On December 4th in 2013, Prof. Dr. Meyer-Galow is giving a speech in the capital of the kingdom of Bhutan, wich relates the GOLDENEN WIND with GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS:
“Golden Wind Management meets Gross National Happiness in Bhutan – Concepts for the People in a Better World”
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A Short Guide to Gross National Happiness Index
GOLDEN WIND MANAGEMENT MEETS GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS IN BHUTAN — CONCEPTS FOR PEOPLE IN A BETTER WORLD
Lecture: Professor Dr. Erhard Meyer-Galow
Thimphu, Bhutan, December 4th 2013
I am glad to be back in BHUTAN. 1999 was my first visit to your fascinating country. This was the visit when Harald and Angelika Nestroy have married here in THIMPHU.
When I met my dear friend Harald Nestroy almost 20 years ago in Kuala Lumpur, where he was German Ambassador, he told me about his sympathy and attraction for BHUTAN. He convinced me to join the service organization, which is today called PROBHUTAN, as a donor for so many very important projects, where our help was urgently needed.
During all these years I have always followed with great admiration your program for GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS. Recently I saw the movie: “What Happiness Is”. This movie is about the census in 2010. You are the experts for this requested orientation of your country, I am of course not.
Therefore I will not talk too much about GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS. I will talk more about LIVING IN THE GOLDEN WIND and how to manage to achieve this experience for an individual. From the individual it can spread to groups of people, companies, countries. I call it GOLDEN WIND MANAGEMENT. You can learn to manage yourself and others in this respect. This experience may lead to the HAPPINESS for everybody, in a way how you here in Bhutan want to understand it. The West has different definitions, as you know and this is our problem.
I want to build a bridge between your concept of GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS and my concept of the experience of THE GOLDEN WIND. You will find during my lecture and during our conversation thereafter that there are correlations and similarities between these concepts, from different points of view, allowing people a happy life in a better world. This is your intention and it is my intention.
Before I explain my concept of the GOLDEN WIND, I would like to mention some very important points of GNH to which I can refer later on and which may be new for Western people who read my manuscript. I use as citations some important fragments of “A short guide to GNH Index” published in 2012:
“In the GNH Index, unlike certain concepts of happiness in current western literature, happiness is itself multidimensional—not measured only by subjective well-being, and not focused narrowly on happiness that begins and ends with oneself and is concerned for and with one self. The pursuit of happiness is collective, though it can be experienced deeply personally.”
“Gross National Happiness (GNH) measures the quality of a country in a more holistic way (than GNP) and believes that the beneficial development of human society takes place when material and spiritual development occurs side by side to complement and reinforce each other.”
“We have now clearly distinguished the happiness…in GNH from the fleeting, pleasurable “feel good” moods so often associated with that term. We know that true abiding happiness cannot exist while others suffer, and comes only from serving others, living in harmony with nature, and realizing our innate wisdom and the true and brilliant nature of our minds.” (from the opening address of “Educating for Gross National Happiness Conference 2009 by Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley)
“It includes harmony with nature (again absent from Western notions of happiness) and concern for others. The brilliant nature he alluded to consists of the various types of extraordinary sensitive and advanced awareness with which human beings are endowed and can be realized.” End of quotes.
Not all of you are happy, but you are the only country with a program to make more people happy. You improve steadily the situation of the unhappy.
The people in the Western countries are emotionally, psychologically and spiritually suffering, not materialistically. We want to grow more and become more and more ill. And now the wealth is going down and therefore we are even suffering more. Psychological diseases like depressions, anxiety and burn-out are growing double digit per year.
For me ‘Burn-Out’ is the implosion of the self-centered Ego when outside pressure is increasing. If at that point nothing has been developed inside that can keep you strong, you then undergo a breakdown, a ‘Burn-Out’. The healing can only be achieved by inner growth, not through any medicine, wellness program or a simple reduction of workload.
The usage of psycho-pharmaceutical drugs is growing double digit as well. We landed in a dead end street with our growth orientation. We need urgently a change. But should we change? But which change? How to change? Important questions!
But the people in our world want to be happy. It’s a deep desire in each individual.
Therefore the West is looking the East, to Bhutan. We try to understand your GNH concept. By far the majority, politicians and governments included, will not understand your concept and therefore will not discover the need and opportunities to implement your concept in our world. They don’t understand the “Healing Power” of GNH. It is an illusion that the West can easily take over your GNH-program.
Why? Because the urgently needed balance between a materialistic and spiritual orientation is so out of order since centuries that the ego-centered mind and behaviour dominate.
Since René Descartes’s “Cogito, ergo sum,” (I think, therefore I am), we have made incredible advances in science, technology and economics by narrowly focusing upon fulfillment of the ego, taking an ‘I-centered’ worldview. This has been at the expense of progress on humanistic, intrinsic values. Fortunately in GNH you have a human centered holistic approach.
What will be the ultimate outcome of the collapse of our materialistic world? What will we become when our most admirable human qualities are perceived as precursors of failure? There is another urgent need for change! The following quote from John Steinbeck remains relevant to this day.
“It has always seemed strange to me…the things we admire in men; kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egoism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the product of the second.”
In times of excessive economic growth most individuals are similarly focusing upon their external wellbeing, diminishing their possibility of internal growth. It is difficult to convince people that external growth cannot represent the real meaning of life. The harm resulting from this one-sided mind set may be ignored, but the consequences are real. They include loneliness, depression, selfishness and suicide, to name but a few. In the Western industrialized countries, the Golden Years are a thing of the past; soon to be a distant memory. My generation has benefited, but our children will have to accept a lower material standard of living.
At the same time as the standard of living is falling, people will be living longer. There will be more elderly and fewer young people contributing to the economy, and thus less societal support for the elderly. In Germany in 2007, only 40.7% of the population was in the work force. In 2010, 16 million Germans were over 65 years of age. People will increasingly need to explore new opportunities, find new directions, to work on a new mind set, one which will serve them better for the rest of their lives. Recognition of the importance of Inner Growth is that important opportunity!
People are stubborn. It takes a huge wave of negative dimensions for us to question the validity of our obsession with external values at the expense of out mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. But the wake-up call has sounded. Mankind will have to made radical changes in order to have any assurance of a fulfilling future.
The religious philosopher Raimon Panikkar (although some believe that Karl Rahner was the author) spoke a poignant truth with his words:
“The man of the future will be a mystic or he will no longer exist”.
Mysticism is an inward focus upon the infinite, often in reaction to a focus upon the finiteness of external growth and its adverse consequences.
We lost our mystic consciousness although we have a history which can teach us even today. Master Eckhart, our Christian mystic, lived in the 13th century. And now? The churches are empty. 60% of the churches are closed in my area in the meantime. The priests cannot lead the believers into the mystic Christian experience of GOD.
C.G. Jung, the very famous Swiss founder of Deep-psychology, said: “I never had any patient with a psychological disease where I detected after careful anamnesis that the reason for all his problems is the interruption of his connection to the numinous.” You may say GOD, the religious reality.
Therefore by far the majority in our world don’t see the need for a daily exercise like prayer, meditation, contemplation etc.
You and me, who have made own experiences in daily exercises know that these daily exercises are the condition for inner growth to master your external problems. It needs “sensitive awareness”, as I said in quoting your statements earlier.
Let me add here another citation published in the “Short guide to GNH index”:
“Although the term “Gross National Happiness” was first coined by the 4th King of Bhutan the concept has a much longer resonance in the Kingdom of Bhutan. The 1729 legal code, which dates from the unification of Bhutan, declared that
“if the Government cannot create happiness (dekid) for its people, there is no purpose for the Government to exist.”
What a wonderful message. None of our Western Governments would exist today. They don’t follow the creation of happiness for the people as first priority.
In Bhutan, where the Kings and the Governments act from a deep Buddhist spiritual experience, they can of course in a TOP-DOWN approach declare the GNH program and lead Bhutan as a developing country into a bright spiritual future with an acceptable standard of living.
Prime Ministers, Ministers, Governments, Politicians, Managers in the West, mostly all people in the industrialized countries with a high GNP, can never honestly follow your TOP-DOWN approach. By far the majority have a lack of spiritual experience.
We had recently elections in Germany. Can you imagine what would have happened if any politician would have declared that the growth of the GNP and the growth of materialistic standard of living is not anymore the No 1 target but it is the GNH for everybody. He would not gain very few but enough votes.
Therefore in my opinion our only chance in the West is a BOTTOM-UP approach, where we as individuals with spiritual experience develop our inner growth through different exercises and in doing so, we influence the outer world. Then we may build groups, companies, regions, countries and achieve a balance of materialistic and spiritual issues.
(Source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)
The volatility of the DOW JONES INDEX has increased tremendously since 1988. During the last financial crisis, the fluctuations were particularly large. Everything in our time is subject to this increased volatility. It is the uneasiness of the Zeitgeist. These fluctuations in the outer region lead to similar internal volatility. This applies to each individual and the effects are clearly visible: rushing, hurrying, anxiety, never enough time, nervousness, stress, anxiety, illnesses, inattention, disorientation, burnout and depression.
One could say: The Outside reflects the Inside. Everyone is longing to return to his inner center.
When I talk you will hear about the “Reality that has neither form nor name.” (from: “ZEN” by Daio Kokushi). This ‘reality’ cannot be described in words, such as that which we call God in Christianity. It is as impossible for me to precisely describe it as it is impossible for others. Yet there are many authors who try again and again to find the words, because of their genuine desire to help others. Everyone tries to describe their experiences in small ‘mosaic tiles’. I am also trying to do so from “my” experience, of the mosaic formed by my arrangement of the ‘tiles’.
With your background in Buddhism and the key ideas if GNH you can easily increase your awareness, your compassion and insight into the purpose of your existence. When I travel in your country I feel the serenity, the cheerfulness, the humor and the compassion. In our world we have a lack of these attitudes. If you walk along our streets you feel everywhere the UNHAPPINESS.
Only as sentient humans can we experience the full meaning of our lives. You can learn to feel the Golden Wind at every stage of your life, leading to compassionate empowerment.
It is my personal agenda to help people in experiencing consolation and finding peace.
Suffering is the result of a misguided, over-represented orientation to external matters at the expense of the nurturing of an inner orientation. All healing begins within. Consider the following wisdom from Confucius:
“My God, I’m glad that I’m not being asked to take care only of my external growth, but also allow for my much more important inner growth now, which can then heal the wounds of the external growth and prevent future wounds”.
“The sage seeks what is within, the fool of what is outside”.
ZEN meditation has been an important part of my life since 1984, as it will be evident in my lecture. Zen is neither a religion nor a philosophy. Zen is the experience of ONENESS with ALL.
As we progress through life it is beneficial that we should learn how to embody comfort and peace in our daily consciousness. A powerful transmission of consciousness takes place during exercises and personal, cordial encounters. Not only is the spoken word a medium for conveying facts, but through it we may also convey much more through gestures, facial expressions, emotions, enthusiasm, touch and eye contact.
My main motivation for writing my book and giving lectures is the growing, boundless egoism of many people during the second and third part of their life. The world’s financial and economic crises, and the resulting disorientation and feeling of futility experienced by increasing numbers of people in the West are manifestations of this egoism.
When I talk it is my fervent desire that we will meet in a ‘dimension’ outside of our individual Egos. This ‘dimension’ is the true reality that connects us all. It motivates me to reach out to the many people who, disoriented in their life identity are suffering in this world, which stumbles from crisis to crises. Sadly, there is an ever-increasing number of such people.
When I teach people the LIVING IN THE GOLDEN WIND I can easily explain what you mean with your GNH concept.
We are facing a global crisis, not only a financial and economic crisis, but also a multifaceted spiritual crisis, aspects of which manifest in a multitude of ways. This crisis will only be resolved when each of us, individually, commits to a change of our personal mindset. Let us consider shortly the material side of this crisis.
States undertook borrowing money at a previously unprecedented rate, temporarily averting the collapse of the entire financial and economic system. Still in denial that we had been living beyond our means for far too long. After the rescue of the banks, it was business as usual with the greed and avarice continuing as if nothing had happened. It was a foolish act of courage to combine the countries in the Euro Zone without consideration of the large differences in their productivity and competitiveness. In the past, soft-currency countries could always compensate for their disadvantages by devaluating their currency. This is no longer possible in the Euro Zone.
Countries with weak, unstable economic policies have historically failed to impose the necessary firm legislation. Rather, politicians chose short term, opportunistic practices. Trust has now been lost. Faith in the European Union is steadily decreasing; now being as low 40% according to recent surveys. Speculators are betting on the depreciation of the Euro. While during the previous financial crisis companies were at risk, now it is entire states. The possibility of an explosive disaster is greatly multiplied!
It was believed by some that a monetary union could be created without first ensuring that at least a moderate degree of equalization between the various countries involved was accomplished. This was a tragic error at the expense of the citizens. Throughout history, such an approach has never worked. It is always necessary to facilitate financial and economic adjustments before introducing a common currency. History has supplied us with plenty of warnings, but they were disregarded.
The Euro was imposed on Germany by France as a concession for the re-unification of West and East Germany. The very important “Euro convergence criteria” were agreed to by the participants of the Eurozone. When Germany proceeded to exceed the ratio of the annual general government deficit relative to gross domestic product (GDP), at market prices at the end of the preceding fiscal year of 3%, it opened the flood gates for numerous other countries to follow. Then followed another disastrous mistake, that of overturning the ‘No-Bail-Out’ Principle.
The result is a crisis of our political and financial world; a crisis of political and financial leaders who, while responsible for these shortsighted actions have not yet been held accountable. They are all guilty of placing an unconscionable debt on the shoulders of future generations. This directly affects the material wellbeing of every citizen, both present and future. The reputation of our politicians and bankers has been seriously undermined. The European-Union will continue to disintegrate due to the inequality of the countries in the Euro Zone.
We can conclude that through the orientation of focusing exclusively upon external growth, our material world is facing a collapse of an unimaginable magnitude.
People are stubborn. It takes a huge wave of negative dimensions for us to question the validity of our obsession with external values at the expense of out mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. But the wake-up call has sounded. Mankind will have to made radical changes in order to have any assurance of a fulfilling future.
That which is called for after the euphoria of the material world, and thus external growth is, in my opinion, not wealth but Well Being. It is the “real” personal Well Being which can only come from inner growth. This is “specific” for all of us. It belongs to every human being, but has been largely forgotten. And it’s very personal. According to my first teacher Graf Dürckheim everyone is only a “whole person” when the driver of the inner growth, that Realness, the Transcendence, the DIVINE, the Golden Wind, can sound through its materially hardened, encrusted mask (lat.: personare = to sound through somebody or something).
This Well Being cannot be attained automatically. It is always a gracious gift. Each one must, therefore, work individually toward inner growth. This is tedious and often takes the desperation of a fragile growth and affluence as a trigger. One must therefore proceed step by step to enter into the state of Well Being. Before that, however, one must let go of the beautiful “golden years of prosperity” of the past. The transformation of the society can only come from a change within each individual being.
“When you change, the whole world changes,” says a ZEN-Master.
We are not now simply in a financial and economic crisis. Although finance and economics are the major parameters in which we feel the changes at present, the global crisis also entails a crisis of consciousness, one which manifests itself primarily when people must face their own financial and economic crisis. If change is to occur in these areas, the conscious exercise of “awareness”, especially in the context of experience, will be the key. Those who think deeply and feel the pulse of history recognize that the crisis is spiritual in nature.
Richard Tarnas, especially his essay “Is the modern Psyche Undergoing a Rite of Passage?” In the beginning of this essay he starts with a qoute from C.G. Jung:
“[A] mood of universal destruction and renewal…has set its mark on our age. This mood makes itself felt everywhere, politically, socially, and philosophically. We are living in what the Greeks called the kairos, the right moment, for a ‘metamorphosis of the gods,’ of the fundamental principles and symbols. This peculiarity of our time, which is certainly not of our conscious choosing, is the expression of the unconscious human within us which is changing. Coming generations will have to take account of this momentous transformation if humanity is not to destroy itself through the might of its own technology and science…So much is at stake and so much depends on the psychological constitution of the modern human.”
We are living in the twilight of a period when much has been achieved by ego-centeredness and greed. But now, old patterns, structures, and conditions are collapsing and something new and unexpected is emerging.
Reflection leads to the conclusion that for some time most of the people in the West have adopted and been driven by psycho-pathological attitudes in thinking and doing. This is well described by Bill Plotkin in “Nature and the Human Soul”:
“In current Western and Westernized countries and societies, in addition to the scarcity of true maturity, many people of adult age suffer from a variety of adolescent psychopathologies —incapacitating social insecurity, identity confusion, extremely low self-esteem, few or no social skills, narcissism, relentless greed, arrested moral development, recurrent physical violence, materialistic obsessions, little or no capacity for intimacy or empathy, substance addictions, and emotional numbness.”
The revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and other Arab countries swept away their repressive regimes and dictators. Iran, Iraq and Syria are in the headlines of the news.
The striving of entire populations for freedom and for a decent human life based upon humanistic principles is emerging and the treacherous path to freedom is being paved with the blood of the revolutionaries. Some repressive dictators with their considerable military may have temporarily stemmed violence, but might never wins out over the longing of the human spirit for freedom.
Nature is also rebelling. The natural world, which is of top priority in your GNH concept, can no longer be misused for the illusion for growth. The Japanese earthquake with a magnitude of 8.9 on the Richter scale demonstrated the awesome power of nature. The earthquake and subsequent tsunami instantly destroyed what people had amassed over their lifetimes. What an unexpected turn of the Black Swan! before.
We can conclude that we are in a period of great instability. There have been many such phases in history, followed by phases of transformation. The misguided consciousness of Western societies which has been enthusiastically embraced for so long is no longer viable. Difficulties will accelerate with rapid globalization and the increased use of new information technologies.
There is no shortage of evidence that our politicians lack both the initiative and the ability to initiate and support the urgent changes that are necessary, rather desperately continuing the pattern of utilizing tired old solutions from the past to try to solve today’s problems. If I listen to the recent CLIMATE CONFERENCE in Warsaw I have no good expectations for the future. The egoism of many countries is putting a heavy burden on the shoulders of our nature.
What was its price?
As a result of mismanagement in Germany, the debts of the federal, provincial and municipal institutions reached the unimaginable 2000 billion EURO by the end of 2010! This is a per capita debt of € 24000, which is 18% more than in 2009. “We have lived beyond our means”, our government is telling us. What a travesty! Not only have we lived beyond our means, but our politicians and financiers have also misled us, through the adoption of foolishly misguided policies, into unconscionable debt. It is much worse in the other European countries.
With the madness and illusion for an everlasting growth of the GNP billions were fueled into the economy.
One could say: The Outside reflects the Inside. Everyone is longing to return to his inner center. Then the well-being is a gift.
How do we achieve that state which allows us to experience the Now? Ella Wheeler Wilcox points us in the correct direction in her poem, ‘ONLY BE STILL’. (Poems of Experience, Gay and Hancock, 1917):
“Only be still, and in the silence grow,
If thou art seeking what the gods bestow.
This is the simple, safe, and certain way
That leads to knowledge for which all men pray
Of higher laws to govern things below.
But in our restless discontent we go
With noisy importuning day on day —
Drowning the inner voice that strives to say
Only be still, and in the silence grow.
We doubt, we cavil, and we talk of woe —
We delve on books, and waste our forces so;
We cling to creeds that were not meant to stay,
And close our ears to Truth’s immortal lay.
Oh wouldst thou see, and understand, and know?
Only be still, and in the silence grow.”
The enlightened, disciplined individual is able to rest in himself despite the debilitating noise which surrounds him, whereas most of us cannot. Silence is the pathway which can lead the inexperienced toward the reality of living in the Here and Now.
A monk asked Zen-Master Ummon: “What if the tree withers and the leaves fall?” Ummon replied: “Perfect manifestation of the golden wind.” This is the 27th koan of the Hekiganroku (the master of the “Blue Cliff Record”; Chinese: Bi-Yän-Lu). A koan is a problem which cannot be solved rationally. Koans are used in Zen training
My todays teacher Willigis Jäger : “When concepts and ideas disappear, what remains? The mere essence remains. It is the experience of reality. It is the realization of reality. That is the meaning of life. That’s one interpretation. But there is another interpretation. The koan is about age, about essence. The being is also existent in our old age. The essence is also the age. It’s always about the state of being. Now is the age, now is the frailty. The third part of life in India and in other Asian countries is the time of aging. You ask yourself: Can that be all? In the third part of life one will mature for the breakthrough to transcendence. All previous years are just preparation. But the time has come to complete, especially your birth.”
According to Willigis Jäger’s interpretation, gold is the symbol for reality. The Golden Wind symbolizes this reality, which is always there, even in our old age. We call it the autumn of life, the time of the Golden Wind, because in our process of aging towards death it is very important to experience the ever-present Golden Wind and to consciously adopt a practice that will facilitate the disappearance of all concepts and ideas, . The hour of your death will be too late. Don’t wait until you die! Begin your exercises which will lead you to experience the Golden Wind now.
I was born twice. The first time was in January 1942 in January 1984, I woke up from a trance state and began a very conscious life. I was born in Rütte for the second time, my spiritual birth. Only after I had not only accepted my hopeless situation of suffering, but also embraced it. During that time I started ZEN meditation.
Now my career really began to blossom once more. Once again I became very successful. Whatever I tackled succeeded much better than ever. But there was a big difference in my professional activities than before my crises. My inner maturation had been initiated by Graf Dürckheim and I worked in the business world in a completely different way, always according to the state of my maturity, my ‘individuation’ in the sense spoken of by C.G. Jung. Of course, I did not immediately correct everything in my ‘outer world’ from my new inner convictions.
Rather, the egoist vanished quite slowly, but steadily. The following years were my years of transformation. In time, more and more, my work was supported in the outer world while being influenced through my inner world. In my professional life no one knew from what consciousness level I worked. It was obviously impressive that I led my staff with care and compassion. They clearly felt more comfortable with me than with anyone else. We were very successful as a team. I was a very successful top manager.
The following two questions guided me when I was unsure about my decisions:
1. Does my decision grant me inner peace?
2. Can I avoid harming others, and how can I be of use to them?
I never forgot what my Master Graf Dürckheim told me:
“Where ever you work in our society and where ever you take over responsibility, the blessing of your work depends on the deepness and the maturation of your own person. It is so important to witness the other world in this world we are currently in. Only the individual can witness the other world, not a group, not an institution, not a society. Therefore we are working here in Rütte on the individual. We learn to follow a path of focused practices and when we are then able to give evidence of the Kingdom of God, we experience the present of grace and love.”
Working with this spirit as Director or Chief Executive Officer I was very successful in several companies. But at the age of 56 former business activities have lost importance for me. I devoted all of my energies to them for long enough.
Actually, with the following text ‘ON ZEN’ which we recite in the Zen-sessions before the teisho (instruction by the master), light is shed upon the answer:
“There is a reality even prior to heaven and earth;
Indeed, it has no form, much less a name;
Eyes fail to see it; It has no voice for ears to detect;
To call it Mind or Buddha violates its nature,
For it then becomes like a visionary flower in the air;
It is not Mind, nor Buddha;
Absolutely quiet, and yet illuminating in a mysterious way,
It allows itself to be perceived only by the clear-eyed.
It is Dharma truly beyond form and sound;
It is Tao having nothing to do with words.
Wishing to entice the blind,
The Buddha has playfully let words escape his golden mouth;
Heaven and earth are ever since filled with entangling briars.
O my good worthy friends gathered here,
If you desire to listen to the thunderous voice of the Dharma,
Exhaust your words, empty your thoughts,
For then you may come to recognize this One Essence.
This Golden Wind blows, of course, around us at all times. But for too many it is hardly ever perceived, even after a lifetime in its presence. Many people have lost the sensitivity of even perceiving themselves, let alone the Golden Wind, even though as we are permanently immersed in it, there is no searching involved. We possess the sails, the essential experience to feel the Wind, but we do not know how to make use of these sails. While the Wind blows, the sails hang down limp; we forget to set them.. We are constantly flowing through the most important sectors of experience, but are never mindful enough. We do not realize what experiences we could manifest. We are in a trance of non-perception, of non-awareness. We are paralyzed by our Ego-centeredness and do not move as we did when we were children. But life is movement.
We can experience the Golden Wind with our sails when we enter, with a decisive awareness, into the fullness of experience which then become our sails. Then, as we consciously set the sails, and only then, will we experience the Golden Wind which will safely carry us through our life.
Our ability to experience is blocked by our Ego-centeredness, which was established in the first two thirds of our life. It has often been demonstrated that even people with untold material wealth, more than they will ever need, are often unhappy. We fool ourselves when we say:
‘If only I had more money, I would be happy!’
Books on happiness are at the top of the bestseller lists; full of many recommendations but no real answers. Clearly people have a great longing for happiness. Even books about age and aging are booming. The development of Our Ego-consciousness begins in our third year. A strong and healthy Ego is essential if we are to master our lives. ‘Performance is everything’ is our motto. Doubts only arise during our crises.
The ‘Midlife Crisis’ has become an important subject. It is during this period that we reflect upon the contributions of our Ego-consciousness; that it has indeed contributed a lot to our success, but it is also at this juncture that many fears and anxieties emerge that do not disappear. We are masters of suppression. Many of us continue on as before, but the next crisis has already been created, just perhaps not yet realized. When in a life crisis, it is great good fortune to find an experienced spiritual teacher who can accompany you as a professional guide.
Daily practice is necessary to open up the narrowness of our deeply engraved Ego. Very few people make progress on such a spiritual path in comparison with all of those who suffer through this crisis. If beginning on a spiritual pathway is not an immediate possibility, there is a viable alternative; practicing mindfulness when entering into any familiar experience which has thus far proven impermeable to our usual approaches which has resulted in dimensions of ourselves remaining unavailable to us.
“There is no path, just walk!” was the title of the last book of Joachim Ernst Berendt (1922 – 2000). The activity of walking is important, again and again with mindfulness and awareness in the spaces of our experiences so as to reach a conscious focus. Spaces of experience are, to name but the essential ones: nature, music, art, dance, religion and love. In these spaces, according to Graf Dürckheim, there is a greatly increased likelihood of being able to get in touch with the original ground of our being.
If we are not mindful of our experience in these important spaces of experience, we lack an understanding of interconnectedness and may consequently lose a major part of our vitality.
People with near-death-experience report about a white light at the end of a tunnel. They feel completely happy, full of bliss, they feel connected with everything and they do not want to return to the dualistic world which they have left. Obviously this is enlightenment! It is a wonderful consolation to know that we are enlightened at the end of our life.
I tell very often people who are listening to me:
DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOU DIE!!
But why should we not approach this enlightenment earlier in our life through internal growth?
This is a question everyone must answer for himself. Actually, it is the core issue for everybodies entire life. But when our third life period is in front of us it would be expedient for us to hurry and opt for the butterfly, otherwise the arduous path of the caterpillar will remain a reality.
But it is comforting to know that a caterpillar can change into a butterfly, and that transformation is possible at any time. It is up to you! If the crawling is tedious, the time for transformation is now. When we grow tired of crawling and choose to reach upward, we are liberated by flight! Is that not a wonderful perspective?
Enlightenment follows when you are actively engaged and openly receptive during your quest for the meaning of life. The meaning of life has nothing to do with work and raising a family. That is comforting. When the active time in your business is over and the children have left the house, then what? That is an important question! However, most people are not prepared for this third period.
Since we don’t know any better, not having been taught by our parents, many of us continue passively approaching the end of our lives. Do not let this time be the final phase of your life. Let go of materialistic orientations and grab hold of the spiritual importance of your existence!
If we are addicted to our materialistic behavior, we are suffering, and this addiction shatters the fragile answers to the question of the meaning of life. When someone says, as we commonly hear, ‘I do not see any purpose in my life’, you can be sure the reasons are to be found in the above list. The conclusion we must draw is that our definition of the purpose of life is lacking.
The definition is strongly linked to our Ego, which suffers, lives in fear and is afraid of death. It is not something to which you can tie a rope, as people say. The meaning of life must therefore be tied to some other aspect of life than that of the fleeting material world, and that is the Real Self, our personal manifestation of the Golden Wind. This aspect is immortal and unchanging, it forms the very basis of our lives, but in our busy day to day scheduling of our lives, we have forgotten it.
The meaning of life is to be open to the experience of this Golden Wind. Then our troubles and anxieties dissolve as we become resistant to the vagaries of life. It cannot be stated too often or to emphatically, that ‘The purpose of life is to discover and experience the Golden Wind.
While researching for my book, I read HAPPINESS, a book by Matthieu Ricard, and Buddha and the Science of Happiness, a book by Yongey Minguir Rinpoche These are two wonderful books which I highly recommend.
While happiness may have trigger activities such as an exercise program or the completion of a difficult task, happiness can also result from leisure, experiencing love, good food, friends, or satisfying achievements. It is wonderful when such opportunities for happiness materialize, but the state of happiness resulting from such external sources is not permanent and may quickly be lost when the triggers for happiness disappear.
Here in Bhutan you make it very clear, that according to your understanding happiness
- is multidimensional
- not only a subjective wellbeing
- is not only focused narrowly on happiness that begins and ends with yourself
- is a collective pursuit
- is experienced deeply personally
- is holistic
- is a material and spiritual balance
- is not only feel good mood
- cannot exist while others are suffering
- is harmony with nature
- is concern for others
- and is sensitive awareness
Ricard explains in his book, HAPPINESS, “To imagine happiness as the achievement of all our wishes and passions is to confuse the legitimate aspiration to inner fulfillment with a utopia that inevitably leads to frustration…The fact is that without inner peace and wisdom, we have nothing we need to maintain happiness. Living in a pendulum between hope and doubt, excitement and boredom, desire and weariness, it’s easy to fritter away our lives, bit by bit without even noticing, running all over the place and getting nowhere. Happiness is a state of inner fulfillment, not the gratification of inexhaustible desires for outward things… We look for happiness outside ourselves when it is basically an inner state of being … And although the search for temporary well-being may occasionally be successful, it is never possible to control the quantity, quality, or duration of exterior circumstances. That hold true for almost every aspect of life, be it love, family, health, wealth, power, comfort or pleasure… we remain deeply unsatisfied”.
Frank J. Kinslow describes in his book, ‘Beyond Happiness’ that
we all need to reach a state beyond happiness. “Even when ego is happy it is worried that the happiness will not last. That is because it doesn’t last. Pursuit of happiness and pleasure are shallow rewards for the joy and peace it renounced to become separate….ego has devised the cruelest trick of all. The positive feelings of happiness, pleasure, excitement and yes, even love, create greater suffering than the negative ones. The ego is truly the master of illusion.
Happiness is not really happiness. We must understand this point completely. It is an illusion. Happiness is disguised suffering. It is a specter. It is a tantalizing mist that cannot be grasped by hand. How can this be? How can the very feelings that we dedicate our lives to achieve actually cause us such great suffering? The answer is simple. Happiness and pleasure are conditional.
They only appear in our lives if conditions are favorable. And who decides what conditions will bring us happiness? Why, our old nemesis the ego! Still confused? Let’s take a closer look at happiness. What makes you happy? Is it a new car, more money, a newly found love? Sure it is. If someone handed me a million dollars right now I would be elated. Happiness is the good feeling you get when something goes your way. Pleasure, delight, satisfaction are just different degrees of happiness. I will use the word happiness to include all positive feelings.
We cannot say that happiness is the opposite of fear, because happiness is a part of fear. Without happiness fear would be only a cold, black lake ever lapping at the shores of your mind. It takes the high-minded wind of happiness to create the fury in fear. It is natural for all life to avoid pain and move toward pleasure. This behavior is genetically encoded for the survival of all species…Union with Self eliminates pain. It heals the wounds of time and bathes the soul in infinite bliss. Union with wholeness is what we are seeking.
That is not what ego is offering. Ego offers suffering in pieces. Happiness is a piece of suffering. Happiness is dependent on circumstances…Happiness cannot be controlled, but that is not what causes the suffering. It is the belief that happiness needs to be controlled in the first place that spawns heartache and sorrow. As soon as you believe that you are not happy you have already lost the game.”
It is the bliss that we desire, that which occurs without cause or prior notice as described by Ananda (bliss), in the Vedas. Cause-related happiness is of short duration and is always accompanies by the fear of losing it.
How to experience Bliss? The Vedas have told us already 3000 years ago:
BEING-CONSCIOUSNESS OF BEING-BLISS
When Ricard and Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche write of happiness in their books they are really describing bliss. And that is what you mean here.
Most people live out the drama of not recognizing the striving for happiness since they do not know how to escape the vicious cycle of being unhappy. The dramatic solution lies in the conscious distinction between happiness and bliss. Bliss only emerges when you are on a path of mindfulness and letting go of the bad habits of the Ego, when you learn to sense the Golden Wind. To remain in the Golden Wind is pure bliss.
From the depth of my heart I wish all of mankind the best of luck in their lives. I also wish all of them a health and satisfaction in their life. But my far greater wish is that people will realize that they need to learn that their ongoing search for happiness, and their frustrating, recurring attempts to create it’s causes and triggers will not liberate them from suffering and unhappiness. Our Ego will mislead us and the wary will be vigilant against this illusion. It is only by changing who we are by the ongoing practice of mindfulness, letting go and become one with the Golden Wind, which brings us peace.
It is my experience in the West, that it is very difficult for people to meditate daily and continue all your life your meditation practice. I recommend an easier way to feel the GOLDEN WIND. We are many times a day in spaces which we can use for meditation if we enter mindful, focus and the let the focus go.
Spaces of experience described in my book “LIVING IN THE GOLDENEN WIND”
-Space of Experience- Labor, Work and Mastery
In the famous Ox pictures of ZEN Buddhism, where the shepherd searches for his ‘real self’ or his Buddha Nature he returns to the marketplace to work as before, following his experience but with a changed attitude reflecting his inner maturation. Our marketplace is our job, our place of work. Labor and work are our spaces of experience which keep us busy during the majority of the second third of our lives.
Without doubt this is the one period in which I gained most of my experience between 1969 and 1998. I tried very hard to be present in the here & now; working from my experience with the Golden Wind. It is currently popular to speak about ones Work/Life Balance. I don’t care for this expression as it creates the impression that work and life are separate, are diametrically opposed with work being bad and life good.
This leads to the desire for less work and more life which many people would interpret as more free time; time for chilling out and wellness. But work is life and the time one has off work is also life. Everything is life. Therefore I prefer the phrase Life-Balance. It is desirable to get one’s life in balance within the Golden Wind.
You may perform some kind of manual labor, (Latin: labor = tribulation) or you may spend your days in a profession where you are working towards an opus, the mastery of some aspect of society, (Latin: opus) on behalf of. Either way we often feel that we are just laborers and are burdened by our hours of daily work. Our life is not meant to be like that. It is tempting to work hard in order to gain the prestige of success, a practice adopted by the majority of people in the business world. Success is a drug and thus the price one pays for it will not be questioned in the beginning.
The Ego is both greedy for and addicted to success. It motivates us and drives us along our path towards forging a great career for ourselves. Only when we realize the transience of success and the first signs of suffering are evidenced will dissatisfaction, anxiety and loneliness have the opportunity to pry open the doorway leading to personal change.
Ego is essentially a feeling or awareness that we live apart from God, separated and distant from our original nature. Our judgment and discrimination gets clouded and we are caught in the cobwebs of jealousy, greed, anger, hatred, and negative thinking which the Sanskrit language calls Avidya (ignorance).
In top management positions one is a great performer in a trance like state. I decided from that time forward that I would complete my daily work differently from the way I began it in the morning. My goal was to structure my work in terms of opus rather than to be imprisoned by over achievement and relentless activity. Then I could say to myself, Now, I am Finally Here! From that day on the process of my maturation accelerated. I embarked on a difficult path of disciplined exercises. My daily practice of sitting in silence (jap: Zazen) was a tremendous challenge; easy to perform but requiring tremendous perseverance and patience. The experiencing of the moment, the here and now, is a difficult concept to master demanding a tremendous discipline of awareness.
Without practicing daily no results are possible. We need to strive for a constant synchronicity between meaningful work and an attitude of mindfullness, which one may call contemplation in a world of action. The founder of the famous Jesuit order St. Ignatius of Loyola spoke of contemplatio in actionibus. Our Ego never rests! This is not necessarily detrimental to our development as long as we remain constantly and directly in contact with the Golden Wind.
For the past 30 years we have been oriented towards Sustainable Development in our economy, where individual companies with their unique principles and cultures have approached a sustainable development orientation in diverse ways. Some have lost their orientation and are in need of a renewed vision, a new compass.
Help everyone to relax into trust and compassion
I wanted to be able to ‘feel’ the compassion of any manager I intended to employ. Of course my judgment failed me once in a while, but not very often! Even in the cases where I was wrong initially, the longer I worked together with the various managers the more they were able to relax into trust and compassion without fear or anxiety because I always kept my word. An honest and trusting relationship with the employees’ representatives, the workers council, remained a high priority for me.
In my earlier professional years I had already learned that a prerequisite for any successful personal encounter, including leadership, was a responsible attitude and respect for others so as to be able to establish a heart-to-heart relationship based upon equality. I call this style of personal leadership now Sustainable Personal Management. Sustainability for Hans-Peter Dürr means:
“To Make The Living More Lively”.
If you manage employees with the intention of making their lives increasingly lively they are highly motivated, full of energy and full of trust. Ultimately leadership is most successful when it does not require the pressure of a strict set of rules, demands and instructions. Too often the opposite happens. Rather than being energized the manager’s initial energy is deflated during the meeting. He is now left to work with a low level of energy to achieve demandingly high targets! Then, when his direct supervisor questions him about his unsatisfactory job performance the stage is set for illness and depression.
According to the news recently a CEO of a company committed suicide because he could not withstand the pressure being imposed by the chairman of the board. This is the opposite of compassion it is a cold hearted disconnectedness. How can you lead and guide people when you are disconnected? To a certain extent it may work in the military, but we are in business not in the military.
Not only is there no need for a military management style but it is counterproductive in business. Leadership is far more effective with Golden Wind Management. I know because I practiced it with considerable success! Very often I received intuitions all of a sudden.
Before acting intellectually we need to employ our intuition. Intuition comes from latin ‘intueri’, which means to turn inside. We need to look deeply into ourselves; into our original and intuitive source where we may harvest the gems of our cumulative knowledge. The experience of the Golden Wind empowers this source of innovation. The more you practice experiencing the Golden Wind the more intuition flows. It cannot be forced, it is always a gift..
Hans-Peter Dürr is very clear that we experience more than we really know! Promoting creativity necessitates that a manager is able to awaken a high degree of consciousness in others. This is only possible for someone who has himself made the necessary movement towards inner maturity.
It is not my intention to present myself as a starry-eyed idealist. Life also demands that we work with the shadow side of ourselves, with forces that originate from the evil within us. Good and evil, light and shadow are inherent in each of us. As the German poet J.W. von Goethe stated, “Two souls are dwelling in my breast!” Without this awareness we tend to unconsciously repress our evil side, our shadow self, where it can then play unpleasant games with us! We must be vigilant, managers and employees alike. Leadership requires the knowledge of how to manage both good and evil. In every company and as is also reflected in the entire economy, the universal law operating is Die and Renew to Grow!
It is up to the managers at the higher tiers to let both light and shadow unfold on the lower levels; to motivate employees for the light and to control the outcome of the shadow, recognizing that the good and the evil are inherent in all employees, knowing that this will not be detrimental, but of benefit to the company, its employees, its customers and all of its other stakeholders.
This pre-supposes first of all that the manager should become conscious of his own and of others Dark Brother and learn how to handle him wisely by not neglecting the inner sage. Executive managers have to make sure that the people they are responsible for do not harm other human beings and the environment when they act out of their shadow.
Do you know how we can detect the egoists?
1. There is always someone else to blame
2. They are easily hurt by criticism
3. They need ongoing recognition and reward
Conclusion: Our workplace is an excellent space to experience the GOLDEN WIND and to be successful in a very different manner than the egoists.
Space of Experience – Disease and Suffering
Each disease has its own specific character and challenge for our life long process of learning. We need to ‘decode’ the meaning of it at the time the hand is dealt to us. Illness and disease stretch us to examine to what extent we are able to let go, step back from our ‘control center’ and give up our ego centeredness. Suffering is always a call for increased awareness and change. Moment by moment the practice of mindfullness is both demanded and required.
There are realms of reality which we can experience through mindful meditation and conscious commitment to The Golden Wind which afford us inner peace, even in times of disease. It is essential that we are totally present and receptive in order for this experience to be able to envelope us. Entering into the experience of work, nature, music, dance, art or any other chosen endeavour is optional.
However entering into the realm of experiencing disease and death is compulsory. In the experiencing of disease and death we are confronted with the intuitive knowledge that we must relinquish control. We finally open the spiritual dimension of our humanity leaving behind our psychosomatic trappings. The patient, especially one who is hospitalized often feels lonely, distant from their friends, family members and all that is familiar.
These feelings originate from our Ego’s separation from our divine origin. Alleviation of those fears that come with a life threatening disease is only possible when we re-connect ourselves to our inner source of being, our essential spiritual center.
If our maturation is not yet sufficiently advanced we have no other choice but to undergo somatic, psychological or psycho-somatic medical care by doctors. This is not a bad thing but it is a very limited form of healing, at best.
Illness and disease is always an opportunity to grow and to enter into the larger circle of the cosmic holon, as Hans-Peter Dürr used to say. Frank Kinslow describes in his book The Secret of Instant Healing meditation exercises which assist us in getting in contact with the zero-field.
In my experience we need to open ourselves to the Golden Wind in all of the stages of the progression of a disease. C.G. Jung said that he never saw a patient, whose critical situation was not also simultaneously accompanied by a spiritual dimension. Healing must take place on all three levels: body, soul and spirit.
Space of Experience - Nature
Nature is the most important space of experience for many people; it has top priority in your GNH concept. It most certainly is for me! I had many spiritual experiences in nature during my childhood. I remember these happy moments when I was connected with what I call today the Golden Wind. I stored these experiences as images and can easily connect myself with them again to this day. Far too many children, teenagers and even adults today no longer have any real access to nature in a meaningful way.
They have grown up with computer games, television and mobile phones; a limiting and artificial world. It is important that we encourage our children and grandchildren to experience the wonder and natural majesty of nature and its therapeutic effect upon the mind, body and spirit. Our Ego demands the type of relaxation and re-vitalization which is uniquely experienced in the serenity, beauty and peace of nature. Our original source of being knows that nature is an ideal space for experiencing the Golden Wind.
In his book Nature and the Human Soul Plotkin laments, “If we lose the forest, we lose our soul.” He continues, “In an industrial growth society, however, for centuries we have minimized, suppressed or entirely ignored the role of nature in the first three stages of human development which incorporate infancy through adolescence. This results in an adolescence which is so out of harmony with nature that most people never mature any further.
When I walk in nature I do not practice the walking, I practice myself as a whole person in nature. There is a big difference. It allows my SELF to radiate through my Ego. A wonderful enlightenment then carries me through the entire day. I sincerely wish that more people, by entering nature with mindfullness will leave the forest with an enhanced inner awareness.
Willigis Jäger reminds us, “one who is attentively listening while experiencing nature is transformed into another dimension!”
Space of Experience - Music and Art
When I play the piano at the beginning of each day, I begin with J.S. Bach’s famous C-major-prelude BWV846, ensuring that my day begins with the mindfulness of divine sounds. Music encourages us to be entirely present in the moment allowing us to experience the fullness of presence. My friend Bernadette Böll, an expert in music therapy says,
“When you play music like a meditation, you don’t experience the music, you experience your SELF in the music, to become more and more a whole person.”
It is difficult to explain with words what music really is. A famous quote from a ZEN Master is,
“If you want to learn how tea tastes, you have to drink it!”
This also applies equally well to music. You have to either listen to music or perform it to become fully aware of its transformational effects upon your spirit. The unique pianist, conductor and artist Daniel Barenboim states,
“It arises out of silence and ends in silence. And this is perhaps one reason why music says a lot about us humans, we will all pass away one day; our life is temporary, just as is sound. Each sound is always surrounded by silence. For me, the silence belongs to a piece of music; it is just as important as is each note. All music arises from silence and finally ascends or descends into silence. Every sound is born and must die. And maybe this is for me the most important part of the music. In a way it represents the human circle of life. Music is a part of us, just as much as our languages or our feelings. Music is Life…”
Daniel Barenboim speaks of silence. The Buddhists call it emptiness. This actual reality from which everything originates I refer to as the Golden Wind. Music can be of great assistance to us in understanding the meaning of life. The constant practice of mindfulness is an essential prerequisite. When and if possible, do not only listen to music but try to practice it on your instrument of choice!
My inner growth and joy are maximized when I do not just play a piece of music to perfect it, but rather when I let the vibrations of the sound of the music peacefully enter into me. In this way music has psychosomatic healing abilities.
Yehudi Menuhin speaks of silence being the bridge to God. For me silence is infinity. Arising from this infinity is all that is real, including sound, melody and harmony in music. It is infinity expressing itself as music. To experience this reality is the real meaning of music.. Everyone is able to play an instrument. There is no age limit!
Albert Einstein wrote,
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the world of mystery. It is the source of all true art and science.”
True art and science is nourished by the experience of mystery.
What can be said for music its true for all kinds of art. I recently started painting.
One of my first pictures:
Space of Experience - Dance
Dancing has played and continues to play an important role in my life. I like to dance. After long periods of sitting in silence in meditation seminars I also enjoy and benefit from the meditative walking practice called Kin Hin. When dancing, any and every single step requires a maximum of mindfulness. You find that the more you practice a dance the more that it is no longer you who controls the various steps; the dance takes over and you become one with the dance. This is another opportunity to open into receptivity.
Only he who can let go and observe the flow of life as a non- doer without binding expectations is openly receptive to receiving from the Cosmos. It is a pity that dancing has largely disappeared as an expressive art form in much of modern society. It was once a dominant form of expression in every culture around the globe. Every dance can be meditative just as any activity can be meditative.
It depends upon the receptivity of the dancer to being open to the unknown. If you are not distracted by focusing upon purpose and control but rather simply trust and enter into mindfulness, you will sense the Golden Wind.
Space of Experience - Sports
Sports and music complement one another wonderfully. In the first third of life most people strive for performance and perfection. In the second third of life relaxation and joy will be predominant. In the third triad of life one has the option of participating in sports as an exercise for inner maturation. Any activity can be practiced as a meditation. This includes all types of recreation. Through recreation we have the opportunity to re-create ourselves.
Here in Bhutan archery plays an important role. Eugen Herrigel in his book ‘ZEN in the Art of Archery’, accurately and masterfully describes the mindfulness necessary for this sport.
“All necessary techniques need to be over-learned so that the necessary skills and arts flow from the unconscious. With respect to archery, this means that the archer and his target are no longer separate, but rather become one reality, interconnected. This state of unconsciousness is achieved only when he is completely free from his ego and at one with the perfection of his technical skill. This is something completely different from any progress that could be achieved in normal archery.”
Archers practice for years to hit the center disc of the target with their arrows. The Ego strives desperately for perfection. But as long as the Ego is in command one will not succeed. Success will follow only when the arrow is released with a smile on your face; a smile which follows from detachment from your EGO. Eugen Herrigel describes it wonderfully and pictorially, so that all of us who have not yet experienced this level of detachment can appreciate how it leads to success in all manner of sports activities.
“It is all so simple. You can learn from an ordinary bamboo leaf what matters. Through the weight of the snow, it will be pressed down. Suddenly the snow load slips off, although the leaf had not moved or resisted. Try to pause, similarly in archery. When the tension has reached its peak moment the arrow must fly and find its target.”
Then the archer feels the Golden Wind. Thus, each sport can be an experience leading to greater inner spiritual maturation.
Space of Experience - Religion
All religions offer several ways to experience the GOLDEN WIND.
Space of Experience - Meeting People
Meeting people and having meaningful encounters with wonderful people, like our meetings here in Thimphu, has become immensely important for me. It is an opportunity to step outside of your ego-centeredness and listen to the other person with utmost awareness and compassion, those qualities which created the atmosphere which connects all beings. It is a great time to manifest the belief that
“The other one is going to reach out and meet me!”
We need to be a listener in order to experience both the beautiful, and the less than beautiful influences in our lives
There are also sometimes encounters with difficult people with whom you do not feel connected due to their egocentricity. While admittedly difficult such encounters are excellent opportunities to practice empathy and compassion. If you are able to conduct a loving dialogue you can fine LOVE in every encounter.
“LOVE is the blueprint and the basis upon which the universe unfolds. Self- transcendence is another word for it. Love is transcendence, because it breaks up the ego boundaries and overcomes separation. It is the source of all forms, the experience from which all life originates and in which all life interconnects “…. (Willigis Jäger in his book)
Space of Experience - Your Daily Life
I have mentioned some very important spaces of experience, but your daily life may also become an important, powerful space of experience. If we live each and every moment with full awareness and mindfulness then each moment is encouraging and supporting your inner growth. All activities, things like waking up, cleaning your teeth, washing your face, sitting, walking, standing, writing, reading, shopping, driving, waiting, looking, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling, putting on your shoes, greeting people and shaking hands can all enhance your personal growth if done consciously with the recognition of joyful purposefulness.
It is entirely up to you whether you move through all these moments automatically without conscious attention or with meditative awareness. Why not avail yourself of the opportunity to turn these necessary tasks into growth experiences? Not surprisingly, mindfulness is the necessary condition for creating serenity, cheerfulness, humor and compassion. Activities performed without deliberate attention may lead to tension, stress, anxiety, anger and sadness. You risk losing compassion for others because you separate yourself, fostering isolation and loneliness. You have the choice of continuing your life as a caterpillar or becoming a butterfly!
A metamorphose is essential in order to transform a caterpillar into a butterfly. Growth implies change. We begin to change when we begin to be present in each and every moment. Day by day our daily activities are waiting for us. We begin a new each day. There is no past and there is no future. There is only the presence of the moment. Both the totality of all life and your life proceed in each moment that you are alive. Whether you limit the experience of living to one of mere mechanical repetition, or enrich the experience of living with a mindful awareness is entirely under your control. Keep in mind that your life is not a dress- rehearsal; it is your opening night, for better or for worse.
Be careful of distractions which can short-circuit your path to a greater awareness of your potential! Mindfulness is the key, without which a meaningful life and the feeling of the Golden Wind will remain elusive. Transparency in our life will allow us to find our way back to our original home in the Universe. Transparency allows us to welcome into our life peace, silence, balance, serenity, humour, kindness, charity, compassion, perseverance, harmony and happiness.
The Ego does not wish to be limited in its ability to fully develop its bad habits. It wishes to rule. We are the primary victims of our own Ego, and for the most part, as is the nature of the Ego’s influence, we do not realize it. We pay a high price for it, too often expressed through loneliness, restlessness, nervousness, disorientation, fear of loss, fear of death, meaninglessness, depression and burn-out, as well as a myriad of other mental aberrations.
We then try to release the tensions and resulting stress by indulging in idleness, scattering our resources and stimulating ourselves with harmful distractions, unnecessary consumerism, excessive dozing and harmful drugs and alcohol. It is a great fallacy that we can ignore all the negative symptoms of our work and expect that when our profession is finally behind us in the third triad of our life that everything will be better. The work may be done but we not only preserve the compensation mechanisms we developed in order to cope with it but we continue to expand and strengthen them. Well-being seems to be an impossible goal and then desolation sets in.
We need to experience the one reality at any and every moment in our lives. The revelation of this reality, our intimate connection with all of life, leads to bliss.
Despite following a very intensive and disciplined spiritual path for many years I nevertheless found I continued to experience symptoms which I did not expect after such a prolonged period of meditative practices. The triggers I will describe, which many others have also experienced and reported are a phenomenon that which apparently common has received very little attention or examination. Meditation literature generally only speaks of the progress one achieves through meditation. ‘Meditate and you’ll be fine!’ Well, as lovely a thought as that is, it is not always the case.
Despite all of our mindfulness and spiritual practices, when we enter into our various spaces of experiences we may be triggered all of a sudden to experience fear when:
- we are angry
- we argue
- we are greedy
- we want to be a hero or a heroine
- we do not want to lose anything
- we are afraid
- we hurt others
- we want to dominate others
- we want to be right
Walter Schwery told me about a monk who approached him and said:
“Mr. Schwery, I have a big problem in spite of 30 years of ZEN-meditation!”
“What is your problem?”
“I get angry easily and very often and do not know how to stop it”, he said.
Many apparently highly spiritually advanced individuals are often involved in great conflicts.
There are blockages and constraints in our deep-psychology personal structure, which may stop the process of individuation when, despite all of our disciplined practices and enlightened experiences, our Ego manages to trigger non-compassionate thoughts; ones which do not hold love at their center. A psycho-therapy may be necessary.
The path we must follow to achieve and maintain a healthy state of maturity may sometimes be long and arduous, but it is always worthwhile.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am pretty sure that, with your background, you all understand well what I mean with GOLDEN WIND MANGEMENT. I understand your GNH concept with my background of the GOLDEN WIND.
We have a joint conviction to develop a better world for the people we are responsible for. As we are all connected, everybody is responsible for everybody to
MAKE THE LIVING MORE LIVELY!
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR ATTENTION.