The EMPeaceLABS 2013 Conference in Jalgaon, India is about to occur. The Mann Consulting Group continues to support this 5-year program. The full details are provided in the attached PDF brochure. We have been very active in designing the Leadership Development aspects of this program along with the Leadership Academy for selected previous participants.
The Leadership Academy is a special mentoring program for individuals who have participated in previous EmPeaceLABS and have demonstrated individual initiative in creating local projects for community development and leadership development with regards to agribusiness and sustainability.
The Leadership Academy was designed as a way to further the leadership skills of these individuals through continued participation in the EmPeaceLABS 2013. They will receive more direct coaching and training, become a part of our leadership team and play a significant role in facilitating team discussions during the EmPeace LABS workshops.
You may view the various Leadership Development training videos for free. You just need to register to have access. Register Now
Here is one of the six training videos.
This is the audio from an hour webinar presented by the LinkedIn group Executive Coaching .Org and moderated by Group Founder Gopal’GD’Shrikanth. Coach Taylor and I talked about our book, The Making of a Champion, and the lessons learned from the field which apply to the Boardroom.
Glenn Griffith is a good friend and colleague. We have taught Junior Golf Workshop together. He is a great instructor and accomplished golfer. He is playing this week in the PGA Tour Waste Management Event. Let’s wish him the best. I did a brief interview with him about the game. We talk about his philosophy on swing mechanics, the mental game and how it feels to be in a tour event.
Bouncing Back: How to Recover When Life Knocks You Down has some great information. Here is a short piece from my discusssion with Major League Baseball catcher, manager, and coach, Buck Rodgers.
Thoughts from Buck Rodgers
Buck had a very successful career in Major League baseball. We were talking about change and adjustment, and I asked him how he helped his players learn to adjust. I wanted to understand his approach to coaching. Buck offered this advice:
“I think it was just a matter of, you sit and talk to people and show them the way you think it should be done and say, ‘What do you think about that? Does that make sense?’
“And I’ll always say—whenever I wanted an answer, I’d say, ‘I don’t want you to say yes or no to this. This is what I think it’s going to take for you to be successful. I don’t want you to give me an answer right now. I want you to go home and think about it, and then you come in tomorrow morning and talk—but I don’t want a reaction, I want a thought process to go through this, and see if you think you’ve got a better way to be successful, this way or that way. And then tomorrow, you come in and tell me your answer, and then we’ll go from there.’ ”
Buck’s simple process is really quite powerful. Too many times people try to change other people. They talk louder and longer, over and over again, hoping to wear the person down and by using the power of their will to influence and change another person. Personally, I find this style extremely obnoxious and totally ineffective. At best, you usually get someone to passively agree and then not comply with you later on down the line. At worst, you get a strong person who argues, resists, and fights back. What a tedious, useless waste of energy in this battle of egos!
Buck is an intelligent man who understands people. He knows that people have to want to change if something is really going to happen. Motivating a person to change is more of an art form than simply bullying someone into behaving differently. Transformation of character comes from the inside out, not from some external, coercive force. If you force someone to change, you will pay for it later. They will resent you, becoming openly hostile or passive-aggressive. You will certainly not generate loyalty and respect from that approach.
Buck is also skillful here because he does not ask for a response in the moment. Most people tend to react to external situations from an emotional perspective. A knee-jerk emotional reaction is usually not the most enlightened response. Buck helps to keep the situation more low-key by creating a space where his players can go home and think it over. He gives them the opportunity to consider his proposal and asks for their input—a sign of respect.
If you are coaching players or raising children, you first need to open the mind before change can happen. If you learn how to approach someone and facilitate a process that opens the mind to other possibilities, then you have made a great start in the change process. Everything starts in the mind. If you can engage the intellect and create an interest in the realm of possibilities, then you have the skill to be a successful change agent. A coach or parent is a teacher, and a great teacher helps others to open their minds and experience new levels of success.
The recent confession from Lance Armstrong about his steroid use in win seven consecutive Tour de France victories is another blow to professional sports. A few years ago, Doug DeCinces and I discussed this issue in Bouncing Back: How to Recover When Life Knocks You Down. That discussion is very relevant now and my comments as well. Here is how is appears in Bouncing Back. The book is available in all format at amazon.com
Doug DeCinces and Steroids
The following discussion about the impact of steroids on baseball is very interesting. It relates to several areas of our discussion: belief in yourself, spiritual awareness, individuation, and emotional maturity. I include it now, because anyone who chooses to use steroids has some doubt about his or her ability to fully compete and be successful based solely upon his or her God-given talent. We pay a price when we try to cut corners and find an edge. It can be through performance-enhancing drugs or shady business practices. The results can be the same. Eventually the truth comes out, and we lose something. All along the way we have lost our integrity, which creates a gap in the heart and a wound to the soul. Here is what Doug had to say about steroid use and my comments.I asked, “What do you think about the steroid problem in baseball?”
“I think if you’re talking about the mental approach, obviously the mental approach is that somebody’s taking steroids because it makes them physically stronger and play better. And they’re not thinking about tomorrow; they’re thinking about today. I think until Major League Baseball and everybody stepped up and said, ‘Hey, this is illegal,’ I don’t think you can really condemn those guys beforehand. But frankly, I don’t think Rafael Palmeiro should go to the Hall of Fame. He’s accomplished a lot, but he accomplished it on illegal drugs that he knew he shouldn’t have been taking. I may be a little outspoken about that, but guys who took steroids, I mean, guys are hitting … Barry Bonds hitting seventy-plus home runs a year. I said, ‘You know, that’s physically impossible.’ And yet they’re just blowing through record books after record, and just making a mockery of all the guys that played before that didn’t do that. I don’t know, I just feel like—okay, I hit 240 in my career. Well, if I would have taken steroids, I can tell you I hit 240 balls to the warning track that probably would go out if I were taking steroids.
“So, where does that put me in the—or all my other peers that went out and played without it? I played with some guys I knew that were taking it, and it totally changed their physical abilities, 100 percent. So is that the right thing to do? I know when my son was in the Minor Leagues; we had numerous conversations because he said, ‘Dad, how am I supposed to compete? If I don’t take it, how am I supposed to compete?’
“And I said, ‘You compete on what God gave you. And if you can’t do it on that, then you need to do something else!’
“Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that I drank coffees, and, you know, I did things that, you know, help you get up. That’s a long season and stuff like that. But I never took any steroids or anything like that that would—you know, heck, when I was going through there, there was a huge cocaine problem. And I was the head of the Players’ Association at that time. We’re trying to take care of the Willie Wilsons and all the guys, the Norrises and guys like that who got busted for it all the time. But we had—it was more of a cocaine problem in the big leagues than steroids. And now you look at this, and I mean, you see players this year that the last three years, you look at them, and how did they get that good? You know? But the guys are sitting there, and they’re going, ‘Do I have a choice? I take them so I can stay in the big leagues and make my money and fulfill my dream. But if I don’t take them, that general manager is going to send me back down, because he’s going to bring up a kid that is taking them.’
“So I think baseball is more at error than the players. I mean, it’s a pressure-driven job, to go out and compete on 161, 162 games a year and to go against the greatest in the world, and somebody’s saying, ‘Hey, look at the results I get from taking this’—oh my gosh. Guys aren’t going think to—you know, their mindset is to take it. ‘Okay, let’s go take it.’
“But then there are others’ mindsets that say, ‘Hey, that’s not the right way to do it.’ And now how do they compete against the guys that are cheating? I mean, you look at Ivan Rodriguez this year . I mean, he’s not even the same person that’s been an All-Star every year as a catcher [13 years on All-Star team]. You look at—I mean, I’m just going to be glancing around, but, I mean, how do guys in their late forties throw ninety-plus miles an hour? Think they’re doing that all by themselves? I don’t think so. You know, I would say Nolan Ryan was one of those guys that was really unique. But he had a unique body. But he wasn’t all of a sudden twenty-five pounds heavier and—you know, looking all different. I mean, I look at that thing that happened with Roger Clemens and Piazza, you know. How do you go off like that? You know, steroids do some things to your brains and stuff like that, too.
“That’s just kind of the way I look at it. I mean, I think it’s wrong. And I think that Palmeiro, of all guys this year—you stand in front of Congress and point your finger at them, and then you go out and take it? And look at Sammy Sosa this year. He’s not taking steroids. You look at him, and he’s shrunk down enormously and his bat’s way back here. It’s not out in front, hitting home runs anymore. It’s back here. He can’t catch up to the ball. There’s a marked physical difference in their abilities, your quick twitch muscles and all those things that require you to hit a fastball further or to throw a ball harder. You see a lot of pitchers today, they all of a sudden—they were throwing ninety-three, throwing eighty-eight, eighty-nine. All those guys that are in the Hall of Fame back there, you know, all of them … first of all, all pitchers—I don’t want to say all—a lot of pitchers cut balls, use pine tar, use spit, use what else, you know? That’s kind of—how do you say it’s cheating? It is cheating. It’s part of the game, but it’s cheating, and if you can get away with it, I guess they’d do it. It’s like the guy that used corked bats. If you can get away with it, you do it. But, you know, I remember using a corked bat against Gaylord Perry in a game. And Gaylord Perry was just—I mean, it was a joke how much he was cheating on the mound. And so I borrowed somebody’s bat on my team, and I went up there—hit a double in right center. I’m standing on second base going, ‘Nobody pick up that bat. Oh my gosh.’ I was scared to death, you know, scared to death. And I never, ever used a cork bat. I used it one time, one at-bat, and got a double, and I don’t think it would have made a difference.”
Steroids use in baseball is a rather complex economic, ethical, and spiritual issue. I believe it is unfair to only blame the individual players without taking into account the larger organization and cultural factors. Individual players have tacitly been given permission by baseball to use drugs. At first, it was individuals who made the choice; but once the organization looked the other way, the culture became corrupted. Individual players were trying to make a living and compete. They took the drug to remain competitive. That is the economic reality. Some may argue that if they wanted to remain in the majors, they had to do it.
However, there are also ethical issues. Does one allow himself to become corrupt because of financial gain and worldly success? In the American culture, the answer is often yes! Our culture is built around fame, power, and fortune. We often place money above anything else—especially in sports and the business world. Does it matter that historic records were being broken because players had the physical advantage of drug enhancement? If the drug use was openly acknowledged, then the answer might be no. But it becomes a much different ethical matter when players lie about the truth and still claim the victories.
Is there much difference here between lying about using performance enhancing drugs in sports and lying about the finances of a business? How about lying about the nature of low-interest loans? How about lying about investment programs that rob people of billons of dollars? All this is based in greed—the desire to get more at any cost. The United States has paid a huge price for this type of ethic.
With regards to surviving during very difficult times, does it matter how we get there? Are we only concerned about performance, about success, and about winning, or are we also interested in the process of victory and what that process does for the development of the individual? The intent of this book is to look at the deeper character aspects among great athletes to see what we can learn about life, the human will, and the human spirit. This book is not a cookbook about how to win and make a lot of money. It is about finding your way through difficult times without losing your soul.
Peak performance has magical moments, like when Dick Fosbury is being lifted over the bar to win an Olympic gold medal. Those who believe in a spiritual reality believe that there is a relationship between the human will, the human spirit, and God. What resides in one’s heart is important. A pure heart can attract many wonderful and wondrous things. When a person takes a drug, then something is lost. The experience becomes, at best, a peak at a potential or possibility, but it does not become an integrated part of one’s being. What is lost is the real growth of human consciousness and human ability to move to the next level. Once you take away the drug, then you strip away the ability to actually perform at that level.
On might argue that life is an experience to learn something more about who we really are, not just to make a lot of money and gain power and prestige. This learning process is most profound when we draw upon our natural inner resources that transcend our human condition and lift us to a high realm—a realm that clears the mind, opens the heart, and touches the soul. Sports have the ability to do this. The movie The Natural did such a thing. Real victory in the sports world inspires us all to greater hopes and greater accomplishments.
The spiritual loss with drug use in sports is that our children learn the wrong message. They learn that wining at any cost is more important than honesty, integrity, and the evolution of the human will. They become robbed of the deeper meaning of life and are sold a Madison Avenue marketing version of life’s meaning and purpose. While it is exciting to see a ball hit 400 yards and pitchers throwing in the nineties, baseball is about more than that—all sports are. The magic of peak performance is lost when success is only attributed to chemical means. The magic of life is also lost when we turn to drugs and alcohol when life becomes too stressful. Life will test us, and with the right methods, we can find the strength to overcome all adversity. While chemicals may help soften the pain and dull the senses, they do not provide a means for mastery.
The use of marijuana is a relevant issue here, especially as a way to cope with stress. While medical marijuana may have its place, daily use for stress release has its problems. During my many years in clinical practice as a psychologist, I saw people when the complaint that their lives did not seem to be going anywhere. These individuals were kind and loving and just did not seem to have the drive to accomplish what they desired. These people were getting stoned every day! Pain, frustration, and discomfort can be a great motivator for change. If you artificially take away the pain, all life is good. The saying “no pain, no gain” may have some relevance here.
While the ethical discussion might seem beyond the scope of this book, I believe it is important, because my goal is to do more than just provide a roadmap for success. While honesty and integrity may not be necessary for peak performance—and in fact, it appears they are not—these qualities do matter in higher ethical realms. Sports provide a model for young people of how live. Professional sports are just a game. How one relates to friends, spouses, business partners, etc. is not a game. If the message becomes “win at any cost,” then the human spirit takes a hit. We lose trust and respect for each other and damage our ability relate as a society. How we play the game is as important as whether or not we win! Golf is probably the one sport that maintains its commitment to this high ethical and moral standard. It is the only sport where a player will call a penalty upon himself. The bottom line is that you do not have faith in yourself to come out the other side if you look to external, artificial supports to get you there. Don’t be seduced by the promise of “success” if you have to cheat, lie, or steal. Learn to develop the trust and faith in your inner core—your true self—and you will become stronger and enhance the essential values that mark a victorious life: integrity, honesty, perseverance, and faith.
© 2013 Copyright Ronald L. Mann, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.
This is a great YouTube training video for Executive Coaching. This was made in Taiwan in December 2012 at the University of Culture. We were training trainers for the continuing education program. This scenario uses a situation regarding leadership transition.
Click here to view YouTube video or just view below.
I have returned from the international conference in India and want to bring you up to date. This was a very valuable and productive experience that brought people together from India, Africa and the United States.
The main organizers from the Arizona State University were Dr. Marek Wosinski and Dr. Rimhjhim Aggarwal. The Arizona staff did a fabulous job in making this conference a reality and were open and flexible during the week to create a very dynamic, interactive event that created a lot of inspiration and vision for the future.
We were hosted by the Jain Irrigation System, Inc. and were provided wonderful accommodations and gourmet vegetarian food at the Jain Learning Center.
Jain provides training programs for thousands of individuals each year in irrigation and agribusiness. They have a large staff and really took care of us. No one got sick from the food or water and the accommodations were very clean. The staff was attentive and selfless.
They have a few thousand acres, which includes the Gandhi Research Institute.
Dr. Jain also built a boarding school on the property that consists of 1,000 acres. We had many opportunities to spend time with these students and found them to be very bright, friendly and extremely well mannered. India is education and training future world leaders.
The program was organized into three main components: Gandhi Philosophy, Jain Irrigation Systems, and Leadership Development. The purpose was to integrate various approaches and areas that have typically been separate: empower of women in leadership, agribusiness, food production, water conservation, non-violent approaches to peace, and leadership development. All these facets were discussed and integrated into a global approach for developing countries like India and Africa.
There is a comprehensive website at http://ucpsarnet.iglooprojects.org/blogs/public/empeacelabs2012injalgaon and you can join the university partnership there. The blogs details the purpose and beginning meetings so well, I am just quoting it here.
There is also another post at http://ucpsarnet.iglooprojects.org/blogs/public/twodaysatempeacelabs2012articlebyfrankkrishner that is excellent and I encourage you to read it.
“The past century has been the bloodiest in history, and the morning news bulletins in the first decade of the twenty first century haven’t given us much hope of things getting better: conflict appears to be spreading across every corner of the known world. The developing countries across the globe are facing the forces of fragmentation and frustration on an unprecedented scale. In India, in Africa, and elsewhere in South Asia serious conflicts have arisen around issues of land, water, and food security. Every disaster, whether man-made or natural, sets back development indicators several notches, and the resultant poverty further fans frustration and more conflict. It’s a vicious cycle.
The United Nations, at the turn of the century had propounded the Millennium Development Goals, a comprehensive strategy for poverty alleviation. However, these goals cannot be attained in an environment of hostility and mistrust. But how does one break this vicious cycle of poverty, frustration, and fragmentation?
Perhaps an answer can be found in the philosophy of the greatest advocate of peace in modern times: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known in India as the Mahatma. For Gandhi, the key to lasting and sustainable development was to be found in the uplift of the village communities, through enabling each village community to develop and manage their resources. In Africa, as in the Indian subcontinent, it is food security that is of major concern, and the issue can be addressed through the empowerment of the farming communities.
Empowerment of farming communities for peace is at the heart of the EmPeace LABS concept. ‘Empowerment for Peace through Leadership in Agribusiness and Sustainability’- that’s the idea and the objective is the eradication of poverty in rural communities.
EmPeace LABS 2012, that kicked off on Saturday morning drew participants from Cameroon, Ghana, Gambia, India, Nepal, Nigeria, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Swaziland, Uganda, and Zimbabwe as well as panelists and experts from JISL (Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd), ASU (Arizona State University), and GRF (Gandhi Research Foundation). It’s an international leadership-training workshop that aims to develop the participants’ leadership and entrepreneurial skills, to build sustainable practices in agribusiness and water management through working sessions and ‘hands-on experiences’. This will create peaceful, prosperous communities.
EmPeace LABS aims to connect various community youth leaders, especially women, with corporations within their communities and with their local governments to co-design and implement sustainable projects, through a ‘multi-stakeholder approach.’ As Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University puts it, “We believe that through research and freely shared knowledge, we can create a socially, economically, and ecologically responsive society – a global community that understands the consequences of our actions and acts accordingly. Community led innovation can help solve food security challenges at the local and global scale. When farmers and local leaders engage in agricultural development and agri-business, communities prosper. This prosperity and stability dramatically improves long term prospects for global peace by reducing the strain on food systems, especially for the rural poor.
The speakers at the inaugural session emphasized the Gandhian values of ‘truthful engagement’ in the developmental process. Dr Marek Wosinski of UCP- SARnet, who was one of the initiators of a unique community based College of Social Work project in West Champaran, India at the site of Gandhi’s first ‘struggle for truth’ and development in rural India, said that the need of the hour was to liberate Gandhi from the textbooks and the museums and bring Gandhi into practice in the villages of Bihar. Dr Bhavarlal Jain, founder Chairman of Jain Irrigation Systems, spoke of the incorporation of values in business that would serve to empower and sustain all living creatures, and of his own group’s continuing efforts to put Gandhian principles into sustainable practice.
Justice Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari, Chairman Gandhi Smarak Nidhi and Gandhi Research Foundation spoke about the need to incorporate truthful dealings in aspects of commerce, and emphasised that the pursuit of rampant consumption led to an unsustainable lifestyle that is ultimately destroying the earth. He expressed a hope that the young leaders who congregated at Jalgaon for the first ever EmPeaceLAB would study use their insights and enthusiasm to adapt Gandhian thinking to lead their communities and countries to prosperous and peaceful future. “
There is a lot of information about this conference on the UCPSARnet website, so let me give a more personal account of my experience.
I found the Gandhi influence very inspiring as it was integrated into everyday life. All speakers from the Gandhi Research Institute talked about sustainability in a way that made a lot of sense. Sustainability was about creating programs, businesses and relationships that would last over time because all stakeholders were valued and respected. Relationships were grounded in honesty and people were not viewed as things to be used and resources to be consumed. The earth was regarded with respect and our human relationship with the earth was discussed as we learn to manage our limited resources for some kind of intelligent design.
The participants were very bright, dedicated and interested. I made a great relationship with Adeyemi Damilare, a young man from Nigeria. He is very interested in connecting Coaching the Global Village with the African Union Youth Council. We spent a lot of time meditating together and designing plans to roll out coaching for leadership development of African Youth. He was also very interested in the BrightHeart program for children that has been initiated in Uganda.
There was a lot of interest in leadership training from a variety of countries. The team from Madagascar consisted of a very dynamic woman Zo who translated everything for her three woman team. Zo was one of the most active participants and had tremendous leadership skills. She is very interested in continued training for young leaders in Madagascar.
Rohiit Jain is another fine young man I met. He is from northern India and has a Master’s degree in Communication. Rather than move to the city for some kind of IT job, he has chosen to remain in his local village and create a collective farm that is successful in producing and marketing food in his area. He is creating a sustainable agricultural business helping his local community and finds great personal value in doing so. I am interested in exploring the development of a micro loan group to help him with his program. He has a successful track record, a great set of values, and is a smart guy who is worthy of trust and support.
One of the most personally inspiring connections I made was with Professor Ramji Singh from the Gandhi Research Foundation. As a boy, he knew Mahatma Gandhi. Professor Singh has a remarkable aura of peace around him. For a man of eighty nine, he was in great shape. He gave a fiery talk on the life, history and teachings of Gandhi. He wanted me to go by Ram as a spiritual name in India. He was such a brilliant intellect and a profound yogi that Dr. Marek Wosinski was moved to ask him how he could integrate both a great mind and a personal level of development that was so pronounced. Professor Singh simply responded that during his entire life he constantly strived to reduce himself to “zero.” He response had a strong impact on me and the entire group. He was a living model of spiritual realization and the power that results when the ego no longer is the primary principal running the show.
I was blessed to meet and befriend another unique individual, Pape Samb. We had great fun shopping together in the local town and discussing leadership and world change. Mr. Samb is the Director for Programs for Africa at Phelps Stokes. He has a warm, open, joyful and inviting presence. He spoke to the entire group and especially emphasized the importance of bringing people together and being a “relationship broker.” He also emphasized the notion of sustainability by working for the benefit of others and working with others. He was very uplifting a emphasized the important of acknowledging others. He had a very interesting approach to enhancing one’s capacity to help others: suspend assumptions and change questions. He advised us to always be a learner in order to create better relationships, as we must understand other people’s values if we are to successfully work with them. Finally, he discussed the Global Youth International Conference that addresses core values for youth: Trust, Accountability, Reliability, Growth, Empowerment and Truth. These are core values that will help anyone.
Mr. Samb is one of the special people out there. If you every have a chance to meet him, your life will be enhanced.
One a personal note I was especially moved to be with him because he is a Muslim. With all the bad press that Muslims get in today’s world, it was a blessing to be with such a wonderful man with great values.
One day we had a full field trip to several farms. We saw cotton, onions, papaya, and banana farms. The Jain Irrigation staff have food production down to a science. They can calculate the number of fruits a plant will produce and how much water it needs to do so. Through the drip irrigation systems they have vastly reduced the amount of water necessary for production and greatly enhanced output. They have a vision for water sustainability to see the conservation of water as a major concern for our future. They are interested and available to take their technology which includes solar energy into Africa. There were many very precise presentations made about their work and projects, which ranged from irrigation, food production, farm management, solar energy, water desalination and pipe production.
In summary, the leadership development aspect of this project was well integrated due to the strong commitment and influence of the Gandhi Research Foundation. All of Gandhi’s philosophy was compatible with our coaching approach that is founded upon relationship building and self-empowerment. This conference stressed the importance of individual creativity, responsibility, and initiative. The participants were education and informed about the latest technologies for food production and given basic tools and inspiration for leadership development and personal empowerment. Relationships were established that will continue across Africa. Coaching the Global Village was an important component for future training and support for all participants.
There were cross cultural presentations every evening from each country. Dancing was the common language that brought joy and bonding among the participants and the children from the local school.
I have posted over 100 pictures on my Facebook page. I encourage you to take a look at them at http://www.facebook.com/ronald.mann1
If you go to drronmann at youtube you will find a new video of this morning opening ceremony. Pretty cool to see.
First day in India
India has changed a lot since my last trip here five years ago. The airport is very modern as any Western country with all the typical fashion design stores with designer goods. The roads have improved as well. New highways have been built and you don’t see so many cows on the road. It appears closer to the modern world,although that is a mixed blessing here. My local friends tell me that some people buy two bedroom condos for a million dollars and have to work so much they have no time for family or spiritual practice
My first day was very eventful. It began with the very practical: getting a local cell phone and a SIM card for my iPad. I am amazed at the low cost. I got a basic Nokia phone for $20 and a service plan for it, a sim chip for the iPad and a 3G connection for 800 rupees, that is about $15. (I am now at the Gandhi University/Gain Irrigation Campus and the connection is not as stable as it was in Delhi. Everything worked great there, but here not so much. It is 9:30 PM local time and the internet connection is great but not so good for email. I just added this on Friday evening) That sure beat AT&T international rates. After taking care of my worldly needs for high tech communication I went to the YSS. ashram. I was able to spend some time in their meditation room. Since I and Prasad, my tour guide, were the only ones in the room, I played the harmonium and chanted for an hour. I then had the opportunity to meet with the senior Swami, Amarananda. He was very sweet and gave us a waking tour. Yoganandaji’s presence was very strong there and the afternoon left me feeling very nurtured and joyful.
The next stop was at the huge ashram of Swaminarana. He was alive in 870 BC and was a Buddha/Christlike figure who became fully enlightened as a child. His property is enormous and has many different multiple shows explaining his history, mission and the legacy of India. There was a light, water and sound show outside in an area that seemed like the size of four football fields. There were a few thousand people and the spiritual vibration was very strong.
These two trips were a perfect way to prepare for the week.
I made the flight down to Aurangabad and I and 7 other people made the four hour van ride to the University. It was a typical Indian travel adventure. The road was narrow with traffic in every lane coming head on until the last moment. The last two hours were after the sunset so the added challenge of darkness created more stress for some. Some were exhausted from the long trip from Africa and slept most of the way. Others stayed awake and watched with anticipation as the cars, scooters, busses, trucks and oxen driven carts made their dance through the night. We did see one young man with a head injury on the side of the road being administered to. It is a dangerous and treacherous place to walk or drive. We were all very happy to arrive alive, safe and sound.
The few people I met on the bus were mostly from Africa. One man, David French, is from Colorado. He has an NGO working with leadership programs for youth. They all seemed extremely nice, very smart and joyful. I believe this week will be a very successful experience for all attending.
I passed on the 9 O’clock dinner tonight. It is now 11 O’clock and I am in my room which is very nice, quiet and has a private bathroom. The Jain Irrigation training center, which is hosting this event, is quite expansive, with beautiful landscaping and clean architecture. Tomorrow is a free day and the conference begins on Saturday.
It is 4:00 AM and I am wake. I can feel the immensity of the silence. I am drawn into meditation and this stillness provides an avenue for a deeper look into my inner life and the areas of my ego that are present and resist dissolving into a deeper stillness. It is impossible to just go back to sleep because it took such a great effort to get here, it seems like a waste to throw it away with sleep. An hour meditation at 4:00 AM in this pristine environment to too good to pass up. We are out in the country on the 1000 acre property of the Jain Irrigation System. They are the founding supporters of the Gandhi University. There is very little static in the subtle realms.
We had a nice walking tour around the property and it provided us an opportunity to meet each other. There are many very inspired young men and women from Africa (Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana) with a desire to learn and create avenues for business and agricultural development back home.
Adeyemi Damilare, Managing Director of Tender Heart Care Services is from Nigeria. He teaches at the University and is very eager to obtain more psychological training in coaching and leadership development. We have begun the discussion to create a program for him in which he can be certified and help others be more successful in their business development. We also began discussing the important to some universal approach to spirituality that would help people learn meditation, breathing and other skills to open their hearts, deeper their intuition, and empower them to be more effective in helping others. He was very excited to have a relationship with Coaching the Global Village and is eager to have us work with him.
As a note on coaching it is interesting that he suggest I send an email to him and outline our program. I am a big believer in developing a program based upon an individual’s needs. I suggested we talk and he tell me what he needs and what he wants to accomplish and we will design a program for him. It was the beginning of the coaching process. He was very clear that he wanted some type of certification because that is the only way he will be respected for what he has learned.
I had lunch with two lovely young women from Nigeria. We talked about women’s issues and the process of women’s development in that country. There were very positive and felt that gains were being made.
The Jain Irrigation System is an enormous corporation that is involved in many different programs, products, and projects from solar energy, food production, organic fertilizers, and irrigations systems. Their dried onions are in the pizzas at McDonalds.
My overall impression is that this is a group of very bright and eager young people. I think the next week will be very fruitful for them and I look forward to our continuing relationships over the years. There are very open to the coaching model and want to work together for support. The time here has been a lot of fun and we are only in the first day.
I am getting a lot of exercise as my room is far away from the dining hall and meeting area. It is a good ten minute walk up a steep hill. Given all the sitting on the airplane to get here, I am very happy to be able to do so much walking.
Tomorrow we have our first day. I look forward to it.