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Introduction

Awakening Wisdom at Work

If You Look to Lead Manage Yourself!

"A leader is a person who must take special responsibility for what's going on inside him or her self, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of leadership create more harm than good. The problem is that people rise to leadership in our society by a tendency towards extroversion, which means a tendency to ignore what is going on inside themselves. Leaders rise to power in our society by operating very competently and effectively in the external world, sometimes at the cost of internal awareness. I've looked at some training programs for leaders. I'm discouraged by how often they focus on the development of skills to manipulate the external world rather than the skills necessary to go inward and make the inner journey."

– Parker Palmer

Dee Hock, the esteemed founder of VISA Internationally — a trillion dollar industry — was quoted in FastCompany as saying, "Here is the very heart and soul of the matter. If you look to lead, invest at least 40% of your time managing yourself - your ethics, character, principle, purpose, motivation, and conduct. Invest at least 30% managing those with authority over you, and 15% managing your peers. Use the remainder to induce those you "work for" to understand and practice the theory. I use the terms "work for" advisedly, for if you don't understand that you should be working for your mislabeled "subordinates" you haven't understood anything. Lead yourself, lead your superiors, lead your peers, and free your people to do the same. All else is trivial!"

We often share Dr. Hock's advise with our clients — leaders in business, medicine, and government who find the notion of investing a greater proportion of attention in managing themselves both an inspiring and challenging idea. They know in their guts that this is a priority not only for their personal success, but for the success of their organizations — and their family life! Yet often the specific strategies and practices necessary to actually apply this advice are unclear, and they welcome the kind of self-mastery learning that is presented here in this book.

The father of modern psychology, Harvard professor William James once said, "The greatest revolution in our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives." In more recent times, our colleague Charles Tart, a pioneer in the scientific research of consciousness at U.C. Davis, reminds us that, "We don’t understand the operations of our minds and hence we don’t operate them very well." While many people regard the state of their mind as an unalterable "given," our research and experience has demonstrated that "upgrades" in the quality of attention, intelligence, creativity, and other mental capabilities can be dependably achieved through proper training and discipline. Motivated individuals are capable not only of improving their health but of building their "brain power," enhancing creativity, extending the length and quality of their lives, awakening greater empathy and compassion, and expanding the scope of their contribution to the world.

While the multiple and complex dilemmas of modern life present multiple challenges and needs, the inner sciences of mindbody development offer a variety of profoundly practical and compassionate solutions. Once "booted-up" and integrated into our lives, these inner skills are generative, self-reinforcing, inexpensive, portable, reliable, easily diffusible and value-adding as they breathe life and vitality into virtually every personal and professional situation. These methods increase our resilience and effectiveness, and help us to live with greater wisdom and compassion. Regardless of the work we do or the position that we hold, our mindbody is our primary instrument. This is a truly miraculous, mysterious, and universal tool of infinite potential. With it we create and guide the use of all other tools. Yet growing up, in school, or on the job, few of us learned even the most basic skills for assuring its optimal maintenance and fine-tuning.

Consider — did your parents, teachers, health care providers, or clergy ever teach you techniques to let go of stress and tension, to harness and focus the power of your mind, or to gain deep wisdom about yourself and your life in a disciplined way? Did they themselves practice or even know of the value of these profound and useful inner disciplines? Most likely not. Lacking an education in even the basics of these skills, most of us have been virtually illiterate when it comes to the inner arts and sciences, sometimes generally described by the word meditation. Yet times are changing and, due to many factors — health, efficiency, mastery, yearning for wholeness, meaning, and spiritual vitality — interest in these remarkable human disciplines has skyrocketed over the past thirty years.

Inner Work: Can We Afford Not to Do It?

Faced with the growing complexity of the modern marketplace we are required to think, gather, and process information, evaluate, communicate, and act at increasingly high speeds. When the situational demands — work-related, social, physiological, or psychological — exceed our capabilities to adequately respond, we experience strain and distress. Research tells us that life today is on average forty percent more difficult than thirty years ago. Seventy-two percent of American workers experience frequent stress-related physical and mental problems that diminish their health and productivity, and increase their medical costs. And over the past six years, debilitating stress has doubled in the United States. Barely equipped to cope, let alone break through to higher and sustained levels of performance, many people become caught in a downward spiral that depletes their vitality and undermines their health. As a consequence, we are witnessing a growing epidemic of stress-related diseases and a host of related accidents, problems, and liabilities for our families, organizations, and society. The more intense our distress, the poorer the quality of the attention, judgment, creativity, and skill that we bring to our work, and the more mistakes we make. Similarly, the greater our distress level, the more likely it is that we will create conflict in our relationships or develop a life-threatening disease.

The United States — and American businesses — is in the midst of a major social and health care crisis. By the year 2000, the U.S. health care expenditures are expected to exceed $1.5 trillion — 16% of our gross domestic product. This represents an increase of more than 2,000 percent since 1950, and 8,000 percent since 1929 in terms of dollars. Employers are paying an increasing share of these costs — well over 40 percent. Estimates are that one half of all Fortune 500 companies will be forced to devote their entire after-tax profit to paying for employee health care. Ford has admitted that they pay nearly as much for employee health care they it do for steel! Yet we were to invest in our people and equip them with the skills necessary to enhance the personal vitality and capability of our work force by even 10 percent greater productivity, it is estimated that we would realize more than a $500 billion increase is the GNP.

The real tragedy is that most of our illness, suffering, and health care costs are avoidable. Research estimates that as much as 95% of disease is stress-related, and therefore largely preventable. Assistant Surgeon General William Fogey told us that two-thirds of all disability and death prior to the age of 65 is preventable, and many researches would extend this to 85 years. Research on the impacts of stress on the immune system suggests that the greatest stress information age is the frequent need to shift the focus of our attention or change mindstates throughout the day. It is estimated that the average American businessperson must shift their focus of attention seven to eight times each hour, or sixty to eighty times during a typical work day. Research confirms that individuals who are skilled in the disciplines of concentration, mindfulness, and the mastery of attention presented in this book are able to respond to such stressful demands in healthier and more efficient ways than their untrained peers. The good news is that if you really care about the quality of your life and health, you can make a difference!

Every moment of the day our mindbody is providing us with the information and inspiration needed to avert most of our problems. Yet, all too often, we are so overloaded that the subtle whispers of warning signs, and intuitive insights that are a natural part of our life are ignored. We wait until the whispers of tension in our bodies, our relationships, and our world have become heart-wrenching screams of pain before we wake up, fully acknowledge them, and take action to restore harmony and balance. So much needless suffering could be avoided if we only learned to listen to the whispers and didn’t wait for the screams!

How many moments of struggle, pain, and grief — how many billions of dollars and years of research and development — would be saved if we, as individuals and organizations, devoted more attention to refining and developing our capabilities for being truly present, and for increasing awareness through the inner technologies of mental development?

When we consider the enormous costs and damages incurred by our bodies, our relationships, our businesses, and our environment, or the multitude of valuable insights and breakthrough ideas we have missed because our inner noise level was so high, it may inspire us to learn and practice the skills presented in this book. Can we afford to not listen to the inner warnings and inspirations that may determine the course of our personal, organizational, or global future?

The disciplines of inner transformational work empower us because they are about learning to change the world from the inside out. Gandhi once said, "We must be the change that we want to see in our world." Speaking at Harvard University, Nobel Laureate the Dalai Lama, one of our most inspiring teachers, said:

"In this century, human knowledge is extremely expanded and developed but this is mainly knowledge of the external world... We spend a large amount of the best human brain power looking outside — too much, and it seems we do not spend adequate effort to look within, to think inwardly... Perhaps now that the Western sciences have reached down into the atom and out into the cosmos finally to realize the extreme vulnerability of all life and value, it is becoming credible, even obvious, that the Inner Science is of supreme importance. Certainly physics designed the bombs, biology the germ warfare, chemistry the nerve gas, and so on, but it will be the unhealthy emotions of individuals that will trigger these horrors. These emotions can only be controlled, reshaped, and rechanneled by technologies developed from successful Inner Science.

Tools for Inner Work

This book is designed as a collection of tools for the inner work of enhancing the quality of the many dimensions of our lives. Learning to quiet the noise in the body through relaxation greatly enhances our successful practice of the more subtle mental disciplines of meditation. By practicing the skills of dynamic relaxation, we learn to recognize and reduce unproductive tensions and anxieties and to master the stress in our lives. By freeing ourselves from the burden of accumulated tensions and inner conflicts, we are better equipped to rest and renew ourselves, to think more clearly, keep stress from accumulating, increase our efficiency and productivity, and generally enhance our overall well-being.

On this foundation, we can begin to cultivate a host of profoundly useful disciplines that are presented in this book. In the mother tongues of the world’s great inner science traditions, thousands of different technical terms are used to describe the diversity of these disciplines. Just as Eskimos have dozens of words for snow, and the Fijians have many words for specific types of rain, the great wisdom traditions use countless terms to describe the profound subtleties of states of consciousness and the methods to skillfully work with them. For simplicity here, we will use the word meditation, which literally means, "to be alone with oneself… to deeply reflect… to sustain thought or contemplation…or spiritual introspection." In the pages that follow you will find a wide variety of methods inspired by many teachers and traditions, and in many cases supported by excellent contemporary research. For simplicity, we have organized the sequence of methods into five general categories: Concentration Meditation: the focused mind; Mindfulness Meditation: presence of mind; Reflective Meditation: the inquiring mind; Creative Meditation: the transformative mind; and Heart-centered Meditation: the mind of loving-kindness.

In essence, these methods help us to view ourselves and our world with a deeper wisdom, objectivity, creativity and compassion. This helps us to live with less confusion, less tension, turbulence and stress, and to live and work with greater resilience, efficiency, sensitivity, intuition, and kindness.

Approached in this way, meditation techniques enable us to develop the power and peace of mind needed to awaken insight and understanding. Awakening and embodying wisdom is the true goal of meditation. This awakening is necessary to consciously recognize and transform the harmful or unproductive patterns of our lives, and to consciously strengthen the mind’s full potential for wisdom, love, power, and creative compassion. As we develop a deeper understanding, our appreciation for the true nature and potential of ourselves and others grows; inner and outer conflicts diminish; and we become more joyful, creative, and effective in living life, helping others, and stewarding the world.

At the end of the book we have included a reference for resources and links to support your continued inquiry and learning, and to offer additional ideas and strategies for exploring both the research behind and the practice of these methods. We have also provided an index of the various methods described in this book so that you may easily find and refer to specific ones.

The Path of Life Long Learning

Peter Senge, the MIT sage whose inspired work has established "personal mastery" as an essential discipline necessary for business success has said, "People with a high level of personal mastery live in a continual learning mode. They never ‘arrive.’ Sometimes, language, such as the term "personal mastery," creates a misleading sense of definiteness, of black and white. But personal mastery is not something you possess. It is a process. It is a lifelong discipline. People with a high level of personal mastery are acutely aware of their ignorance, their incompetence, their growth areas. Paradoxical? Only for those who do not see that ‘the journey is the is the reward.’"

The methods and principles illustrated in these pages offer a universal skill-set for people who understand that learning lasts a lifetime. Considering that those people who keep on learning are more likely to live a long, vital life, creative and productive life, Wisdom at Work may well become a reference manual that you refer to often for inspiration and guidance in your work and beyond in the years to come.

How long will it take to master a technique? How long would it take you to learn to master the flute or cello? The key to all learning is personal commitment and discipline. While books, tapes, and teachers are invaluable, ultimately it will be your own diligence that will assure your success. Have faith in your ability to tap the life-giving forces available to you. The beauty, pain, and uncertainties in your life and in the world will provide a continual reminder of the vital importance of practicing these skills.

Peak Performance, and Beyond

This book is a mental-fitness manual for leaders interested in learning methods to enhance their health and performance, master stress, deepen their appreciation of life, and bring more wisdom to work. This is also a handbook for those who wish to understand and master these skills in order to teach them to others or to equip themselves to make a greater contribution to the world. Whatever your motivation, you will find that the ideas and techniques in this collection have been presented with an emphasis on their practical applications in our busy, modern lives, while preserving a sense of the depth and sacredness traditionally associated with these inner arts. We suggest that you ponder these ideas with your intellect, take their meaning and value to heart, and test and confirm their profound practicality in the laboratory or the playing field of your daily life, work, and relationships.

?If you are primarily interested in physical relaxation or in learning to stay centered, calm, and focused amid the challenges of your daily life, you will find many of these techniques highly effective. If exploring the nature and potential of your mindbody is important to you, you’ll find methods here to ripen that understanding. If improving your mental and physical performance or building healthier and more harmonious relationships is of significance to you, there are many strategies in these pages that will help you in these arenas. And if you approach this inquiry with a heartfelt sense of curiosity or devotion, or with an aspiration to awaken within yourself a sense of wisdom that empowers you to be of greater service to others, many of these methods will serve as a vehicle to transform and open your heart-mind to new dimensions of wisdom, wonder, love, and inner strength.

Awakening Our Wholeness and Full Potential

"A human being is part of the whole called by us "universe," a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts, and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in all of its beauty…. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humankind is to survive."

--Albert Einstein

In each of our lives there have been times when we performed at our best, or experienced a extra-ordinary sense of connectedness, wholeness, and belonging. Most likely, those extraordinary moments of deeper wisdom, love, and aliveness came unexpectedly. Pause for a moment to recall those special moments when you were most fully and joyfully alive…when you felt the exhilaration of performing at your best…when you allowed your heart to open tenderly to love and be loved…when you were in the flow, or in "the zone," and felt in perfect harmony with the world in which you live. Recall those quintessential moments in your life and work that stand out and sparkle…those times when you really helped someone or when you really allowed someone to care for you…those times when, for a timeless moment, you glimpsed and understood the awesomeness of creation and your belonging within it.

If we examine the qualities of our aliveness during these special times, we will probably find that our attention was wholly focused on what was happening, and that our mind and body were operating as one. These are the very qualities that are cultivated, matured, and awakened in our lives through a variety of inner disciplines. Remembering and appreciating moments that have allowed us to know and feel life more deeply serves to remind us of what is possible. Such moments of deep recognition awaken within us an aspiration to awaken to the authenticity and fullness of who we truly are, and may further lead us to devote our lives to helping others to do the same.

Through the disciplines introduced in the pages that follow, we can intentionally nurture and cultivate sublime qualities of vivid aliveness that are otherwise only glimpsed in moments of grace and peak experience. Generally speaking, our attention is quite scattered and our lives fragmented. Our minds and bodies seem disconnected from each other. We are often lost in our thoughts and only superficially in touch with the reality and intensity of our inner and outer experiences. How often are our minds focused, calm, clear, or open enough to discern the exquisitely profound interplay of inspiration, intuition, and revelation that are a natural, though very subtle, part of our lives? How many valuable insights, breakthrough ideas, and inspirations have danced in our mind, shimmered for a moment in lucid clarity, only to vanish because the noise level in our mindbody was simply too high to discern these subtle and sublime whispers that are an ongoing function of our human life? How many problems might be avoided if we were more grounded in our wholeness and more present--"checked in" rather than "checked out"--and more in touch with ourselves, with others, and with our surroundings?

Though our bodies are really not very different from those of our ancestors, we live in a dramatically different and infinitely more demanding world. In a single day we may be challenged to respond to more information and make more decisions than one of our ancestors faced in a lifetime! Given the accelerating rate of change and uncertainty, the immensity of personal and global crises, and the staggering variety of choices and decisions that are a part of our daily lives, is it any wonder that we often feel overwhelmed and frustrated?

With so many people in our society needlessly suffering and dying of preventable stress-related diseases, is it any wonder that so much attention is being directed to investigating practical alternatives to current ways of living and working that have been so personally and globally destructive? We in modern times have much to learn about self-knowledge and self-mastery.

It is no surprise that so many people are seeking to get in touch with deeper wisdom, life-giving forces, and that the age-old and rigorously tested methods of the inner science traditions are becoming recognized as vital to our peace of mind and the quality of our health, work, and relationships.

Field-Tested Wisdom and Methods

Over the past thirty years, we have had the rare opportunity to study and practice closely with many great teachers from the world’s great inner science traditions. From these remarkable men and women we have learned thousands of effective techniques for developing the full potential of the human mindbody. In many cases these methods have been practiced, cherished, and preserved with inspiring results for millennia, and in many cases their profound value is confirmed by solid laboratory and medical research.

Many of these revered masters and respected researchers of the inner arts and sciences encouraged us to carry what they had taught us back into our world. We have treasured their gifts and instructions to us, and with their guidance and blessings, we have shared what we learned with tens of thousands of people around the globe. Following the examples of many of our teachers, our lives have been blessed with times of travel, teaching, consulting, laboratory research, clinical and service work in the world, and with periods of intensive inner work.

This book contains a distillation of over a hundred methods that we have found personally and professionally effective. The contemporary renaissance of interest in matters of mental health and fitness, spirit, and consciousness has brought these methods of relaxation and meditation out of caves, monasteries, and remote cultures into medical centers, board rooms, research institutions, and the mainstream of modern life. Many of these practices have been scientifically studied and demonstrated to be highly effective for enhancing health and mental and physical performance, awakening creativity, and tapping the life and vitality giving forces of our lives. They are also effective antidotes to the epidemic of stress-related diseases, anxiety, hostility, loneliness, depression, dysfunctional behavior, and existential yearning that plague so many people in our complex and rapidly changing world.

Over the past three decades we have relied upon these inner arts as primary tools in our work in several fields: as mental fitness coaches for world-class and Olympic champions and corporate peak performers; researchers investigating the nature of human consciousness; clinicians introducing mindbody medicine to adults, children, and staff in leading medical centers; organization design and creativity consultants to leaders in business and industry; graduate faculty for programs in medicine and psychology; lead trainers for elite teams of US Army Special Forces troops in the Ultimate Warrior Training Program; counselors for people facing terminal illness or grieving the loss of a loved one; and coaches and friends to many people seeking to live in a more integrated, authentic, and spirited way and to be more effective in helping others realize the same quality in their own lives.

The Spirit of These Teachings

We hope that you will read this book in the spirit of one of our corporate clients, a senior manager with sincere interest but little formal knowledge of the inner arts and sciences. We met her in an airport one day and she said, "Hey! I read your book, and I want you to know that by reading your book I feel like I have met your teachers!" We were both deeply touched by her comment, and the insight it reflects. Many of these remarkable teachers, with whom we devoted years of traveling and studying, spoke in foreign languages and their translators painstakingly passed their teachings and instructions along to us. Many a late night we have sat talking with these kind and patient teachers and translators, clarifying our questions and the fine technical points of their precise and detailed instructions. With their patience, guidance, and encouragement we have gradually come to find ourselves often in the role of teacher and translators for those not fortunate enough to meet these great teachers in person.

One point we want to make is that we have received so much from so many incredible people, many of whom were, in a way, the last of their species on this planet because the sacred vessels of their wisdom cultures have been destroyed. They gave of their wisdom to us saying, "Please cherish these gifts. Keep the spirit of these teaching alive. Pass them on to the generations to come"--and they knew we would. Holding lineages of teachings that have been cherished and preserved for millennia, these teachers have offered a living transmission of the stream of ancient wisdom into modern times. In recent years, many of our remarkable teachers have died. We, and others as fortunate as us, are left holding the bundle of their treasured teachings. So for us to weave together this brief but powerful collection of teachings and to be able to pass it on to you is really a great privilege. If in some way this book contributes to the awakening of the wisdom, wonder, and creative compassion in your life, that our teachers so inspiringly embodied and taught in theirs, then our intentions in writing it will have been fulfilled.

How to Get the Most from This Book

The challenges of millennia and the inspiration of the human spirit have given rise to thousands of techniques of mental discipline. Each of these methods is effective for building our positive strengths and overcoming the inhibitors that prevent us from living and working at our peak potential. In this book you will find the distillation of those methods we have found to be most widely conducive for enhancing the quality of resilience, health and performance, building clarity, confidence and self-esteem, mastering distress, and awakening wisdom, creativity, compassion, power, and peace of mind.

We suggest that you consider this book as an investment portfolio offering you a wide range of options. Your return will depend largely upon the sincerity and continuity of your investment of attention and aspiration. Though the methods are priceless, you must make a personal investment in them in order to discover and call forth their power and to realize their potential. The greater your personal investment in taking these principles to heart, the greater your return and the more you will have to offer to the world.

?There are three steps in mastering these techniques. Reading or hearing about them is the first step. Contemplating and thinking about their meaning, value, and application in your daily life is the second step. Taking the meaning and value to heart and directly applying them to your life is the third step. All three steps are important in discovering the power and potential that can be activated through each technique. Though benefits may be immediately apparent, the real fruits of these methods will emerge gradually as you cultivate them with in a disciplined way. As your practice deepens, the fruits will grow sweeter and your appreciation of life as a continuously improving learning process will grow.

Each of the chapters on the different forms of meditation begins with an introduction and a description of guidelines for using the methods contained in that section, followed by the practices themselves. As you read, we encourage you to note those ideas and exercises that seem to speak most directly to your needs and interests.

Once you have identified the methods you wish to focus on, put them into practice by reading them slowly and thoughtfully, proceedingstep by step to get the feeling for the real meaning behind the words. You may find it helpful to have a friend read the exercise to you, or to record it in your own voice to replay at your leisure. Or you may feel inspired to change our terminology to better suit your own style or beliefs. As your familiarity with a technique grows, you will learn to mentally progress through its various stages without needing to read or listen to the instructions. Though at first you may mentally talk yourself through an exercise, gradually cultivate the skill to move through the method as a progression of shifts in awareness, a series of mental images or feelings, rather than mere words and concepts.

Three Foundations of Inner Development

The classical teachings on meditation exist within a larger body of spiritual teachings that span all of the dimensions of our lives. Universally, the foundation of meditation practice is rooted in developing harmonious relationships with the world around us. When we are out of harmony with our world and with those who share it, that disharmony is reflected within us as tension, distraction, confusion, frustration, anger, or enmity. When the mind is dominated by these disturbing "mental poisons," and the body is flooded with their toxic biochemical analogues, it is very difficult to find the inner balance necessary engage in any fruitful mind training. If you are really intent upon developing yourself, then your first step is to begin to make peace and find harmony in relationship to your world. The practice of ethics, morality, and "right relations" not only benefits others but, in the long run, helps us create the causes for inner peace and wholeness that we long for. The stronger this foundation, the more profound and fruitful will be our practice.

Thich Nhat Hahn, the Vietnamese sage and peacemaker whose example inspired Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. has reminded us often that the world is both wonderful and terrible: there is considerable injustice and tragic suffering. Making peace with the world is not to look away from these heartbreaking circumstances, but to have the courage to witness suffering with compassion and understanding. Only then will we have the insight necessary to respond with wisdom and effectiveness.

Though living in accord with the Golden Rule is enough to transform our lives, a second foundation is necessary to really establish a meditation practice. As outer turbulence subsides, we are left to the inner work of reducing the turbulence within ourselves. Taking the first step, we focus within our body and begin to recognize the ways we armor ourselves with unnecessary tension. Then, applying the principles of kindness and merciful compassion to ourselves, we learn ways to relax and to release the unnecessary tension we carry in our body. Looking ever more deeply, we find that physical tension is tied to the inner tension and turmoil of our mind-emotions. So, as you see, the practice of kindness and compassion--inner and outer--is the really the ground of meditation.

As we learn to open blocked energy, release tension, and come to rest more at ease in our body, we are better able to engage in the inner work of enhancing the power of our mindful attention. This opens the next doorway to meditation: the development of concentration. Developing concentration transforms mental dullness into mental stability, distraction into vivid mental clarity. Along the way we also develop the strength of our mindfulness and vigilance--so necessary to keeping our meditation focused and on track. As a result of this inner transformational work, we are able to bring a calm intensity to whatever we do, and this powerful peace of mind can then be carried into our lives, relationships, and any other meditation practices we may engage in.

These three foundations — "right relations," relaxation, and meditation — create outer and inner harmony and a focused presence of mind. Together they support the awakening of wisdom and compassion--the real goal of our practice. Profound insight arises. We see that when our body is at ease in its natural state and our mind isn’t being unnecessarily churned, the mind is calm, peaceful, and vividly clear. And when the mind is peaceful, present, and undisturbed, the world we behold is one of wholeness. We understand that the natural state of our relationships is that of deep interdependence, completely empty of isolation and separateness. As Margaret Wheately, author of Leadership and the New Science reminds us, "When we seek for connection we restore the world to wholeness. Our seemingly separate lives become meaningful as we discover how truly necessary we are to each other."

As our understanding of all these factors deepens, we discover the true measure and test of meditation training. This is found in a spiritual maturity that results from taming the mind’s fixations; eliminating such basic malaise as selfishness, greed, and hatred; deepening insight into the nature of reality; and the awakening of a growing concern for the well-being of others. Mental or meditative powers are honestly of little value if they don’t help us to accomplish these results.

The Synergy of Mastery and Mystery

"Physicists explore levels of matter; mystics explore levels of mind. What they have in common is that both levels lie beyond ordinary sense perception."

-- Physicist Fritjof Capra

Contemplative practice, in all its many forms has its roots in our wholeness as human beings. These practices are universal and as ancient as humanity and offer value in virtually every arena of human affairs. Our ancestors knew that their survival depended on these practices of deep reflection so necessary for tapping the well-springs to deep insight and inspiration so necessary for living in harmony with their world and our current state of global affairs suggests that we would be wise to give more attention to these methods. These inner technologies have been cherished and integral ways of life in all the great wisdom traditions of the world. In most great traditions, language made no distinction between what we would call science or spirituality, psychology, philosophy, or religion. Indeed such fragmented ways of thinking are relatively modern distinctions coming from the same political turf wars that spawned the absurd notion that seamless wholeness can actually be fragmented into separate categories of "science" and "spirit", or "body," "mind," and "spirit." The renaissance in wholistic and complementary medicine, web-linked information networks, complex systems dynamics, and chaos theory are all indication of a shift in culture toward embracing wholeness. Any scientist who looks deeply enough into the nature of reality--or themselves--reaches a state of profound awe, wonder, and reverence for the Mystery that they attempt to understand. And, anyone who approaches their inner work in a rigorous and disciplined way, knowingly or unknowingly is applying the principles from highly sophisticated, empiracally tested and refined traditions of "inner science" principles and technologies for discovering the true nature of themselves and of all creation.

D. Edwards Deming, the esteemed father of the Total Quality movement, repeatedly reminded people that, "only 98 percent of what is important can be measured." Such a view is affirmed by Buckminster Fuller when he explained, "When I was born in 1895, reality was everything you could see, smell, touch and hear. The world was thought to be absolutely self-evident. When I was three years old, the electron was discovered. That was the first invisible. It didn't get in any of the newspapers; (nobody though that would be important!) Today 99.99 percent of everything that affects our lives cannot be detected by human senses. We live in a world of invisibles. The fact that…humanity does notunderstand nature is the prime reason for humanities failure to exercise its option to attain universally sustainable physical success on this planet… I am confident that humanity's survival depends on all our willingness to comprehend feelingly the way nature works." The methods offered in this book teach us to do just that — to comprehend feelingly and intuitively the way nature works!

This book invites — and challenges — you to learn to work and dance with both Mystery and mastery in your life. This is sometimes described as balancing intellect and intuition, the harmonizing of yang and yin or the creative and the receptive forces, balancing of masculine and feminine potentialities, or reconciling chaos and order into a "chaordic" state of dynamic balance. True mastery is realized only when our discipline has been so exacting and wholehearted that it carries us to the threshold where, to go any further, we must let go of control and surrender to Mystery. Embracing both mastery and Mystery brings us back toward wholeness, a dynamic state of being as core to being as inhalation and exhalation, the pulse and stillness of each heartbeat, or the striding, balanced rhythm of our two feet carrying us along life’s path.

Through the practice of the disciplines presented in this book we increase our self mastery as well as our capacity to sustain the intensity of Mystery’s profound and inspiring presence in our lives. As our wisdom deepens, we learn to unify mastery and Mystery and open the inner depths of our being to discover a ceaseless stream of inspiration that infuses our lives and through us the lives of all we meet. Gradually we learn to participate more fully in the self-renewing flow of creation described by the great scientists of the world, we drink from the wellsprings of our deepest nature, and live with ever deepening wisdom and wonder.