I’d like to be able to explain fully and clearly how to be an ‘enlightened leader’ (!!), but since I am only just discovering this possibility myself, I am only going to share what I’m learning these days as I explore leadership and spirituality. Please feel free to add to my understanding by commenting.
Enlightenment means a view of the universe that is beyondego. It is the highest known perspective.
What does it mean to be beyond ego?
First of all, ego is the sense that we are separate. It emerges in childhood when we discover that we are separate from our environments, our families and that we have individual identities. For the first time we realize that we have an exclusive view of our own thoughts and that we have the ability to think and choose for ourselves. Before we discover our egos, we are not really aware that we are separate at all. Babies have no concept of themselves and no conscious control.
The development of the ego is behind humankind’s great rush of progress and development as we each strive to protect ourselves and compete against others in our relentless pursuit of happiness. In this sense it is a good thing. But the ego’s view of reality is not complete.
Being ‘beyond ego’ means having a higher perspective that transcends the petty demands of the ego for attention, importance and security. The ego is fearful and greedy. The ego pretends to be rational in its striving for self-protection, but in fact it is emotional and manipulative. Enlightenment is a more complete view of reality.
To gain an experience and understanding of the true nature of reality, we can explore the deepest levels of our consciousness through meditation. It is possible to discover that consciousness is composed of two great forces:
- Peace and acceptance, where everything is okay.
- The creative impulse, where everything must change.
Clearly these are opposites, and yet they both exist simultaneously and with equal power. We can also see them as two aspects of the same field.
So to be enlightened means to be aware of and act in accordance with the existence of the highest and deepest levels of consciousness.
How would having this highest possible perspective help you as a leader?
The biggest enemy of leadership success is fear. Fear blocks us from rationally considering our actions and thereby leads us into self-destructive and ill-considered behaviours. Fear also stops us from taking any action at all, as we fearfully cling to the status quo rather than venturing into the infinite possibilities for improvement. Fear is resolved by knowing that at the heart of any problem, everything is okay and there is no need for fear. There is only peace.
Once we are free from the fears and desires of the ego, we are able to tap into the creative impulse that nurtures change and development, and is the force behind the creation of “predictable miracles”, as I wrote about before.
Applying the learning:
The most important step in becoming an enlightened leader is to raise your awareness of the higher levels of consciousness beyond ego so that you can avoid the pitfalls of ego’s irrational urges and thereby access the higher intelligence of the creative impulse.
This may sound esoteric but it is actually very practical. The more you realize that ‘everything is okay’, there is always peace, the more your actions towards your goals will be in alignment with the highest causes and the most efficient connections. Remember, money is not earned through work, but through the creation of value.
Here is a practical example. Although I have many outstanding goals to achieve and responsibilities to fulfill, and limited time to complete these things, I decided to take a 5-day holiday. I am aware that much of my drive to complete goals comes from my ego’s desire to look good in front of others, and to feel important. Those are ego-driven desires that are unrelated to my deeper desires for helping others develop, leading and creating. Since I am aware in this case that it is the ego that desires to keep working, I can safely ignore it.
And so, I have just returned from my holiday fully refreshed, energized, positive and ready to attract the kind of connections and opportunities I really want, rather than only those that create plenty of work without the value I seek. I cannot prove that I would have created more success by working for those five days, but I am absolutely sure that this particular vacation has added to my bottom line.
In life, everything is okay and at the same time everything must change. The more a leader understands and experiences these two forces in everyday life, the more easily he or she will find fulfillment and success.