International Conference on Consciousness-Based Leadership and Management – summary report

Maharishi International University (Fairfield, Iowa, USA) organized a three-day International Conference on Consciousness-Based Leadership and Management, from May 21-23 2021, for mapping the path to Oneness and a flourishing humanity. The event was co-sponsored by the International Academy of Management through its Management, Spirituality and Religion (MSR) interest group. More than 1100 attendees from almost 400 cities around the world registered for the event. The event had 90+ speakers including Dr Tony Nader, Dr Robert Quinn, Dr. Subhash Kak, Dr. Anil Gupta, and other reputed professors from top institutions from the US, India, UK, Germany, Europe, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Indonesia, Equador, South Africa, and more. They also represented a wide range of fields including Management, Leadership, Music, Medicine, Computer Science, Quantum physics, Vedas, Ayurveda, Arts, Psychology, Consciousness, Sustainability, and more. They participated in 15 sessions of integral conversations and research presentations of 90 minutes each over three days. Our feedback surveys showed consistently high ratings and comments. Every session aimed to produce one or two principles towards a flourishing humanity.  We sincerely thank our board of advisors, which included Drs. Chris Laszlo, Judi Neal, Sharda Nandram, Satinder Dhiman, Kathryn Pavlovich, and Cathy DuBois, for their guidance and counsel in making this event a great success. We also wish to thank all the speaker and presenters for being a part of this journey.

There is a great demand for videos for replays and we have been working on editing them and making them available. Here is a wonderful playlist called Consciousness-Based leadership @ MIU, comprising of seven keynote and panel conversations, each of which is about 60-90 minutes long. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLs4GvULvBU44jIFWP4IaDCXb61lgLMk3Y

Here is a brief summary of the videos. The opening keynote conversation with Dr. Tony Nader lays out how consciousness is primary, which is a new paradigm with increasingly greater explanatory power. Then there is the transcendental keynote conversation where they lay out the benefits of transcendence, its neuroscience, and the path ahead.  Then there is the quantum and technological conversation where we discuss how quantum world leads us to different ways of leading and organizing, from an unboundarized and uncontainerized view of ourselves as the field of consciousness. Then there is the organizational cultural conversation where we discuss positive scholarship away from deficit and towards flourishing, and from workplace spirituality to global consciousness, as the organizing metaphors.  Then there is the panel conversation on Dialogic approaches where we begin with asserting that our words have more power than we think, in bringing about a harmonious world.  Then there is the panel conversation on the future of management education, where we agreed that the future is consciousness-based education, based on empathy and fairness and justice.  Then there is a panel on Vedic approaches to Oneness, beginning with Bhagavad Gita, and including other traditions towards unboundedness and self-transformation.

In addition, Here is the play list of about 25 pre-recorded short (7-8 minute each) research presentations by the authors themselves. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Io4mRLsEMjg&list=PLs4GvULvBU44ng3DX6qbDegNsS9lzzCCm

 Would appreciate if you could enjoy these videos, and post your comments.

Wish you a blissful and flourishing life!

Anil Maheshwari, Conference Organizer and Co-Chair

We are more than we think

Our thinking is limited to things one can think about. Some of those things are sense objects and some are mental objects. Our perceptions and feelings are difficult to think about. Our being is beyond thinking. 

We know more than we can tell. That is tacit knowledge. Our words have more power than we think. These could be words spoken with others or with oneself. This is our latent power. 

We exist in more ways than we can tell: The body, the mind, the intellect, the spirit, the soul. We are the unbounded Brahman.  At some level of thinking all these things vanish. We become no-thing. No-thing is actually everything. But there is no way to think about everything.

We have more than we know. We have all the laws of nature within us. We exist in conformance with, and are the manifestation, of all the laws of nature. We permeate every part of every galaxy. 

We are beyond qualities, beyond names, beyond words, beyond language. We transcend and include all of those. We are silence in dynamism, wholeness in motion. We are naturally blissful, like the earth is grassfull and the sky is starfull. 

We are naturally full, or fullness, or wholeness. We just need to be aware of it at every moment. We are a wave flowing and rising and falling. Particle wise, we are at best a little boat that rises and ebbs with the waves. The life force naturally flows through us in its own rhythm.

As Pascal said, the Heart has its reasons, that Reason has no knowledge of. Nurture your own heart. Be with those that nurture your heart. Let your heart swell with joy. Share the joy with the others. And you will get 10x in return. And the whole world will be one big happy family!

High Consciousness Leader and Manager

High Consciousness Manager:  through Transcendence and Development of Consciousness

Spring is in the air, and that means time to experience the beauty of the flourishing environment as we wake up from winter. What things are fresh in your mind?

Grand challenges facing the world require a higher level of consciousness to experience and operate from a level of total inter-connectedness of life. Business organizations are undergoing revolutionary changes from exponential development of technologies of production distribution and consumption. Managers need to adapt to Artificial Intelligence systems that have been doubling in capacity every 3-6 months. Managers need to evolve rapidly to engage with the opportunities and threats posed by this rapidly evolving socio-technical environment. They need to develop the capabilities of empathizing and synergizing, visioning and transforming. Managers need to rapidly unlearn self-limiting beliefs and tap into their own unbounded potential and that of their teams. 

In essence, managers need to develop a higher level of consciousness, beyond that of the superficial and the observable. They need to learn to transcend their ordinary states of consciousness (waking, dreaming and sleeping) and access the higher states of consciousness where one can experience the pure unbounded Self, the source of infinite potential, within oneself. Our V-theory of Transcendence models a wide range of techniques to transcend surface reality. Research has shown that through transcendence, individuals can experience expanded awareness, along with creativity and bliss for more effective action and well-being.  The ability to raise consciousness around themselves will be a key role for the new manager. Research has also shown that transcendence by groups can create coherence in collective consciousness. This may be key to development of pro social and environmental behaviors towards Oneness and Flourishing in the world. 

We are organizing a conference on Consciousness-Based Leadership and Management to bring together diverse perspectives for Oneness and a flourishing world. We welcome you to join almost 100 academics and globally renowned speakers in this incredible 3-day AOM-MSR-cosponsored leadership event, focused on  Mapping the Path to a Flourishing Humanity. Be a part of conversation while creating meaningful connections with other global leaders.  Sign up for the conference for FREE today: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/international-conference-on-consciousness-based-leadership-and-management-tickets-139942478721

#leadership #consciousness #management #flourishing

Life is a donut!

Life is a donut. 🍩 (or doughnut).

We are donuts. Our bodies are donuts. Bodies have a hollow tube running through them. When the hollow tube remains flowing and clean, our bodies are healthy. The moment it clogs, diseases appear. Our life is also like a donut with a hollow hollow tube through it.  The upper side of the donut is the absolute, the unbounded cosmos. The bottom part of the donut is the relative, bounded by resting on the earth. Both sides are essential. So long as the hole in this donut connects the absolute with the relative, the mind functions well and remains healthy. Life gets into unbounded flow at some times, while remains engaged in specific chores at other times. 

When we eat too much or eat junk stuff, our body’s hollow tube begins to clog. When we don’t flush it down it with enough water the tube clogs. Similarly if we take in too much data and information we need time and energy to digest it. Undigested information clogs the hollow tube. The connection between the top and the bottom of the donut gets clogged. The donut becomes more like a pancake. At that point, the view is mostly of the relative side of life, the bottom of the pancake, and the view of the top is totally obscured.  Yogic techniques such as pratyaahara are ways to unclog our mind. Meditation helps to reopen the hollow tube of the mind and makes the pancake back into a donut. Attention of the mind goes round and round in the donut in a self-referral manner, even as it connects with the infinity above and the minuscule stuff below.  

A donut can be fresh thick soft and sweet. It can be glazed and have toppings, and be of different sizes. Similarly our life can be fresh expansive smiling joyful and grateful. It can have its idiosyncracies and passions and wisdom. OR else life can be short brutal nasty dour fearful stale and putrefying. 

Be a fresh donut 🍩everyday.  

Q-Theory of Planetary Change

Yin Yang metaphor is a beautiful spiritual shorthand for the integral quality of the wholeness of the society that must be preserved and cherished even as the left brain thinking has its role. There are theories from ancient traditions such as native Indians, Buddhist, Vedic, Quaker, Franciscan, and other communities. The various dualities of the modern world as well as the traditional models could be integrated and subsumed within Wilber’s AQAL framework. This brings strong focus on the emergent quality of the solutions / progress. We aspire for a Teal world (and organizations) at all levels. This is an invitation into learning about how worldviews based on modern quantum sciences can uniquely lead to Teal organizations, when other transformative worldviews could not.  We propose a Q-theory of change that is predicated upon universal quantangement and probabilistically frames social and planetary Quant-formation as dramatic events followed by slow quantfabulations / quantversations, etc.

The letter Q

The letter Q has a unique quality. It is a full circle ⭕️ of wholeness, but with a tiny tail that also pierces the whole. This Western letter Q could be seen as ‘Wholeness on the move’, which implies inner impulses within wholeness but with external manifestations of change. We are not sure if any Eastern languages have such as symbol. Phonetically, Q (kyu) is remarkably similar to ‘kyun’ (nasal n) which is Hindi for ‘Why’, thus giving Q a certain exploratory quality. It is interesting that Q’s tail points in the bottom-right direction generally considered to be going down with gravity, and not in the top-right direction generally denoting growth and progress. 

Quant-formation

Axiomatically, we begin with a premise that we are each a certain quantum of energy. However, we ordinarily appear as particles just as electrons appear as particles. Like electrons, we are also bounded by the contours of our quantangled co-orbits with other entities. Going beyond human beings, we consider all of matter and life field, from the cosmic entities to the sub-quarks, are also energy quanta going around in certain orbits. We have the free will to work to gain a quantum of energy and jump to a higher energy orbit. We can also release energy together in a coherent form and create a powerful laser like effect in quant-forming society. Quantforming is a verb as well as an adverb. Social change happens typically in a periodic rhythm of dramatic events followed by boring episodes. Q theory posits that social change happens with sudden or dramatic laser like quant-formations, followed by slow and harmonic quantfabulations or quantversations

Planetary Quantformation

Regarding planetary issues, the conversations went from the urgent term global warming to the tepid term climate change that makes it look so normal. Following the inquisitive perspective, we could rename is Qlimate Change. The society is getting inured to consider technology-induced exponential change as a good thing. Qlimate change shouldn’t be bad, either? Except it very much IS. Could the quantum induced laser effect be the right (or a good) metaphor for quantforming the planetary crisis debate? Planetary quantformation might be a term with the generativity to include all the big, entangled, wicked issues such as bio- diversity extinction (or flourishing) and social inequalities (or flourishing), and so on. It would bring a laser like focus to sophisticated potential solutions, through quantum computing which has a all-at-once quality of creating solutions with millions of constraints and equations.

Developing Quantformation capability

As philosopher J Krishnamurthy intuitively knew, the perception of the separation is the root of all problems. How can we drop this dualistic Cartesian worldview, and engage with the quantum worldview? Left brain related activities will need to be superseded by holistic and direct ways of perceiving that works from a totally interconnected view of the world. There are many techniques of contemplation / reflection and meditation that can temporarily help drop ‘separate’ finite entities and bring attention to the larger picture. My V-theory of Transcendence provides a framework to include many techniques for this to be accomplished. Some academics like say that organizations should return to their roots and reconnect the communities where they were born and where they have a strong connection with the society and the planet.

Quantum Sciences, Consciousness, and Manager

Quantum sciences are an all-inclusive way of knowing the self-referral world at various levels of discrete quanta with different observable properties at different levels of granularity and aggregation. Nanoscopic reality at near absolute zero levels of temperatures exhibits multiple modes such as a wave and a particle, which is different from the solid reality perceived at a human scale, which is again different at the cosmic level where super large black holes create singularity fields that collapse space-time and light. The unified field of all the laws of the universe manifested in the interconnectedness and the confusing nature of all existence, can however be experienced by human beings in their own selves as pure consciousness.

Consciousness is all there is. It is the knower, the known and the process of knowing. Mass and energy, solid and vibrations, are all interchangeable manifestations of this consciousness. Through techniques of meditation, by settling the mind enough to exclude all the human scale objects, Vedic seers have been able to cognize the multidimensional truth about existence as pure vibrations. Major quantum scientists such as Schrodinger, Oppenheimer, Planck, Heisenberg, Bohm and more have suggested and acceded to the idea of this Vedic unified reality. These Vedic cognitions have an unfolding quality, in that consciousness can be known at increasingly granular levels of detail and manifestation.

Human managers can be different levels of consciousness from the ordinary waking state of consciousness to transcendental and unified non-dual states of consciousness. Knowledge is structured in consciousness; and knowledge is different in different states of consciousness. Effective managers of people will likely need to have a higher state of consciousness from where they can perceive a higher moral reality of a team or an organization. The accumulated human knowledge can also be abstracted to be manifested in non-human information-processing systems such as computers or gene editors. Artificial Intelligence systems can learn from human interactions and develop abilities to achieve human levels and beyond. Increasingly robotic systems are being deployed in organizations to accomplish a range of functions and activities. Human beings at higher states of consciousness may also experience quantum empathy as a useful construct to potentially experience total interconnectedness even with strangers at a distance. To build on Einstein’s famous phrase, action at a distance may be blissful, not necessarily spooky!

Social Business for a Post-Covid Compassionate World

Nobel Peace laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus (Grameen Bank) delivered a beautiful bold talk this morning to the International Humanistic Management Association. Here is the link to the video, https://youtu.be/WFwK8bzIKW0 … and a summary of my notes.

The global economic machine is broken. Coronavirus has done us a favor. We should create a bank for rural entrepreneurs. Call it emerging, or potential sector instead of an informal sector. Young people should not have to go to cities and face harassment. Rural economy should not be a footnote to the urban economy. These are social businesses. More than 50% of people work in the informal sector. Urban economy consumes rural labor and makes money for themselves. Rural economy should not become a footnote to urban economy. Distance has become unimportant. The business idea has become important. We don’t want to go back to the old economy. We want to go forward and design a new world.

This is a crisis, but also a great opportunity to create global social businesses for coronavirus solutions. Globalization has deepened. e.g. the same virus impacts everyone. The narrow view is about how to make money. There are only a few companies who own a chunk of medicine business. The medicine solution should be for the benefit of the people, not to make a profit.

Rural areas don’t need to wait for urban buyers. We will process our produce here. We are not at the mercy of the urban buyers. We will deal on equal terms. Governments have not done much for the informal sector. Bangladesh has Ministry of Labor at all levels of the government. We will create our own chambers of commerce. Rural social businesses have full rights.

Academics have had a big role in creating this misery. We have contaminated the young minds with wrong ideas about a selfish world. There are social businesses that are not motivated by private interest but by common interest. We have to take care of the future of the world and our children and grandchildren. Social businesses can be in rural areas as well as urban areas.

How to get the economic machine to come out of coma, and put it to good use? We are pouring trillions of dollars into the machine, so the money is there. We should not pour into the fossil fuel industry. We should move into a new world. Scaling up is not a problem because the money is there. Invest in the companies that are solving the problem. Anyone who can help lead to this new world will win Nobel Prizes. Business education should not be only to make money for others. That is the conventional MBA for a soldier (general, gladiators) to make money for corporations. The alternative is the social MBA. Its purpose is to solve social problems of the world in the fastest way. How to inspire people to do that. This is a good time to start a social MBA program.

Being vs Doing

No matter what we do, there is always a feeling of exhaustion and boredom after some time. Whether we are talking or walking, eating or reading, there is an exhaustion of sense organs and physical limbs. The only thing that does not bring an exhaustion, but brings in new energy, is to just Be. What is Being, and how is it different from Doing?  

Being is to just Be what one truly is. We are pure consciousness. When we witness our Self, there is a great effortless feeling of lightness and joy. Freedom from boundaries of space-time releases us into a light, open unbounded space where all is one, and it feels invincible and awe-inspiring. This awareness of our unbounded self brings us closer to knowing the truly limitless nature of our capabilities – be it creativity, imagination, ideas, knowledge, energy, or anything else.

How does one just Be? It is by first understanding that to be is not to see our physical body or to even to see our mind or feelings. These can be paths to Become, but Being ultimately transcends all these manifestations of body and mind. There are many paths to Being. Maharishi Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras provides an eight-limbed path to Be. One can begin to Be by following the behavioral principles of non-violence and truth. One can begin to Be using physical asanas or the breathing practices of pranayama. One can begin with withdrawing the sense organs inward through pratyahara. One can also turn ones attention totally inwards through dharana, dhyana and samadhi. The last three techniques are totally internal activities that are done b turning the attention inward, after the body and mind have been stilled. Just as one can see a clear reflection of unbounded sky in a clear lake, so also one can see our unbounded consciousness reflected within ourselves when the mind has been stilled.

Doing vs Being vs Having thus becomes a matter of politics of goals. There are many goals competing for our attention. Being joyful and healthy is usually an obvious primary goal. However, the goals of having superior means (such as wealth) tend to have their own charm. The goals of personal development (such as widening one’s knowledge and experience base) have their own charm. Thus, there is a plethora of goals in the relative domain. While those goals remain useful to the extent we are an embodied Being, we should also not ignore the fact that the body is good only to the extent it houses our Being, our Life force itself. It would be good just Be, at least some of the time!

Yoga Sutras is Positive Psychology

Yoga means union or addition. Positive means on the growing side of the number line. Positive is represented by the same + (plus) sign as is addition or union. It is not a coincidence. Maharishi Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is indeed Positive Psychology.

Positivity works on the principle of optimism about the future, and one’s confidence to grow and face any challenges in being able to enjoy life. Optimism comes from the implicit realization that the rest of the universe is working to guide us in the direction of growth and joy. Optimism is like finding a home in the inner Being, which is pure consciousness. This pure awareness is the unified field of all the laws of nature, which guides us through the principle of least action to do less accomplish more. The concept of inner strength comes from this self-realization of self as an unbounded invincible being.

Positive Psychology is the science of well-being. Dr. Martin Feldman of University of Pennsylvania started this field in 1997 with a speech as the president of American Psychological Association. He presents a five-factor model for wellbeing–  in the acronym of PERMA. The five letters stand for Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning & purpose, and Achievements. Further research on positive psychology found that Self-discipline and Grit are more important than IQ or talent for achieving success and happiness. They also found that gratitude, hope and love are the most correlated with well-being. The single best predictor of well-being is gratitude, by far.

Yoga Sutras provide an eight-limbed path for union with unbounded pure consciousness. The first limb is yama. The relative world can be thought of in terms of the rules that govern relationships between individuals. The Yama, the master administrator, uses those rules to govern and see who has done how much good and should receive how much happiness. The five yamas are Satya (truth), Ahimsa (non-violence), Asteya (non-attachment), Brahmacharya (celibacy), and Aparigraha (non-possession). These five yamas structure the unity of natural laws to govern. The second limb of Yoga Sutras is niyama, or a set of rules for personal conduct. The five main niyamas are Shauch (cleanliness or purity), Santosh (contentment or satisfaction), Tapas (purification through strong effort), Swadhaya (self learning), and Ishawarpranidhan (bringing god into one’s awareness).

Yoga Sutras are a great path to developing the qualities for gratefulness and happiness. Gratitude directly maps to god-awareness, or appreciation for the gift of life. I wrote earlier on this blog that “what makes people most happy is to be present, to be here now! We are happy when we are fully engaged in whatever we are doing at the moment. Gratitude and Forgiveness are other habits that bring happiness.”   I believe that Positive Psychology is a secular version of Yoga Sutras.

Mind Without Fear – A Book Review

I finished listening to Mr. Rajat Gupta’s [photo credit: Wikipedia] memoir ‘Mind without Fear’ in just two sessions. It is a compelling story of the Mind and the Times of an exceptionally accomplished person. He had the good luck to be the right person in the right place to become first non (white) American managing director of McKinsey & Co, when the firm was ripe to go global. He was the wrong guy at the wrong time when he entered the financial markets with the wrong guy, and got the wrong overzealous prosecutor thus getting jailed for two years. He draws inspiration from his father who was an Indian Civil Services officer during the British rule but resigned Mahatma Gandhi’s call for freedom and was jailed and beaten mercilessly with permanent damage. He also draws inspiration from the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, whose beautiful poetry threads the book and gives it the title of Mind without Fear. He also draws solace from his strong family and the many friends who stood with him and believed his story. He however deeply regrets not taking the stand and testifying in his own trial, as he received overwhelming advice from his lawyers and his loving family that allowing the prosecutor to question him directly will be too risky. At the end of it all, he comes out of the ordeal with his head held high, without much bitterness for those who deserted him including the McKinsey firm who dismissed him summarily and took his name off their alumni list.

I believe Rajat Gupta’s story, as I have done over the years. He is a fellow IIT-Delhi alumnus ten years my senior. I met him at Pan-IIT meets in 2007 and 2009. He looked handsome and seemed very honest and a good listener. I do remember some of the stories of the next few years as the attorney Preet Bharara with political ambitions set his sights on a fellow successful Indian. There was a story in the Indian press about Preet Bharara and Dr Sanjay Gupta, whose moms knew each other from India, about whose son is doing better in the US. I recall a feeling of a certain revulsion at that approach to achieving success by beating down an iconic fellow Indian. Some of my well-meaning friends however felt at that time that greed and power had gotten the better of Rajat Gupta.

Rajat Gupta has done much good work including seting up Indian School of Business and starting the Public Health Foundation of India. He also started the Global Fund against three major diseases. These inspirational stories are laid out in great detail in the book. That alone makes the book worthy of attention. What the book does not tell is that none other than Narayana Murthy, the founder of Infosys, compared Rajat Gupta with the first prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru for having started two world class organizations in India. I also salute Rajat Gupta for his great work. May God grant him strength to continue his good work. He wants to work on the American penal system which he observed from the inside and found deeply lacking. He should also write a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, the book that he read during his incarceration and which helped him come out stronger, with malice towards none and with his head held high!