mystical experiences within the collective, allowing individuals to experience a sense of oneness and interconnectedness. 
  • Subject / object moves. Subjective experiences become objects that we can see in a larger subjectivity. As Robert Kegan describes, this gives us choice over them, rather than being “had” by them.
  • Collective shadow / bias practice. Intersubjective experience become interobjects. Similar to what happens within an individual, groups can see ideologies and collective constructs that they’ve been “had” by without even realizing it.
  • Collective epistemology
  • Presencing, or more precisely Dynamic Presencing as laid out by our colleague and professor Olen Gunnlaugson
  • Working with emotions
  • Working with the body, and including all the meaning making centers in listening-expression/expression-listenin
  • Working with awareness, awareness of awareness, collective awareness, and collective awareness of awareness


3) A Pointer, construct, or illusion

“The map is not the territory” and “the finger pointing to the moon is not the moon.”

Relatefulness is a finger pointing to the moon of experiencing co-presence and wonder, where seemingly separate entities are simultaneously one and distinct, creating an experience of non-duality or an awareness of the already-synthesized individual and collective.

All definitions of relatefulness hold a self-awareness of being a construct, while also holding that pointers change our experience. Even if all paths up a mountain lead to the same peak, some have better views than others.

This lets us be silly, playful, and foolish. All while caring deeply about humanity, the planet, and the future.


4) Evolutionary collective

When you practice being relateful you tap into a bunch of overlapping ecosystems scattered literally all across the world, with varying levels of commitment, and widely differentiated reasons for being relateful. 

We like to say “Evolutionary” because who “we” refers to is not static, it's dynamic.

We like to say "Collective" versus "community" because there's a greater sense of it being multiple, networked, constructed, and porous. We were born in an internet world, with friends, family, and “soul tribe” scattered across all continents. How does a group of people stay involved in each other’s lives despite some being on remote Portuguese farms, others in New York City high-rises, and others traveling nomads? Some rich and others poor? Etc…

With the relateful evolutionary collective, there’s less of a sense of rejecting the metamodern context. This is about ‘all of us,’ the whole human race, the whole planet, and whatever else there is, not about ‘us versus them.’ And for this very reason, you’re very welcome to use whatever words work for you, including “community!”

 5) A growing body of knowledge

Relatefulness represents an ever-expanding body of knowledge developed through group processes that tap into collective wisdom and insight. This knowledge is about:
  • Group processes
  • Aforementioned practices such as interpersonal meditation, emotional regulation, and awareness.
  • Ways to foster a flow state in communication, akin to the experience of effortless conversation where ideas are shared freely, enhancing interpersonal connections and making flow ever more available in day-to-day experiences, from ordering a coffee to driving in traffic.
  • Shadows, or generally unseen aspects, of group practices, like power dynamics, sexual energy, and allergies and addictions to various states of consciousness.
  • Applications and shadows of integral theory, deepening people’s understanding of Integral, and deepening the framework’s application and usefulness in people’s experience.
  • The development of collective consciousness and spiritual growth, akin to the blossoming of a collective 'mind' or 'spirit' that evolves with the group.

What is relatefulness NOT:

  • Not precise: it’s an evolving practice that's defined by the collective experiences of its participants.
  • Not static: in theory or practice; rather, it's a dynamic, evolving approach to interpersonal connection and growth.
  • Not another religion, business, or organizational system; rather, The Relateful Company is a business that facilitates relatefulness in the world as an ethos, with an aim to make the thing “being relateful” points to is so commonplace that we have to find a different mission or retire. We use relatefulness a lot in our business, and we have helped dozens of businesses bring the practice into their day-to-day in a way that has been incredibly powerful for their well-being, and ultimately the bottom line of their mission. But we do that in conjunction with whatever organizational systems you’re already engaged in. That’s a different science, and we defer to those who are cutting edge there, whether Holocracy or Getting Things Done or whatever!
  • Does not present itself as a “safe-space”: this phrase is extremely loaded with expectations that I do not believe any person can actually guarantee, so we don’t use it. Being relateful encourages open, authentic expression and exploration and openness to feedback, which can sometimes involve uncomfortable or challenging experiences. That said, we are actively cultivating a space for people to do the practice, which requires structures of support. We always follow the local laws so people are physically safe, and if we are no longer pointed at truth and love, we’ll stop the practice and reorient.
  • Not feel good fast: In embracing the whole experience of being human, we often open ourselves up to more discomfort, uncertainty, ambiguity, and a whole host of emotions and experiences we’ve avoided for decades. There’s no particular aim at these experiences, but neither are we avoiding them. You might feel good fast, but that’s not the aim.
  • Not a healing modality—Relateful practice is focused on awareness and being. Since being and becoming really are two words describing the same underlying fabric of existence, incredible transformation happens, which often includes healing. Many people come for healing, but it’s not an explicit aim of the practice, and ironically aiming for it often makes healing less likely! As Carl Jung reportedly said, whatever you resist not only persists, it grows in size. 
  • Not a way of judging or excluding others
  • Not here to save the world. We may have a beautiful part to play, but we see both the “world needs saving” frame and “we’re the special ones to do it,” extremely problematic, from the point of view of both truth and love. We love our work and love how deeply it impacts people, but we believe we are part of a much larger movement aiming at increasing well-being and consciousness, that includes not just other practices, but technology and systems as well. For more on this, check out Existential Risk and Relatefulness.
  • Not certified by any governing body. We are a governing body that certifies.
  • Not a metatheory—we use Integral Theory because we think it already does a fantastic job of orienting with the Wake Up, Grow Up, Clean Up, Show Up frame.


Relatefulness invites us to question, examine, and play with what it points to. This uniquely self-aware framework navigates the space where the seeming dualities of 'self' and 'other' blur and interpenetrate.

It’s an evolving, multifaceted concept that intertwines individual and collective transformation. It's an evolutionary collective. It’s a growing set of practices, methods, and body of knowledge. It’s a journey through a dynamic, co-creative awareness where mutual growth and interdependence echo the harmony found within thriving ecosystems. 

Here’s summary of some central relateful bits:
  1.  Synthesis of Individuality and Unity: Relatefulness acts as an awareness/embodiment guide, bridging gaps between seeming opposites like 'self' and 'other', individuality and unity, being and becoming, empty and form. It's about experiencing two as both distinct and one, reinforcing a sense of mutual growth and interconnectedness.
  2.  Practices for Personal and Collective Growth: Relatefulness incorporates practices such as truth-finding and truth-telling, love, empathy, and compassion, alongside tools like meditation, emotional and body awareness, awareness awareness, and deep conversation. Aiming for ever more truth and love, this collection fosters personal transformation and collective evolution. Being relateful encourages deep, relational engagement with ourselves and others, enhancing our collective awareness of ourselves. 
  1.  Dynamic and Adaptive Framework: Relatefulness, far from being static or rigid, is a dynamic framework that evolves with cultural and social shifts. It draws on a wealth of theories and practices to nurture adaptive interpersonal connections. This process emphasizes awareness, authenticity, integrity, and enhanced interconnectedness, fostering both personal and interpersonal growth and insight. In short, Relatefulness is a co-creative tool for a constantly changing world.

Lineage and Evolution

With absolutely no need to get anywhere or make anything or anyone change, relatefulness is a transformative exploration of our interconnected existence, offering both a mirror reflecting our personal journey and a window into collective experiences. It is a dynamic landscape that values truth, love, awareness, integrity, embodiment, willingness, and compassion as foundational pillars. 

Relatefulness provides an expansive, adaptive space that nurtures both personal and collective growth. It integrates practices such as meditation and deep conversation as tools for transformation, and draws upon a rich lineage of theories and practices—from Integral Theory to A Course in Miracles—while continually evolving in relationship with shifting cultural and societal contexts, ensuring relevance and vibrancy in its application.

Far from being a quick fix or prescribed ideology, it's a practice of deep engagement, an invitation to explore our authenticity and integrity within the relational field. While it's not a panacea or a precise formula, it provides a living, evolving framework that encourages us to navigate the complexities of our shared existence with curiosity and compassion. As you embark on the journey of Relatefulness, you'll find it's not just about individual growth, but also about enhancing our interconnected sense-making and evolution. Welcome to the intriguing and rewarding journey into Relatefulness. Let the exploration begin!

Find out more about the author:

Jordan Myska Allen
Founder and CEO, The Relateful Company

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