I Iead

…There is no other way. We all need to lead.

BE09

“All of us are smarter than any one of us”

Japanese saying

As children we look up to the mythical figure of a hero, either in comic books, movie starts, or even in our parents, because it represents a gateway to the future and into our potential. It’s as if, by holding on to the hero’s image, a magnificent scenario of our life lays out in front of us. As children, those heroes are amazing allies who inspire us to dream in what we want to become. Then, as we start growing up and begin learning social conventions, the hero becomes precisely the possibility of remaining un-conventional and a connection to a higher purpose, to fight for. Our magic hero gives turn to a real life leader.

The leader even though it’s much more vulnerable than the hero, is also much more powerful because it is, like us, a person who dared to do something that inspires us. It is no longer a mythical hero of our fantasy, but a hero of flesh and blood. Life goes by, and paradoxically, we find that it is inspired by the leadership of someone just like us, that we  transcend the strident conventionalism. Theis leaders  also inspire us to believe in the possibility of a better world.

However, today more and more  people discover there is something more powerful than the leaders who inspire masses. If those who are followers could become aware of their leader qualities, they would also experience  their life with responsibility. And their impact, even though less massive, would be more sustainable.

When transcending the mythic leader and then the ‘human leader’, we can recognize the importance of our own leadership; which, even though is less multitudinous, in many ways, it’s much more powerful.

The ability to look at the world from our humility seems to be a constant in leaders who grow into the next evolutionary and conscious level. Humility is precisely the step that enables the I leader to become a change agent.

Arrogance, i.e. the capacity in which I can express a relative truth as an absolute truth and share it in a way that thousands see it as absolute, becomes the intrinsic seduction for conventional leaders to move masses.

Recent generations have been experiencing educational abundance, economical abundance and even business success as few other generation did. If you take a walk around Silicon Valley, you will notice something quite unconventional: young millionaires who live by simplicity, openness, transparency; who have an entrepreneurial spirit, and have discovered that leadership needs to come from within, from the I leader.

Google, which started as a search engine, brought an evolutionary culture program appropriately called: search inside yourself (SILY). This generation that had heroes and in their youth met the leader of flesh and blood, had much more access to information, to content, and to education, and discovered that their leaders had a dark side. The myth slowly passed and reality was imposed— reality that can only be understood with responsibility and by experiencing life as: “This is what I see, what do you see?”

I am a leader because there is no other option. Up to this day, most of massive changes inspired by one person’s absolute truth, have proved un-sustainable. There are far more deaths in the twentieth century caused by leaders who ‘sold’ their ideas, than by war conflicts. We have enough information to be able to understand how the world is. There is not much more to find. What’s missing is that we change the way we see the world, because we are the ones who define reality. The extent to which we can incorporate the perspective of others is relative to consciousness development. And we will discover that what connects us, what allows perspective integration, is compassion. The leader: I leader, improves the world without being on the cover of a magazine, or on the first page of a newspaper. He or she changes the world with their everyday work, with humility and compassion, living  an integral life, with constant learning. ¿Can you think of some?

I Iead

Meditation Doesn’t Enlighten You… Only

BE08

“If you want to find God, hang out in the space between your thoughts.”

Alan Cohen

According to a brain imaging study done by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, mindfulness meditation alters regions of the brain associated with memory, awareness of self, and compassion. [i]

I am frequently asked about the positive impact meditation has had on my life. Although I am far from being an expert –far from the 10,000 hours of practice— in my experience this positive impact has come from the discipline of training my mind to be present. As it is with any practice, outcome is not seen session after session but over time; and its benefits come in the least expected moment. Throughout the years that I have been meditating, some periods have been intense and disciplined while others have been spaced out. Despite this fluctuation throughout time, I have never stopped. The experience I have when I sit down to meditate has been each time, more and more, one of coming home. “Stop the world, I want to get off!” Mafalda would say. For me the act of meditating is a good way for me to “stop the world.”

For me, the daily decision to sit down and meditate is about more than just becoming enlightened. It is also about developing a muscle. Similar to going to the gym, when I do abdominal repetitions my abdominal muscles strengthen; that’s all. When I meditate— when I put my attention on my breathing, letting my thoughts pass one by one— what I am doing is strengthening my attention muscle; that’s all.

Certainly, there have been moments in which I have had experiences beyond my physical body and experienced how I am a part of and close to that which some call Spirit; but beyond these experiences, meditation has also allowed me to respond better in complex situations than if I hadn’t trained my “coming home” muscle.

To sum it up, meditation for me has three main characteristics:

1. Meditation is as important and as insignificant as any other practice we might have – exercising, playing an instrument, cooking— because a practice is already a form of meditation.

2. Meditation is a space that makes me feel home. That small altar that over the years has been nurtured with sentimental valued objects; that cushion and that blanket I cover with, especially on those cold days; make it so my house is one where I can be alone and feel at home.

3. Meditation helps me go back to my center. Over time, continuously practicing going within; even though I still sometimes fall asleep, have my legs go numb, or have sessions where my thinking won’t slow down; being aware of my breathing and counting “one, two, three, four…” has helped me to not react and to detach from my thoughts and emotions enough to be present in myself.

To sit and count one to ten with each breath, going back to your center every time a thought arises, is a simple but rigorous method that I have practiced with good results.

For more resources visit: http://www.integralworld.net/meditation.html

[i] Results were published in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging (Jan. 30, 2011)

Meditation Doesn’t Enlighten You… Only