Meditation and Leadership
Nearly four months in Asia Pacific Leadership Program course that provided me the realization of how important of self in supporting sustainable development. Three lessons mainly value the self which has full potential to impact the whole compounding society. In Leadership Seminar, the core idea was centralizing on individual’s motivation. Started its class with silent lesson inspired me very much to explore my inner strength and ability. Culture and diversity also emphasized the existence of self to extend to surrounding people, environment and culture through the prospects of respecting, tolerance and compassion. Visioning the future and personal action plan (PAP) also inspired self-centered, self-innovated, self-projected, and self-oriented. In Professional Development Leadership Seminar, it 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. By 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 a hold or parking their journey. In Regional Core Issues, it has 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 decorate “I”, “Self” or “Individual” to be more proactive and becoming essential milestone of success?
Self and relationship with nature according to 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 universe under a certain natural law which called original interdependent or inner relativism. Buddha is the first researcher who found this theory and taught everybody about this inner relation and pointed out the way of middle path, self-savior and enlightenment.
Why meditation should be important to develop leadership?
When we discuss about self-savior or 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 has 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 it is the developing center of wisdom, compassion, dedication, commitment 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 realization and knowledge.
Concentration Meditation (សមថសមាធិ)
Meditation practitioner (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 attention 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 impacted 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 to attain more higher level accomplishment.
Insight Meditation (វិបស្សនាសមាធិ)
This method directs practitioners to stay in focus and being alert. There is the different between mindfulness and realization but these both are basically interdependent. Realization or Vipassana can be cultivated through Four Bases of Mindfulness:
- Bodily realization base: by being aware and mindful with our four main positioning ie sitting, standing, walking and sleeping. Presently, physical Vipassana has been practiced widely on the breathing meditation by concentrating on abdomen’s rising and falling. Rising is inhales and falling is exhales. Or practitioners count the inhale and exhale breathing.
- Sensational realization base: is the effort to neutralize our judgment through the controlling of six senses such as eyes, nose, ears, tongue, bodily tangible and emotion. 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. It is 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 which they are.
- Mind-wandering realization base: is to investigate the mind that wanders near and far. Our mind is naturally like the monkey that makes movement all the time. It is restlessly, so they have 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.
- Dhamma realization base: it is mainly focusing 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 hasty 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.
And leaders are working beyond the reality of hasty works and pressured environment; so meditation is very instrumental for them all.