9 Core Capacities

Cultivating our natural capacities

The core capacities, all of which can be practiced from the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual perspectives, are the processes that enliven the L4WB framework.

Core capacities engage the physical, mental and emotional aspects, along a continuum from the material to the spiritual, providing means for exploring the individual qualities, aspirations and innate ways of processing of each person. They offer ways to address, with respectful awareness, the differences between people. Their practice helps deepen relationships and transform communications of all kinds. Engaging and practicing core capacities contributes to the nature and quality of our participation, responsibility and decisions, and allows us to experience the wholeness of life and its interconnections.


Core Capacities include:

  1. Relaxing
    physical, emotional, mental and spiritual relaxation
  2. Noticing
    keen, engaged and consistent inner and outer observation
  3. Relfecting
    pondering; looking back, looking from other perspectives, offering feedback
  4. Listening
    connecting to words, sounds, and spaces in oneself, others and the environment
  5. Inquiring
    asking questions to track an experience with openness and curiosity
  6. Empathizing
    active and deliberate resonance with others, their thoughts, feelings, experiences
  7. Subtle sensing
    acknowledging and expanding the use of non-cognitive forms of knowing such as intuition, imagination and resonance
  8. Enriching sensory awareness
    nurturing, stimulating, and expanding the capabilities of our five senses
  9. Discerning patterns and systemic processes
    recognizing interdependency and the relationship of the parts to the whole


A base for learning and inner resourcing

Developing these core capacities provides a solid basis for all life activities, including learning, creativity and inner resourcing.  Practices that support the core capacities help children and adults understand how they frame their thinking, experience feelings, engage in imagining, discover motivations, and so forth.  In a classroom or other group environment, these core capacities support the development of key competences and skills for lifelong learning. In the broadest sense, together and separately, they can be termed a key competence for living and functioning in society.