Deep Democracy Institute

The Learning Process


It has to feel right - it has to think right - and it has to sound right

We have delineated core competencies that can be learned and developed within our institute.  Your guiding team will assist you in co-evaluating your learning.  Your process might take a zig-zag path between these learning areas.  You may learn them all at once, or your path might be sequential.  We hope to create a structure that makes completion within 3 years possible; however, some may take more time and some less.  Because the training is competency based, you can bring credits and experiences from other programs (Process-Oriented or related).  You and your guiding team will evaluate your learning path and together you will work out a consensus regarding your readiness for certification.

Learning Styles and Structure

We want both.  It has to feel right and it has to think right!

There are different styles of learners who like varying amounts of structure.  In this section we explain the role of structure in this program, and our philosophy and practice in relation to structure.  Process Work suggests that every event and every process, including your own learning process, has two structuring components.  They are in a super-positional relationship with one another, meaning they enhance each other and form a third larger entity, your path.

The first component we often call “primary”—it is comprised of your own hopes and goals, and your need to learn; it includes concepts that you can understand, and has a measurable identity regarding what you want to get out of this training.

A second component is commonly called secondary”—this is a process that is structured by something more hidden and mysterious.  It is experienced as an inner knowledge and an inner sense of being on the “right path.”  This process is directional; you can feel if you're on the right track and traveling in the “right direction.”  You might at times get disturbed on the path, and you might doubt the path and your ability to travel it, but you go back to it again and again.  This is an important way of thinking about learning.

Deep Democracy, in our understanding, suggests that any path must both “feel right” and “think right” for you.  If it only “thinks right” but doesn't “feel right” over too long a time, it isn’t going to work.  However, if it only “feels right” but doesn’t “think right,” the same is true.  This is where your guidance team comes in.  These are mentors, elders, and teachers.  Some must be Process-Oriented and experienced in Deep Democracy.  Some might be individuals within a specific field related to your study.  This committee is there to assist and challenge you on your own learning path.

Personal Development

We believe that the beginning and the end of all change happens at an individual level.  Political solutions in warring nations are needed and important, but if the majority of the individuals that live in that region haven't made the inner emotional shift to somehow co-exist with their enemies, then the solutions are not sustainable.

We believe that growth, blossoming, and a bright future are not possible without leaders who understand that their own personal development is essential to the whole and to the people whom they are leading.

Your learning process is individual.  There is no such thing as a general learning.  It is based on understanding your true unique nature, destination, and destiny on this planet. 

You will be challenged to apply methods, attitudes, and approaches to reach inside and out, far beyond your normal, identified professional goals.  Through this process, you will become a multidimensional elder and leader.  The challenge will be to search deep inside for the mystery that is you, and to follow it.  The difficulty will not be to adapt to outer competencies, but to discover and follow what is inside of you, where it wants to lead you, and for whom on this planet it is shining its light.


Your own personal coaching is at the center of everything you do.  Process-Oriented Diplomates are “pre-approved” as coaches within our institute.  No further approval is necessary if you work with a Process-Oriented Diplomate.  If your desired coach is a valuable person to you who is not a Process-Oriented Diplomate, we ask that you discuss this with your guidance team, and “convince” the team that she or he can give you the necessary support and learning experience to acquire the competencies you seek.

Your guiding team will assist you in monitoring your individual path in relation to the competencies you seek to develop.  If your individual path involves completing the certification, we expect detours; zigzag happens.  We are open to understanding periods of lagging and slowness, and this doesn't mean much about the overall speed of the learning process.

Learning Pace

There is a story of a Zen monk, who for many years raked the monastery stone garden day after day after day.  He could not solve the koan that was given to him by his Zen Master.  For all these years, he raked and raked, watching his friends and colleagues moving ahead on the ladder of Zen development, solving their koans, leaving the monastery, becoming abbots in their own right—while he remained at the monastery, meditating on his koan, raking and despairing.

He finally went to the master and said, "I've given up.  Zen is not for me.  I have to leave."—"Go for it," said the master, "enjoy.  You were a great student.  You were a dedicated learner.  Do not worry, the fruits of your learning will be there, and you will enjoy them."

Doubtfully, the Zen student took the little money that he saved over the years from working.  He left the monastery and had an encounter with another person in the first hour that he was out—he hadn't been out in all these years!  In this encounter he discovered the amazing miracle of the human heart in himself and the other person.  In a spontaneous moment he became enlightened, and later founded his own school of Zen.

We understand this story as representing the diversity of learning paths and durations.  In terms of our training, we suggest as an average possible length of time—3 years for certification.  If you are more of a structured person, you can try to follow it.  If you are a “racer,” you can try to beat it—or maybe your inner process is more like that of long distance runner - sustained and persistent.  You might also be a person who wanders along, guided only by curiosity and interest—in this case, you will take however many years it takes you to finish. Yet, it might be the shortest path for you. 

Peer Learning

We will facilitate face-to-face peer learning as well as virtual peer learning.  You will have the opportunity to learn with people from different and similar backgrounds, interests, and so forth.



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