Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Vipassana in 10 minutes

In the era of e-learning, hand held gadgets were still gaining their edge in display and memory. The Blackberry was the equivalent of the underground bestseller then. Ranjan Acharya, my boss was aghast when vendors were pushing for content on platforms such as the handheld to address Leadership Development. For him, the blur between convenience and essential learning was a corruptible blind spot for the learning function. In characteristic wit, he asked us “So, would you get Transformational Leadership in 5 minutes, just because you have a Blackberry?”

In 2017, the visual design experience has reduced substance to mere labels on handheld devices. So, even if you are the cover of the book, the market models for data on handhelds has conditioned you to short attention spans. You can afford longer attentiveness however. E.g. Someone like the Chief Minister of an Indian State can still opt for and will attend a 10 days Vipassana Retreat.

The corresponding map on social media now features caricatures, apparently trying to explain away laborious text in visual graphics. So, the trumped-up logic is the power of the visual. Sure; but is there one living example of Transformational Leadership from the latest Daniel Pink like animation?
So today, we have lampoon like artists among L&D professionals who provide stylized caricatures and flow diagram connectors to provide alibis for requisite depth in learning and development constructs. They are enthused by Television Rating Points (TRPS) forms of adulation, or at the very least by frequent boosts to their hedonistic intents. Their patience to watch, observe or commit to see a learner transform, would be as thin or meagre as the intervals between their deprived pleasures of virtual media posts.

The mirage of outcomes is then obfuscated by the next variant stimulus online, depriving the learner of essential transformations. Then like the proverbial opiate, the senses are invited to bursts of non-sustainable energies. Sensibility itself becomes the casualty. Reductionist symbolism, has its value nonetheless. It provides means of quick attention, requiring minimal effort. The shadow of such labourless pursuit of human development then raises its ugly head. The toxic manager, the petulant new employee and the dysfunctional team are ubiquitous. They are less featured on new media though. I am pretty sure you know what light to expect on contemporary media, instead.

The individual, team and organization has thus new manifestations of systems that maintain their behaviours. Their thresholds of perception are provoked by instant stimuli, although what they need are wholesome transformations. The medium and the message are awfully at odds. The penury of clarity in calling this out is stark among L&D professionals. So employees suffer ennui, and organizations shy from real and yet non-discussable truths.

In their anxiety to seem arrived on new platforms, L&D professionals have frittered away their raison d’etre in organizations to technology aided platforms. Disembodied from critical phenomena, they’re unable to influence their host paradigms, or to specify relevant outcomes in the new interactions between the numbed corporate citizen and the commerce of learning content.
Like the economy of nations, led by social media hungry leaders, the exasperation in seeing disappearing effect burgeons in organizational decline. That’s not the picture that you were presented with on the pushed content of the animation, was it? So, what would you look for and how would you go about it, if you’ve realized it is time to get out of your mind and come to your senses? May sensibility prevail!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Health is a wonderful feeling - NLP affirmations

Masterful NLP is not hypnosis per se. Yet, the oceanic feeling could engulf one in the kinaesthetic state. My observer said I was in a trance like state, needing effort to get out of it.

We were at our scheduled practice session between master practitioners today. To expect such from a verbal, vocal exercise was not imagined. After all, it was affirmations. That it was to be about affirmations for Health did mean much to those seasoned in years amongst us.

One among us is a masterful Yoga teacher. He came to Yoga after learning NLP. 3 of us were mindful Vipasana practitioners. So, the observations were sharp, subtle and tuned in.

From a Yogic understanding, the affirmative sequence got us through the anamaya into the pranayama in the first phase. Then the manomaya in the mid-phase. We seemed to have grazed through the vigyanamaya layer just enough to get a glimpse of the blissful outer sheath of anandamaya. These sheaths are referred to as koshas.

It is nearly facile to slip into unexamined inference of this yoga school of thought. It is also a done thing to attribute the success of people like Carl Jung, and Integral School proponents, to the heritage India has in this respect. And yet, since language can distance us just as geography does, shamanic traditions of Latin America or that of Siberian archetypes like Dersu-Uzala, are seldom on our minds in Anglican or Sanskrit lands.

This is where the methods that integrate mind, body and emotions that NLP has is potent. Masterful practitioners like Dick McHugh also learnt from epitomes of human mastery such as Virginia Satir., Milton Erickson, and others like them. It is one thing to listen to audio-tracks of people like Louise Hay, and quite the trance to be guided by real fellow practitioners. While my observer described that part of me which was on his eyes, what was in me was energy rekindling parts o my unattended body, that left me floating in weightless state free from afflictions.

Getting into that core state through affirmations then is a wonderful gift to have. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Some Paradoxes within interpersonal Dimensions

Polarities or paradoxes require us to manage both sides of the opposing pole in a phenomenon, but not as compromise, nor as compensation for the non-preferred pole. Like between managing rewards of individuals and the team as a whole in organizations; or between routine and change. The term balance in such cases, can lead to a conception of an ideal, that in essence may not be ideal. That is to say, that what is in concept need not be the content of the phenomenon of balance. While some people are naturally learning, and evolving across both poles in a paradox, others resist tendencies to accept their opposing poles. Such resistance varies by degree and extent across people, and across situations. Mastery over both poles neutralises the role of situations to some extent. Mastery is assumed as balancing by those who perceive it only intellectually. Once one achieves mastery over both poles, balance follows as a natural poise, than an effort to be pursued or a trick waiting as charismatic magic beneath the treachery of flipper tendencies. It is mastery that requires effort, on either pole.
The more you resist, the more it persists. The more you accept, the more you transform.
– Fritz Perls
Notes on the Interpersonal Self
The initiation of the interpersonal self can be said to be culminated in the realm of opinions. The interpersonal self contains impressions and expressions both, and as such traverses the scope of one’s personal identity; as also the maintenance of the self in highly subjective worlds. The more you seek others’ views, the more you are obliged to opine. Similarly, the more you are asked for your views, the more the other person is obliged to be open to your expression. This is a reciprocity that is at the heart of influence in human interactions.
The more you opine with certainty, the more you have embodied your truth from the impressions you have of your world. The more you open yourself to others’ views, the more you are willing to be influenced to the truths they express from their worlds. Frankness need not be certainty either. It’s about  getting matters off one’s chest without reserving interpersonal distance from the other being communicated to. Diplomacy arises from your acknowledgement of space the other person has in his/her relationship with you. Stepping in (frankness) and stepping out (tact/diplomacy) of interaction presence are marks of versatility in mutual interpersonal spaces.
Confidence in having your needs and wants met without aggressive demand mark expressions of assertiveness. Its converse is that submissive undertones mark pessimistic demeanour or lack of confidence in asking for what one wants.  At times, lurking beneath one’s improvement tendencies, is an unspoken belief of not being enough, as in an unhealthy self-esteem. At other times, the signals one leaks in disproportionate space given to others, also encourages others to take one for granted, and enjoy freedoms in excess of it’s usefulness in situations. That’s when one’s influence slacks, and respect for one’s vision weakens in interpersonal realms.
Inner poise notwithstanding, assertiveness is void without an expression that others can witness in their experience. Assertiveness itself is anchored in subjective truths. It’s premised in the belief that one has about the social world being capable of serving one’s inner needs.
A common understanding to authenticity is about truth being evident through a living expressing entity. There are some very related attributes that may clarify adjacencies and essentials of the term. There are at least two polar opposites that when seen in combination, gives us different conceptions of the authenticity experience. The spread below would finely texture the authenticity experience at the very least.
1.      Intensity – Intensity is the discharge of passion, that gets conveyed, as if one’s life depended on the force of communication. If not laced with light-hearted freedom from the passion, one runs the risk of being viewed as a deadpan inflexible person, like a bull on charge with it’s horn.
2.      Levity – Levity is the surrender of the self in humour, sometimes even at one’s own expense, in order to perk up the mood in a situation. While levity marks an ease with one’s own self, one runs the risk of being considered trivial, if humour and cheer is unconscionable in particular contexts; where solemnity may be the expected norm.  That’s when one can feel like a flower budding still-born.
Dignity lies at the intersection between intensity and levity. It is a reputational lever of an engaged leader.
3.      Positivity – The attitude of being positive about the future, regardless of situations, can end up in unbridled passion for one’s cause. While this may bear similarity with optimism, positivity is also about encouraging healthy emotionality in the other. It is more a citizen of the interpersonal space, than optimism is.  Unbridled passion meets its limitations due to poor sense of reality.
4.      Curiosity – Curiosity too is an attitude, that is made manifest in enquiring behaviours. This attitude signals a desire to learn and be apprised in the moment, regardless of past learning. While an enquirer’s naivete can be the cost of one’s reputation in a learned group, being curious for curiosity sake is an anxious paranoia.
Authenticity is the phenomenon of persisting with curiosity with a positive outlook, yet; being flexible enough to be light-hearted in mistakes, and solemn enough when bearing upon tragedy in human situations.
5.      Vulnerability – The advent of vulnerability is a reckoning with one’s irrational fears. In interpersonal space, fears of upsetting others or being upset oneself; fears of engendering necessary conflict or being involved in a conflict oneself; are central to one’s vulnerability. In some cultures it is about dealing with the aspect of shame; whereas in others it is about dealing with guilt.
6.      Courage As is now the more popular notion, the root word ‘coeur’ in French is the basis of courage. The heart is the seat of embrace with the unknown. Courage flowing from the human heart may at times appear like a leap of faith from known constraints. Personal transformation rarely occurs without such courage. It is after all the willingness to let oneself go of the past in a zone of unknown.
Fidelity to Emotions
As above, the doorway to leadership presence is through emotional breakthroughs. One may very well ask, is not authenticity a mark of leadership? Like when a leader is vulnerable enough to cry in public? It may however be argued that, leaders are more valued for their emotional connect with their people, than with the rolling of tears in public view per se. In some cultural contexts, gender based expectations of sadness are very sharply categorized. Consider however, that a leader’s anchorage is in consistency as in one’s stated constancy of purpose - than with overt emotional extremism.  Respect for the leader goes up, when measured and calibrated response from the leader engages follower’s hearts, without habitually having to choke on a handkerchief or a paper-tissue. The lack of suffering with one’s followers is also easily discerned by others, and therefore to nullify emotional expression would be a blindness of the mind. In a manner of speaking emotions that do not hurt you should at the very least guide your intelligence in interactions. Emotions that hurt in the moment, take a while to accept, understand and appreciate, before one attempts one’s related transformations. These include overtly positive self-appraisals, that are later discovered as painfully owned delusions of one’s self-image.
Emotionality of leaders is a privileged conversation, in that one does not expect the office boy, the janitor or a helpdesk supervisor to be derailed on the job for being emotionally incongruent. They are not as often assessed for their emotional fluency as leaders are. The privilege is mocked on by those whose thresholds for transformation are not aroused in the interpersonal realm. For those initiated in this emotionally intelligent space, the privilege has almost acquired the status of reciprocal responsibility. The leadership process is neither for the faint-hearted; nor for the emotionally blind. It is a decision in giving of the self to a Purpose larger than oneself.