In The Five Meditations - Part 1, I described the first two meditations I practice: mindfulness and internal printing. In part 2, I will address the third meditative practice that helps me navigate challenging and creative experiences on the edge of the human capacity to perceive and actualize results.
The Five Meditations - Part 2
Listen here: Episode 98 - The Five Meditations Part 2
While there are many meditation approaches, modalities and teaching methods, there are no hard rules where it comes to applying them. You must choose and adapt them based on your nature, aptitude and situation. Most of my journey has vacillated between two situational focuses: working with groups of people in a variety of settings and solitary personal development. It therefore was natural that my meditative and contemplative practices permeated both my individual and collective development spaces. The central propulsion of these adventures always has been about improving and transforming the future we are individually and collectively creating by facilitating enhanced capacities to perceive and respond.
Your circumstances and inclinations naturally will shape your approach and opportunities, and you must find ways to adapt and apply what works best for you. Living (and meditating) is a "what works" discovery journey. I hope these accounts encourage you to make your own discoveries. I am confident that as you develop your practices, you will discover meditation's profound impact on your well-being and its ability to improve every aspect of your personal, relational and professional pursuits.
The 3rd meditation practice: Exterior printing
My third meditation technique is exterior printing. There is a vast range of exterior printing imagery techniques and practices I have applied over the last three decades. They include visualizations that involve specific places, non-local scenes, and targeted ecologies and enhanced processes. For example, I have consecrated several places in the outdoors as anchors that contain specific healing properties, enhancements and connections.
I mentally travel to these places when I choose to enter a communion with the presence and connections they represent. One way to think about this practice is as a form of mental pilgrimage to a place that provides you with strength, healing, resolve power, forgiveness, and connection to purpose. I meditatively travel to and visualize certain places on daily basis, while I visit others as the need arises, often as a specifically tailored meditation. These techniques are designed to bring forward strength and vitality, accelerate healing, and catalyze clarity of purpose. They also are designed to transmit these very nutriments to other situations and people who I hold in my thoughts daily.
Similarly, I apply exterior printing when setting an ecology for a specific endeavor, meeting, or workshop. Along with the physical set-up, which is designed optimally to enable the process, there is a broad range of meditative visualizing practices I use to engender the atmospheric and energetic qualities that will enhance my work with the group.
Just like I'd never go on a hike without the provisions needed for the journey, the same is true when I lead a group on a developmental and transformational journey. I make sure to provide the people embarking on a discovery experience with the energetic properties to support the journey. Qualities such as openness, listening, trust, courage, inspiration, vitality, compassion, and creativity can be designed into the process and the atmosphere.
A third element of this technique involves the meditative Sherpa work of process pathfinding. As described in my articles Collective Intelligence 1 and the Practice of Listening Level 5, developing a process pathway involves a meditative journey. When I mentally travel through a succession of inquiries, states, and discoveries to make the journey safe and efficacious, I leave "mental rujums." A rujum is pile of stones used to mark a trail when its path is not obvious. It often is used in open desert areas, where trail-explorer Sherpas study the terrain and find the most optimal path forward.
Leading a group on a discovery and development journey is like walking through a changing terrain. At times you walk through a valley, then you may climb a mountain. You may encounter a fork in the trail, with one path leading safely forward, while the other reaches a dangerous cliff where a beautiful vista opens. There are parts of the trail that lead to a place from which the journey back is difficult and perilous.
Such experiences can appear in the development journey of any group, community or team. To make the experience safe and to reach new panoramic vistas of possibility, I travel the path meditatively before the event to prepare the trail. The point of this practice is not to fix the outcomes - the collective journey must find its own way - but rather to explore the terrain sufficiently so as to a) remove unnecessary obstacles, b) create deliberate experiential rujums that will point us in the most efficacious direction, and c) produce the necessary mental, experiential, and spiritual provisions for the journey.
Consider exterior printing to be a servant leadership practice that's propelled by deep care, love, and devotion. People often are unaware of the extraordinary investment and work that I put into the preparation of our workshop process. They do, however, recognize that they feel different and they experience differential results.
I owe the remarkable success that has found me to these rare disciplines. Early on I recognized the *wow* multiplier phenomenon. I stumbled onto this observation when I was 10 and 11, a time when my mother represented top classical musicians in the world when they came to Israel on tour. It was an early discovery of how the world works, mostly in the arts, in sports and in business: if you do good work, people will see you as okay. If you do excellent work, you will be rated as good. Only outstanding work will be appreciated as excellent. Therefore, the only way to produce an absolutely outstanding, memorable effect is to create and deliver a "wow" impact. If you do "wow" work, you will be rewarded disproportionally. This operating brief guided my work: good is okay, excellent is good, outstanding is excellent. To become memorable, create a "wow" experience.
Some people produce "wow" reactions through fireworks and loud noise. My approach has been more subtle. By applying the meditative practice of exterior printing, I create "wow" experiences for teams and groups. People leave our workshops not enamored with how brilliant I am; rather they walk away energized by the discovery of how brilliant they can be when they work together, and how exciting and bright is the future they are creating.
Now it's your turn. Turn the key. How can you help your teams create "wow" experiences? Recognize that you have the capacity to sculpt experiences, your own and those of the people you serve. Develop your reflective and meditative practices to help you shape processes and create new differentiated outcomes.
© Aviv Shahar