This weekend I attended the Consciousness based Leadership Conference, organized by Maharishi University in USA. It was beautifully organized by Anil Maheshwari and his team at MIU, and its intention was to promote Oneness and Flourishing- a noble goal- through Consciousness-based Leadership and Management. The speakers and panelists were from so many different fields and from all global regions of the world. It was an amazing experience, and I was so excited to see that spirituality has entered the management and leadership fields – something that I always dreamt of! I also learned about the latest thinking about consciousness and its potential for peace; the Vedic tradition of India and its linkage to science and physics and mathematics; Maharishi Yogi and the Transcendental Meditation movement and the Management Spirituality and Religion interest group under AMA: https://msr.aom.org/.
I was on a panel called “Dialogic Approaches to Oneness and Flourishing” where I and others shared the principles and applications of dialogue. David Bohm – a philosopher and physicist- defined dialogue as the flow of meaning between, through and amongst us. Notice that this is different from sharing opinions and trying to compete with others in winning the argument, as it is in discussion or debate. What dialogue does it forces you to suspend your own assumptions and beliefs- which means we have to quieten our ego- and listen generously to others- which means truly honoring their experience. Listening is absolutely the key, and it is really a gift you give to others. As you do this a participatory consciousness is created as all participants shed their firmest beliefs and mindsets (over time) which leads to transformation and greater harmony and coherence.
When I think of Oneness and Flourishing- the goal of the conference- I recognize how far we are from that noble ideal. What we see is an ocean of suffering, anxiety and fear of the future, triggering hate, violence and massacres for all to witness and watch. And yet, we go on in our micro world-perhaps crying in the night or at prayers- but recognizing that we have no control at our level. That is even more reason to discuss the possibilities and the potential of human beings, and so I applaud the organizers of this conference. I left the conference with more hope than before, and loved Chris Laszlo’s (a colleague and friend who had invited me to the conference, and who is the son of the famous systems thinker Ervin Laszlo) comment: “we co-create our world through our observation of it”, a principle of the quantum sciences. Each one of us can shape what will happen by who we are and what we focus on- we have more power than we think!
For Muslims that larger Consciousness is Allah, and when we pray or remember, we are tapping into that larger Consciousness IF we do it mindfully and with total love and surrender. The Quran reminds us over and over again of the Oneness and Perfection of the Universe and of Nature, and that in everything we see, we see Allah. Whether we do it with Transcendental Meditation or other forms of meditation- e.g. Sufi zikr, tapping into that larger whole helps us zoom out of our personal worldly concerns or even the sufferings of peoples thousands of miles away, and zoom into the larger Whole, the Universe as Allah created it. We realize that the chaos and tragedies around us will end someday, as the universe and all creation cycles through evolution and there is a purpose behind all the seeming distress. As hard it is, I keep working on that every day. I realize that power, might, deception and scheming is not the path of a spiritual believer, but reawakening and uniting hearts is.