For more than forty years, I have been a practitioner of mindfulness meditation. My motivation for writing this series of articles comes from a heartfelt desire to share something precious that I’ve learned, before it slips away. I am 66 years old and often tired or forgetful. What will my mind be like next year?
This something precious is a particular perspective, a way of looking at life, love, experience, suffering, and leadership that has been extraordinarily meaningful and helpful to me. It has also been the source of inspiration for many other mindfulness practitioners, both contemporary as well as ancient. It is a perspective that I first heard about early in my adult life, transmitted by my teacher, Chögyam Trungpa, who had received this profound view and understanding of reality from his highly accomplished buddhist teachers.
A number of truly wonderful books have been published about Chögyam Trungpa, his life and his teachings. I am just one student out of thousands, and certain that I don’t have any greater understanding or depth of realization than any of my dear friends and colleagues. What I do have, however, is my personal experience. And I want to share what I’ve learned and how I’ve applied that learning, especially in the fields of authentic leadership, personal development, education and community development. I find that as my work as an executive coach and educator continues to deepen and mature, my appreciation for this unique perspective, encountered so long ago, increases. It is an approach and perspective that is practical and uplifted, gentle and penetrating, uncompromising and spacious, and that evolves over time. It is not conventional. It can seem paradoxical, while at other times simple, obvious and direct.
So, how does the practice of mindfulness fit into all of this? The perspective that I am referring to is what we may adopt before, during and after we have become mindful. It is the lens through which we look when we are truly present, looking directly at our thoughts, emotions, hopes, fears, expectations, assumptions, physical sensations and other sensory experiences. In a sense, it is both the environment we intentionally create for mindfulness to arise in, as well as the experience of awareness itself. The following series of articles will attempt to explore this powerful approach in detail.
They are written for anyone with a genuine interest in being of service to others. This may include heads of businesses, organizations or departments in the public, NGO or private sectors, as well as managers, team leaders, counsellors, educators, and consultants. Leadership is an essential quality or capacity within every human being. We are called upon daily to contribute to the well-being of others, to find ways to bring benefit to our world. That is what leaders are paid to do, and what all human beings, in our hearts, long to do.
Much of the material I am presenting is directly attributable to the teachings of Chögyam Trungpa in the book, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior. I have italicized many of the terms directly attributable to Trungpa Rinpoche, (e.g. basic goodness, ordinary magic), without giving specific references or footnotes concerning chapter, paragraph and sentence within his book. If you look at the Table of Contents of The Sacred Path of the Warrior, I think you will readily recognize many of the terms and topics I am addressing. I strongly encourage you to read that book for further inspiration and to deepen your understanding.
These articles on Genuine Leadership are a personal commentary, a description of how I’ve sought to grasp the significance of the Shambhala and Buddhist teachings and apply them in my coaching and facilitation work. They represent only one person’s view, practice and experience with Trungpa Rinpoche’s extraordinary teachings.
I sincerely hope that they bring you useful, insightful, and inspiring ways to face your challenges – embracing obstacles, fear and doubt as opportunities for leadership and good human-ship. Working directly with confusion is the path of authenticity. And when that confusion is recognized, understood and fully appreciated, the wisdom contained within it becomes accessible, energizing, practical and powerful.
Thank you for your interest.