Mayanova's Blog

March 7, 2013

MINDFUL LEADERSHIP IN THE TIME OF ACCELERATED CHANGE, Beginners mind as a Leadership Competency

Filed under: Mindfulness and meditation — mayanova @ 9:41 pm

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ”  Alvin Toffler, Future Shock

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

“Most of us spend our lives acting rationally in a world we recognise and understand but which no longer exists.” says Eddie Obeng,  Professor at the School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Henley Business School and the founder and Learning Director of Pentacle. At this point in history, for most people on the globe the pace, scale and interconnectedness of change exceed our ability to learn.  Nowadays what worked or happened yesterday are no longer a good predictors of what will work or happen tomorrow.

Here is Eddie’s  TED talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/eddie_obeng_smart_failure_for_a_fast_changing_world.html

Our world is changing VERY fast (technology, environment, climate change, resource depletion, markets and financial systems); the old rules and models don’t work anymore. To quote Einstein: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

Beginners Mind is an ancient competency which recognises the intristic clarity of mind associated with all innovation and creativity. Our coping mechanisms involve a lot of downloading from the past which doesn’t meet the fast changing present moment.

So the question that I want to ask is How? How do we actually make our minds more open to learning and leading in a fast changing world where the old rules no longer apply? How do we meet the emerging future without the screens of past conditioning? In other words, what is the practice of leadership that will meet the challenge of this time?

I believe that mindfulness is a social technology which enables leaders to make the distinction between the mind content and the actual context of clarity, intelligent inquiry and empathy. Mindfulness is less concerned with tools, skill sets, knowledge and past experience and is more about the ability to access, at will, an individual’s natural leadership qualities. It provides leaders with access to deep and honest self awareness. It tells them if they are on track and learning to observe impartially and with both internal and external wisdom. It bypasses mental ruts and other habitual, unexamined responses to challenges (such as fear, anger, judgement, cynicism, etc.). Mindfulness is simple, but not easy; the ability to stay fully in the moment and respond appropriately to the situation unfolding before you requires self mastery, but it is consistent with the natural leadership quality of pursuing excellence. Mindfulness is now widely becoming recognised both in the innovation learning,and neuroscience and many multinational companies are making it part of tyheir daily lives and leadership practices.(here is an interesting blog from Harvard business review  http://blogs.hbr.org/schwartz/2013/02/how-to-be-mindful-in-an-unmana.html)

Beginners Mind as a leadership competency is a radical learning edge that departs from our involvement with the content (“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” from Zen Mind, Beginners Mind by Suzuki Roshi) and points us in the direction of intelligent inquiry. Mind that is addicted to adrenalin rush of business, that is bogged down with concepts judgements and fears is not readily available for meeting the future as it emerges. In his Theory U, Otto Scharmer points to these opposing dynamics – downloading from the past on the one hand and presence – the ability to become alert still curious and clear in order to discover the potential for learning, change and growth inherent in any situation on the other.

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July 26, 2012

mindfulness and healing

Filed under: Mindfulness and meditation — mayanova @ 6:53 am

Image

It may be useful to begin by wondering: why do we become interested in meditation and mindfulness in the first place? What is the impulse that leads us towards this kind of inquiry and practice?

I believe that on some level we are seeking to heal ourselves, to become whole.

When I contemplate healing in the context of mindfulness I see it as a  restoring of an innate balance.

In that sense, all sickness, whether mental, emotional or physical (and even social and collective) can be seen as a symptom of  imbalance, of fragmentation. When we live in a compartmentalized, fractured world there are no clear pathways for the energy to flow. We experience loneliness, separation, discontent, and the general feeling of heaviness, of being unwell.

In contrast, familiarizing ourselves with the ability to be mindful and attentive we  begin to integrate and activate the energy of awakening and flow (see my previous post “seven factors of awakening“). This focused, clear awareness or clear knowing (sati Sampajañña) is a portal through which the innate balance of the body-mind-organism can be restored and the healing can occur. Through being mindful, present and attentive we begin to feel connected to the world through the awareness of being in the body,  the experience of embodiment through the five senses.
We can bring the attitude of care and kindness to our attention, being loving and compassionate with what we encounter in our experience. Judgment is the inhibitor of flow and healing.

Mindful breathing ( ānāpānasati) as an aspect of mindfulness of body is a deeply restorative and integrative practice. Breath can serve as a bridge, a connector, mending and establishing pathways, connecting the head with the heart and the heart with the belly, so that we can become a whole person, an integrated human being.

Practice of mindfulness, of embodiment and clear awareness leads to the establishment of deep wellbeing and balance in the body and mind.

The body lives in the present moment and is already connected to reality. The heart beats in the present moment. The breath only ever flows in the present moment and is already deeply and profoundly connected with everything else that is alive. The body is made up of the same stuff as the rest of nature. When we connect with the flow of life healing can occur spontaneously and naturally (see my previous blog “we are nature).

So where does the sense of separation come from? Where is it that we disconnect, fall out of balance?

It is our story, our fragmented sense of self which is so often full of fabrication and  assumptions, fears and compulsive habits of mind. It doesn’t facilitate the healing. It doesn’t produce a sense of wellbeing. It is not clearly present and attentive in the body. Therefore it is not connected to the present moment and the flow of life.

Yet, it is posible to wake up and give our attention to what is actually present, to  reconnect with the breath and the senses and the experience of embodied presence and alow the  healing to occur, one mindful breath at the time. It is possible to become whole and at peace,  to be well, alive and awake.  I call it coming home.

September 9, 2011

Seven Factors of Awakening

Filed under: Mindfulness and meditation — mayanova @ 3:38 am

Awakening. What a beautiful word.

Awakening: in the morning, in the middle of a dream, at odd moments in the day, in pain, in pleasure, in boredom, in ignorance, to our true nature. There is nothing we can’t awaken into and meet with awareness.  The meeting place is always this moment, now.

I have been reflecting on the Seven Factors of Awakening for quite some time in my own practice and I wanted to share my understanding, hoping it would be of benefit.

These are the seven:

1. Awareness (sati)

To know anything we have to be here, present with it.  Aware.  And we can only do that in the present moment.  Meeting this moment with awareness we find humility, mercy and insight into the way it actually is right now.

As Leonard Jacobs says: “If you can see it, hear it, feel it, taste it, touch it, or smell it, you can be present with it. It is of the present moment, and so it brings to you the opportunity to be present with it.”

In a way sati is the most important factor because without it you will not be aware of the other six.

Consider, what is the opposite of awareness?

Where are we and what are we doing if we are not present?

Mindedness arising out of pervasive habits, the Ground Hog Day we feel trapped in, seemingly unable to wake up from it.

2. Joy, lightness of being (piti)

When we stop resisting and arguing with this moment there is a relief. We surrender, allowing this moment to be as it is and in doing so we re-connect with the lightness of being.  We let go of struggle, resentment, restlessness, boredom and we relax into it.  Body becomes a  refuge of flowing pleasant energy.

Present moment is a joyful affair. Get out of your head. Listen to this moment right now: birdsong, traffic, sound of computer keys tapping. Look: light gleaming on the leaf outside, a bird flying in the window frame seemingly just  for the joy of it. Feel: warm body breathing, resting, alive. Isn’t it lovely?

Another way of understanding piti is that it manifests as the flow,” An awareness of the flowing energies of the organism” as Tarchin Hearn puts it. And flow always feels good.

Consider, what is the opposite of flow, joy, lightness of being?

Depression, pain, unhappiness, dukkha. Feelings of being stuck, even desperate. You may think of it as the blocked energy.  It is always of the past and future, it never arises in the mind that is totally present. It is always some kind of story in the mind that is producing unhappiness.

3. Peace, tranquility (passadhi)

How can we find out anything about anything if we are restless, constantly moving away? If you want to witness something small, subtle, you need to become still, attentive, draw close to it: look, listen , smell, observe. A dew on the spiderweb, cicada wings, the texture of a flower petal, a faint smell, a sadness  or joy in the eyes of someone you are talking to. How will you find out who you really are or what you really need if you don’t know how to listen?

Consider, what is the opposite of peacefulness?

The main obstacle to the inner calm and peace is the incessant mental chatter. As the verbalization decreases  we begin to observe increasing peacefulness throughout the body, the arising of silence and stillness in the mind.

Our habitual restlessness is like a surface of a lake in the middle of the day: restless, moving, changing, reflecting fragmented light in small, busy waves. But sometimes, very early in the morning or late in the day the lake becomes perfectly still, its mirror like surface reflecting clearly the wholeness of that moment. Our mind is a bit like that, everything we meet creates an impression on it and the mind flutters with the world, like a leaf in the wind. There is grace and knowing that can arise in stillness if we can sit long enough to allow the mind to settle.

4. Concentration  (Samadhi)

Concentration implies a deeper and sharper sense of focus than passadhi. Tranquility calms the mind. Concentration makes it single-pointed. It’s like throwing a dart into the target. The target is the object of awareness and the arrow is the clear sharp mind of concentration that penetrates it. The mind becomes centered, grounded and more unified.

Breath is a wonderful object to focus on; we are never separate from it, it doesn’t cost anything and  it puts us in touch with the quiet reality of the body, the ecological organism that quietly functions whilst we are busy doing other stuff. As we become more sensitive to the breath it becomes more and more subtle. Simultaneously our attention becomes more and more refined in order to stay with the increasingly subtle object it’s focused on. Eventually we can reach deep states of absorption characterised by sukha, profound bliss of tranquility and the pure radiance of the clear mind.

Consider, what is the opposite?

So often we are scattered, confused, reactive. Like a spring toy. Push the button and we spring forth.

5. Inquiry (dhammavicaya)


Dhammavicaya is the inquiry into the nature of phenomena. Not as they appear but as they are. It is a curious, intelligent mind free from concepts and preconceived ideas. Zen Master Suzuki Roshi refers to it as the beginners mind; the mind which is free to explore beyond the dualistic concepts of right and wrong, good and bad, existence  and non-existence. To really inquire we need the still focused mind that acts like a clear mirror.

Ramana Maharshi recommended a single enquiry to be repeatedly and  humbly investigated : “Who am I?”

He says: “When one makes the mind stick to one thought, the mind becomes rock-steady and the energy is conserved.The mind is only a bundle of thoughts. The thoughts have their root in the I-thought. Whoever investigates the True “I” enjoys the stillness of bliss.”

It requires patience,courage  and humility to go beyond our beliefs and conditioned perception of reality, what we often refer to as ego .

I often tell a story of a little fish. If you were to ask the fish:” Little fish, what it’s like ?” if it was able to describe you the experience moment by moment it might tell you: well, it looks like this, and sounds like this and feels like this on my skin. So if we were to strip ourselves of all the identification and preconceived ideas about our reality(such as: my name is such and such and my past is like this, i am striving towards this… )if we could let go of that we might find ourselves in the naked inquiry unfolding moment by moment, becoming the witness to the unfolding suchness of each moment.

Consider, what is the opposite to intelligent inquiry?

Have you ever been around someone who righteously clings to their version of reality as the Ultimate Truth? So much damage has been done out of blind beliefs and dogmas throughout the history. On the contrary all new thinking  and progress in the world requires a fresh start, some groundlesness in which to observe anew. To quote  Albert Einstein: “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.”

6. Energy (viriya)

Viriya is often refered to as effort. Effort to wake up, to free our selves from ignorance and suffering of the confused mind.

I like to think of energy as something that naturally arises when we let go of unhelpful states of mind that block it. Like the river that begins to flow once the dam is lifted.

I also like to think of it as the deep and sincere commitment to our inner wellbeing and future happiness. As poet David Whyte says : “you could be the blessed saint your future happiness will always remember, the person who in this moment makes a decision that can make a bold path into the years  to come.”

Best kind of effort is a sustained skillful application over a long period of time, rather than short frantic bursts of energy that are soon replaced by old habits. Ajahn Cha tells the story of the duck. He says: Practice is like feeding the duck. Your sole responsibility is to show up every day and feed that duck, don’t let it starve. How slow or fast the duck grows is none of your business!

Consider, what is the opposite to viriya?

boredom, apathy, laziness, doubt.

Do they produce happiness?

7. Equanimity, serenity  (upekkha)

Upekkha, the glorious mind of liberation.

Open, serene field of acceptance. Mind that is at peace whether things turn out this way or that way. Mind that is not threatened, doesn’t cling to pleasure and shy away from pain. It doesn’t struggle, doesn’t crave, doesn’t resist. It’s attributes are clarity, serenity and contentment  imbued with understanding and empathy.

“Beyond the right doing and the wrong doing

there is a field.

I will meet you there.”

Rumi

Consider, what is the opposite?

Fear, clinging, grasping, craving, the quagmire of mind.


If you reflect on the seven threads, you will see how they weave together  into the intricate cloth of awakening. May we all awaken as one.

metta

June 15, 2011

quotes on presence

Filed under: Mindfulness and meditation — mayanova @ 5:43 am

“If you can see it, hear it, feel it, taste it, touch it, or smell it, you can be present with it. It is of the present moment, and so it brings to you the opportunity to be present with it.”

Leonard Jacob

“I long as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself”

Maya Angelou

“Every day is my best day; this is my life; I am not going to have this moment again.”

Bernie Siegel

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’ for breakfast? said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
“It’s the same thing,” he said.

Poo and Piglet

“This place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you.”

Hafiz

“Let go of the idea that the path will lead you to your goal.  The truth is that with each step we take, we arrive.  Repeat that to yourself every morning: ‘I’ve arrived.’  That way you’ll find it much easier to stay in touch with each second of your day.”

Paulo Coelho

“We buy books, we go to gyms, we expend a lot of brain power on trying to hold back time, when we should be celebrating the miracle of being here in this world.”

Paulo Coelho

“If you remember nothing else, always remember this one great secret of spiritual practice: we don’t have to feel any particular way. We don’t have to have special experiences, nor do we have to be any particular way. With whatever arises, whether it’s pleasing or not, try to remember that all we can do is experience and work with whatever our life is right now. No matter what life is and no matter how we feel about it, all that matters in practice is whether we can honestly acknowledge what is going on, and then stay present with the physical experience of that moment.”

Ezra Bayda

“The miracle is not to walk on water but to walk on earth.”

Titch Nath Hanh

Listen – life is really going on, right now,
around us.  Do you see it?  Sometimes I lose it
but if I sit still and listen, it comes back,
and then I think, How funny, this is what being alive is.

Robin Morgan

“WE can make our  minds so like clear water that beings

gather about us that they may see, it may be, their own images,

and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even

with a fiercer life, because of our quiet.

W B Yeats

“When your attention moves into the Now, there is an alertness. It is as if you were waking up from the dream of thought, the dream of past and future. Such clarity, such simplicity. No room for problem making. Just this moment as it is.

Eckhart Tolle

“Sometimes it’s a form of love just to talk to somebody that you have nothing in common with and still be fascinated by their presence.”

David Byrne

“ How  we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives.”

Annie Dillard

February 2, 2011

this way, that way and coming back to our senses

Filed under: Mindfulness and meditation — mayanova @ 4:32 am

 

Life is challenging and unpredictable and the future is uncertain. That’s just the way it is.

What we want we can’t always get; what we don’t want often comes our way.

 

What we want is to feel pleasure and be free from annoying, painful and difficult things in life. If it’s pleasant we want more of it – that’s how desire, the moving towards, is set in motion. The desire tips the mind out of balance “this way”.

If  whatever is meeting us is unpleasant we develop aversion, the moving away from and the mind tips out of balance “that way”.

And so we swing, this way, that way, without choice, without awareness, helplessly reacting to whatever is happening and endlessly oscillating between desire and aversion, between pleasure and pain.

 

Fortunately, there is a middle ground, a mid-point between the extremes and it is available to us right here and now.

Mindfulness practice points to this place. It invites us to stop this endless yo-yoing, to wake up and come back to our senses. Literally.

Mindfulness is an invitation to come back to what is right here: to what we see, hear, taste, smell, touch and feel in our bodies; an invitation for our straying, swinging, tired mind to come back home and settle in the body. We relax and become present.

It is 0nly then we begin to realize it is mind that swings; the body is already here and this moment is always as it is.

Take a look at this cube for a moment.

At first you will see a cube facing one way, the way you habitually perceive a cube.

Now look at the cube carefully, opening to the possibility that there is a different way of perceiving it. It may take some time, so be patient.

If you saw the cube facing “this way”, see if you can see a cube facing “that way” ( away from you rather than towards or to the right rather than to the left)

Can you see a different cube?

“This cube” and “that cube”?

See if you can switch from one to the other?

How long did that take?

So for the purpose of this reflection “this cube” may represent our mental world, the inner world of endless train of thought and association, hopping from one to the other, obsessing about something, complaining, trying to fix and predict stuff and distracting our selves with daydreams, screens, food, objects of desire when we feel overwhelmed. This is the mental cube of our imaginary inner worlds, our stories.

“That cube” may represent the switch to present moment awareness, mind coming back and integrating with the body, to being here and now in the common reality we all share through our senses. This is the cube of now, as it is.

When the body and mind come together in the present moment awareness of THIS moment, we come back to reality, to what is here and now.

And what is here and now is somehow always manageable. Thinking about what needs doing is always much harder than simply doing what needs to be done. Thinking about our lives is always more complicated and unrewarding than simply living them as they are.

Once we can fully accept moments of our lives as they are, we jump of the rollercoaster ride of desire and aversion, we relax and  find clarity, acceptance and contentment in the midst of uncertainty and chaos of life.

Believe it or not it’s a simple choice: this cube or that cube. Mindfulness is like a game of switching cubes and learning to play with the cube of now in clear awareness.

And as with all games,  it’s best approached with a bit of humility,  a sense of humour and some perseverance. Practice makes perfect…

May 20, 2010

downsizeme please!

Filed under: Mindfulness and meditation — mayanova @ 11:52 am

Why is it that we always need to get bigger, to expand, to grow?

How can something infinitely grow?

Can we only breathe in and never breathe out?

And where are we growing from, what is our intention, our state of mind?

I am hugely interested in how our mind responds, relates to and affects the environment. What does peak oil, 350 or climate change have to do with how I think, with my state of mind? How did we get ourselves into this peak everything situation? And now what?

What about the greed and fear in my own mind. Is clinging, grasping, needing ,wanting ever going to come to an end, will it ever be satisfied?

Couldnt I try letting go?

As David Holmgran, the co-founder of permaculture states: Could not the concept of Descent be a new frontier to approach with zeal?

Does Powerdown really sound that bad?

In his book Transition handbook Rob Hopkins states:

“The reality is that the only way from here is DOWN (in terms of net energy consumption terms), but that down need not necessarily mean deprivation, misery and collapse. The idea of Energy descent is that each step down the hill could be a step towards sanity, towards place and wholeness”

We cannot grow the economy indefinitely. We cannot keep finding sustainable ways to support our un-sustainable lifestyle. We cannot really expect the scope of one earth to keep powering  our Consumer Society.

Why do we consume? Is that how we define ourselves, as consumers? Of products, ideas, ideologies, trends… meaning? How did we give our creativity and power away to such an extent? What about re-claiming our ability to produce, to create, to imagine?

Yes, downsize me please! I delight in the prospect of descending this mad curve of  “growth”.

Downsize me to the scale of my community, to the food that grows in my garden or even pot. Downsize the amount of crap we pump into the atmosphere. Downsize what we put in landfills. Downsize what we continually claim bit by bit away from nature and other species that share this place with.

I recently read this bit of statistics: to maintain the energy consumption of one average American, it would take 40 people paddling on bicycles day and night in his back yard!

Powermedown to the bicycle or  a walk instead of forty horses taking me down the road to the dairy to get a packet of chips.

Power me down please!

For some good ideas check out this blog:

www.transitionus.org/stories/open-letter-how-get-350ppm

http://www.billmckibben.com/deep-economy.html

March 11, 2010

we are nature

Filed under: Mindfulness and meditation — mayanova @ 8:43 am

What is rooted is easy to nourish.

What is recent is easy to correct.

What is brittle is easy to break.

What is small is easy to scatter.


Prevent trouble before it arises.

Put things in order before they exist.

The giant pine tree grows from a tiny sprout.

The journey of a thousand miles starts form beneath our feet.


Rushing into action you fail.

Trying to grasp things, you lose them.

Forcing a project into completion you ruin what was almost ripe.


Therefore, the master takes action by letting things take their own course.

s/he remains calm at the end as at the begging.

s/he has nothing therefore has nothing to lose.


What s/he desires is non-desire;

What s/he learns is to unlearn.

S/he simply reminds people of who they have always been.

S/he cares for nothing but Tao.

Thus s/he can care for all things.


Tao Te Ching


Tao is the way of nature.

We are nature.

Our bodies already sit in the awakening.

We are already here.

And when we are fully here, totally present, we are exactly where we need to be.

It is our minds that make us disassociate, worry and complain by spinning stories about “me” and “mine”.

So what is there to learn is to unlearn: Just observing, witnessing things as they are;

Body and mind united in the present moment awareness, we have the opportunity to observe non-dually, directly, through our senses and without the distortions of our mental and emotional projections and conditioning.

Expanding our awareness we become profoundly interconnected, breathing with the trees (I breath out CO2 the tree breathes it in through the bark and breathes out O2.. Right this minute, between these four walls, as you read this the air you breathe has been exhaled by the trees), we become nature.

What is rooted is easy to nourish, what is brittle is easy to break…

Mindfulness helps us recognise where we tip out of balance, meditation helps us to re-establish our selves in the awareness and wellbeing.

Each mindful breath is a new beginning. Each out-breath an opportunity to let go, relax and start anew; this way life is possible again.

Beathe, smile and enjoy!

December 11, 2009

mindful leadership

Filed under: Mindfulness and meditation — mayanova @ 6:10 am

 

Why is mindfulness important for leaders?

And why today more than ever…

  

We live in a time of great crisis which is manifesting itself in environment, business and finance, social disintegration and increasing poverty and hardship in the world, dwindling resources, conflict, the list goes on and on. Whether we see this challenge as a crisis or as an opportunity to embrace the change and develop new models of how we live, work and trade in the world will depend largely on the kind of leadership we foster today. Digging our head into sand will not do. What is needed now more than ever is aware, creative and brave leadership endowed with vision and insight.

The leadership practice of being fully present and in the moment is one of the most difficult practices we can master.

Mindfulness is about going beyond the hierarchical conservative models and moving into the adaptive, intuitive and co-creative leadership. Mindfulness creates leaders that are self-aware, agile in the moment and deeply resonant.

In his article on Mindful leadership, George Ambler recognizes 3 key components which define mindful leadership, they are:

Ability to stay fully present in the moment

The ability to stay fully present in the moment and to respond appropriately to the situation unfolding before you requires self mastery. One wrong step and the situation could spiral out of control. To remain mindful one needs to be self aware and have the awareness of the environment and the people around you.

 

Self awareness

Knowing ourselves enables us to make choices how we respond to people and situations. Deep knowledge about ourselves enables us to be consistent, to present our self authentically, as we are. We trust and follow people who are real, who are consistent and whose behaviour, values and beliefs are aligned. Honing the skills of mindful attention to oneself enables us to make better choices because we recognize and deal with our internal state – thoughts, physical sensations and emotions. Our perceptions are clear, not clouded by our own filters, biases and unexplored or unacknowledged feelings. Through purposeful, conscious direction of our attention we are able to see things that could normally pass us by giving us access to deeper insight, wisdom and choices.

Environment and people awareness

For a leader, each conversation and exchange is an opportunity to gather valuable information about people, groups and cultures whilst building relationships and resonance.

 

The ability to be fully present, mindful of our internal state and the environment allows us to respond as true leaders. This practice is especially required when managing organisational change and crisis situations. The more we practice being present the better we are able to influence, guide and lead.

 

 

 

Another great example of the applied mindfulness is Dr Otto Scharmer’s work.

Dr Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer at MIT and the founding chair of ELIAS (Emerging Leaders for Innovation Across Sectors),  a program linking twenty leading global institutions from business, government and civil society in order to prototype profound system innovations for a more sustainable world.

Scharmer holds a Ph.D in economics and management.

In his new book Theory U: Leading from the future as it emerges, Otto Scharmer introduces readers to the concept of “presencing”. A blend of the words “presence” and “sensing”, presencing signifies a heightened state of attention that allows individuals and groups to shift the inner place from which they function. When that shift happens, people begin to operate from a future space of possibility that they feel wants to emerge. 

Being able to facilitate that shift is, according to Scharmer, the essence of leadership today.

These are some of the key points that Dr Schramer illuminates:

Tapping our collective capacity

We live in a time of massive institutional failure collectively creating results that no one wants. Climate change. AIDS. Hunger. Poverty. Violence. Deconstruction of communities, nature, life – the foundations of our social, economic, ecological and spiritual wellbeing. This time calls for a new consciousness and a new collective leadership capacity to meet challenges in a more conscious, intentional and strategic way.

Illuminating the blind spot

The cause of our collective failure is that we are blind to a deeper dimension of leadership and transformational change. We are blind to a source dimension from which the effective leadership and social action come into being.

We know a great deal about what leaders do and how they do it but we know very little about the inner place, the source from which they operate.

Succesful leadership depends on the quality of attention and intention that the leader brings to any situation.

We know very little about this invisible dimension of leadership , even though it is our source dimension, and this constitutes a “blind spot”.

Slowing down to understand

At its core, leadership is about shaping and shifting how individuals and groups attend to and subsequently respond to a situation. That requires the skills of deep listening and mindfull observation.

Deep Attention and Awareness

Deep states of attention and awareness are well-known by top athletes. Bill Russell, the key player of the most successful basketball team ever, the Boston Celtics,  describes it as playing in the zone. According to Russel’s description, as you move from regular to peak performance, you experience a slowing down of time, a widening of space, a panoramic type of perception and a collapse of boundaries between people..

While top athletes around the world have begun to work with refined techniques of moving to peak performance, business leaders operate largely without these techniques or indeed without any awareness that such techniques exist.

To be effective leaders, we must understand the field, or inner space from which we are operating.Mindfulness and meditation techniques offer an awareness and practice that can close this gap.

  

Summing up: The way we pay attention to a situation, individually and collectively, determines the path the system takes and how it emerges. On all four levels – personal, group, institutional and global – shifting from reactive responses and quick fixes on a symptoms level to generative responses that address systematic root issues is the single most important leadership challenge of our time.

  

For more information you can check:

www.ottoscharmer.com

www.presencing.com

There are two fundamentally different sources of cognition.

One is application of existing frameworks and the other accessing one’s inner knowing.

All true innovation in science, business and society is based in the latter. Albert Einstain famously noted that problems cannot be resolved by the same level of consciousness that created them. Instead, we begin to see the need to learn to respond from a deeply generative source.

 Applied mindfulness in leadership hinges on three core fundamental movements:

– observation

– retreat and reflection (read meditation)

– spontaneous right action

It is my sincere hope that in the years to come we will learn to move away from repetitive, downloading, hierarchical models of leadership and into the fluid creative zone of leading from the inner space of the generative source. Using Otto Scharmers words: learning to co-initate, co-sense, co-presence, co-create and co-evolve into the more integrated, sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling future.

November 4, 2009

gratitude

Filed under: Mindfulness and meditation — mayanova @ 8:16 am

 Lotus%20Flower                                                     

  Is there ever enough?

  Am I ever truly content?

  What is the next excuse why I can’t be happy right now?               

  Will I ever arrive?   

 

to arrive,

to say thank you

to want no more than just this

to bask in my own glow and be healed from wanting

not to wander through world like a destitute being, a hungry ghost

to come home to peace

to smile

to forgive

to be like a blade of grass, open to the sun and the rain

to wake up from bleakness and selfabsorption 

to let go of notions of:

unworthiness, fear, loathing, righteousness, blame, selfpity,

all these treacherous minds that want to convince me that I exist,

that I am entitled to my pain and limitation.

to dive deep into my oceaness

to be free

light

and vast

——————————————————————

grateful

I am happy

at last

October 15, 2009

the crisis of imagination

Filed under: Mindfulness and meditation — mayanova @ 8:50 am

This blog is my contribution to the Blog Action Day 09 dedicated to the issue of Climate Change.

 

“The purpose of activism and art is to make a world in which people are producers of the meaning, not the consumers. ” Rebeca Solnit, Hope in the Dark

 

Possibly the biggest crisis we are facing right now is the crisis of creativity and imagination.

All is not well with our world.

Most of us have noticed.

Yet we respond differently. It is hard to know what is the most common response as we all move in different circles and our perceptions are colored by our cultural and family background, our assumptions about the world, socio-economic demographics, and so on…

But maybe it would be fair to say that majority of people are in a state of shock. Some are in denial, some are angry, many are frightened and numb. And a  few are excited about the possibility of change and the awakened citizenship.

 

We human beings have a tendency to cling to what we know. Even if it is dysfunctional, even if we have outgrown it and it stifles and poisons us,we still cling to ways of doing and thinking that are familiar.

We assume that the world has always been this way and that it will continue to grow much in the same way,  in the linear fashion we imagine to be a universal law.

Yet this is just the brief chapter in the evolution of human existence. Not too long ago we were intimately familiar with the natural cycles of the Great Mother, hunting and gathering, carrying our young on our back, worshiping the sun and the moon and the great earth that sustained us. We were connected, we cared, we were in tune and sensitive to our environment and all other beings that shared it with us. We lived n harmony. We were “Sustainable”…

I am not suggesting we return to our hunter-gatherer ways. Neither will I propose here a vision for a Brave New World (many great minds are engaged with this task and are far better equipped for it then I ever hope to be). I am merely putting things into perspective.

 

But I would like to make a point.

 

All change begins here, now, with us.

Every morning when we wake up, we put on yesterday’s face.

And we recreate yesterday’s world.

If we think of a human being as a microcosm, then we can apply some of the insights we have about human health and wellbeing and apply them to  the state of the world. In his book “Transperent self”, deep psychology pioneer Sidney Gerard makes the following point: ” I think we need in our society to take the precept “Ye shall be born again” out of Sunday school and put it into our public schools. I think we need to liberalize and pluralize our social structure so that people can be thought a theory of personal growth that encourages them to let an incarnation die without killing their embodied selves so that they can invent new ones and find company and places to live them until they die of being worn out… When a  man sleeps his facial expression changes and the chronic neuro-muscular patterns which define his character all dissolve. When he awakens, his facial musculature reproduces the mask that defines his physiognomy, he holds his body as he did yesterday and he behaves towards everybody he encounters  as he did yesterday. It is almost as if he pressed a button to release a reproduction of yesterday’s self. In principle he has the possibility of recreating himself at every moment of his waking life. It is difficult but possible to re-invent ones identity.”

I feel like we are holding a key here.

As I re-invent my identity, as I let go of my limitations, fears, habitual ways of responding to things, I increasingly become aware of the world in different ways.

As I become more aware, more intimate with myself and others,  as I listen and observe deeply I begin to notice stuff. I begin to bear witness. I wake up.

I am no longer numb to injustice, the suffering, the fact that it is warmer every year. I no longer turn a blind eye or accept what feels wrong or stupid. I begin to think about my choices, I reconsider.

When I walk down the road from my house I increasingly find it difficult to accept as “normal”  the fact that there are thousands of cars passing by,mostly carrying one passenger at the time, pumping carbon into the air. That billions of dollars are being invested planning for and accommodating more of this impoverished vision of what is possible for the future. That thousands of animals are held in concentration camps awaiting mass murder being fed monoculture palm or soy from plantations for which the virgin forests have been cleared. The abject poverty and injustice.

Is this the best we can dream up, we can imagine for tomorrow? Are we going to wake up with the same face tomorrow?

If we can imagine the new day then the new day can rise…………….. As I am writing this blog the editing is becoming very difficult as the system is jamming up probably due to thousands of bloggers writing today, on October 15th dreaming up new future, taking a stand, being awake.

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