This week I journeyed to London to embark on a development journey with an executive team needing to explore what it truly means to be a high performing multicultural international board. In its starkness was the breadth and depth of experience, knowledge and diversity of views. It stroke a chord of how quickly we can get into a state of separateness, fixed opinions and judgements but that it is possible to cultivate our ability to hold everything in awareness, to learn to embrace it all.
Thanks to a friend’s recommendation, I recently read Hermann Hesse's classic Siddhartha, about a journey of self-discovery. As synchronicity goes, one team member mentioned it was his favourite book. Perhaps it is a good omen for this team, for amongst other things the story celebrates curiosity and openness, the fullness of life and reminds us of our wholeness and our interconnectivity with others and our experiences. Something useful to also consider as we embark on the festive season with all its expectations and dynamics.
Here is Siddhartha’s journey condensed in my own words.
Admired and adored
Yet I felt a little bored
Joy failed to spring from my heart
I felt bounded and apart
Trapped like a caged bird
My soul, oh how it stirred
So I set off with my loyal friend
Not knowing where it would end
I leant towards the emptiness
In the hope of peace and bliss
Joining those of like kind
Going deep into the forest of one’s mind
Renouncing, denying and fasting
Querying, searching and quietening
And when the Master emerged
I recognised how his light surged
But no matter how brightly it shone
My quest urged me on
And so I left my shadow there
I had more learning to bear
A man ferried me from A to B
And I found myself in a pleasure sea
Of thorns and buds in a garden lush
The feelings of a lover’s rush
Skills in love and business traded
Memories of self denial faded
Feasting on luxury and lust
Before long the balance went bust
That which I craved, I now rejected
Bloated in power and pride detected
Disorientated but able to rise
I now saw the man with fresh eyes
And the river, banks on either side
Energy, wisdom and nothing to hide
In the stillness, silence and serenity
Flowed what was, is and what will be
Knowing there was nothing to add or subtract
Everyone and everything circles back
Embracing truth in its fullness
Truly listening, I had found completeness
Hermann Hesse (2013) Siddhartha, Bridgeford Classics.
I 1000 quadri più belli di tutti i tempi on Facebook, 13 December 2013.
Grazie a te. Happy onward journey.