Archive for September 2007

Mataphores, sages, fables and myth’s

How beautiful the language used by Emmanuelle in her comments to some of "my" posts. The richness of the words used, the profound expressions of a poet. How important the sages, myths and other expressions of philosophy that allows us to understand on a much more deeper level what is meant.

I love to repeat the wonderful story. The story about a man and a boy. The boy asked what was Ramadan about. The man asked him: "when you are very eager to eat, do you want to drink" ? "No", answered the boy. "When you are very eager to drink, do you want to eat ?" "No" answered the boy. "So", said the man, "this is what fasting is about".  But what are you so much eager for, then, if it is not food or drink?" asked the boy. "I am eager for God". How touching the "simple" words describing the deep desire.

Are we aware of the words we use? The language we speak? Do we enrich peoples life while we express ourselves? What are the stories we are telling ourselves and to the rest of the world? Are we heroes, gods and goddesses, magicians, wizards, peacemakers, dragons, lions, strong as the wind, stars, powerful and magnificent as the lightning? Why not?

Is is not business like to show our real talents, our dreams and desires? Is it not done in the world of business to use the great possibilities of all colors of the painters pallet to describe ourselves and others. Is it not serious enough?

I am surrounded with many students from different places in the world and I feel very blessed. All of them have great stories to tell and I wish that I could hear them all. When I observe them I am always overwhelmed by the creativity and "learning" capabilities they have.

I promised myself to create with them a safe and pleasant learning environment. An environment in which they will feel free to explore new ideas, concepts and in which they are not afraid to make mistakes, since it is safe enough to learn and to experience different aspects of life.

I read on the site of the Mythic Imagination Institute some wonderful phrases:

Every life is a story…A story can change the world!

Everything you can imagine is real

Pablo Picasso

Let us imagine a peaceful world. A place we are able to serve each other. A place were we can enjoy diversity. How beautiful it is to observe and to perceive all the different species living on earth. How amazing to observe every expression of life. Life in all it’s different forms.

I visited ones the Parliament of the world Religions in 2004 in Barcelona and I felt as a "fish in water" (Dutch expression). "Thousands of people representing the vast diversity of the world’s religious, spiritual and cultural traditions". How amazing to be surrounded with so many different expressions of love, peace and compassion. I felt in a majestuous, mythic different planet. How grateful I felt. I talked with so many people, I listened to so many wise words. Deepak Chopra was present. I spoke to the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi and I saw Jean Paul Wabotai back, a great artist and performer, who I met during a conference of the Alliance of a New Humanity. I learned so many new wonderful stories. During this parliament I was most touched by the women that talked about "woman and spirituality" and I felt overwhelmed by the words used by my beloved Sai MAA. How graceful and peaceful her words. How intelligent her expressions and how meaningful her speeches.

The next Parliament will taken place in Australia in 2009 and I can really recommend everybody to join this great event. If you are interested in different expressions, approaches that have in common to live peaceful in Diversity you might have the time of your life.

Empathy

A man is sitting in the streets in Aubagne, a small village in the Southern part of France. It is somebody whose face seems to be always angry and he does not change the expression when he receives a little bit of money from the people that walk by. He is consequent in his expression.

It is my son’s birthday and we bought a small bracelet in a nice shop in the same town. A bracelet, as a symbol for his father, who died two years ago. The both of us started to believe that having a visual symbol, gives meaning to both life and death of a beloved one.

We passed the always angry looking man and I came up with the idea to buy him a present from the bakery, to celebrate my son’s birthday. My son first did not want to buy him something, and he asked me why we should give to somebody who always looks angry. I smiled and I told him: “Let us join with him the pleasure of your birthday. I am so glad that you came to this physical body. I was and I am still so grateful knowing you. I like to share this love with everybody, as well as with people that look angry”.

We bought a delicious cake in the bakery and walked back to hand it over to the man, but unfortunately he was not there anymore. We searched for him but we could not find him. We both agreed that the pleasure to give and to celebrate was our greatest gift, it was neither affected by any response, nor by the presence of the man.

While writing this post my thoughts are back to the man, who lives as long as I know in the streets. I feel deep compassion and empathy. All of us human beings have this capacity to feel empathy. It is a feeling from the heart, the expression of true love, not effected by what somebody represents. The heart is such a remarkable and intelligent instrument and how important it is to make a heart connection with our thoughts and mind. Research shows us that certain parts of the brain are affected and stimulated when we feel empathy.

Science has evidence that our hearts are connected and resonate with the vibrations and energies of the environment. New experiments suggest that the heart is much more than a (technical) pump, only responsible for the bloodstream. Our hearts react when we observe suffering and pain of others. Our hearts respond while observing violence, aggression and fear of others. Could it be that so many people suffer from heart attacks since we observe violence, aggression, pain, and suffering of others on a continuous basis?

If this might be true, and more and more evidence is showing this, we only need to listen to our hearts.: to be aware of what our heart is telling us. By listening to the heart, we can resonate loving feelings to others. We do not need to wait for others to start. By answering to our true feelings, we can respond to violence, by being in peace. By being connected to our own heart, we can overflow the world with deep compassion and true love.

Talking about peace and love is in many parts of the world something you do in private and is not done in general, especially not in the world of Business. In Business we more often try to believe that our analytic, isolated mind is superior. We separate ourselves (ratio) from our heart since we started to believe that our minds are much more effective and efficient. But what do we call effective and efficient? Shareholders value only? Return on investment only? Short term (financial) results? Continuous Competition?

What when we can not separate our mind, thoughts, from the rest of our body? What are the consequences of false hypotheses and assumptions? Are we really willing to pay the price of these (wrong) mindsets? What about poverty, starvation, humiliation, aggression, child labour, abuse and other cruelties?

Mexico

It could be that our ratio can deal with all of these but what about our hearts? Is this the reason that people in many organizations and corporations like to avoid to talk about love, compassion, empathy and peace? Could it be that the decisions made by the so called corporations could be completely different if we would not ban compassion? Is this what we fear most in Business?

Is it allowed to ask these questions in Business Schools? Is there space and time to have dialogues about these subjects and can we find them, as important issues and courses, in the curriculum and in the pedagogy? Let us hope so!

Ramadan

Assalamualaikum

In most countries the Ramadan started and for me this is a good reason to talk about religion. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. It is during this month that Muslims celebrate the fast of Ramadan. It lasts for the entire month.

In many religious traditions we find evidence of the importance of fasting. What could be a (good) reason for fasting one can ask himself. While reading through literature and articles, I found that it is mostly meant to be or become connected with God. According to Wikipedia Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam, as well as refraining from anger, envy, greed, lust, sarcastic retorts, backbiting and gossip. It also allows Muslims to practice self-discipline, sacrifice, as well as sympathy for those who are less fortunate, intending to make Muslims more generous and charitable. Could it be helpful I ask myself? Could it be possible to transform from our “normal” habits, patterns and attitudes to more divine actions and manifestations by fasting? I can imagine that it will work, especially when there is a collective willingness to follow the ideas, philosophies who are the basic fundaments beyond the rituals. One of the main health problems in the World now-a-days is the over consumption of food. Obesity a common problem which is even more remarkable, when we face the fact that on the other hand people still die from starvation. We eat, eat and eat and more often with very little awareness. Are we aware of the quality? Are we aware of the quantity? Could it be that while fasting our awareness switches? I suppose so!

Religion is in some parts of the world something that we should avoid talking about. Religion should never influence our working life’s. We need separation of our private and working life. I like to call this an invitation for collective schizophrenia. Religion is the source of much violence and wars, is what I quite often hear. While studying the origin of Peace and Conflicts at the University of Granada (PhD program), I found very little evidence. I asked myself some questions: what is religion; can we eat, taste, and touch it? I like to share some observations. I am able to see people praying, singing, listening, fasting and participating in certain rituals. Is this religion? Did religion already exist before human kind? Was religion already fighting, without us human beings? Just for the fun of fighting? Is and can religion be responsible for terrorism and female genital mutilation? If (the meaning of) religion is created by human kind, why is it that we do not take responsibility ourselves for the violence, aggression and wars we create?

While searching on a more profound level I discovered that most situations of violence and wars have at least one aspect in common, namely the artificially created idea that there is a difference between the one and the other. The “selfish” idea that we need this separation based on thoughts that we do not have enough to share. The (animalistic) fear that we need more and more, at the very same moment in which we do not even feel grateful, for what we already have. I very much like the idea that, at least at certain periods, moments in our lives we create possibilities to reflect, to do some internal re-search and refresh our perceptions in one way or the other. I like to share my loving feelings for all the Muslims that are fasting right now. Some statistics, according to some calculations I found: there are 1 billion (20% of the world population) Muslims, in Indonesia about 210.000.000. In India about 138.188.240. Thank you that you as part of me practice self-disciple and generosity. I like to make a heart connection with all of you and I promise to practice the same.

I wish all of you Ramadan Moebarak! Vurige_rode_roos

Indentity

What about identity I asked myself? What questions come up while thinking about Identity? Somewhere I read that it has to do with the “self”. What is the self is what then immediately comes to my mind? The question is, however, whether this is important to know? I am writing some chapters for a book that will be published next year. One chapter is about violence. Has identity something to do with violence? Let me try to think, to imagine, just for fun, and for the art of thinking.

Of course I can start with what is violence in general but many great people already did this. It does not mean that I have to start from scratch, but could it be helpful to write about what I think myself, while thinking? Maybe it is the only thing that really matters when it comes to the self, to talk about the self. Doesn’t the Dalai Lama calls this “first person research”? Once I was not sure to write a book and while doubting about the relevance of writing yet another book, instead of reading an already existing one of someone else, I received an e-mail with a phrases of Jiddy Krishnamurti: “Why should you read another book when yours is ready?” Of course many people will interpret this sentence completely different, depending on cultural background, education, habits, attitude, belief patterns and many factors that “can” be of importance.

What about my identity? Who am I? I am a married woman, mother of two children, stepmother of one, born in the Netherland, lived in Indonesia, Spain and I am currently living in French. I am a child as well, since this does not end with the death of parents or does it? I am a sister of two other children from the same parents and I am part of a bigger family. Does this give you any idea of who I am? Let me do some more (re)search. I lived in different places in the Netherlands, in villages, in towns, the family members I “belonged” to had different religions and as far as I know completely different political ideas. I was always wondered by the debates, dialogues and discussions in the heat of their controversial ideas. I was not sure what I thought, believed in, desired for. It was just me in my present staid. I studied different approaches, for my ego and for yours, it is maybe good to know that I did a doctoral program at the University in Granada, Spain in Political Sciences, Peace and Conflicts. Based on that, it might happen that I have some advantage now and that some people are more likely to identify themselves with me, since I “belong” to a certain group of people. I studied! Let us make me a bit more “important”. I received good marks and this at a well-known University. I can imagine that you now think, that what I am writing now is profound instead of nonsense. That it will be more likely based on some concepts, theories, (re) search from well-known professors all over the world. It could be that I “lost” or “overlooked” some people as well. I was not interested only in what we “normally” would call sciences.

Let me express myself more clearly, questioning what many scientists call scientific. Since, what I would like to express, based on some of my remarkable observations, is nothing more than reducing reality.

What if I reduced everything what is not the self, what is out of reach of the research of the self? Who am I? Everything I wrote about what could be related to myself is not in absolute sense myself. It is a certain context, a certain description of what I did, who I was around and who are around me, but what does it says about me. Is the self in me, my experiences on earth, unique and different from all other human beings?  Is it the self that laughs about the self, since the self is taken the self too serious? I suppose so!

If you do not know what I am talking about, me neither. If I am not able to describe myself in terms of pure self, we seriously can ask ourselves, why we create such a turbulence about words, ideas and thoughts that others have of us. Why do we think that we have reason to fight against each other, if it seems to be impossible, in the most simple exercise, to give any description of the self in any human structure, without the connection and relationship to others?

If it is impossible to describe the self in the individual form it will be (even more) impossible to use it to a group of more individuals. What is the self (the identity) of the Dutch, the French, the self of the Football fans, Political Groups or Churches. I did some research and I went into Wikipedia and for some reason I ended up in the description of a Sect. Very interesting what is written and the explanation of what this is, the self of the sect.

As far as I understood it has to do with brainwashing, isolation, thinking of in- and exclusion, charismatic leaders, hierarchy and I found some other interesting description. If I observe the words and sentences used and I read them ones more, what I think can be very helpful, I ask myself whether this is not a description of mostly all human creation. The communistic, capitalistic, socialistic and other political systems, the structure and boundaries we recognize in every organization and country.  Could it be that we ourselves created the Self, just for legitimating the harm of others? What if the Self does not exist? Who do we harm?

Third person research, no ? (His Holiness the Dalai Lama, The Universe in a single atom: the convergence of science and spirituality)