It is easy for those of use who are followers or "minions" ( tongue-in-cheek ) to see what leadership is doing wrong, and believing we can do better. Those of us who embody the judge archetype wish to stand up for righteousness and do not much like it when we see people making mistakes or misusing their power. The shadow side of the judge archetype is the person who stands in judgement of others, and criticises them, without becoming the healthy alternative, instead seeking to punish others for their mistakes. I have been that, and it didn't get me very far, especially when I noticed myself doing the same thing in my own business. Check out this video of the candidate Obama, debating the president Obama. Then, read on.
"The old saying we become what we hate applies here. It is a sad truth that leaders of revolutions - political, social, economic, the little revolutions within the corporation or the voluntary organization - once they have ousted the tyrants and the oppressors ( often by violence and terrorism ) become themselves the new tyrants and the new oppressors. It was often said in the 1960s that the leaders of the peace movement were just as tyrannical and just as violent as those they fought against."
- Moore and Doucette, King, Magician, Warrior, Lover
It is easy to judge and criticise someone else in a position of power from our comfortable couches. It is another thing to be willing to do better ourselves, and step in to the person we would want to become instead, and give an example of leadership others aspire to. Only then will we realise the pressures that come with that power. And maybe we will realise that seeking power for the sake of power is not what we really want. So who are you being called to become? Look at those people you criticize, what do you criticize them for? What is the opposite? For that is who you are being called to become and is the person you can begin to step in to right now.
Your compassion, your courage to speak the truth, and you walking the talk, will inspire leaders to be better, and will build your own strength as a leader. I have watched many clients who struggled with leadership, inspire the leaders to change, by their own willingness to change. The true leaders are not the ones at the top of the organisation, but those who are examples to their equals, and to management.
"If we are accessing the Warrior appropriately, we will be energetic, decisive, courageous, enduring, persevering, and loyal to some greater good beyond our own personal gain. If we are accessing the warrior in the right way, we will, at the same time that we are "detached", be warm, compassionate, appreciative and generative. We will care for ourselves and others. We will fight good fights in order to make the world a better and more fulfilling place for everyone and everything."
- Moore and Doucette, King, Magician, Warrior, Lover
There is a big difference between being wrong and a sinner, and making a mistake or sinning. When you say "I am wrong" you are putting a great big statement in front of yourself, and creating a whole whack of shame within you. When you say "I have made a mistake", you are observing an action, and you can learn and grow from it if you choose to. Knowing the difference will create a whole different experience for you in your life.
Check out this story recounted by Paramhansa Yogananda:
"I once attended a service led by a famous woman evangelist. During her sermon she shouted "You are all sinners, get down on your knees."
"I was the only present who remained standing." the Master ended with a smile "I would not admit that I am a sinner."
Having been raised in a religious environment, I was seeing myself as a sinner for almost all of my childhood, and even when I questioned my religion, I questioned whether I was wrong or not about that. I was afraid to make a mistake, to choose the "wrong path". And if I made one, I was quite competent at punishing myself.
I believe we need to acknowledge the mistakes we know if our heart we have made. To refuse to see them, to suffer with pride believing we are immune to making mistakes, will keep us in the habit of repeating them. It takes humility to recognise when we have wronged another, a lesson I have learned in my life in painful ways. But when we admit it to ourselves, and to those we may have hurt as a result, we return to our centre, provided we also give ourselves the compassion we need.
You may have been told by many people you were wrong. Wrong for believing in a particular God, wrong for choosing a path, wrong for listening to a specific teacher, wrong about your opinions. And you may have believed them over your intuition and inner guidance. Others in your life can be wrong too, and it is important to discern, and discover truth for yourself and about yourself. Trust yourself, trust the pure feeling of intuition within you, and forgive yourself for the times you listened to others instead of your own inner wisdom.
Guilt and shame cause us to play out self-destructive habits in our lives. At some unconscious level you may believe you need to be punished, and made wrong, and so unconsciously or consciously, you do so, and end up spinning in your own self created hell. Let go of the need to punish yourself, choose compassion in times of error, and be humble enough to admit the mistakes you make, at least the very least to yourself.
"Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes."
- Mahatma Gandhi
For each of us, the fear of being wrong can take a different toll on us. Some are so ok with being wrong, that they learn and move on quickly. For those who fear it strongly, and hence need to be right, life can be painful, as they avoid facing the error of their ways. Again, through becoming more compassionate towards self, you will find yourself being able to make mistakes without painful repercussions. In life, we will make mistakes, and if your dreams are to become a reality, you will need to make the most of them.
It is not the sin itself that is the problem, it is the guilt we place upon ourselves for having sinned. Make the mistake, learn the lesson and move on, it is pretty simple, but for many of us it means letting go of the habit of punishing ourselves, which we have developed for a lifetime. When you make mistakes, be willing to forgive yourself, to let go of them, and be brave enough to make them in the first place. As someone who used to be incredibly hard on myself for making mistakes, it is far more freeing to know I can make them, and continue to walk on in my life.
You are not wrong, you have made mistakes. Know the difference. If you struggle with this, find someone you can confide in, someone with the compassion to be able to guide you through it.
One of the aims of yoga is freedom from the desires every human has. To find peace and equanimity within our daily actions, knowing that peace inwardly, even when others may perceive it as otherwise. As someone who has had many desires, and probably still has many, it is a freeing practice, though not without the resistance from within. I hear many who say they are free from all earthly desires, but then act in ways other than that. My thought is that when it happens, it is something I will know inwardly, there will be no need to share it with others. In the mean time, for each of us who struggles with less than enlightened thoughts, I wanted to share from my toolbox.
"Those who say it, know it not. Those who know it, say it not."
- Yogiraj Gurunath Siddhanath
I most certainly still have desires, I am not yet a saint and maybe spinning that wheel for many incarnations to come, who knows. For a long time though, wanting to achieve freedom from many of my thoughts, I would see the desires within me, and stuff them down, believing inwardly they were wrong, or that they would prevent me from achieving the liberation I sought. Even worse, at times, believing that I had transcended those very desires. Some of this may have stemmed from my religious upbringing, where I was informed I would be punished if I broke the rules. Yoga simply provides a method by which it is known one can achieve liberation. It does not make the sins ( which simply means mistakes ) a BAD thing, simply a choice that takes us away from the ultimate liberation we seek. It was a breath of fresh air when I first read that in Yogananda's work.
Stuffing those desires down though, making them bad, or at the very least fearing they would prevent me from achieving liberation, only forces them in to the shadow. A shadow which has played out for me in ways which were quite humiliating at times. The more we meditate, the more our shadow emerges in to our consciousness, and the better our opportunity to acknowledge the desire or habit beneath it, and attend to it in a gentle and compassionate way. A refusal to acknowledge, understand or love it now, will ultimately lead to it playing out in our life as some kind of drama or embarrassment.
"Unless the desire to be special disappears, you will never be special. Unless you relax into your ordinariness, you will never relax.”
Certainly I have discovered desires which are of the heart, which can provide transitory joy on the planet, and I love seeing them manifest for me. Then there are definitely those desires I have which have been harmful to my evolution, and the lives of others. It can shocking when we stumble upon those in our own being, but I am ever grateful to yoga and the support from my yoga master in ridding myself of them. The hatred, the self loathing, the need to punish myself, the desire for revenge, the need for approval, the greed, the jealousy. These have all emerged within my awareness over the years, and it would be so easy to project it on to others. But through studying yoga, I know that I will only progress in life by conquering them in me. Before yoga, I did not believe I had the strength to face them within myself.
“The peace of God is with them whose mind and soul are in harmony, who are free from desire and wrath, who know their own soul.”
― The Bhagavad Gita
Whenever I sit with my own anger, I know a desire or a need is not being met. It is tempting to want to throw the anger at another person. "They made me angry because they did such and such" But that takes the focus off of me, and the need and desire I have. Not to mention it creates karmic patterns that will only make my journey more challenging. So instead, I need to be honest with myself and ask what desire or need I have. Sometimes that need can surface in moments, other times, it can take deeper questioning and more life experience to discover it. But it is never voiced and acknowledged, when I refuse to believe it is there, hoping I have already release it. Many times I find myself working through something I have already worked through, but I cannot judge it if I hope to master it.
Once I am aware of the desire, I am able to let it go and ask for support in releasing it. Once I am aware of the need, I can make it happen for myself, or ask for support with that. As long as I deny it, it can have power over me. Letting go of the desire does not mean that it does not happen for me, it means that I will not allow myself to suffer because of it. My life has become much more enjoyable, and much more peaceful as my meditation practice has deepened and I have set myself free from the prison of guilt and shame. They still make themselves known from time to time, but that is the beauty of my practice, it gives me the strength to conquer even the most painful ones.
Sometimes the meditations are an uphill paddle, with my monkey mind chattering away relentlessly, holding on to the belief it is in control of the bigger picture. Some days my mind is like a pond at dawn, undisturbed by even the sleeping swans. I truly look forward to that day when I have conquered the desires that leave me feeling imprisoned. Until that time, I will continue to listen inwardly to my intuition, and outwardly to the words of ones wiser than me, and commit to making the changes that will allow me to find greater peace, joy and love within.
Not everyone values feeling, and for many who do, it feels like they are on their own in a world where others don't. In fact some people see it as a downright weakness that should be eliminated from our world.
More and more people, however, are stepping in to the roles of leadership in work and business who do value feeling and are creating powerful change as a result. They are far from weak, embodying the gift of their intuition when making choices in life, and embodying the warrior archetype in healthy fullness in order to accomplish the challenging feats. Businesses where a nature of fun, love, appreciation and acknowledgement is encouraged. To attract these people and places in to your life, you may need to change some perceptions.
Valuing feeling is something that would be considered a feminine trait, and for the purpose of explanation, that is the label I will use here. In a world that has been patriarchal in essence it is easy to see why this has been the case, but it does not have to be.
Identify How You Treat Yourself Because Of Being A Feeling Person
What most people have been shamed for in the past is being too emotional, too sensitive, moody, "bitchy", insecure or irrational. Some of those indeed can be the shadow side of emotional connection, and we must be aware of them. Shaming ourselves for being too emotional, will prevent us from ever allowing ourselves to truly feel the feelings in the future we want to feel more of - joy, peace, love, gratitude. Even though you may experience moments where you are TOO emotional, completely and deeply love and accept yourself. You are experiencing the emotion, you are not bad because of it. When you stop judging yourself for the trait, you can begin to make changes so that you are aware of feelings in a healthy manner. Oftentimes people who have stepped in to their power can be called bitches or assholes by those who feel challenged by them stepping in to their power. I have had clients called a bully in settings where they needed to be assertive. Be aware of the difference between being genuinely bitchy or a bully, and being empowered in such a way that others may feel defensive. You never need to exert power over another, only hold firm in it within yourself.
Pure Feeling Is Not A Weakness, It Is A Strength That Uplifts Organisations And Relationships
Gratitude, love, compassion, appreciation, forgiveness, intuition; these are all being brought more and more in to the workspace, despite resistance from those who see it as a weakness. In the work I did as a GratiDude I came across those who accepted it, and those who resisted it, and laughed at me, saying it was too touchy feely. That's ok, you can't please everyone. Those who have embraced it are creating flourishing organisations, with happy staff. It does not mean that they are not challenged, but it does mean that they have the tools at their disposal to deal with conflict when it arises, which it surely does. Intuition is one of the greatest gifts we have in our life, and in a world that has devalued feeling, it got kicked to the ground too. Harness the gift of intuition to do good in our world, make better choices, that align with the highest good for everyone. Expressing gratitude and appreciation to those you work and live with, in addition to the necessary feedback, will help to foster a happier environment. Being able to have open discussion, with compassionate listening, helps to build trust so that problems can be solved with greater ease. When you catch yourself thinking of yourself as weak for feeling any of these, remember the gift and value they bring.
Embrace The Fullness Of The Warrior Within You.
There is a need for the warrior archetype, often suppressed because of the negativity that the shadow nature has brought in to the world. The expressions of violence, overworking to the point of burnout, these are the shadow realm of the warrior. But there exist times when it is necessary for the warrior to show up in the world. The warrior who acts from a place of anger brings only harm upon himself and others. The warrior who is acting to fulfill a transpersonal goal, a service to humanity, and is able to remain emotionally detached in the heat of conflict, can bring much to the table. As long as he still embodies the compassion and caring in this role of the warrior too. Hence, being a warrior, and valuing feeling are not mutually exclusive. It is about knowing when to detach, and when to feel. Love does not always come across as flowery, it comes across strong and if that is what is needed to wake us up, then that is what is needed.
Feeling has been perceived as a weakness by too many for too long. We are witnessing a spiritual revolution that is giving permission to people to be true to themselves. There are people who are walking around with imbalances when it comes to feeling, I have been that person myself, and it has been a process of growth. But as I have learned to embody the valuing of feeling with the warrior within me, I have been able to address life's challenges with greater ease. We all have our role to play in life and we need feeling to support us.
To book a one-on-one session with Matthew, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The first session is complimentary and a great way to determine the value of future sessions on your own path.
Matthew Ashdown is an intuitive personal life coach and speaker with his company Grail Quest Coaching, which focuses on supporting people on their journey of self-knowledge. Using wisdom from his foundation in Kriya Yoga practice, and his background as a Law of Attraction Coach, he joyfully guides others to find their authentic self.
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