The spiritual Dimension of leadership
Dr. Volker Buddrus
Before I begin to answer the question indicated in this article in length I give a short answer. Yes! Spiritual leadership can be learned by all persons with a functioning mind, personality and body. And it will be very demanding.
To explain my answer I want to expose my understanding of leadership, spirituality, spiritual leadership and demands of global leadership before I outline the learning issue. This I do in describing important components, which matter in executing leadership. Then I give a short description what global leadership can mean in the spiritual context. For answering the learning topic I outline the concepts of personality and person (personhood) which make at this level the distinction between “normal” leading and “spiritual” leading and denote some learning processes for a spiritual retrieving training.
In my approach I differentiate between the roles of management and leadership although they are often mixed. In the metaphor: a manager normally has a full desk, a leader an empty desk. The leader leads and does not execute. Execution of leadership is within the act of leadership and in holding the energy of the field. Management is the execution of the intents of leadership acts. If you are engaged in operational tasks, you cannot lead because your context is too small.
Leadership is not a personal attribute but a social construction. It is a role, a set of behaviour pattern and expectations how to behave and perform.
This set is shared in a culture, a subculture, an institution, an organisation, a group up to a family and a partnership. Because of the process of internalization you can experience leadership as a role even inside of you.
As a role it can be executed in public or hidden, conscious by the role player, with legitimating or not. The role of leadership can be hidden either in the unconsciousness or in a secondary conscious-near process.
Leadership as a role does not belong to a person, it belongs to the context of a person, i.e. a group, mob etc. In extreme situations a former not-leading person can be dreamt up as a leader. That person would explain this unfamiliar experience by “suddenly I had to take action” etc.
A person has to take the role consciously or would be taken by the role unconsciously. It needs a conscious act to withdraw from the role of leadership, denying the demands of the situation and the pressing people. That needs consciousness and will power.
A person can fill the role only with his or her personality pattern. Therefore the role of leadership excels normally the range of leading attributes a single person can contribute. The consequence: one person is often not enough to lead.
But the person is larger than the role of leadership. A person can take different roles.
How a person fits the role pattern of leadership depends on the level of functioning of many different aspects. I want to point out three levels of personality: competencies, traits or single personality structures and the amalgam of structures, “the” personality structures. What we call from outside a leading person is only a myth. “You are a crowd” is a much better description of the inner complexity of a person. The inner coherence of a person is his or her sense of individuality and the inner sense of self but not the coherence of competencies etc. When coming to the role expectations of leadership on first sight only certain personal competencies become important. These have consciously to be actualized by the leading person in the situation of leadership like addressing different people, valuing their difference in rank etc. To apply such a competency normally needs special or situational knowledge and certain qualities of the personality like awareness, strength etc. When these competencies and qualities are internalized and habitualized as personality traits, the leading person does not have to consciously reach for certain behaviour. It’s like driving a car. Only during the driving school you have to acquire certain competencies. The single personality traits function within the personality structure as the more or less integrated context of all psychic functions. This structure itself is no fixed entity but a very feeble unit which strives for homoeostasis. I will come back to this by pointing out the difference in spiritual leadership.
In a situation where leadership is acquired or executed, what is actualized out of the whole range of the competencies, traits and the homoeostasis of the personality structure depends very much on the way the leading person accesses the situation. Therefore leadership is not static but situational different. It is best if it is adjusted to the needs of the situation, when it is adequate to the situation. What is adequate might differ from the perspectives of the leading person or the followers.
The personality reacts to a high degree to the context where leadership is acquired or executed. An example might be leading a group in which members of the opposite sex are present, it can be the number of person present, whether fight is expected or what so ever. The individual reacts to contexts because contexts function as emotional high jacking.
As a role leadership is mostly associated with power but principally independent of the use of power.
With vocational leadership people will follow you
· understanding your motives and plans and/or
· projecting their hopes and fears on you and/or
· being attracted by your charisma.
They don't have to be pressed to follow. They are drawn to you. You have authority by your appearance and your charisma.
With regular institutional leadership (e.g. as legitimated by pole, as a representative or CEO) some people will follow you, but some are not. Your authority is apt to be questioned. To lead you will have to demonstrate and execute power.
Power is your capacity to sanction resistance, to execute punishment up to physical violence to ensure that your orders are fulfilled. You don’t need to execute power if people believe that you have the capacity to exert. You lead and rule when your power is institutional.
To use power is an important motivation for most leaders. Only few persons executing leadership are free of the addiction to power. Therefore it is important to point out the underlying dynamic. The special “kick” the application of power can give, the feeling of being powerful, is deeply rooted. The reason for it is in the way the very personality structure is formed. The personality structure itself has an addictive quality because it was constructed as an emergency kit in a situation where the child was not powerful enough to stay in his state of Being. If a grown up person later has the opportunity to use power it seems for that person that the reason for applying a special personality structure is no longer there, that it is free. Most people, when being in a situation of immense power can easily imagine themselves as God. They feel free from the constraints of their personality structure.
The role set differs from area to area. Therefore some aspects of leadership will only be accepted in a certain area but will not be accepted throughout the levels of society. So you will have followers and opponents.
Here legitimating sets in. You can still be accepted in your leadership role, if you are legitimated by vote, heredity but not by power. Then you would be a despot. We German accepted a horrible leader who legitimated himself by destiny.
Rank is the social status in which others see you. You can differentiate social, institutional or structural, situational, psychological and spiritual rank. Leadership itself is independent of the rank you are attributed with. But the execution of leadership is fostered or hindered by rank. Your ability to execute leadership is very much dependent of your and your followers or opponents apprehension of rank.
A leading person can have low or high social rank. The higher the social rank the easier to lead those of higher social rank. This is true to those of lower social rank, too, because these people look to higher ranking people as their models or golden projections. If you have not acquired eldership the lower your social rank the more possible that your self-worth is low too. That hampers your ability to lead.
Institutional or structural rank is you status within an organisation or institution. It depends very much on your working position and is subject to change if you change position. A leading person with a centre position must have high institutional or hierarchical rank to be accepted to lead within an institution or organisation. A janitor would not openly lead a bureaucracy but he or she may do so unconsciously or camouflaged.
Situational rank you acquire by leading in an extreme situation. Leading in that respect means: assessing the situation and communicate your assessment to others, taking the initiative and model coping with the situation. Outside of the situation your rank is gone. Situational rank goes hand in hand with situational leading. There is that famous story of the big drunkard attacking people in a Japanese train who is seen in his personal turmoil and being addressed by an old man and being quieted.
Psychological rank is your capacity to feel homely inside your personality and do not suffer from too much traumata, personality disorders, neurosis etc. The higher your psychological rank the more you can fulfil the leadership role without being subject to the subconscious needs of your followers. The US president Jimmy Carter was presumably because of his psychological rank the only president in a long row resisting to make war.
Spiritual rank is your capacity to be at home on the planet, in the universe. You radiate that capacity by your being. Spiritual or transpersonal maturity allows you to use your personality instead being used by it.
To fulfil the role of spiritual leadership you need to have high spiritual rank.
Eldership is a status where people take the wisdom position. They fill the role of eldership. Wisdom is the capacity to recognize objects (persons, groups, living beings, organizations) as a whole in their context. This recognition is done with love and disidentification. Wisdom is asked for and given.
Eldership is acquired when people in the respective social area accept your situational leadership. Personally you acquire eldership mostly through suffering, not giving up and personal growth. Nelson Mandela is an exquisite example of eldership.
As an elder you execute your leadership by wisdom.
You can lead from the centre, then you are the legitimate, open and known leader, mostly you have institutional rank too.
You can lead from the inside in taking initiative which is valued and respected by the others. In that position you can be a nobody up to a respected old leader. Whether your initiative is taken for leading depends on the situational demands, on your situational rank
You can lead from the outside. Then you influence indirectly, you influence the context from outside by taking initiative which changes the context of a group.
You can lead unexpectedly situational. That is the moment when you are dreamt up from the field to fill the leadership role in a special situation.
To describe the qualities of leadership it is helpful to use C.G. Jung’s model of archetypes. Archetypes are specific raw psychic energies which are filled with patterns of behaviour by respective cultures. I will outline four archetypes which constitute the energetic radiance of leadership if they are in adequate proportions. If they are not, the leadership will be insufficient or the shadows of leadership could be noticed. I use the archetypal map of shadow work (www.shadowwork.com).
Every archetype shows up as an attitude and goes with a certain quality of psychic energy. The radiation of that person and the grounding in the archetype is part of a personal development process and of a situational acquisition of the archetype.
Motivation through esteem
Masculine / Feminine: Seeing the vision/Blessing & supporting the follow-through
Family Role: The Hero, Little Parent, Caretaker
Animal Instinct: Alpha, male or female
Deep Wound / Shaming Message: "I'm not good enough"
The Tool: Bring support from an ideal figure
Power and service thru setting and holding boundaries
Masculine / Feminine: Offence / Defence
Family Role: Rebel, Scapegoat
Gateway Emotion: Anger opens to Warrior
Animal Instinct: Territorial
Deep Wound / Shaming Message: "I don't exist apart from you"
The Tool: Set a boundary
Seeing options, guidance, detachment
Masculine / Feminine: Cooking by recipe/Cooking by taste
Family Role: The Clown, Mascot, Comedian, Trickster, Coyote
Gateway Emotion: Fear opens to Magician
Animal Instinct: Predator
Deep Wound / Shaming Message: "I'm bad"
The Tool: Look from a split
Connection through feeling
Masculine / Feminine: Spirit looking up/ Soul looking down
Family Role: Lost Child, the quiet but deep one
Gateway Emotion: Grief opens to Lover
Animal Instinct: Bonding
Deep Wound / Shaming Message: "I don't love right"
The Tool: Work in the body, possibly with a metaphor
Within the archetypal framework you can describe the quality of executed leadership as the structure of using the different archetypes situational adequate.
The shadows of leadership appear when the leading person has too little or too much access to a specific single archetypal energy. And the synthesis of the four archetype form a structure of bad leadership too.
Shadows: Shy (too little)"I can't, it's too hard, I'm tired" or Shining (too much)"I can ace it"
Shadows: Flaky/Victim (too little)"Please, no conflict or separation" or Savage/Defensive (too much)"You can't get me"
Shadows: Dense/Rigid (too little)"I don't know" or Fragmented (too much)"I'm confused"
Shadows: Dry/Stoic (too little)"I can't get at it" or Overflowing (too much)"It's getting me"
The psychoanalytic object-relation theory would divide the act of leading into three elements: the object of the leading impulse, the relation between the leading person and the object of the leading impulse e.g. the led person, group, business, institution etc. and the effect of the leading act to the self of the leading person.
Recognizing the act of leading from this conceptual perspective the distinction between normal leadership and spiritual leadership becomes clearer. The object of those being led stays the same. The relationship between the leader and the object of leadership changes dramatically. The relationship of a normal leader to the object is structured by personality issues, which stem from the specific needs of the personality of the leading person. Some need recognitional, some admirational, some devotional responses. These needs flavour the relationship openly and non-openly. It evokes follower ship and resistances up to making fiends.
The relationship to spiritually led objects is different. There are no personality needs present. The flavour is that of being qualities like love, kindness, strength, identity. This flavour allows follower ship and does not awake resistances.
The effect of the act of leading on the self is different, too. The effect of “normal” leading strengthens or weakens the self of the leading person as the effect of spiritual leading does not affect the self at all.
The act of leadership is the shortest duration. It can be a blip of the moment when giving leading impulses and can take several hours as the speech of the president of some central committee. Important is that during the act the energy has to be held. Some actors focus the attention of an audience just by looking around the room.
Situational leadership happens often but is not recognised enough.
Positional leadership is the normal recognized state. It is the context of leadership and lasts as long as the position is held. Within this state leadership is only executed by acts of leadership.
What does a leader do while leading and is there a difference to spiritual leadership?
I assume a consensus that leadership implies the following characteristics:
Leadership is an action directed to change something or somebody. It needs a starting point and this is an impulse. There can be several but the quality of leading shows in a modest amount of impulses.
Differences in spiritual leadership: The difference comes from the identifications the impulses are coming from.
In normal leadership the impulses stem from the internalized model of what is needed. This internalization is old knowledge, taken in the childhood in the then existing culture. The upcoming impulses can be modified by later experiences and training. In any extreme situation und under stress the leading person is apt to rely on the early pattern of what impulses are needed.
In spiritual leadership the impulses come from a disidentified state in which the old knowledge of internalization is like a tablet where impulses can be chosen from but don't have to be chosen at all. There is no stress around. Mostly the impulses will be drawn from what qualities of being are coming up instead. As the qualities of being can only be positive the outcome will have a positive tendency.
Being in the leadership role implies giving direction. Direction means to go that way and not another way. This includes making decisions and taking risks.
Differences in spiritual leadership: The background of choosing direction will be always a sovereign position.
In the leadership position you hold the attention on a goal which has to be followed and the context in which the goal is set. This is similar to the role of moderation. When you moderate, you are not responsible for the content but for the context. You allow the participants to work but you watch how it is done. You intervene when the context is changed. In leading you outline the big lines and let the others be free how to follow the lines. And you intervene when people get outside the lines. In this way you are watching the border lines of the energy field of the process and you notice when the energy of the field drops or the field is in danger to erupt.
Differences in spiritual leadership: You don’t hold the energy field by a conscious act. The energy field is drawn to you. The people led by the attraction of that field.
The container is a modern expression for the kingdom in the fairy tales. The king or the queen is responsible for their kingdom. In all decisions the affairs of the whole kingdom have to be considered of. No partial interest is allowed to rummage around because the kingdom has to flourish.
When you are leading a group or a company you have to hold the container of this group or this company clean and safe so that the group or company can flourish. Holding the container is a mental activity of concentration and awareness. It is like shepherding.
Differences in spiritual leadership: The leading person is not holding the container with mental activity and energy. It is the container. It is not controlling but drawing towards. Being is a absolute container. You need nothing more in this state.
To give direction, to hold the energy field, to hold the container, a person in a leading role has to develop and hold the vision. There can be many persons included in developing a vision but the leading person is responsible to develop and hold it.
Differences in spiritual leadership: The leading person holds no vision. It is the vision. And this vision can change from moment to moment.
A leading person is a model to the followers consciously and unconsciously. Therefore his or her behaviour and attitudes are being copied and followed. Even resistance and rebellion is still patterned by the modelling of the leadership person.
Differences in spiritual leadership: A spiritually developed leader does model behaviour and attitudes but in a fundamentally different way. His or her followers can not model spiritual behaviour and attitudes directly, because they have no access to the state of Being. They can only model in the distorted way, qualities of Being are represented in the personality. Therefore the essential quality of Being “inner strength” will be modelled by looking for power, “clarity” will be modelled by mental clearness and logical thinking, “will” will be modelled by the personal strong or intelligent will, “existence” by contentment, „joy“ by happiness etc.
A wise person includes in the leadership role a careful observation of the field of leadership, of the kingdom.
Differences in spiritual leadership: For a spiritual developed person there is no active listening, observation. All necessary information will arise as essential guidance.
Spirituality is a widely used concept with vast traditions and understandings. I use that term in our context only as a starter point to become curios and to allow alleys of association. I don't want to indulge into the wealth of different meanings of the concept of spirituality. My focus is to describe an access and not to compare my approach with other approaches.
I use the term spirituality for a very specific understanding of as a special psychological state which I name the state of Being. This approach was developed by Ali Hamed and named by him the Diamond Approach. It is purely phenomenological. You have to make the experience. This state is attainable only by experience and can be clearly differentiated by experience from the normal psychological states like the personality structured consensus reality, the dreaming of the unconscious mind etc. This spiritual state is a transpersonal state, meaning that the normal functions of the personality are present but not structuring the field of awareness and the choice of action. The state of Being is always present and potentially accessible, but it can only be accessed in the present. This state has certain attributes which differentiate it from other psychological states.
There is no duality experienced. The experience is. There is no object relation, no distant “I” who experiences. The experience and the person which is experiencing are one, not divided.
There is a feeling of completeness in the state. Nothing is needed to be added. There is no need to be followed, no longing for anything else.
The content of the state is ever changing, new and fresh. There is no repeating.
The state is here and now, no duration of time is experienced
The experience is “colored” by discriminable qualities, single or mixed, prominent or in the background like love, compassion, strength, silence, existence, clarity etc.
If the normal psychic functions are in the foreground a person is not in the state of Being. These functions are feeling, thinking, imagining or planning, remembering.
Feelings and emotions are reactions of how the self is reaction to an environment. Therefore feeling anger or sadness means being identified by the relationship of an individual with his or her environment.
If one is thinking it means that that person is identified with the mental working through of a problem, a situation etc. Thinking disconnect with the presence. Therefore that person is not in the state of Being anymore. Nevertheless thinking can take part in the background but then the person is not identified by it.
If one is imagining, phantasising or planning it means that person is in the future. Being in the future excludes being present.
If one is remembering it means that person is in the past. Being in the past excludes being present.
This way the state of Being can be clearly differentiated from other psychological states.
I use that state in connection with other psychological and transpersonal approaches of human development.
Spiritual leadership is defined in this context as leading from a spiritual or transpersonal position. What does that mean?
Taking A.H. Almaas map of spiritual development, spiritual leadership can come with different velocity. Almaas differentiates in an analogy drives between planetary, stellar and interstellar drive.
With the planetary drive you need chemical fuel to reach the area where you can leave the gravity field of the earth. This analogy would point to the spiritual leader taking lead from a transpersonal position, using the personal knowledge and all competencies and qualities acquired by the personality structure.
To reach the next star, four light years away will not be possible by chemical fuel. You would need a stellar drive to cover these distances. A spiritual leader in this analogy would need to get some cosmic wisdom into his leading vision, not only lead from the restricted personality knowledge. I suppose that Mahatma Ghandi took this extra power in meditation for weeks before launching his famous salt campaign.
To reach the next galaxy a normal stellar drive would be not enough. You would need an interstellar drive. I suppose that a spiritual leader with that capacity must have access to cosmic consciousness and left the state of the observer. The founders of the great religions might have had this scope of consciousness.
Global spiritual leadership would be optimal, if the person taking the role of leadership would have access to the stellar drive.
Spiritual leadership can be executed by persons, who are on the spiritual path and have mastered a certain development. Each person which is not totally developed has to cope on the spiritual path with certain barriers which range from personality traits via the personality structure as a whole to the attachment to personhood.
Certain personal traits are needed and welcomed in leadership positions. You need intelligence, stamina, boldness, charm, charisma etc. These traits are twisted qualities of being. They carry their “birthmark” in the socialisation process with them, although they are on the personality level the best the leading person has available. Their counterparts on the level of being are the essential qualities of being, e.g. brilliance, strength, will, compassion, love etc. Staying identified with welcomed personality traits is being stuck in spiritual development.
The personality as the amalgam of the single personality structures is the most prominent barrier to spiritual development. If the personality is, as normally done, identified with as the essence of self, the function of the survival kit is split off.
The shadows of spiritual leadership are the same as the barriers to spiritual development. Cherished personality traits, the glory of being a respected leading person, meaning personality, show that this leading person is stuck in his or her spiritual development. In the Buddhist tradition there is a saying expressing a warning for not to step into this spiritual development trap: “before the enlightenment, dark drops of rain are running down the temple roof, after the enlightenment dark drops or rain are running down the temple roof.”
Defining leadership as a role implies a cultural context in which leadership is a valid role set. You can put out a concept of global leadership but this has to be accepted by different cultural understanding of leadership. In the business world as well in the areas of government it is well known that the US concept of leadership differs very much from that of France, China, and Libya etc. So global leadership has to be a role set understood and accepted world wide. In my understanding there is no such world wide valid concept. To get a common concept of global leadership would need a global leadership process, too.
So I come to outline my understanding of a functional concept of global leadership. Because leadership implies dealing with conflicts, global leadership has to do with solving global conflicts in a manner being understood and accepted by people from all cultures around the globe.
A social conflict is defined by an awareness of certain actors (persons, groups, institutions etc) of an incompatibility or a contradiction in the thinking, imagining, realising towards other actor’s which are seen as hinder, block, resist, restrain, attack the own goals or intentions. These incompatibilities or contradictions are connected or not with feelings, emotions and wants ( see Glasl 1997).
Apart from the actual global conflicts about privileges and resources I use two concepts of global conflicts which are on a more primordial level. Global conflicts are a reality, like conflicts or tensions are a reality. Global conflicts can be approached on every topic and on every level. And they have to be approached on every level possible. On every topic and on every level of global conflicts the execution of leadership is necessary.
My chosen concepts are the concept of hot spots, taken from Arnold Mindells “world work” and the distribution of violence, taken from Johan Galtungs “transcend approach”.
Leadership on a global level has to deal with the present conglomeration of the human hot spots, which are influential in every culture. The hot spot’s derive from differences within humanity which become conscious and lead to the attribution of suffering. People differ in these aspects. If they value these differences as incompatibilities and contradictions conflicts are likely to evolve from any of the hot spots. The term “hot spot” is taken from geology where it describes those places where eruptions can always happen. In my analysis all hot spots are starting points for global conflicts but privileges are the most important one. Often conflicts about privileges are camouflaged by other hot spots, e.g. by religion. These hot spots are:
The privileges can be money, power, health care, education, social standing etc. Normally privileged people tend to not being aware of their privileges but very aware of privileges of others. Privileges foster greed. Privileged as well as underprivileged are in a vicious circle. Privileged people tend to accumulate more privileges. Underprivileged people tend to be underprivileged in many areas.
Powerful versus powerless, classism
· Political Power, who decides over/represses whom
· Military Power, who forces/kills whom
· Economic Power, who exploits whom
· Cultural Power, who penetrates/conditions/alienates whom
Class is the social organisation of misuse of power. The reason to exert power is in my view primordial due to the construction of personality. The use of power is necessary to ensure the privileges. In the different class constellations this is legitimated for the time being.
Male versus female sexism
Gender is on the one hand closely related to sex as a different body organisation. But as a hot spot gender is a social construct. Which gender you have you ultimately decide when you awake every morning.
In most western cultures age is a hot spot for the young people if the older generation does not share privileges and participation on power. In most developing countries the young generation has education but no participation to jobs etc. In western cultures the older generation is restricted from bringing in eldership. In the business world and within organizations the duration of affiliation is a hot spot when not respected by younger superiors. ageism
Center versus Periphery, centralism
Most privileges are hold in the center. This is the main reason the periphery is underprivileged.
Dominant versus dominated, nationalism
Nationalism is a surrogate for the need for belonging. Within a nation mostly members and organisations of different cultures are striving to hold their identity and to preserve their privileges or acquire new privileges.
Humans versus nature, specieism
Humans are part of nature but do not realize what effects their relationship to other species have for their own well being or survival. As long as other species are not represented global leadership has to include the rights to live into their leading. Albert Schweitzer’s motto can be applied here: “We are life in midst life which strives to live.”
Light versus dark people, racism
Racism is deeply rooted culturally. Primordially the topic of race comes from the uncertainty of the self. As the personality is no stable construction and self identity is always feeble, only people in a spiritual state of consciousness are safe against racism.
Religion is a hot spot only when instrumentalized for conflicts. The mental constructs of the religions in combination with the inherent uncertainty of belief systems as well as the resolving projections foster the instrumentalization. All mystic schools can not be used for instrumentalization because they use a phenomenological approach.
"Normal" versus "Deviants", stigmatism
Single persons as well as members of distinguishable groups can be stigmatised as sick, criminal, dumb, wrong sexual orientation etc. Stigmatisation uses the projection of own failings and needs. Only in a spiritual state one is free of taking part in stigmatisation.
So global leadership is leadership emerged in the context of the hot spots. Global leaders have not only to take into consideration the social conflicts, coming out of the hot spots. They are themselves as human beings victims and actors within the maelstrom of hot spots.
Another approach I offer to use in global leadership is developed by Johan Galtung. His main contribution to global conflicts is the conceptualisation of violence. Violence is occurring on three levels.
This is an act which is meant to bring harm. There is will and intention involved to harm. E.g. shaming or torturing people. Direct violence is feared most and is executed by violent people.
This is a hidden structure of action, an action routine which implies direct violence. It is so normal, that no one can see it, notice it. There is no intention involved. It is just the way people do things. It is customary and everyone is normally involved. E.g. If children don't behave you punish them, if somebody is trespassing, you kill them. Structural violence kills slowly. In the above example: children’s access to Being.
This is hidden violence too, often people use is unconsciously. But there is a clear intention in a tradition which is communicated by sayings, pictures and symbols. Cultural violence is used to legitimate structural and direct violence. E.g. wives have to obey their husbands, if you own a business you can sell it to everyone.
These levels are interdependent. You don't have direct violence when there is no established routine of structural violence, e.g. how the violence is been executed and of cultural violence, that it is good or appropriate to execute direct violence.
Violence has many effects. They spread to many levels. Here is a table from the transcend network to show the often not seen or considered effects of violence.
Material, visible effects
Non-material, invisible effects
Damage to diversity and symbiosis
Less respect for non-human nature.
Reinforcing “man over nature”
Bereavement, traumas, hatred, revenge addictions,
The material damage to buildings,
The damage to
social structure and
The material damage, infrastructure
The damage to world structure,
To world culture
kairos points of trauma and glory
Irreversible damage to human culture heritage
Violence culture of trauma and glory
Deterioration of conflict resolving capacities
This concept of violence is based on a concept of basic needs and basic values, which are non negotiable. The violation of these needs and values fosters the vicious circle of violence.
“Basic needs are non-negotiable. They vary from place to place, and over time, but as a rule of thumb we can identify these four classes of needs as human requisites:
 Survival, as opposed to death; individually, collectively;
 Well-being, essentially meaning food, clothes, shelter, health;
 Identity, meaning something to live for, not only from;
 Freedom, meaning having some choices for the other three.
Some of these basic needs are institutionalized as human rights.
Needs/rights are felt, insulted, satisfied in individuals; deep insults are deeply felt. Genders and generations, races and classes, nations and states as groups do not feel needs. But they may define interests, like being No.1, glory.
Basic interests include basic needs of group members, and they may lead to basic collective conflicts, for instance over scarce water resources.
Basic conflicts tend to be more violent, protracted, and more resistant to transformation.” (Transcend manual, see www.transcend.org)
Taking this approach into consideration global leadership can contribute to a sustainable human environment.
This implies taking the role of leadership dealing with or including global conflicts from a spiritual position. What does that mean?
If you lead from a spiritual level you are affected by global conflicts because in the state of Being you are open to compassion. Your compassion allows you to include global conflicts into your consciousness. But you are not identified with the manifestations of global conflicts.
The position you come from in taking the lead will be of understanding and love, like the Buddhist bodhisattvas of compassion. Therefore you do not transmit any positioning as a party in the conflicts you are due to solve. And you could not be rightfully accused to be a party in the conflict, you are a “another” party.
At the same time you are not dependent on privileges or on power which might come with global leadership. You can lead globally being in luxury or living a very plain life.
I will dwell here on the question of whether spiritual leadership can be learned. I will not answer the pending question whether leadership itself can be learned or not.
The structure of the question suggests that spiritual leadership can be learned. The question mark suggests that this is doubtful. Both suggestions are correct. It is a paradoxical situation. Spiritual leadership can be learned and can be not. Both, acquiring a state of Being and leading from that state is not intentionally accessible. You have no access by will to a state of Being and being in that state you have no access to intentionally leading. But taking the leadership position in your normal psychological state improves the chance that you lead while being in the state of Being too.
One reason for the paradox lies in the incomparability of personal and transpersonal states of consciousness. It is like pregnancy. You are either pregnant or you are not.
Another reason lies in the understanding of learning. To make it clear: in all personal and transpersonal or spiritual development learning processes are involved. What is meant with the paradox is that you cannot learn intentionally to get into a transpersonal state.
Simply speaking: You are either in a transpersonal state of consciousness or you are in a personal state. In a personal state you can learn, in a transpersonal state you can develop, but you can not intentionally learn because there is nothing to be intentionally to learn. You cannot learn to change voluntary from the personal to the transpersonal state. This change implies an act of grace. But you can leave the transpersonal state by an act of will and be back in the personal state. Being in a transpersonal state is always an act of grace. So far with simply speaking. This is in accord of most mystical, philosophical, psychological and religious schools and approaches.
With the approach I use, the diamond approach of Hammed Ali, pen name: Almaas, the problem is more complex. Hammed Ali discovered that some qualities of a mystical state match certain experiences coded as distinguishable personality structures in the personality. And he used the psychoanalytic object-relations theory to explain that the personality is no solid unity but consists of the conglomeration of different single personality structures. These structures themselves are amalgations of many experiences, coded in object relations. Therefore the alternative to experience transpersonal states is not to leave the personality forever and in her totality, “kill the personality first”, to be in a transpersonal state. You can learn to “soften the barrier” between the personal and transpersonal state. And you can learn to allow yourself to switch over.
The little child has a dual experience.
It experiences instincts and physical drives which are structured by the need to survive. This very physical state is called by Almaas the animal soul. In this realm the instincts foster to follow a “grammar” of desires and back away from pain and suffering.
At the same time period the little child experiences qualities of the soul as essential qualities of Being, like joy, peace, strength etc. they follow a different pattern, the “grammar” of Being, e.g. non-duality, completeness, freshness etc. For the little child these experiences of Being are not self-conscious, because the little child has not the capacity to be conscious of what it is experiencing due to lack of development of self-reflection. Within the experiences of qualities of Being there is the quality of personal Being or of personhood, which the children experiences as “I am” or “this is me”. So within the first year of life, the little child differentiates between what belongs to it and what not.
Both states of consciousness, the animal soul and the state of Being, are primordial.
The environment, especially the parents or the caregivers, react to the child being in the two states.
They notice primarily the emanations of the animal soul and react, with educational intentions and survival actions of their personality, to the seemingly unending demands of the little child. At this stage the child is an asocial demanding being. If the animal soul is contended the Being of the little child comes through. The caregivers react to this part charmed and delighted “oh, this sweet baby”.
As long as the emanations of the soul are seen as positive and situational adequate, the caretakers react with admiration to the joy, the happiness, the full living force. But the caretakers can not assign these emanations to the state of Being, because they themselves split this state off their consciousness in their own childhood. The same happens if the emanations disturb the caretakers or are considered not adequate, like with strength or with plain being. The caretakers intervene, giving the little child the impression, that it is not ok. So the child has no chance but slowly splitting off the not adequately mirrored emanations of the state of Being.
The little child builds up its experiences, especially its self-image, in a threefold object relation: the object of the experience, the relation between the child and the object of the experience and the resulting self-image. An example:
Object: “I am sitting here and enjoy sitting. Mother comes and says: Come on, we are late. Don't sit around like this.”
Relation: “just sitting around is not ok”
Self-image: “I am not ok if I just sit around”.
The personality of the child is structured by many object relations who are synthesised around personality kernels. These kernels consist of reactions of the environment.
Using the Freudian model of the personality: The state of the animal soul is integrated in the Freudian id. The state of Being is split off. The part of the “I” is structured by the object relations. The super ego is added by identifications and introjections. Through this process of personality development, the child looses access to the state of Being. The state of Being is still there but it is split off, it cannot be accessed by the consciousness anymore. Kernberg explains the act of splitting off as putting the whole object relations triad aside as not belonging to the child. Some early unpleasant experiences are being put aside and are not integrated into the sense of self. In doing so, in splitting off the experiences which are not liked by the care holders and could not be acclaimed for by the little child, the experiences with the state of Being are gone from the consciousness. “If you spill your milk” mother says “mother don’t like you anymore”. The place of the state of being is taken over by the frame holder “I don’t spill the milk so mother likes me”. This frame holder, this emergency kit, is the starting structure of personality. Many similar situations converge then to a distinct personality structure. This personality structure is devoid of Being because it is developed to exclude the state of Being.
So the personality is developed as a short version of the soul instead of the full development of the soul including the state of Being. This way spirituality is split off during the socialisation process.
So the adult has almost lost access to the state of Being. The soul in its immense richness is reduced to an object relations structured, past bound personality. Instead of the direct experience of the soul through the soul (non duality), reality is experienced through objects, relations and self-imagines. This is like the soul being restricted to a personality as a rescue kit. This rescue kit differentiates the undifferentiated experience into thinking, feeling, sensing, into mind and body, into past memories, future strategies and fantasies and a huge undercover agent, called the personal unconscious.
In extreme situations, where the personality cannot cope anymore, remnants of the former qualities of the state of Being, of essential qualities of Being, are experience like joy, love, strength, silence etc. and in any situations where the control of the personality does not function, e.g. unexpected situations, there is a change that qualities of Being are shimmering through. This is possible because the state of Being is only being split off to awareness while it is still always present.
The return ways range from small paths to broad alleys. Most of them are situational, some are contextual, very few are stationary. What does that mean?
The situational return is a return dependent in its duration to the situation. If you see into the eyes of a little child your heart can open to love. If you turn away the love will be gone, too.
The contextual return will happen in a certain context and is dependent in its duration as long as the context exists. So sometimes in spiritual retreats you find yourself in a transpersonal state which is gone when you leave the room or compound.
The stationary return is very seldom and is experienced by very few people. Then you are in a transpersonal state for longer time duration or for the rest of your life.
Most people, who have access, flip in and out of transpersonal states. Some people flip in and out without realizing that they are in a transpersonal state at all. Therefore you can’t be sure whether the homeless person in rags you meet in a street is in a transpersonal state or not.
There are return ways to the state of Being. There is no exact return because the returning person is not a child anymore but a developed personality. Some return ways can be intentionally sought for, some come with the life patterns others just occur by chance. All paths and alleys common is that they have to be recognized. Without awareness there is no conscious return.
I differentiate several paths and alleys because all could be used for spiritual leadership.
First of all a life crisis can show that the personality is not coping enough in a case of defeat or not anymore in case of success. If that life crisis is recognized as a chance instead of a burden, the flame of searching for spirituality can awake. This “flame”, the notion that this life most contain more than experienced yet, is important. It opens the awareness to more paths and alleys.
Spiritual emergencies, like peak experiences, are situations in which qualities of Being erupt and – missing a holding environment – cannot be sustained by the personality. Some personalities crack and leaving the person in psychosis, some are coded as extremely pleasant experiences which are sought after life long.
The Diamond Approach has developed a practise to inquire into a deep personal wound where you can land in a state of Being. This approach is extremely valuable for spiritual leadership. It allows inquiring into leadership issues, glories and traumata. It allows that the essential qualities emerge which are at the background in leading from a spiritual state.
Most cultures hold richness in exercitien and meditation techniques, which can lead to a state of Being or will lead you to the edge of Being.
Like a spiritual thunder stroke suddenly qualities of Being shine through in short moments, like the transformation of a normal perception into beauty.
If you sharpen your awareness you can sense different kinds of presence, in persons, in groups, in nature.
Retrieval training sets in to develop the consciousness to access the state of Being again. This is done in different ways.
In our context the training focuses on those essential qualities of Being which are needed in leading, e.g. strength, will and love. The teaching is built to enhance the already present accesses and supports new ones. Each person has a different learning path. So the learning environment is manifold to allow as much accesses as possible, knowing that each single access is an act of grace.
The training brings together assessments, developments of skills and accesses into the states of Being by working on the dramas of the leading person. From a didactic perspective the learning process would follow the denoted ways. But normally each learning way is unique.
Most persons can’t differentiate personality and Being states of consciousness. They may have access to transpersonal states but would not know it and would not be aware of it. So the retrieval starts with assessing what is already there.
The archetypes are on the doorway to the states of Being. Therefore their functioning and malfunctioning shows the already reached levels of leadership in relationship with the states of Being.
The strength, scope, width and duration of consciousness are important to hold transpersonal states. To expand the consciousness it is necessary to allow new impressions. Here a manifold of different exercises can be adjusted to the learners needs.
Leading already needs a developed awareness. This is mostly habitualized and called by the leading person “instinct”. This “instinct” is developed within the personality and does not include awareness of transpersonal states. Therefore the existing awareness has to be made conscious to include the quality of discrimination.
Leadership experiences form personality structures. They are valued between the poles of glory and defeats. All leading experiences contain the individual veils of the special personality structure, which has been used in that situation. This is true as well to the high valued “glories”, as to the “normal” experiences and as to the “defeats”, “traumata” and “wounds”. In inquiring into these experiences the accesses and restrictions of leading from a transpersonal state are laid open and could be understood and healed.
Leadership situations bring up certain “issues”, e.g. dealing with conflict, power, pain, pressure etc. These issues needed to be inquired into to understand the blocking stones for spiritual leadership.
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© Dr. Volker Buddrus