Here is a 15 minute opening speech, as the chief guest at a management conference in Dehradun in India. Building on the colorful theme of Holi festival just gone by, and the onset of a popular cricket season just coming up, I paint a big picture for life and work in 6 colorful charts, like six balls in a cricket over.
The key messages are:
1. Know thyself, as a specific person, and as the most unbounded being.
2. Human beings have complementary sets of needs at the global, interpersonal and the spiritual levels.
I met an elderly gentleman, Alan, who is an awakened soul. He told me that not too long ago he slipped on black ice, and fell like a feather. His whole body fell down on concrete, but he was not hurt at all. He fell flat softly in a way that all the parts of his body touched the ground together. Only the phone in his hand suffered a minor scratch. That seems like a miracle.
On the other hand, an elderly close relative of mine, recently fell and broke his hip. It took him more than an year to recover from the surgery. Similarly, a good friend of mine, who is much younger than me, slipped on black ice a few years ago, and hurt the back of his head. He was taken to hospital in time to stop the bleeding from the back of his head. He is doing fine.
Is there an art to falling? That sounds like a silly question. However, I hear some wise people advising that falling is a given, and the important thing is whether one will dust up and get up and going again. Do some people perhaps fall at the wrong angle, or do they try to protect himself while falling? Do they panic while falling? It is hard to tell, unless one is present on the scene. Falling happens in a flash, in a split second with the full force of gravity.
I ask myself again, is there an art to falling? AARP says that the ‘world is full of banana peels’. So, avoiding a fall is a primary goal. However, they advise a few things on how to ‘fall safely’. Stay bent, protect your head, land on the meat, and keep falling. “Spread the impact across a larger part of your body; don’t concentrate impact on one area,” it says. The more you roll with the fall, the safer you will be. Their tips for preparation are: Be here now, get your eyesight checked (remember, … banana peels), and boost your balance with appropriate exercises.
So, yes, I think that there is a way to fall softly like a feather. The way is to be mindful and roll with the fall. Accept it. Let it be. Resisting a natural fall can be more dangerous than simply falling. Accept falls. I have fallen many times in life. Most times, till about a decade ago, the falls in life and career felt like personal failures and were devastating to mind and body. But in the last decade I can hardly remember a fall. A fall is a fall if we pay attention to it, and try to prevent it. The trick to falling like a feather is to become soft and light as a flower.
The world in changing exponentially. We are all students now, and forever. Perhaps the most important meta-skill is to learn how and what to learn. Business schools need to develop the capabilities of the heart that will make the students ready for productive and fulfilling work in the 21st century. They need to prepare students for creating the likes of Uber and such companies that work in an era of abundance, which is very different from the earlier era of persistent material shortages. The young as well as more mature business student need to be able to feel and articulate their deep sense of purpose, and to be able to flourish through a non-ending stream of transformations.
The required capabilities are Confidence, Creativity, Collaboration, and Courage.
Confidence means being able to holistically know oneself, the desires and expertise, well enough to stand for one’s words, decisions, and actions. Confidence has been the most important thing to work well, even in the last century, though technical knowledge has also become progressively important.
Creativity means thinking outside the box, beyond what has been done in the past. It also means helping others find novel solutions to the problems they face, and helping people grow. One needs to be open to continuous learning and admitting errors of mis-perceptions or ignorance,
Collaboration means teamwork, asking for help, not being focused much on course grades and comparative markers, and keeping one’s ego in check. One needs to take complete ownership of the work or the project, along with the team.
Courage is an attribute of the soul, and means the ability to function despite adversity and fear. It includes resilience, grit, determination, and the practice of discipline in the face or uncertainty and ambiguity. It means taking ownership of one’s life and purpose through thick and thin.
The way to develop these skills is through group exercises, projects, travels, celebrations, paid internships, and the like. These are not communicated through words, even though we are using words here to communicate these ideas. These exercises should be graded in an appreciative manner, with rich positive, timely feedback from a nurturing teacher / mentor.
These capabilities may however be underdeveloped during the earlier years of schooling. The grade schools work on a process model, leaving little room for digressions and diversions to account for different ways of learning and different life goals. Just like schools have different course streams for science or commerce or arts students, and just as there are special education systems for the learning impaired, so also there should be different ways of teaching students of different kinds. As Einstein said, teaching a monkey to swim, and a fish to climb trees would not be productive or fulfilling. The race to get admissions into desirable and prestigious colleges is intense and can have major impact on the quality of future life. Admission into the top colleges like Harvard can be very beneficial in many ways. However, the rat race to prepare for that single objective may rob all sense of joy in the formative years of the students.
Development of consciousness through regular practice of contemplation and reflection, such as Transcendental meditation, may help prepare the heart for developing these capabilities throughout life.
I believe that there is no purpose of evolution, except to get better at being ourselves, and escaping from the physical manifestation and its pains from contact with objects.
I have been off tea and coffee for the last almost 20 years since I first went to a Vipassana 10-day retreat, and the teacher asked us to eschew these and other intoxicants for the ten days and ideally forever. I think from there and my decade long practice of Vipassana brought me to the understanding that we are ourselves the ultimate reality. Then during the last decade, being in Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s University, brought for me the idea of unbounded unified consciousness as the Vedantic nondual reality. It made complete sense during progressively deeper and longer and advanced sessions of Transcendence. All this while we have been eating and drinking non-agitating foods to purify our nervous systems to experience the oneness within our own selves. I have been amused by the growth in these soft-toxin businesses such as coffee and tea. I heard about the Oxford Circle of scientists using Assamese tea and then creating the dominance of the Scientistic Revolution in the service of the British East India company. The poor tea-pickers from Darjeeling will be tickled to learn that their tea was instrumental in creating the scientistic paradigm as we know it.
Just a few days ago, I chanced upon a young Argentinian man named Mattias de Stefano, who speaks about the unbounded consciousness as being the ultimate dimension, and then goes on to describe up to 9 dimensions. The second dimension produces a duality, which is mostly a thought system. The third dimension provides a neutral level also, and physicality appears. Time appears when we rise to perceive the fourth dimensions. Our 3-4 dimensional (space-time) body is a projection of our high-dimensional self. This is like a small 2-dimensional picture is a projection of our 3-dimensional body. At the fifth and sixth dimension we are pure energy, and later on pure vibrations that are the creator of all reality. At the seventh dimension, there are seven laws of existence represented through the seven chakras. At the eighth dimension, existence is the field of infinite correlations, the unbounded universe that contains everything. We are not of the universe, or in the universe, … we are the universe. A the ninth dimension, we are pure void, like a black hole, which provides the context in which the universe appears. That resonates so much with Buddha’s teaching.
Two things from here: The first thing is that I find Mattias’ message very similar to that of Maharishi’s. Maharishi also had the baffling ability of speaking about the dynamics of the unmanifest consciousness. ‘How did he know?’, the world wondered. But that did not stop people from following him and using his descriptions of reality, that was tested through thousands of experiments published in over 700 scientific publications. In particular, I am extremely interested in Maharishi’s theory of collective consciousness. This Super-Radiance effect, that can only be understood from a consciousness-as-a-field paradigm, has been statistically proven and published beyond reasonable doubt (over 50 journal publications).
The second fascinating thing from this Argentinian young man is to hear what else he says. He speaks about his past lives, going back thousands of years, in great detail, with specific locations and names and what happened. He reports living in civilizations from across the various galaxies, tens of thousands of years ago. He is reporting solar systems with 2 or 3 suns with planets facing a night-time of only 2 or 3 hours. That means a lot of what we see and do could be biologically different in a different solar system. Many civilizations arise and die, and this one too will die, he says. The important thing from us is to raise our perceptions to the highest levels. If we die of consciousness (nothing left to do) then we do not return to the lower dimensional existence. Instead if we die of time, we will be back. One particular metaphor caught my attention: We are the spider that creates the web. We are not the web. We certainly are not an object caught in the web. The day we realize that we are totally liberated. We are the creator.
He says, that everything is perfect as it is. There is no purpose to existence. The path is the way. Have fun!
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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 quantangledco-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.
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.
Covid-19 virus has unleashed mayhem in the world, and it has caused many deaths. The pattern of deaths has, however, been uneven. As of the date of publishing (May 18, 2020), there have been 30 times more deaths from #Covid19 in the US (90,000 deaths) than in India (3,000 deaths), even though the US has only one-fourth the population of India. I was curious to find out why it was so.
We conducted a quick 5-minute survey with a simple One-big-question of rank-ordering 9 factors in terms of their importance in causing this huge differential in death rates in the US and India. The 9 factors were: Demography (older population in the US); Sickness (high chronic conditions in the US); Immunity (Indian soil; Yoga, pranayama etc); Culture (greater social cohesion and family support in India); Public Policy (how seriously each country mounted a unified approach); Resources (availability of medical equipment); Genetics (difference in two populations); Diet (more vegetarians in India); Measurement (less reliable data from India). There was a None-of-the above option too. In addition, we added two question on their expectations of the way forward. One was about how long it will take to come out of Covid19 situation into normalcy. And the other was about what might be the markers for returning to normalcy.
We did convenience sampling using social media contacts of the researcher who should be in a position to compare and express their perceptions. 66 respondents from US, India, and other countries, filled out survey. Of the 66 respondents 60% were resident in India, 29% in the US, and 11% in other countries. The respondents including 55% from the researcher’s own age cohort of 55-64 years, while 42% were younger. A couple of respondents were over 65 years. The respondents were 71% male and 29% female.
Here are the main results (see bar chart below). Demographics (Older population) in the US was perceived to be the major cause of higher deaths from Covid-19 in the US than in India. Public policy choices and higher rates of Chronic sickness in the US were also identified as the next important causes for higher deaths in the US compared with India. Higher levels of Immunity was ranked highest as the major reason for lower death rates in India. Culture, Diet and Genetics received only moderate support. Surprisingly, availability of resources was ranked as least important cause.
Moving forward, half the people (48%) said that it will take 1-2 years to return to normalcy. 31% of respondents said it will take less than one year, while 21% said it will take more than 2 years (see pie-chart below). US residents were twice as likely as Indian residents to think that it might take 2 or more years. For return to normalcy, the preferred enablers were availability of a tried and tested vaccine and a tested cure for Covid19, in that order (see bar graph below). Declining death rates were a lesser important marker, while availability of resources such as PPE was considered the least important marker.
Here below is some more granular analysis.
Age: Respondents in 55-64 years ranked Public policy and Measurement issues higher, while those in 35-44 age group ranked Immunity and Culture (social cohesion) higher, as factors for explaining the differential death rates.
Gender: Male respondents ranked Demographics (aging population) and Measurement issues higher, while Female respondents prioritized Immunity, Diet, and Availability of resources.
Location: Respondents living in Rest of the World (11% of total) ranked Public policy choices and Measurement issues by a wider margin than those living within the US and India. Indian residents ranked Immunity and Culture (social cohesion) as more important. US residents ranked Public policy and availability of Resources as more important issues.
Additional comments from Respondents: One respondent wrote that it may be taboo in the Indian culture to report Covid death from a social stigma perspective. One reported that there is greater resilience to pain in India. One reported that traditional Indian homes include a central space to grow Ayurvedic plants such as Tulsi. Some reported that the cause as well as cure for Covid19 were unclear and should be thoroughly investigated.
Summary: This survey shows that there are different perceptions of what has caused dramatically lower death rates reported in India compared to the US. Development of immunity is considered the best ameliorating factor. An effective public health policy could be another.
Lessons learned: Healthy holistic lifestyle including Yoga Sutras based practices such as asanas, pranayama, and meditation are among the best ways to a create a strong platform of immunity on which specific vaccines can work effectively! In fact, the development of a special vaccine for Covid-19 is essentially a way to increase immunity against this specific virus.
Covid-19 is a very important world-transforming, life-and-death matter. Please write to us as to what you think. If you wish, you may also take 5 minutes to fill out this survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CovidAKM . Thank you!