Hearts, Minds and Connecting the Dots

I was recently asked to comment on a blog exploring the idea as to whether or not it is critical to follow your heart”.  It got me thinking (quite a bit).  Oh, and I make no excuses for the apparent New Age flavour to this post.  It’s just how it came out!


 

Over the past few years, I have become more aware that we have several centres of intelligence. The mind is but one. The heart is another.  More recently, the gut has been recognised by scientists as having its own intelligence.

In such a fragmented world, where academics and book writers are rewarded for micro-ideas that can be framed into sound bytes (such as the one above), I find it interesting to call on history and the ancient wisdom of the Hindu/Buddhist Chakra system.  In this system, there are seven centres of energy within the body. Each system nowadays has a colour of the rainbow associated with it.  The heart charka is green and is at the centre of the system.

Chakra

One of the main issues in today’s world seems to be that the mind (indigo) and communication (blue) centres are so energetic – with our so-called “knowledge society” coupled with “mass broadcast media” that the other (lower) forms of subtle energy get drowned-out.

Maybe this is an age-old problem?  For there is also an ancient buddhist saying that “the longest journey in life is from the head to the heart”.

Anyway, I am currently doing some research on how the seven centres of chakric energy can become better balanced – not just within the context of an individual – but also in organisations AND society in general.

For:

  • Without a higher purpose, life becomes meaningless.
  • Without mind that is connected to serve others, life becomes ego-centric and selfish.
  • Without clearly articulating what you want for yourself or your organisation, others won’t understand where you are coming from and ignore you or misinterpret your ideas.
  • Without being allowed to truly express your feelings, life becomes emotionally blocked.
  • Without a sense that you are truly empowered, life becomes deeply frustrating.
  • Without a co-creative connection with others in your family or tribe, life becomes lonely.
  • Without a place to call home, life becomes frightening.

And so, to the main discussion about whether or not it is critical to follow your heart.

On thinking about the idea, I came to the conclusion that it isn’t just when the heart-centre is “in flow” – or we are “in the groove” that we get that feeling of life-is-good.  It is when ALL the energy centres are aligned to create an organic energy that is more than the sum of its constituent parts.  It is at such times that we, as human beings, are most connected to our fellow human beings – and to the natural world around us.

In terms of organisations, as regular readers will know, I look for much of my inspiration in the work that I do a as a beekeeper. I find the universal energy which is generated in abundance from the colonies of bees that I keep is indescribable – it has to be felt to be understood. The ways that the movements and (unrecordable) energies from each tiny, individual bee are compounded to create a colony that vibrates and energises the space around for the greater good of the colony is not too dissimilar to an organisation or society where the subtle forms of energy are recognised, amplified and aligned to a higher purpose.  Religious movements are one obvious answer.  But there are many other examples – some with “good” objectives.  Others perhaps, with more dubious ones.

I’ve also come to believe that intuition and flashes of inspiration (Ahah! moments, if you like) are not from us, but come to us when we most need them or call upon them. The egoic state sees itself as the centre of the universe. But spiritual practice is about removing the ego and tuning into more subtle forces of universal energy that pull you.  It is as if you are plugged-into connected consciousness and more aware of the subtle energies that might give you a greater chance to allow your energy to be mixed in more rewarding, unique ways.

So, it probably is important to follow your heart (over your head). But true connectedness comes when each energy centre is in alignment with the whole. It is then that we give up pushing and allow ourselves to be pulled.  It is then that all the dots are joined-up and where everything makes sense after the fact. This was so well articulated by Steve Jobs when he delivered his famous speech to Stanford graduates:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward,” Jobs told the Stanford grads. “You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Trouble is, it’s very difficult to put all this stuff into a few sound-bytes and broadcast them over Twitter – or even a blog post like this!


 

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The Heart’s Intuitive Intelligence

Last Thursday, I had a meeting with a business colleague.  We had only met once before – but somehow the energy felt really good between us.  Conversation flowed.  Ideas bubbled to the surface.  Creative spirit abounded.

During the conversation, it became apparent that I had talked in our previous meeting about intuition.  I had forgotten this – but it  is something I have recently become very interested in.  In summary, it’s the idea that the world is far too “mental” and that many have lost touch with their intuitive guidance system – based around the heart.  I’m also a strong believer in the idea that everything is connected.

And so it was, just by chance (as happens when browsing the internet) I came across this video below:

I don’t know too much about the organisation behind the video – but just love the overall theme, messages and visuals.  It somehow helps us to remember things we have forgotten or lost – so we can get back into the life-force and remember who we are.

Sit back and enjoy!

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The End of the Break

As we come to the end of the summer break, for most of us, school, university or work starts afresh.  I say, for most because, like with all generalisations, there are always those who break the rule.  An increasing number of friends seem to be moving into “retirement” or “semi-retirement” – breaking the pattern of a life-time by taking more time off.  Two of my children are starting University – a break from the long years of study at school to the less structured, more fun time at Uni.

And the little word “break” got me thinking.  It seems to have so many meanings. It runs to many definitions in the dictionary – both as a verb and as a noun.  It can be:

  • destructive (as in – “break a glass”)
  • illegal (as in “breaking the speed limit”)
  • liberating (as in “break out of old patterns”)
  • exciting (as in “breaking news”)
  • disappointing (as in “break my heart”)
  • the point of profit (as in “break-even”)
  • time to eat (as in “breakfast”)
  • very confusing for someone not fluent in English (as in “break a leg”)

For such a little word, it has so many different subtle meanings and so many different ways to combine itself with other words to mean so many different things!

break-glass-in-fire-sign

Yet, with all of this, I always see the start of September as the opportunity to break from the past and focus on the future.  For some reason, even more so than with Christmas or Easter.  Perhaps we are all subconsciously programmed by the school year – whether as students, former students or parents.  Yet there are those who will always break the mould and find other beginnings and endings in their year and not agree with me.

Great word “break”.

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The Hidden Author of Every Thought

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Sometimes you read something that really moves you.  It reaches places in your mind that you’ve never been to before.  It makes you re-think assumptions about how the world works in deeply profound ways.

So it was when I read this poem from Adyashanti’s book  “Emptiness Dancing” and understood a little more about who is the hidden author of every thought!

SILENCE

The waves of  mind

demand so much of Silence.

But She does not talk back

does not give answers nor arguments.

She is the hidden author of every thought

every feeling

every moment.

 

Silence.

 

She speaks only one word.

And that word is this very existence.

No name you give Her

touches Her

captures Her.

No understanding

can embrace Her.

 

Mind throws itself at Silence

demanding to be let in.

But no mind can enter into

Her radiant darkness

Her pure and smiling

nothingness.

 

The mind hurls itself

into sacred questions.

But Silence remains

unmoved by the tantrums.

She asks only for nothing.

 

Nothing.

 

But you won’t give it to Her

because it is the last coin

in your pocket.

And you would rather

give Her your demands than

your sacred and empty hands.

 

O

 

Everything leaps out in the celebration of mystery,

but only nothing enters the sacred source,

the silent substance.

Only nothing gets touched and becomes sacred,

realizes its own divinity,

realizes what it is

without the aid of a single thought.

Silence is my secret.

Not hidden.

Not hidden.

More profound thoughts in Adyashanti’s book – Emptiness Dancing

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Balance in Mind

I have to thank my brother, Angus, for alerting me to this extraordinary video.

There are no words to describe the thoughts you will have once you have watched it:

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Holiness or Wholeness?

I got into a discussion with a friend yesterday about religion.  You know the sort.  It became a discussion about basic beliefs and ideas about what had happened in the past with facts that neither of us could prove.  I capitulated, not wanting to tread on ground that was sacred to them, yet still holding true to my own beliefs.  In past times, I might have argued the point.  But I was tired and did not see the point.

It got me thinking about this religion and holiness and that sort of stuff and reminded me of a phrase my father used to say to me: “All great religions die with their founder”.  He was a spiritual man with his own religion.  He is now dead.  So I suppose, in his own way, he was right.

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In so many things in life we seek out the differences.  And religions are often a major culprit.  If you believe in one version of history and someone else another, then you are different.  You have different religious beliefs and are not of the same system, creeds, language etc. etc.  And even within a religion, there are sub-sectors, different interpretations and different organisations supporting them.  Yet what is common between religions is far more powerful than what makes them separate.

And so it is also true in the business world.  We have finely-tuned sensors to work out if another company is a competitor or a potential “partner”.  What are the “differentiators” that make you special?  We have defined a set of rituals for ignoring or attacking other businesses.  Just as in human relationships, these reactions can be commanded on a whim.  Defined by tiny variations in perceived behaviour or circumstance.  Individual differences are to be highlighted.  Sameness is boring.

Yet there is a counter-force which is found much more commonly in nature.  This is the unifying force which finds similarities and which seeks out common ground in any given situation.  It requires a different way of thinking and a different way of feeling about a situation.  More inclusive.  More holistic.  More local.

I am not an economist.  Nor will I argue the pros and cons of globalisation in this short piece.  Yet it seems to me that with all the rational arguments for globalisation and free-trade markets we have lost the ability to balance the world with this holistic energy – because responsibility has been taken away from what makes sense at a local level.  We could blame Adam Smith and his ideas on how to increase the quantity of pins produced in pin manufacturing – so aptly celebrated on the British £20 note:

AdamSmith20Pounds-A450

It is as if the new religion of global banking and global economics has become the new church which must be obeyed.  Making money at the expense of making things whole, rounded, sensible and appropriate at a local level.  With differences, of course, but much less important in this context.  Much less expensive, for sure, because it does not carry the burden of national or international overheads.

And so it was that I was browsing a book, “The Nature of Order” by Christopher Alexander, one of the greatest architectural thinkers of our time.  He describes wholeness as a series fifteen ideas or factors which are represented in the diagram below:

CA Wholeness

The Elements of Wholeness by Christopher Alexander

So, I wondered, with these fifteen design ideas, what would a new bank look like?  What would a new economic system look like?  Globalisation ideas don’t fit very well with concepts such as “Boundaries”, “Local Symmetries” and “Inner Calm”.  Then again, that shouldn’t be too surprising!

If you are a wordsmith, you will notice there is a lot more in common between the words HOLINESS and WHOLENESS.  The only difference is that makes the first unique is the letter “I” and the second that has the letters “WE”.  Not that I am pushing one over the other, but it makes you think, anyway!

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I Met Her Once….

I met her once.  We had been waiting expectantly for half an hour.  She was late.  When she finally entered the room, she surfed on a wave of power and authority – like the entrance of the Queen of Sheba without the music.

Calm, collected, nose in the air, she frowned with complete disdain for the cohort of journalists who were between us and the doorway.  The flash-guns had fired like a set of uncoordinated fireworks as soon as the door had opened.

I remember vividly the soundman for the BBC camera crew who had a long, extended microphone covered in a sausage-shaped, fluffy sound muffler.  He was lying on the floor to get out of the way of the cameras that were pointing at her.  She virtually kicked him and made a comment (I can’t remember the exact words but it was something like) “that’s where you guys belong – on the floor”.  She could easily have said “scumbag” – but I don’t think she did!  It was all part of the drama.

She gave her short speech for the evening news and the twenty or so journalists were ushered out of the room with the sense of urgency that a hassled mistress of the house would want when letting her servants  sweep the floor after a spill or a mess had been made by the dog.

Thatcher

She said “Are they all gone?”  There was silence.  A few nodded their heads to affirm they had all left.  The atmosphere changed immediately.  Less formal.  Yet still quite tense.  She was on a mission.  She wanted answers to questions.  She was impatient.  Dennis just wanted a drink.  He relaxed everyone by saying something like “Good, let’s have a drink”.

She was born the same year as my father, in another era, another age.  What was important then is now no longer so important.  What was pressing then is now, in hindsight, much less pressing – even trivial.   Yet, at the time, she had the power.  She had the authority.  She had the sense of purpose.  She got the attention and wanted change.  Yet, for all the words, my longest-lasting memory was the feeling I had when she entered the room.  Words cannot describe the electric presence she exuded.  I’ve seldom had that feeling from anyone, man or woman, either before or since.

 

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How to Thrive in All Times

As we hear the conflicting messages of the US and UK stock market reaching all-time highs, but the British Pound losing its creditworthiness and predictions of the currency on a long-term slide into goodness knows where, the uncertainties about the world trigger a search for a model that can understand what is going on – and what one should do about  it.  More importantly, it makes us think more about what is important in life  so we can make the hard choices to navigate a fruitful future for ourselves and those who are important to us.

It was therefore a coincidence that yesterday, I turned to a set of cards of wise sayings that I was given a few years ago,  The cards summarise the ideas of Abraham-Hicks (more details at the bottom of this post).

March 6th

The text says:

Those who are

mostly observers thrive

in good times but suffer in bad

times because what they are observing

is already vibrating, and as they observe it,

they include it in their vibrational countenance;

and as they include it, the Universe accepts that as

their point of attraction – and gives them more 

of the essence of it.  So for an observer

the better it gets, the better it gets;

 or the worse it gets, the worse

it gets. However, one who 

is a visionary thrives

in all times.

For those new to Abraham-Hicks, words like “vibrational countenance” and “point of attraction” might seem a bit strange.  But for me, having read deeper into their work for a few years, I have found the Abraham-Hicks way of looking at the world to be extraordinarily powerful, interesting and helpful.

A simple message, shines through the more esoteric phrases: have a vision and hold it through good times and bad and you will find it is easier to take the ups and downs in life than if you just sit back as an observer and let life happen around you.

Food for thought.  I would love to hear from any readers who have thoughts on these ideas.  Please post them below!

More information on the Abraham-Hicks publications at:

http://www.abraham-hicks.com/lawofattractionsource/index.php

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The Story of the Broken Pot (of Honey)

The older I get, the more I believe in coincidences.  And one of the strange coincidences that I have recently discovered is that there are a set of stories that are told in slightly different forms all around the world – as if they all had their roots in one story told many thousands of years ago.  A fine example is the Story of the Broken Pot:

Once upon a time there lived a woman called Truhana.  Not being very rich, she had to go yearly to the market to sell honey, the precious product of her hive.

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Along the road she went, carrying the jar of honey upon her head, calculating as she walked the money she would get for the honey.  “First”, she thought, “I will sell it, and buy eggs.  The eggs I shall set under my fat brown hens, and in time there will be plenty of little chicks.  These, in turn, will become chickens, and from the sale of these, lambs could be bought.”

Truhana then began to imagine how she could become richer than her neighbors, and look forward to marrying well her sons and daughters.

Trudging along, in the hot sun, she could see her fine sons and daughters-in-law, and how the people would say that it was remarkable how rich she had become, who was once so poverty-stricken.

Under the influence of these pleasurable thoughts, she began to laugh heartily, and preen herself, when, suddenly, striking the jar with her hand, it fell from her head, and smashed on the ground.  The honey became a sticky mess upon the ground.

Seeing this, she was cast down as she had been excited, on seeing all her dreams lost for illusion.

Idres Shah in his book “World Tales” (which is where this story came from) notes:

“The tale is called a number of things like – “The Girl and the Pitcher of Milk”.  Professor Max muller remarks how the tale has survived the rise and fall of empires and the change of languages, and the perishing of works of art.  He stresses the attraction whereby “this simple children’s tale should have lived on and maintained its place of honor and its undisputed sway in every schoolroom of the East and every nursery of the West.”

“In the Eastern versions, it is always a man who is the fantasist and whose hopes come to grief: in the West it is almost always a woman.  The man generally imagines that he will marry and have a son, while the woman tends to think of riches and marriage.”

A collection of stories similar to this one was compiled as a set off folktales by Aarne-Thompson-Uther type 1430 entitled “Air Castles” – about daydreams of wealth and fame.  The theme is so strong and spans all cultures and societies.  Just one of the many coincidental stories that have been recognised across space and time.

And so it was, last week, I was visiting Telefonica’s incubator (which they call an Academy) in London.  There are 19 startups (or eggs) being hatched – each into what will hopefully be new chickens.  However, given the statistic that over 65% of companies fail in their first two years, I could not but think the question as to which ones might be successful, and which ones not.  Which ones would hatch and which ones would be eaten before hatching?  Talking to the head guy there, he said that it was surprising that some of the start-ups that showed no hope four months ago are now doing really well – and others that showed great potential have somehow stumbled.  Each of the eggs will be moved out from the Academy at the end of March – and I wish them all the best of luck in moving from the egg stage to the chicken stage!

Oh, and just to round off this Thursday Thought, I visited my own beehives on Monday to give them some sugar cake food.  All was well – each of the six hives had bees!  I just hope they will all survive through February and March.  No honey in the pot yet, but I still dream that their stories will make me rich and famous one day!

I am going to be exploring the power coincidence in a lot more detail in the coming months.  If you are on Twitter you can read the regular tweets and observations on coincidence and business by following my new Tweet stream  @coinmark.

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Story from: “World Tales” collected by Idries Shah published by the Octagon Press 1991 – page 27

Picture – Copyright iStockPhoto – I bought it and if you want to use it you should buy it too!

More bee stories at my other blog: www.beelore.com

 

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How Long Does it Take for Us to Forget?

This week’s cease-fire in Gaza probably passed most people by – except for quick glimpses of rockets being fired back-and-forth and the commentary from safe television studios by those who try to collapse a whole history lesson into a few minutes of short, sharp sentences.  I am sure we were all relieved that the war was halted by an equally abrupt ceasefire.

However, the news reminded me of a time when I was much smaller and of the 6 Day War of 1967 – and more particularly my father’s reaction to it.  He had strong opinions about this part of the world having been posted to Palestine at the end of the Second World War.  By luck, he was minutes away from the King David Hotel (1) when it blew up on 22 July 1946.

The bomb killed 91 and injured 46.  The Irgun planted a bomb in the basement of the main building of the hotel, under the wing which housed the Mandate Secretariat and a few offices of the British Military headquarters.  If my father had arrived a few minutes earlier, I would not have been born.  Nor would my brother nor sister.  A sobering thought (for my siblings and me, at least).

My father therefore had a very different perspective on the Arab-Israeli conflict – and would merely say “remember what happened to the Palestinians.”  This did not have anything like the meaning for me as it did for him.  And for my children, it is probably just  another history lesson in a country that they have not yet visited somewhere in the Middle East.  In reaching a bit deeper into the subject, I came across a quote (2) by David Ben-Gurion (the first Prime Minister of Israel):

“I don’t understand your optimism,” Ben-Gurion declared. “Why should the Arabs make peace? If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it’s true, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been antisemitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that? They may perhaps forget in one or two generations’ time, but for the moment there is no chance. So, it’s simple: we have to stay strong and maintain a powerful army. Our whole policy is there. Otherwise the Arabs will wipe us out.”

What struck me by this quote was not so much that the Prime Minister of Israel was admitting to the fact that the Israelis had stolen “their” country from the Arabs, but more the idea that it takes one or two generations to accept; one or two generations to forgive; one or two generations to forget.

It reminded me of some research I did a few years ago on the famous Russian economist, Nikolai Kondratiev (3).  Kondratiev came up with the theory of the long-wave economic cycle which takes about 50-60 years from peak to peak.  Kontradiev’s views were so controversial in his country at the time that he was sent to the gulag and was executed in 1938 at the age of 46. It was Joseph Schumpeter who named the wave in Kondratiev’s name in 1939.  I remember reading about long wave economic cycles about 20 years ago and wondered what might cause  these types of patterns in history.  I can’t remember exactly where I heard the theory at the time – but I remember hearing the idea that the 50-60 year cycle is natural because “it takes two generations to forget”.  Given that a significant number of children are born to women between 25-30 (from(4) – see chart below), this is somehow quite an interesting idea.

If you take the theory and apply it to the cycle from the Wall Street Crash in 1929 (and the Great Depression of the 1930s) to the financial crisis of 2008 and our current post-crash turmoil, then 1929 to 2008 is about 80 years.  Some of you might point out that the time between is not 50 or 60 years, so the theory does not hold.  But perhaps this is due to the fact that we are now all living a bit longer?  In any case, the underlying pattern of loosening financial controls within the international financial system seems clear – as is the pattern of forgetting the lessons learnt from the previous generation’s Grandparents.  I’m not a qualified economist – but as an inquisitive observer, the theory somehow makes sense – even if it is not numerically accurate.

So we have wars, we have waves and we have history repeating itself and it got me thinking about the recent flooding that is currently taking place (again) across many parts of the UK.   Over 5 million people in England and Wales live and work in properties that are at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea. (5)  Yet there seems to be considerable political pressure on encouraging the building industry to “get building” so that we can kick-start the economy.  In Kent, where I live, many of the new houses have been built on the flood plains around Ashford – and there is the famous story of the Vodfaone Headquarters building in Newbury being built on the old racecourse that was well-known for flooding.

And so it was that I came across a story (6) about the tsunami that struck Japan last year.  Many people living by the sea lost their lives, but there was one village, apparently, in Aneyoshi that has a stone which reads:

High dwellings are the peace and harmony of our descendants.

Remember the calamity of the great tsunamis. 

Do not build any homes below this point.”  

Those who headed the warning (like the residents in Aneyoshi) were spared from the destruction of the recent tsunami. Other towns did not. Yuto Kimura, aged 12, from Aneyoshi said they studied about the markers in school, and when the tsunami came, his mother got him from school and the entire village climbed to higher ground.

And so it is.  Maybe we are all cursed with the fact that it takes two generations to forget.  But for the wise ones who read the markers that have been laid down from previous generations, it is worth teaching the next generation about the deeper lessons from history.  It is worth encouraging them to take less time to accept, less time to forgive and more time to forget the important things in life.

Then again, we are all creatures of habit, so I expect the addage that “it takes two generations to forget” will last for many more generations to come!

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_David_Hotel_bombing

(2) http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/David_Ben-Gurion

(3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolai_Kondratiev

(4) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2051374/Average-age-women-having-baby-climbs-29-start-family-later.html

(5) http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/default.aspx

(6) http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/969855–japan-nuclear-plant-plugs-highly-radioactive-leak

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