Saturday, December 24, 2011

Time to Reflect - December's embers

December has often given me reflective time. Last night, as we stood to mark the birth of Christ outside an overcrowded church, it would have looked like devotion spilled over. The year that has gone by presented scenes that would mimic mass movements – or tend towards one – Morrocco, Libya, Egypt and Syria are graphic reminders. The scenes and visuals on media these days would look like anti-corruption crusaders have billowed from sparks of angry protest. What are people in search of? Can they find it together?

The song Kolaveri di has a followership in subtlety in India, where as eminent psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar put through long ago – there’s a mighty projection through collective cooperation. We Indians foist upon singular entities a power that makes them do things we would not dare to do ourselves. The series of Occupy Protests in USA are a departure from consumerist numbness there. These eclipse the birth of a new country in South Sudan, altogether.  Economic machinations of the West, Europe and war-torn nations hold up a fragile situation on the other hand. The pressure on civil society to find new answers or rediscover old ones is increasing.

So here is the insight. The scientific approach has led to a belief that humans are at the centre of the universe and he/she can conquer and control the universe. Rapid material progress and reckless consumption have created an alienation and emptiness within.  The means to assert individual will have also made it a complex and a futile journey for many. The wherewithal for the present and the future include a self-leadership and a personal journey.
Manmade and natural calamities challenge us. However, in recent decades there is an awakening unfolding that humans are part of a larger Whole. More and more people have begun a search for meaning and purpose. The quest for meaning and purpose is inescapably an inward journey. Through constant awareness, the discerning seeker comes across a reservoir of  inner potential. In the course of the inward journey the traveller discovers new dimensions of human and universal existence.

Such a discovery process awakens spiritual intelligence in the voyager with a sensibility infused with warrior like qualities. These warrior like qualities enable the leader to go over the edge to venture out into the unknown. New frontiers open up new perspectives to face the challenges, tempered by compassion.

The future for human civilization is a shift towards the cosmos as a whole. This approach brings about a balance between we humans and our environment. Our corporations, communities, cultures and science will learn a new way of living and relating. The new way of living, leading and relating can pave the way for a mindful future that may enable sustainable life.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Spiritual Intelligence - Explorations with George Kunnath

I've had some fascinating moments exploring the aspects of a Spiritual Intelligence conceptualization, thanks to the sharing from George Kunnath. Like a babe on the shores this vast ocean of awakening waiting to be known, I wade through a water that ensnares, endangers and yet comforts. Non-rational at it's core, it is a force from which we may have arrived in material form, and yet, our forms of knowing inadequate to explain phenomena we experience in this respect.

Here's a glimpse of that exploration. Posted here for your reflections and comments please.

The Material and the Spiritual

The Newtonian scientific model challenged this understanding of unity and overemphasized empirical verifiability as a prerequisite for any existence. The overemphasis of the Newtonian paradigm eclipsed indigenous wisdoms of the heart and idealised everything that is cerebral.  What we now witness is an intractable reductionism of essentially phenomenological experience into measurement, and look-alike frameworks of an extrinsic measurement paradigm. This has led to the propagation of ‘indices’ for phenomena such as customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and learnability. Every facet of human life has been driven by the cerebral rather than the visceral.

The rapid material progress in the West at the cost of all other dimensions of human existence created a vacuum. Many Westerners began to look eastward to find meaning. The feudalistic rituals of the institutionalized religions became redundant for the true seeker of the spirit and meaning.  The inner quest for greater meaning beyond material existence gave rise to many gurus and spiritual practitioners outside the religious structures. Western seekers came to India in search of peace and enlightenment.  Many found the solace they sought as they traversed through the chaos and immersed deep into the ancient spiritual practices.
Since, the treatise on Spiritual, Emotional and Analytical is an on-going one with a respectable legacy already available in literature, we wish to stress on a transformative space that leaders could act from. As the saying goes, it is better to cover one’s feet with slippers than to carpet one’s path on this world laden with thorns and stones.

... everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe - a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.” - Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman, Albert Einstein - The Human Side, Princeton University Press, 1979.

Albert Einstein, probably the personification of fundamental inquiry in the pure sciences, acknowledged the existence of a greater power that makes us humble and surrender before it. Spiritual intelligence is a higher intelligence governing the universe.  Looking at the way the universe operates, it is a great marvel. Every event, every process in the universe is governed by a principle or a set of principles.  The manifestations of the governing principles can be observed in the operation of the universe. The planets orbit through their paths and the birds fly in the sky with no super highway crashes or mid-air collisions. There is a particular principle governing every species on earth unique and yet different. Seeds sprout, grow bloom, bear fruit and perish. Mammals are born, they grow, they reproduce, and they decline and die. The cycle of life continues; irrespective of the host habitat – the tectonic plates of Iceland, the fold mountains of the Himalayas or the Great Australian outback.

Every invention of man is a poor imitation of nature. Perhaps Nature does not make the effort to communicate its bemusement of our flattery for Her. The most sophisticated computer is no match for the human brain. No technology can match the marvel of the universe. The World Wide Web which is one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century, it would appear, is modelled on the planets and stars and the interconnected nature of things in the universe. For the design of the most sophisticated fighter planes, extensive studies are done on eagles in flight with cameras attached to their body to capture the angle of their flights.  Whatever it may be called, a superior intelligence governs the entire universe including the humans. However, often we think that man can conquer and control the universe. In this quest for mastery and control of the universe we have forgotten that humans too are governed by the same higher intelligence that governs the entire universe.

Spiritual intelligence is not separate from the higher principle that governs the operation of the universe. In the Indian spiritual tradition any human soul (atman) has the potential to take the inner journey and be one with the whole (Brahman) universe. In this oneness the duality disappears, humans and the universe are not separate, they are one whole. When connected with one’s core we are connected to the whole. Being whole is our fundamental nature. When we experience separation form the whole due to karmic effects (akin to the collective consciousness of Carl Jung) we are unable to access the higher intelligence. Being one with the whole gives us purpose and meaning. We become clear about our true calling and we live out our true destiny. When we are one with the whole we constantly tap into the infinite resources of the higher intelligence. Our connection with the higher intelligence guides us to live our lives for something greater than ourselves. We respect other people and everything in the universe.

In the universe we humans are the only ones who kill for pleasure. The animals kill only for self-preservation – either to defend against an aggressor or for food. Human conquests are for greed, power and control. Human greed has depleted the natural resources, threatening the equilibrium of the planet..

Going back to nature to learn our basics again seems inevitable and precarious in our moments of choice. What if we were to remodel our corporations on the basis of the laws that govern the universe? Would that be a design choice? Individuals and organizations are taking to adventure and nature exploration. Some organizations are experimenting with workplace spirituality. While many such initiatives appear as attempts to be current with developmental practices, some leaders are undertaking an inner journey to explore intangibles that gives them meaning and anchor. Such a journey leads one to the inner core from where one learns to connect with the whole. 

The communion with the Whole brings about a transformation in the leader. A leader thus transformed allows oneself to be guided by the higher intelligence. These leaders help transform their groups, corporations, communities and nations. When the duality between self and others dissolves we merge into the interconnectedness of the Whole.

Spiritual Intelligence flows from personal authenticity, integrity and congruence. Every creative process at work is indicative of Spiritual Intelligence at work. When Spiritual Intelligence is at work, questions of purpose and meaning are at rest for they are continuously unfolded by the constant interplay of Spiritual Intelligence with everything in the universe. The interconnectedness of the universe ever manifests the spiritual intelligence at play. The incessant flow of energy through all animate and inanimate life forms in their various stages of creation is spiritual intelligence incarnate. The ever present natural order amidst apparent chaos reinforces the presence of the superior intelligence that governs the universe of which humans are a tiny spec. This realization makes humans to surrender to the greater power in the act of letting go. In this apparent loss of control we learn to accept the supremacy of the higher power that guides the destiny of the universe.  A new natural order emerges and we learn a new way of living, leading and managing our lives and the surroundings. The new way is sustainable for the present, future of our planet and future generations.