17th Verse – The Leadership Trust

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With the greatest leader above them,
people barely know one exists.
Next comes one whom they love and praise.
Next comes one whom they fear.
Next comes one whom they despise and defy.

When a leader trusts no one,
no one trusts him.

The great leader speaks little.
He never speaks carelessly.
He works without self-interest
and leaves no trace.
When all is finished, the people say,
“We did it ourselves.”

Through the 16 years or so that I have been in the Information Technology field, I have come across many types of leaders and managers. All of them could use a read through this verse. This is an excellent example of what I think true leadership is.

There are numerous books on servant leadership, principle-centered leadership, and leadership with compassion. That is the type of leadership that this verse speaks to.

Unfortunately, I have seen many examples where the boisterous, aggressive, and overbearing leaders are rewarded and promoted for their actions. The bottom line of the company speaks louder to many than how the people of the organization are being treated. This leads to disloyalty, sabotage, and disgruntled workers. The immediate gains might be obtained by this type of leader, but the longer term impacts are far worse. I think of companies like the former MCI and how it burned through people like most companies go through reams of paper. The management would take people in, treat them like dirt and get everything they could out of them and then spit them out and move to the next set of new hires. Hmmm, I wonder why they are not in business anymore.

Leaders that are focused on the greater good of the organization and its people will see further reaching and more sustainable success.

The ocean is not afraid of the waves

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If you know you are the ocean, you are not afraid of the waves.

Why are you not afraid of the waves? Because waves are a natural part of the ocean.

You guessed it, this is another metaphor for life.

If you know that you are a spirit having a human experience and that life is meant to be just that, an experience, then you are not afraid of what life throws at you.

Experiences, good or bad, are a natural part of life just like waves are a natural part of the ocean.

If the ocean became afraid of the waves, what would it have to do. It couldn’t try to avoid the waves. They will always be there. The ocean would have to learn to live in harmony with the waves and in turn shed its fear of them.

This is the same for the experiences in your life. Expect them, accept them, embrace them. They are a natural part of you and that will not change.

Shed the junk and let your brilliance shine

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There is a story of a monk who lived in a monastery with a large plaster statue of Buddha. One day while the monk was looking at the statue he saw a reflection from a crack in the statue.He moved his light closer to the statue and saw that the crack appeared to glow from within. He called the other monks and they removed a piece of the plaster. There was gold underneath. They proceeded to remove all of the plaster from the statue and found that underneath this ancient statue that had been in their monastery for years was solid gold.

I heard this story from a podcast featuring Tara Brach, a leading western teacher of Buddhist meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening. She went on to say that the statue in the story was a metaphor for how we cover up our true brilliance with the trappings, desires, and expectations of a worldly life.

If we can remove the outside junk that we feel defines us, we can reveal the brilliance of who we truly are underneath.

Release the desire for acceptance. Release the desire for unneeded material things. Release the desire for looking a certain way. Release the desire that leads to discontent for how things are.

Let your brilliance shine.

16th Verse – Do Endings Become Beginnings?

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Become totally empty.
Let your heart be at peace.
Amidst the rush of worldly comings and goings,
observe how endings become beginnings.

Things flourish, each by each,
only to return to the source…
To what is and what is to be.

To return to the root is to find peace.
To find peace is to fulfill one’s destiny.
To fulfill one’s destiny is to be constant.
To know the constant is called insight.
Not knowing this cycle
leads to eternal disaster.

Knowing the constant gives perspective.
This perspective is impartial.
Impartiality is the highest nobility;
the highest nobility is Divine.

Being Divine, you will be at one with the Tao.
Being at one with the Tao is eternal.
This way is everlasting,
not endangered by physical death.

“Observe how endings become beginnings. “ Why do endings become beginnings? Because nothing really ever ends. The energy/spirit/divine that is all of us has no beginning or ending. It is eternal.

Notice in the verse how it says “worldly comings and goings”. The wording here is important because it indicates that the comings and goings are interpretations that we give to things with our worldly minds.

As I wrote in the 4th verse, one of the laws of physics states that energy is never created nor destroyed, but rather changes form. In our worldly minds we see things as endings and beginnings, but really they are just different forms. This is the same whether it is changing jobs, moving to a new home, changing of the seasons, moving from one friend to another, the sun rising or setting, or even life and death.

Understanding this gives you impartiality. If you know that things are eternal by nature, then you are not partial to one over another. You are not attached to this moment over the next or that so-called glorious moment from your past that you can’t seem to relive or some vision that you have in your head of how things should be yet you can’t seem to obtain.

You are free from bias and prejudice. You are free to be in the present moment without attachment to it or desire for it to be a different moment.

How does one obtain this state? “Become totally empty. Let your heart be at peace.” Meditation, letting go of attachments and learning to be present are all paths leading you to “be at one with the Tao”.

Love, peace and joy.

My New Theme Song from Jesse Ruben

I heard this song by Jesse Ruben called “We Can” today on the Coffee House radio station on Direct TV. Love it. Listen to the lyrics carefully. It is a very moving song. I am going to adopt it as my theme song.

Basically what he is saying in the song is whatever I want to do, I can. Whatever you want to do, you can. Whatever we want to do, we can.

Unfortunately this is the best quality video of the song I could find and I haven’t seen it for purchase anywhere yet.

If you see a better video or come across somewhere that has the actual song available, please let me know.

15th Verse – Wisdom of the Ancient Masters

The ancient masters were profound and subtle.
Their wisdom was unfathomable.
There is no way to describe it.
One can only describe them vaguely
by their appearance.

Watchful, like men crossing a winter stream.
Alert, like men aware of danger.
Simple as uncarved wood.
Hollow like caves.
Yielding, like ice about to melt.
Amorphous, like muddy water.

But the muddiest water clears
as it is stilled.
And out of that stillness
life arises.

He who keeps the Tao does not want to be full.
But precisely because he is never full,
he can remain like a hidden sprout
and does not rush to early ripening.

There are several themes prevalent in this verse, but I want to focus on three that stand out to me and that speak to my life in its current state.

Characteristics of the Ancient Masters

The first are the characteristics of the ancient masters that the verse describes. (It is interesting that a book written thousands of years ago refers to ancient masters.) These characteristics are worth noting as important for us all:

  • Watchful – Aware of what the Universe/God is presenting.
  • Alert – Ready for whatever life dishes out.
  • Simple – Not needing fancy garments or objects to make them who they are.
  • Hollow – Open to new experiences and ideas and keeping space within to allow room for growth mentally and spiritually.
  • Yielding – adaptable to the changing situations of one’s life.
  • Amorphous – Not formed around or tied to any one idea, precept, or notion, but rather open to all.

Stillness

The second one is the third stanza that talks about stillness. This stanza is a good analogy for the mind. Even the “muddiest” mind clears as one sits in stillness. And it is out of this stillness that our minds can be ready to handle anything.

Unfold as they will

The last one and the one that is the most profound to me because it is something that I have been focusing on in my own life comes in the last stanza of this verse. The message of this stanza is for us not to be focused on the end state. I.e. “to be full”. Instead we should be content with how we are right now; knowing that things (physical or non-physical) will come to us when the time is right. So don’t “rush to early ripening”, let things unfold as they will.

The Universe/God does not have a concept of time. That is something that we create in our society. The Universe/God does care if it is now or twenty years from now, what we need will come to us when the time is right. So we shouldn’t create anxiety, anger and sadness in our lives because we are fighting to make things happen according to our plans or expectations on time.

As I have written before in previous posts, this does not mean that we should not plan goals and go for things in our life and just sit around for things to come to us. The Universe/God does require action. Instead this means we should be accepting and gracious for what we are given and continue to work towards what is right for us in a positive and constructive manner instead of fighting against the flow of life.