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  • Writer's pictureJillian Sawers

Without silence you can’t see your own absurdity

It’s hard to describe silence. But many have tried.

“It is raining and you can hear the pattern of the drops. You can hear it with your ears, or you can hear it out of that deep silence. If you hear it with complete silence of the mind, then the beauty of it is such that cannot be put into words or onto canvas, because that beauty is something beyond self-expression”

“Only when the mind is tranquil-through self-knowledge and not through imposed self-discipline-only then, in that tranquillity, in that silence, can reality come into being. It is only then that there can be bliss, that there can be creative action.”

These quotes by J Krishnamurti point to both the exquisite beauty within silence, but also the effect it has on action.

It feels concentrated, yet expansive, it feels still and yet bubbling with potential. It profoundly changes your perception of everything.

In the previous article Authentic Leadership Requires Silence, we looked at the missing ‘Who?’ in Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle, and also how inner silence through self-knowledge is a key component for those at the apex of the Maslow Hierarchy of needs.

Silence is the missing piece in the Golden Circle of Simon Sinek, and the peak of the Abraham Maslow Hierachy of needs

If we are dwelling in the ‘what’ or ‘how’ without the ‘who’ and ‘why’, or dangling in the lower levels of the triangle, looking to prove ourselves, gain approval and acceptance; then we are not self-realised, we are ego-based mind controlled automatons.

What is the ego? In the simplest of definitions that I find useful; Ego is identifying with what You are not. It takes many gross forms, such as living and breathing football, my teams success and failures, its colours and anthems, its players. Such identifications can become obsessive to the point of violence.

But for the leader, it can take more subtle forms. Like blowing your own trumpet at a team celebration, unwittingly demoralising your whole team. Defending your mistakes. Being resistant to change, in case it risks your privileges and perks. The list goes on and on. And becomes ever more subtle. These behaviours are all based on mistaken identity. I think I am my job, my projects, my successes.

As Simon Sinek points out so beautifully in his ‘We all deserve a Styrofoam cup’ lecture, whether you are given a Styrofoam cup or a China one, it’s not for you, but it’s a prop for the role you play. When that is not clear, you will start to behave in absurd ways.

When are finally able see your own ego clearly; after dire consequences, or someone calls you out, or you are subtle enough to feel the inner tension which always accompanies self-deception, you may eventually be able to laugh and expand out of that ‘wee’ self.

But for many, the discomfort of facing our ridiculousness just makes us bury our heads in further and keep robotically repeating the same behaviours hoping for different results.

In order to stop identifying with our roles, and all the appendages’ accompanying them, like my profits, my privileges, my power, my personality, my popularity, my projects, my success or lack of it;

we simply need to realise our true identity. I say simple, because you don’t have to create a true identity. It’s there, constantly. And it’s also simple, because it’s not thought that takes you there, so no method, or process is needed.

You simply become aware of the you present behind the noise of thoughts. We can call it all sorts of words, such as soul, or source, but then we immediately jump into thoughts about what we believe that is. We can argue for or against its existence. Neither side will end up any clearer. But if we drop into silence, we become aware of our beingness. And that puts everything in perspective.

Graham Hancock, author of Fingerprints of the God’s has openly shared his experiences with Ayahuasca. Like many who have taken the popular DMT packed entheogen, he had clear visions of his past actions and their consequences. Many re-live and release childhood traumas, and often addictions are dropped overnight. Which in his case was the immediate dropping of a 16 year cannabis habit, which he had mistakenly assumed was the source of his creativity.

WHY AYAHUASCA IS BEAUTIFUL - Graham Hancock | London Real


Hancock suggests that every leader should take the plant medicine at least 12 times before taking office.

People call it Mother Ayahuasca. For she holds you gently as she shows you your dark side. If you aren't willing to look, it will work like a virus infecting everything in you and around you. In the clinical tests with DMT, shown in the documentary – DMT - the Spirit Molecule, participants often described the removing of the ego layers, as they travelled down a tunnel and out into a whole different world. Afterwards such experiences it becomes harder to identity yourself with your ‘wee’ cameo performance on the world stage, when you’ve glimpsed the universe within.

However, such short cuts are not required if one has clear understand of who I am, and what I am not. Clear understanding isn’t removed when the memory of an experience fades.

To compassionately but humorously observe your own absurdity as you battle away inside your mind with your desires, and frustrations, you begin to almost see yourself as cartoon character.

When we see someone with exaggerated personality traits, such as boasting or moaning all the time, or staying young and desirable at all costs, they appear a bit like a cartoon character. When we can see ourselves in the same way; when the contrast between the grace of being and the buffoon the ego make of us, then perhaps we are a little closer to self-actualisation. Closer to creative inspired action. Closer to leading with clear purpose and vision, because those come naturally to someone who operates from the inside out.

A’ leader’ with an unexamined ego, simply can’t lead. They can only imitate the language and actions of true leaders. But as the old adage goes, pride definitely comes before a fall. And none of can ultimately escape the removal of all that is false from our being. Whether we do that gracefully with wisdom , or prefer to dwell in the drama of cartoon land a little longer, will define if you can lead today or maybe sometime in the future.

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