Creating meaningful coincidence
Deepak Chopra inspired a full house in Almere’s main theatre last week when he accepted an invitation by Nieuwe Dimensies to speak on leadership. Editor Natasha Gunn works out her soul profile along with the rest of the soul searchers and looks beyond perceived ‘reality’ into ‘discontinuity’.
Defining a leader
Chopra defined a great leader as “the symbolic soul of a collective dream.” Which means that the leader represents the dream of those they lead.
Not necessarily a good manager, a leader, whether leading a family, community, country or the world, is a catalyst for change and transformation. The leader must ‘be’ the change, have a mythical story behind them -- people and societies engage in action to consume a myth: suicide bombers, marching for peace in times of war, sparking revolutions and movements for ecology, feminism -- and also be a good story-teller..
Myths have eternal themes
At home, Chopra said that his mother was the leader and his inspiration. He tells a tale about when Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, passed through his home village in India. Before the event, his parents were full of the subject and his mother particularly was focussed on choosing the ‘right’ Sari to wear. His father remarked that it didn’t really matter which sari she chose as Nehru wouldn’t notice it anyhow.
When the day came, Chopra and his family waited from the early hours to glimpse the great man driving past. Mrs Chopra had chosen to wear a beautiful pink sari. People lined the streets, hung from trees, piled up on top of buses, anywhere where it was possible to get a view of the great man.
The six-year-old Chopra remembers Nehru’s car driving slowly up to where his family were standing and then, amazingly, Nehru, who was wearing a white suit with a rose in his buttonhole, turned, looked as his mother, took out the rose he was wearing and threw it to her. Mrs Chopra caught the rose as the stunned crowd looked on and afterwards displayed the flower to the whole village in her living room until it withered. She then threw a party and gave each departing guest a petal. The rose, she explained to the young Chopra, symbolised the Indian dream of independence.
When Chopra questioned his mother about what she had done to attract attention that day, she replied, “I know who I am, I know what I want.”
This ability to inspire change and transformation comes from the soul, but what is soul?
Defining the soul
Chopra says that research by Dr Penfield shows that we can choose to override commands from the brain and interpret a sensory experience as either real or not real. He concluded that at any point in their lives, humans are either making choices or interpreting, and neither the choice-maker nor interpreter are localised in the brain. Consciousness is a continuum of possibility waves a container of potential memories and is non-localised.
The soul is a living, dynamic, evolving system in consciousness. It is composed of meanings, contexts, relationships and archetypal themes and is shaped by memory and propelled by desire.
Don’t confuse the soul with ego, which is the situation, circumstances which you identify with. When these ‘props’ are gone, nothing is left. The only real power is soul power.
Life is the story we tell ourselves, comprising karma, memory and desire. An individual is a pattern of behaviour and mostly the same pattern is being downloaded in our waking and sleeping hours – when we call it a dream. Dream and reality are the same because we are projecting both.
How others respond to us is directly connected to our own projections. Of course we feel safer ‘being in control’, but it’s impossible to hold onto a thought for too long without getting stressed. If you have too many thoughts at one time then things become unclear.
Beyond the fight/ flight response
A leader has to go beyond basic fight/ flight responses, controlled by our ancient ‘lizard brain’ and reactive responses to circumstances and deal with conflict without violence and drama as far as possible.
So how do you break the mould, get out of repeating the same pattern? Meditation helps you to keep centred and make a gap between the stimulus and the response.
Soul transcends the individual
Respond intuitively to the situation, listen to the deeper dialogue and nurture rather than seeking to win. Then use creativity to harness collective consciousness; think of the intended outcome, gather the information, analyse the information, take time off – incubate- and allow uncertainty to take over, follow your insight which leads to inspiration, implement it, integrate and finally incarnate (manifest).
Non-violent communication, an approach developed by Marshall Rosenberg, is a way of dealing with conflict which enables a win/ win situation through examining the needs of each party and separating the observations of what is happening in the situation from judgement.
(See Expatica article 'Finding the person behind the label'.)
Your soul profile
You can discover your soul profile through answering the following seven questions:
• How do/ did I feel when you had a peak experience?
• What is my life purpose?
• What’s my contribution (to business, the world)?
• Who are my heroes/ heroines (archetypes) in history/ mythology/ religion?
• What are the qualities that I look for in a best friend?
• What are my unique skills and talents?
• What are the best qualities that I express in my relationships?
First look at your soul profile (the answers to the seven questions above) and write down your desires.
Then, take your intention (with your ego out of the way), go into ‘discontinuity’ or creative uncertainty and express gratitude every day. Allow the universe to take care of the rest through synchronisity or ‘meaningful coincidence’.
Defining Deepak Chopra
Practitioner of mind-body medicine, spiritual leader, mystic, guru, self-help writer? How does Chopra, a qualified medical doctor and proponent of a new form of secular spirituality based on a scientific understanding of spiritual consciousness describe himself?
Chopra says he started out as a healer and still thinks of himself as such. “It’s just that my healing has extended to society,” he says.
Further insight into how our brain defines us
During the seminar, Chopra showed this clip from Youtube of Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor who suffered a stroke which gave her further insight into how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.
The seminar in Almere 'Deepak Chopra: The soul of leadership,' was an initiative of Dutch coaching organisation Nieuwe Dimensies.
Photos by Petra van Vliet (Almere Schouwburg, 16 April 2008)
[Copyright Expatica 2008]