Friday, November 10, 2006

Meditation & Leadership

Meditation and Leadership

Almost four months in Asia Pacific Leadership Program course that has provided me the realization of how important of individuality in supporting sustainable development. Three lessons are mainly to value the individuality that has full potential to impact the whole compounding society. In Leadership Seminar have the core ideas that center on individual’s motivation. Started its class with silent lesson had inspired me very much to explore my inner strength and ability. Culture and diversity also emphasized the existence of self to extend to other beings, environment and culture through the prospects of respecting, tolerating and compassionating. Visioning the future and personal action plan (PAP) also intensified self-centered, self-innovated, self-projected, and self-oriented. In Professional Development Leadership Seminar has encouraged individuals to improve self-resume and curriculum vitae through self-experiences, community services and orientations. Egonet and networking classified self as the most important component to create networking effectively. Through self-effort, self-intelligence, self-awareness and self-responsibility should bear fruits to success in exposing with other people and tasks. When we can create ourselves as a stable pole or a big island, there will be many people trust and want to take refuge. In Regional Core Issues have the concept that economics, politics, environment, culture, social formation and information are circle and spinning around the word “I.” “I” is the essence of these core issues. Bad or good originated from “I”. So how can we refurbish “I”, “Self” or “Individual” to be more proactive and essential milestone leading to success?

Self and relationship with nature according well-known scholars
Both Mechanical Universe of Isaac Newton and Quantum Mechanics of Albert Einstein have clarified that self or individual is very essential to respond to the whole society, world and universal under a certain natural law which called original interdependent or inter relativism. Buddha was the first researcher who found this theory and taught everybody about this inter relation and pointed out the way of middle path, self-reliance and enlightenment.

Why meditation should be important to develop leadership?
When we discuss about self-reliance; it must come from inner individual discovery through meditation practice. Good leader aims at those who can lead themselves, endure to serve others and initiate self-orientation. Richard Davidson, Neuroscientist of Wisconsin University had found that meditation is the important tool to develop happiness and other abilities especially leadership[i]. This factual statement inspires us to look inside and explore this tool together.

What is meditation?
Meditation is the method to explore self-strengths, peace, wisdom, compassion, motivation and innovation. Meditation doesn’t distinguish the practitioners by race, religions, language, traits or location. It is not the faith or belief but the discovery of self-enlightenment. It is not the spiritual rites, but the developing center of wisdom, compassion, dedication and leadership. There are two types of meditation: concentration meditation and insight meditation. Concentration meditation is the practice concerning the establishing of calmness, stillness and peace of the mind while Insight Meditation focuses on the cultivation of mindfulness and consciousness.

Concentration Meditation
Meditators (Yugin) can use simple things to practice this method.
Chanting mantras or reciting any words or poem. Now, most people use hymns, songs or music that doesn’t stimulate craving, surprising or amusing as their instrument to calm their mind and body.
Watching one certain thing or item by focusing on its entity, size, color or characteristic to still the mind with it without paying attention with other things or mind-thought. In the present, they prefer to travel and spend time at the mountains, rice-fields or quiet natural sites.
Praying to what we believe to empower ourselves as the center of all things including the relationship of ourselves to the higher beings. Every religion has their basic meditation by going to pray in the temples, churches, mosques or synagogues; and through this praying they can experience self- emotional comfort. But this temporary comfort is easily affected by the outside impermanent things. So, if we need it more permanent, just take time to find meditation instructors or other reliable sources to develop ourselves at more higher level accomplishment.

Insight Meditation
This method directs practitioners to stay in focus and being mindful. There is the different between mindfulness and peacefulness but these both are basically interdependent. Mindfulness can be cultivated through Four Bases of Mindfulness:
· Mindfulness practice based on body by being aware and mindful with our four main positioning: sitting, standing, walking and sleeping. Present time, physical mindful base has been practiced widely the breathing meditation by concentrating on abdomen’s rising and falling. Rising inhales and falling exhales.
· Mindfulness practice based on sensation is the effort to neutralize our judgment through the controlling of six senses such as eyes, nose, ears, tongue, bodily tangible and mind. Normally, ordinary people are always indulgent of extremes with their six sense experiences. For example, when our eyes see the forms, we are always judgmental with good and bad, and these two biases that lead to suffering and discrimination in our mind because we do not see them as they are. To be not judgmental and biased, we have to train our mind to be mindful and see all things around us as the reality they are.
· Mindfulness practice based on the investigating of the mind that wanders near and far. Our mind is naturally like a monkey that moves all the time. It is restlessly, so they always called it monkey-minded. Different from the Concentration Meditation, Insight Meditation doesn’t need us to try inducing thought but to be aware of all movement of the thought.
· Mindfulness practice based on Dhamma mainly focuses on the righteousness operating through body, emotion and mind. Practitioners can experience through the awareness of body movement, sensing emotion and restless monkey-minded.

In our modern industrialized and competitive society, people experience depressions and stresses from busy works and pressured environments. This reality leads them to understand the importance of having peaceful mind. Of course, meditation has been practiced in our daily lives as the basic awareness and we can accelerate it to higher levels of more beneficial we should get.


By Bhikkhu Vodano Sophan

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