CONSTRUCTING THE SELF
The job of society, family and institutions is to develop members that are reliable. Reliable in a way that makes those groups survive and possibly flourish. All the while influences of creativity, imagination, and plain fun also want their place. Every human being, like a snowflake, emerges with their own unique and never to be repeated story. What emerges typically is an uneasy compromise. We call that finished story of tension “you”.
Alan grew up in the California of the sixties. The ocean, orange groves, surfboards and burritos all had their place in his story. Alan was blessed with a Grandfather that wielded great influence in his life. He was a child’s first mentor. Alan was encouraged to read literature and philosophy as well as pursue “useful” knowledge in life such as making money. He was surrounded with “old men of the dirt” as he would lovingly call them. Corona, California was a small orange town. Every child was given the opportunity to absorb the wisdom of growing things in the dirt.
The compromise of possibility and pragmatism would become the theme in every aspect of Alan’s life. He graduated with degrees in both accounting and philosophy. Loaded with promise Alan launched into the corporate world ready for the next stage.
Polishing the EgoThe Push for Self Mastery
Ego polishing stories are usually robust. Alan’s is no different. In his early career he was the senior partner of a significant merger & acquisition CPA firm numbering over 100. He served on boards and clients of household name brands.
If it could be said that one is a product of the mentors who have poured their life energy into the next generation, and Alan is clearly in this lineage. In his early career he had mentors such as Milton Friedman, Peter Drucker, and Stephen Covey to name a few.
At the end of the first 15 years in the corporate world Alan arguably had checked all of the boxes. He had experience, success, and a story that could hold up for a lifetime. By all known qualifiers he should have been done. But he knew there was a “missing”. Like all seekers, he had little or no idea what that was. So what now?
Alan knew that the ego polishing exercise had yielded all it could. And now began the next stage of becoming a seeker.
The Searchfor Authenticity & Awakening
At the age of 36 Alan set out on a trip to India that would last several years. For the first three years he lived in Osho’s ashram in Pune. This was a time of penetrating the constructed ego. What were the would’s, could’s and should’s that had seeped into his very being and acted unconsciously on their own? And to what end did these stories live within him? And did they in any way relate to the authentic roots of who he felt he was?
But authenticity is nothing without awakening. Alan would then find Ramesh Balsekar, an awakened master who had followed Nisargadatta. Ramesh had been the former CEO of the Bank of India and was the perfect mentor. Alan and Ramesh spent many afternoons after the daily satsang held for seekers daily at 10am.
The seeking beyond self mastery holds two experiences. The first is that of finding one’s “original myth” story as Joseph Campbell would have held it. And yet there still is a beyond authenticity. For you are not the individual story of authenticity but consciousness itself. The awakening into this birthright is simply the return to your natural state.
In 1999 Alan experienced his own awakening.
The Awakened LifeThe Warrior Returns
Amazingly Alan’s call for the years after awakening were again in the corporate world, the very place he began. But this time it was mentoring, teaching and coaching were his major demands.
In 2010 Alan wrote his first book, Awakened Leadership: Beyond Self-Mastery. He saw that his personal journey was exactly the same as the stages of adult maturity theory being utilized in leadership development in the corporate world. Since he had lived exactly that arc of development, he felt that he could undertake to write the story of that journey. The book was well received and was reviewed in the Huffington Post as well as garnering several writing awards. Additionally it has been in use in several universities.
Alan has worked with such brands as The North Face, Vans, Timberland, and others by designing and delivering curriculum on Executive Presence and Acumen, Compelling Story and Brand, and Leadership and Team Effectiveness.
In 2017 Alan recognized that his time in the large company world had run it’s course. He was no longer a warrior but graduating into the eldership and wisdom game.
The Wisdom Pond
It is said that the great warrior knows he must water the ground on which he performs. He battles to leave behind a flourishing world for those he serves. In one small country long ago, the warriors would return from their toils and make their way to a hidden pond. With them they would carry an empty bucket to be filled by the rickety old men at the pond. They knew they needed to water the grounds that provided their daily bread. But for all their might they lacked the experience to know how to get the water from the pond and into the wooden buckets. For this they relied on the old men to whom the secret of wisdom had been passed. These elders had once been warriors themselves and by luck guarded the old pond and lovingly handed water to all those warriors who could carry. This was the nectar of their human understanding and consciousness often called wisdom.
If one is lucky, it is said that, the last service one can provide is to tend the wisdom pond. It is simple in gesture and each bucket gets complete attention. It is perfect work for the old men of a village.
Beginning in 2017 Alan began tending the wisdom pond.
BOOKS BY ALAN
Transformational leadership books and processes have delivered us to the era of self-mastery. But how do we move from being effective leaders to being awakened leaders? By situating leadership in the nest of the seeker’s journey toward truth, you can now stand on the shoulders of the visionaries who have come before, and become conscious of your own position within Source.
Leaving behind charts, maps, and graphs, Awakened Leadership is a portal to direct experience via pointers and personal stories that will help you recognize the gift of being who you really are. Then your leadership essence will effortlessly manifest not only in the boardroom, but in all facets of your life.
Brands I Have Worked With
I arrived in India in 1990 for my first encounter with the world of mediation and seeking. I was “fresh off the boat”. My life until then had been an exercise in ticking the boxes I had been told would make one happy and fulfilled. Guess what? I had checked all of the...read more
There was a saintly man, a Sufi master. He lived in a small village in the typical hut. One day a neighboring young woman discovered she was pregnant. This news was followed by the inevitable, the birth of her daughter. Everyone in the village wanted to know the...read more
A favorite story of mine is one of the many told about a humorous character believed to have lived in the Middle Ages—a Sufi mystic and philosopher by the name of Mullah Nasruddin. It seems that one day the mullah lost the key to his house, and he decided to call all...read more