— Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
In a past post on Why We Still Have a Leadership Problem, I shared the story of how I have experienced the same dysfunctional leadership patterns repeatedly throughout my career. With all the focus and attention placed on leadership, I have often wondered why we still have a leadership problem?
In the article, I mentioned Tolle's insightful quote on the "structures of the human mind," which I found fascinating. It helps us see why things don't improve when we work so hard to fix them. I was curious to explore this issue further.
Tolle's quote represents a fundamental challenge we encounter on our inward leadership journey. The important part we often overlook is that real solutions require an inner transformation of the "structures of the human mind."
We need to engage in the deep internal work necessary to alter our mental frameworks before making meaningful progress. New thinking only keeps us stuck because our thinking comes from what we've done or experienced in the past. We need to learn how to step outside those boundaries.
But what does Tolle mean by "structures of the human mind"?
While Tolle doesn't explicitly define the "structures of our minds," we can deduce his meaning from his writings.
Tolle's "structures of our minds" refers to our habitual thought patterns, values, beliefs, and perspectives. These are largely fixed structures firmly established by social conditioning and our educational system.
These mental constructs — our recurring thought patterns, values, beliefs, and viewpoints — shape our perception of reality and govern our reactions and interactions with the world and others.
Until we revise these mental structures, we'll keep recreating the same world and shared reality.
When Tolle says "recreating the same world," he's referring to the shared reality we as a society experience. We'll keep creating the same world if our mental structures persist unaltered.
For instance, if our minds are governed by fear, anger, and scarcity, our actions will mirror these emotions, perpetuating a world dominated by these sentiments. We see this play out every day if we watch the news.
Tolle's reference to dysfunctions concerns society's negative aspects, like violence, greed, inequality, environmental devastation, etc. He tells us that these societal ills mirror our collective mindset. Without a shift in our perspective, these negative elements will continue.
Instead of operating from ego, fear, or scarcity, we must nurture mindfulness, compassion, and abundance. As more individuals transition, our shared reality and the world we create will transform accordingly.
However, such a transformation is complex and challenging. It demands conscious effort and self-awareness, often contradicting established societal norms and personal habits.
Tolle's quote is a rallying cry, urging us to examine our mental structures, consider our assumptions and beliefs, and make the necessary inner changes to influence and positively lead our world.
How do we update the structures of our minds?
In my earlier article, I mentioned above, I suggested that the collective body of my work at SpaceB provides many recommendations and insights on how we might update our minds' structures.
But here are a few general key practices and some things that I engage in that facilitate this transformation you might find helpful:
- Practicing Mindfulness: Living in the present moment instead of being lost in thoughts about the past or future. This takes time and effort for most of us. What I find helpful is simply catching myself where my mind is focused and choosing to "let go." It can be as simple as that. The Sedona Method has been my go-to method for letting go.
- Cultivating Awareness: By observing our thoughts and emotions without judgment or resistance, we can begin to detach from them. Of course, it is much easier said than done. I recommend A Course in Miracles if you'd like to make great strides in this area.
- Acceptance: Accepting what is happening in the present moment. This doesn't mean being passive but not resisting the reality of what is. I don't have any specific recommendations here other than to recognize its importance and choose to take a deep breath and do it when you can.
- Meditation: Through meditation, we can cultivate a state of stillness and silence to become more deeply aware of our thoughts and emotions and the presence or consciousness that underlies them. I practice various ways to meditate and don't focus exclusively on any one method. I prefer to change things up and use The Silva Method, a Yoga Nidra meditation, and very simple breathing or sensing our inner energy exercises.
- Connecting with Nature: Spending time in nature can help us become more present and aware and less caught up in our thoughts. This is huge if we can move and live closer to nature. We then become more aware of how much the rhythms and activities of the modern world influence us.
- Practicing Compassion and Forgiveness: These practices can help free us from negative emotions like resentment and hostility, enabling a more profound transformation of our mental structures.
- Practicing Not Knowing: Admitting that you don't know and creating space for something new to show up is a powerful way to connect to insight and knowledge from beyond the mind. I've mentioned this many times before in the forum, but this is how this newsletter is largely created every week. I'm endeavoring to let life unfold from a space of not knowing in more areas of my work and life.
While these practices can guide us towards a more mindful and higher state of being, deepening our inner leader journey, it's important to remember that this is a journey, not a destination.
Most of us are not going to get this right all the time consistently. I know I sure don't. We're continuously evolving and learning, and these practices are tools to support that journey.
As I considered how I might close this article, I considered trying something new. Would you like to get together with other like-minded subscribers to discuss this week's post?
I realize this is short notice, but I've scheduled a 30-minute online session for Thursday, July 6, 2023, at 11 AM US Eastern or 5 PM Central European Time. If you'd like to attend, please send me a quick message here. If it works out, I'll make it a weekly practice.
In the meantime, what will you do to update the structures of your mind? Please let us know in the comments below and let us know what's working for you!
Bill Fox, Founder @ SpaceB, LeaderONE, and Forward Thinking Workplaces
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