It is a commonly recognized observation that many of our most valued concepts are really double-edged swords. Yes I know, the common wisdom is that there can’t be too much of a good thing. But is this really true?
As we have described in previous blog entries, much of our personal behavior is not as free or autonomous as we might’ve thought. We believe we are a decision-making and autonomous entity called an ego. Then we see that we carry assumptive states brought on through a lifetime of conditioning and that much of our behavior is reactive. That is to say, it’s triggered by outside events and as that grand autonomous decision-making entity, we have nothing to do with the reactive behavior that follows.
Now comes the final chink in our behavioral armor. Our intellect has come to believe that even with all of these blinders firmly in place in securing our way forward, that it still has the entirety of the playing field on which to prove itself. Most people will readily admit to anyone, that had they been entirely in charge of their own life that they would not be where they are today. In fact, it is insanity to think that the average person would knowingly invite all the events that have created the current or even past version of their life!
So there must be something else at play and our intellect is playing a role that obscures our ability to see that something else. Now, I could be cute and try to tease that something else out in a story or otherwise. But let me just say it. If our direct role in life could be called connectivity, then that other thing I would call interconnectivity. In the world of being interconnected, the recognition must arise that we have no control over the majority of behavior that surrounds us in the form of other egos. Therefore, we have no other choice but to stand in response to whatever behavior these “others” bring into our own path. Thus, the art of acting and leading in life must include the aware and focused inactivity that is the platform from which we adroitly respond. But if our intellect is informing us that there is no such thing beyond the self-contained and autonomous direct acting of the ego, then we are doomed if we ever expect to act or lead from the silence of response. Awakened Leadership rests entirely on the recognition that all behavior is available to be launched from exactly that silence. However, the intellect that informs one that the felt experience of autonomous authorship is true, will forever be an impediment to the responsive launching of choice-less awareness.
One of my favorite experiences that points to this difference, is the typical American experience found when living in that crazy yet profound country of India. When in India, it is not difficult to find the most beautiful and wonderful meditation halls. Of course, it is normal to want to both attend and participate in one of these beautiful meditation experiences. Now like most Americans, one would surmise that attendance at such a profound and religious event, should include respect. In our culture, that respect is typically reflected in the dress that we wear. And, so often, in our first visit to such an event, we set off in our most resplendent clothes. But there is one little detail that no one would normally anticipate given American conditioning. That is, upon entering a meditation hall all participants leave their sandals in cubicles just outside the hall. Often times, upon returning to go home, the first-time meditator will find that their finest sandals have gone missing. The frustrating part of this, in addition to returning home barefoot, is that the gift of your most wonderful sandals has gone to someone that you couldn’t possibly know. The interconnected piece of so-called individual attendance is nested in a large throng. And that group comes into play. Despite the egos’ good intention of expressing respect and possibly garnering attention, the outcome is a barefoot ride home in an Indian rickshaw accompanied by the thought of beautiful and now missing sandals.
My question to you is – can you find the stories in your own life where the unintended consequences of direct behavior created the delivery of the unexpected and interconnected? Would living in an awakened space with awareness of the interconnectedness alter that possible outcome? Can you see intellect and its role in Awakened Leadership and how this awareness could benefit you?
In the spirit of interconnectedness – I welcome thoughts and conversations in the comments below. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.