June 19, 2018

Morphic Fields and Change (Part 1)

rhodesWe can gain useful perspective from borrowing concepts and vocabulary from other fields. Biologist Rupert Sheldrake posits the existence of “morphic fields.” We can use the concept to think about how change happens (or not). Honest. Stay with me here.

A morphic field is the controlling energy field of a biological entity – either an individual or collective system. The field is made up of both organic and psychological elements. The field is invisible, but its impact is observable. For example, both genetics (organic) and individual and collective conscious and unconscious factors (psychological) invisibly affect our behavior.

Well okay then. Glad we cleared that up. Moving right along…..

When we enter the legal profession, we enter its morphic field. Lawyers work in the field of law – get it?  There are certain expectations, dynamics, outlooks, disciplines, judgments, commonly accepted wisdom, urban legends, etc. that come with the territory of being a lawyer. In law school, we allowed our psyches to be affected by those things – we learned to “think like a lawyer.” Our neural pathways were literally rewired, our consciousness was altered, and our physiology was affected as well, so that we were biologically and chemically different beings when we graduated than we were when we started. No kidding. This brain- and body-retraining process continued when we went to work.

Within the over-arching field of law, there are also subfields that affect our experience:  e.g., being part of this firm or that practice area, practicing in this city or that small town, and so on. When an individual lawyer goes to work in one of these fields, his or her individual morphic field interacts with it to create his or her experience of being a lawyer on all levels of human existence – intellectual, emotional, physical, social, and so on.

This interaction can be harmonious or dissonant. If we’re dissatisfied with our work and how it’s affecting our lives, it’s likely because our individual field is in conflict with the field where we work.  Our personal values and preferences and expectations aren’t meshing with the field’s:  we don’t like playing by its rules, don’t share its values, don’t like its required behaviors; don’t like meeting billable hour standards or working holidays or dealing with uncivil lawyers or whatever else comes with the territory.

If we try to change our experience of work and life, then the first thing that happens is we run smack into the boundaries of our morphic fields – both our individual field, and the one where we work. Why? Because they are energetically supporting our existing reality – the one we don’t want anymore, not the one we want to create.

In order to change, we need to deal with both fields. If we don’t, then lack of change in one will sabotage attempted change in the other.

To be continued.

Kevin Rhodes helps individuals and organizations to make transformative changes. He leads workshops on change for a variety of audiences, including the CBA’s Job Search and Career Transitions Support Group. You can email Kevin at kevinzdr@gmail.com.
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  1. Another good one Kevin. I admire Rupert Sheldrake and his inquiring mind . . . wait – he’s British, so would that be “enquiring” instead?! Change often isn’t easy, but it happens, whether we participate in it or not is up to us. Sometimes it is simple though, as simple as changing the way we look at one thing – sometimes we can see an immediate effect of our choice and other times we must wait for the wave to go out and come back to us. . . .

  2. Carol L. Martin says:

    I have been a lawyer for 37 years and this really resonates with my experience… bumping into walls that I didn’t seem to be there. C.

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