Ronald L Mann, Ph.D.’s Blog

Empowering for Peace through Leadership in Agribusiness and Sustainability; Eradicating Poverty in Rural Communities 2012

Tues, October 2, 2012

I am getting pretty close to my departure to India for the International Conference on Agribusiness and Sustainability in the Third World sponsored by ASU, Gandhi Research Foundation, and the Jain Irrigation Systems.  I plan to post a running blog during my time at the conference to keep you informed about our progress.

I think it is very interesting how I became involved and was invited into this project. As a self-employed Personal Development Coach, I am always looking for ways to market my services and generate client contacts. I was on a web seminar and someone indicated that India was in need of Executive Coaches.  I have been to India a couple of times, practice yoga and like the culture so I thought I would explore what was available. I joined a lot of LinkedIn groups and watched the discussions.  Someone from India posted an offering for a free webinar and I signed up.  The guest speaker was Dr. Patrick Williams who created the non-profit, Coaching the Global Village. I really enjoyed his talk and felt like he was a kindred spirit.  We both have a transpersonal psychology background, coaching business, and a desire to make the world a better place.  During the webinar, I spoke up and made a personal connect with Dr. Williams. We spoke off line. I had such a positive feeling about this man that I asked if there was anyway in which I could help him.  He immediately replied that there was an upcoming conference in India and CGV was providing a component around coaching, mentoring and leadership. Dr. Williams asked me if I wanted to go and represent CGV. It seemed like a great idea to me so I accepted.  The major organizer was Arizona State University under that direction of Dr. Marek Wosinski. Here is a little bit about ASU’s involvement.

University-Community Partnership for Social Action Research (UCP-SARnet) is a growing network of above 1200 students, university faculties, community activists, and governmental officials engaged in achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in 65 countries.  UCP-SARnet is dedicated to the education of the next generation of community leaders by compiling and housing an interactive online library of resources and facilitating cross-sector collaborations, networking and multicultural dialogues.

UCP-SARnet has been developed and sponsored by the Department of Psychology, at Arizona State University (USA) in close collaboration with the Centre for Community Based Research (CCBR) in Kitchener (Canada), Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw (Poland), and other international partners.  Initially co-sponsored by the Centre for International Governance Innovations (CIGI), UCP-SARnet is currently co-sponsored and hosted by IGLOO in Canada.  UCP-SARnet is also a member of the Global Alliance on Community Engaged Research and is represented at the Global Alliance for ICT and Development.

What is unique about the UCP-SARnet network is that it has been created and governed by students and community activists who – under the consultation of university faculties -as volunteers, interns or undergraduate research assistants learn skills necessary for building effective partnerships and networks.

Dr. Williams suggested I contact Dr. Wosinki and see how I might contribute.  We both found it interesting that I live in Phoenix and ASU is thirty minutes from my home. Dr. Wiliams is in Florida so I was a good geographical fit.  I called Dr. Wosinki and he told me he had a meeting the next day with a colleague who happened to be my neighbor and he would stop by after his meeting.  Was this a project made in heaven with my name attached to it? Dr. Wosinksi came to visit and brought Osee Romeo Njacheun.   Osee has been involved in various volunteering work with international organizations such as UATD-quart Monde, UN Online Volunteer Program. 
He served as a Regional Coordinator for Cameroon and the Gambia of UCP-SARnet and in 2009, Osee was appointed as an Assistant Facilitator of UCP-SARnet and in 2012, became an Associate Facilitator, in charge of International Operations. Our meeting was heartfelt and I was pleased to see we had similar values and vision.

The Gandhi University is hosting this conference and one aspect is to explore how Gandhi’s non-violent philosophy can be integrated into leadership.  As it turns out, I am a devotee of Paramahansa Yogananda (Self Realization Fellowship) and Yogananda initiated Gandhi into Kriya Yoga.   One of the SRF centers in California (Lake Shrine) has a beautiful memorial to Gandhi and actually holds his only remaining ashes. The Gandhi Memorial is a valued and sacred aspect at the Lake Shrine –– thousands of people visiting this spot every year.

Many years ago I created and directed a non-profit organization called Projects for Planetary Peace. Its main project was a citizen diplomacy mission into the then Soviet Union. I teamed up with Rama Joyti Vernon for this work. Our goal was to humanize people and offer them a personal connection and understanding. At that time, it seemed like President Regan was too ready to “nuke” the Russians. We took people into the Soviet Union and brought Soviet Citizens here to the United States.  We believed that it would be more difficult to kill people you knew and liked.  I know humanity will have conflict and wars will be waged, but we did not think we needed to destroy the planet through a nuclear war.  We are still here so it appears we may have helped. This was a NGO program and people to people exchange.

Swami Satchidananda was on my Board of Directors.  I flew to Virginia to invite his participation and as I was waiting for our meeting, I held a copy of his interpretations of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  As I often do, I inwardly asked for direction on how to be most successful with the project and opened this little book. I opened to Sutra 35: Ahimsa –– non-violence.  It said, “In the presence of one firmly established in non-violence, all hostilities cease.” The ancient teachings of India were brought to life for me.  Gandhi embraced Ahimsa as a way to defeat the British tyranny. So here I am again in the face of the deeper message that change must take place through a profound inner shift that neutralizes hatred, anger, jealousy, and greed.  It was my constant practice back so many years with Projects for Planetary Peace and has once again comes to the foreground as I prepare to depart for Gandhi University.

It appears that my many years of service and personal spiritual practice, along with my training in organizational psychology and leadership development, executive coaching, and clinical psychology make me a good fit for this lofty project.  The purpose of this conference is to design a program that will be implemented in India, Ghana, and Kenya next year.

I feel very honored to be a part of Coaching the Global Village and have the highest respect for Dr. Williams. I look forward to meeting wonderful people from around the world and contributing towards the success of this project.

So I have my travel shots (those really hurt for a day) my VISA, and tickets (compliments of CGV).  All I need to do is pack and I am off. I will keep you informed along my way.

Is Your CEO Protecting Your Investment?

The 8 Essential Executive Competencies

Ronald L Mann, Ph.D.

 

Now that you have bought a new company, is the CEO doing what is necessary to protect your investment? Success does not happen by accident. It takes a lot of hard work and a commitment to a set of core principles, which become a foundation and pathway during times of development, crises, and change. Technical knowledge is not enough to successfully lead a company. There is an additional skill set that is necessary. The information I am going to share is based upon over thirty years of work as a clinical psychologist, executive coach, and organizational consultant.

 

First of all, let’s remember that the culture of an organization evolves from the top. The nature and style of leadership determines how everyone will function in an organization. We are not just talking about ideas and philosophy. The state of Being of leadership does influence the entire organization. Consciousness is not an abstract concept. It is a real, tangible thing that has direct impact and influence. The state of consciousness of a CEO will determine how an organization will function. The leader at the top will determine what happens throughout the entire culture. If you want to capitalize on your investment, you need to be sure that your CEO has the knowledge and support to create a high performing company –– technical knowledge alone is not enough!

 

There are eight essential competencies that are important and interrelated for effective leadership. Each one affects the other and all together they result in a stronger, wiser, more powerful executive. A greater discussion of all these principles can be found in my latest book, Bouncing Back: How to Recover When Life Knocks You Down. (Available at amazon.com)  They are:

 

1. Self Confidence.

2. Emotional Intelligence.

3. Spiritual Values.

4. Clearly Established Personal Identity Based Upon a Recognized Life Purpose.

5. Coachablity.

6. Positive State of Mind.

7. Ability to Adjust.

8. Integrity.

 

Let’s take a look at each one in greater detail.

 

SELF CONFIDENCE

Self Confidence is huge. When we believe in ourselves we can accomplish great things, people will be attracted to us and will want to work with us. If we doubt ourselves and are hesitant when clear decisions need to be made, people will lose faith in us. A strong inspirational leader/executive needs to inspire others. There are two types of executives, those who act like managers and function to complete a job or task, and those who lead others to accomplish great things. If you want a CEO who can inspire and have a positive impact on others, then he/she needs to believe in him/herself.

 

There are different types of self-belief. One can be the result of real knowledge, which creates a deep inner strength and trust. The other can be the result of a narcissistic delusion that we are the greatest and beyond reproach. There are too many good examples of the latter and these types of CEOs fall from grace and damage their companies. All too often we find that powerful executives are often the most narcissistically troubled. A real, mature, healthy self-confidence comes from a deeper, more integrated sense of wisdom and competency, not from a braggadocios, overblown sense of one’s worth.

 

A CEO can limit himself if he doubts and loses faith in his own ability. Our ultimate capacity is often tested, and when we maintain a positive self-belief in our ability to succeed, we can tap a hidden, intuitive reserve. It is important to trust intuition, because it is often an internal gyroscope to keep us on course. Others may doubt us, but when we believe in the depth of our own ability, we will not lose faith and abandon our core beliefs. The heart knows what is right, and when we listen to our inner voice, we can accomplish great things and survive the darkest times. Self-doubt will undermine us and rob us of the opportunity to succeed. Dick Fosbury, Olympic Gold Medal Winner and creator of the Fosbury Flop for high jump says it best. “If we have self-doubts when we’re down on the stadium in front of 80,000 people, we’re probably not going to succeed.”

 

Self-confidence is more than a belief. It is earned and grounded through hard work and obtained competency. We cannot bypass the process of becoming an expert and really knowing our field. However, education and information are not enough. There is also a deeper psychological aspect to self-confidence. We must have a deep-seated sense of value and worth as an individual. We must have a sense of our own goodness and inner values that are grounded in the “right things” that aspire others and make a positive contribution to life. The type of messages we received as a child develops our sense of self. We internalize what was said and how we are treated. Our deeper sense of self evolves while we are growing up. If our parents speak to us or treat us in a manner that suggests we are not capable or do not deserve to be successful, then that is how we will feel as adults. It is, therefore, important to introspect and honestly assess the quality of our inner life. If there is an inner voice that is negative, undermining, and self-depreciating, then we need to heal that part of ourselves. A wounded CEO lacks a deeper presence that is needed to inspire confidence and loyalty.

 

Self-confidence is also enhanced as we develop a real and tangible relationship with Spirit and feel that connection guiding and directing our life. Humility evolves from knowing that something greater is working from within. It is easier to maintain a degree of self-confidence when we know there is a greater purpose in life and there is a higher plan to everything. When we develop the intuitive capacity to feel the Divine working through us, it is possible to maintain a positive self-belief and stay on course, even when life becomes difficult. If a company has a CEO or any executive with holes in his or her self-confidence, then that company will be at risk.

 

 

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

This is a very useful concept that has been widely discussed. Daniel Goleman has written extensively on this topic and it is one of my chapters in Bouncing Back. I also have some blog posts and video discussions on this topic that can be found at www.ronmann.com. When we are highly stressed, strong emotional forces are put into play that oftentimes override the mind. Very smart people can make bad decisions and do impulsive things. When we are stressed and facing critical challenges, it is important to have all our resources at our disposal: good reality testing, emotional balance, and the ability to moderate strong, intense feelings.

 

One can actually be mentally gifted but have such a low emotional intelligence that he or she will do some pretty stupid things. Emotional intelligence is about being smart in how we manage our emotions. Some people think that in business we should not have any emotions. As long as we are breathing, that is probably not possible –– unless we are Mr. Spock. We all have emotional reactions to various situations. It is what we do with them that makes the difference. Emotional intelligence is the result of several factors: the awareness of feelings, the ability to express feelings, the ability to contain feelings, the ability to organize feelings, and the ability to resolve feelings. It is possible to be intellectually intelligent but not have an equal and corresponding emotional intelligence. Just because we have a good mind does not mean we have done any work on our emotional self. Emotional intelligence is something that can be developed and learned.

 

 The Awareness Of Feelings

Self-awareness provides a deeper look and insight into those mental and emotional elements that can undermine performance. Self-knowledge allows us to overcome thoughts and emotions that could potentially inhibit our fullest expression and success. Fear of failure, loss, and humiliation can be powerful forces that drive behavior. Most defensive posturing –– “alpha male” controlling and dominating behavior –– are typically driven by these deeper underlying forces. Problems arise in management styles and executive decisions when denial becomes the primary method to deal with unresolved personal issues. It is very difficult to have emotional intelligence when one’s sense of self is damaged.

 

The Ability To Express Feelings

It is important to have a level of emotional maturity that allows us to acknowledge and appropriately express feelings across an entire range of human experience. The ability to express appreciation and gratitude towards others creates a closer bond and develops loyalty. Strength with heart is an important combination. The ability to acknowledge vulnerability or uncertainty does not make us weak –– it may be an expression of humility regarding the complexities of life. Effective leaders need to have good people skills to inspire a loyal and dedicated staff. People work harder for someone when they are authentically valued and appreciated. Executives who are cold, distant, and emotionally disconnected may be missing an important element for effective leadership.

 

The Ability To Contain Feelings

An emotionally mature individual does not act on every impulse that arises. Just because we feel something does not make it appropriate to express it or act on it. If everyone went around expressing all of his or her emotions, we would have a very chaotic society—just as if no one ever expressed how he or she felt, we would have a very repressed society. There is a balance. That is why we call it emotional intelligence—because we have to learn how to be smart about when to express what we feel. Sometimes when we have very strong feelings—whether they are very powerful loving ones or angry ones—we need to contain them and allow ourselves to understand what is going on. Giving full vent in the heat of the moment is not always the best choice. We see this loss of control in every aspect of life—sports, marriage, and international relations. We see individuals and groups engaged in riots, fights, brawls, war, and murder. There are good examples of pretty poor levels of emotional intelligence.

The Ability To Organize Feelings

Highly complicated situations are charged with intense emotions. It is easy to get confused and jump from one solution to another or become influenced by outer forces. It is imperative to have some inner guidance system to keep us on course and help us create priorities with clear, precise, obtainable goals. If inner emotional turmoil forces us to lose focus, purpose, and direction, we will be at a disadvantage and may flounder.

A clear set of well-defined values can be a guiding beacon during dark times. When we know who we are and what we believe, then it is easier to stay on course. Life will test us. Our inner certitude and clarity will save us when the outer world appears most chaotic. It is during these most difficult times that we must draw upon our inner reserves. This is another important component of emotional intelligence.

 

The Ability To Resolve Feelings

Emotional intelligence requires an inner life that is free from long-standing emotional conflicts. When we are harboring old hurts, fears, or resentments, then it is very difficult—if not impossible—to fully live in the present. It takes a lot of psychic energy to live fully in the present—to consciously bring all our resources and attention to the moment. If our energy is caught in the past, focusing on old issues, then we are less able to fully engage in life. Resolving old, unfinished business is a must for anyone who wants to live a happy and creative life. It is impossible to perform at our best if we are stewing over the past or worried about future events.

 

When we master ourselves, we increase the likelihood for success. It is difficult to be at our best when we remain unconscious and unaware. When we learn to manage our inner life, we can maximize our inner resources and learn to make better decisions and act with greater clarity, perception, and direction. Inner peace and clarity allow for greater focus. The need for emotional intelligence is even greater when life circumstances are uncertain and changing. It is natural to feel fear, anger, and confusion during difficult times. However, it is imperative to resolve and manage emotions so we can make good decisions and not become overwhelmed with confusion, uncertainty and doubt. A positive mind state and peace of mind creates a calm inner life that allows great access to inner wisdom and intuitive guidance.

 

SPIRITUAL CONSCIOUSNESS

A CEO with a spiritual life can be more positive, more inspiring and steadfast to a set of values and principles that will guide his or her organization through challenging times. Our ability to create and manifest goals and objectives is greatly enhanced through a conscious connection with our higher nature.

 

We live in a time that can benefit from enlightened action. Successful executives can excel with a steadfast approach that adheres to a set of core guiding principles and values that honor honesty, integrity, compassion, and wisdom. A strong spiritual life, based upon self-realization, can result in more enlightened action. Simply believing in something is not enough. A deeper realization with direct perception is needed for real transformation.

 

Meditation and contemplation are methods for spiritual deepening. Studies of Fortune 500 CEOs found that the top executives relied upon quiet time, moments of prolonged inner reflection (sounds like meditation to me), to help them make better decisions. The inner connection allowed them greater access to intuitive problem solving, which resulted in clearer thinking and more effective decision-making.

 

CLEARLY ESTABLISHED PERSONAL IDENTITY BASED UPON A RECOGNIZED LIFE PURPOSE

Carl Jung coined the term “individuation” to describe the higher end of psychological maturity. He suggested that more mature individuals have progressed beyond their early childhood conditioning. Moreover, they are also able to separate from and transcend societal ideas, values, and pressures when those things are limiting, unhealthy, or non-productive.

 

An important part of growing up is to learn to think independently of others, especially authority figures. The voice of wisdom is often different from the norm. New ideas and solutions are not typically generated from business as usual. Independent thinking and an ability to be emotionally secure allow for new possibilities. When we merely act as we are taught and believe what everyone else is saying, we may be limiting our growth and potential for more adaptive action. The wisest and more adaptive individuals have the inner strength and mental clarity to perceive what is right for them in the moment. They are not merely following old conditioning and blending in with convention.

 

Jung suggests that in order to fully grow and mature into adulthood, we must break with the surrounding convention or wisdom and embrace our individual feelings and beliefs. The recognition of our own truth gives us power to think, feel, and act as an individual and contribute from our unique sense of expression. Original thought, creative ideas, and leadership are most effective when the actions spring from an inner depth of authenticity. Our real power resides within an authentic self, and often it takes courage to stand up and fight for our right to exist. All too often, when we defer to outer authority as the true authority, we then find ourselves—individually and collectively as a society—being led down a wrong path.

 

Each one of us has a unique purpose. It is our challenge and responsibility to discover what it is. Once found, it becomes a guiding force that gives more meaning and value to our lives. Knowing this purpose results in an alignment with higher spiritual forces and deeper values that result in a depth of living –– not just for money, fame, and success, but also for a deeper purpose that nourishes the soul and inspires us to help others.

 

COACHABLITY

Coachability refers to our willingness to be open and receptive to new ideas, experiences, and information. Coaching requires a degree of curiosity and interest in personal development. It requires a commitment of time and energy. It demands a degree of humility that acknowledges that no matter how intelligent we are, we might be able to learn something more.

 

Successful individuals learn from others and learn from their mistakes. If we think we know everything or can succeed without the benefit of coaching, we may be seriously limiting our potential success. If we think we can do it all by ourselves, we may be throwing away great resources that can speed up our learning.

 

It is very difficult, if not impossible, to see ourselves clearly without the benefit of a mirror. A good coach, teacher, or adviser offers us that mirror in order to speed up our progress and development. Knowing what the issues are for development is the biggest and most important part of change. We can’t change what we don’t know!

 

Those who think coaching is a waste of time or who think that nobody really has anything to offer are misunderstanding the potential in a coaching relationship. A good coaching will help us focus, deepen our understanding, stay accountable, and obtain stated goals in a timely manner. He or she will also uncover any hidden blocks we may have to achieving our best. He or she will empower us to be more effective and wise in all areas of our lives.

 

POSITIVE STATE OF MIND

A positive mental outlook is essential for success and victory. A positive mental approach creates a strong flow of energy and dynamic willpower. Negative thinking deflates our ability to act, persevere under pressure, and remain psychologically and physically healthy. We know from watching sports that self-confidence is a magnet that draws success. We see it on the golf course when a player is putting well and everything seems to drop. Players report, “I knew it was going in!” Self-confidence and a positive mental state are interconnected.

 

The ability to maintain a positive mental outlook is essential for success. It is especially critical if one is going to persevere during difficult times. When fear is running amok among the majority, and a doom-and-gloom mentality can be contagious. It is very important to have a solid inner core that is based upon sound principles that allow is to keep a positive outlook and see through the veil of darkness to the light at the end of the tunnel.

 

A fundamental esoteric principle is, “Energy follows thought.” Therefore, what begins in the mind becomes the directing force for energy and eventually is expressed through action and behavior. A weak mind will undermine any great potential. A weak-minded individual will undermine the effectiveness of a group. It is easy to be negative, create doubt, and stop the progress into new territory. It is much easier to be negative than creative. It can take years to develop and create something, but it can be destroyed in an instant. Fear is often the underlying force. Effective leaders who are able to inspire others over the long run are positive and creative.

 

The ability to overcome fear can be a major issue in anyone’s life: fear of failure at work, in relationships, in business ventures, or on the field. The drama of life is always filled with challenges to stand up for what we believe. It has been said there that is no real courage without fear. Fear is a natural response when we feel threatened. It is how we deal with the fear that makes the difference, not whether or not we feel the fear. Fear can only be overcome by facing it head-on.

 

On a spiritual note, it has been said that, “God helps those who help themselves.” This means we have to act and cannot sit back and hope someone else will solve our problems. When we are acting, unseen forces can be there to help us, lead us, to speak through our intuition, and to empower us for greater success. Inspired performance is just that: to affect, guide, or arouse by divine influence. When we know that divine influence is available, we do not feel alone in facing our most difficult challenges. Zack Johnson, the 2007 Master’s Champion, won on Easter Sunday. He reported that he felt the presence of Jesus walking with him step-by-step on every hole. Was this his imagination—or not? Those who have experienced this type of divine help think not! As a final thought, Jesus was there to help and inspire; Jesus did not hit the golf ball. Zach’s success was the result of individual talent and hard work as well as faith. We can accomplish great things when we believe. The body cannot accomplish what the mind believes to be impossible. Zach Johnson came down the stretch and beat the best golfer that the world may ever see, Tiger Woods. The fear of intimidation could have been enough to wipe him off the course.

 

ABILITY TO ADJUST

Change is a natural part of life. Our ability to adjust and adapt to new situations is vital to the ability to respond to change. The most adaptive response requires that we live in the moment and effectively interact with what is. If we get caught in responding to what we wish reality to be, rather than to what reality is, then we might find ourselves left behind. It is important to realize that success over time requires the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Mental and emotional rigidity impairs us from adjusting to new and different situations. Our ability to adjust can determine how quickly we adapt to new circumstances. When the world is changing around us and we don’t change, we can be in serious trouble.

 

Our inability to adjust to new and changing circumstances begins in our mind. We believe that we have the right way to do something and are determined to stay with our convictions. The wise individual will adjust his or her thinking when given new information. Other times, we are attached to our comfort zone. We are afraid to change and try new things because we are out of our comfort zone. We don’t know what the outcome will be and are afraid to try something new and find out. So we continue to do the same thing, hoping for a different result. We can become stuck in old and familiar patterns that are comfortable, even though they may be non-productive.

 

Change requires some mental work to reorganize our thinking and perceptions. We have to become accustomed to a new way of doing something or a new way of feeling. We have to be wiling to take a chance and trust the new approach. In essence, we have to be willing to make a mistake to find out if the new approach will work. Change sometimes requires us to develop a new sense of self. We might have to restructure our lives or our business. It is easier to just keep the same old behaviors, beliefs, and thought patterns.

 

INTEGRITY

Let’s be realistic here. There have been a lot of dishonest people who have made a lot of money. In fact, the way they made their money was a direct relationship to their level of dishonesty. The better they could lie and distort the truth, the more money they made. Integrity is an important issue if you want your company and your professional life to last over time. Those who lie and lack honesty eventually pay the price, one way or the other. History shows us that a company built on decent values, provides a good product or service, and treats its employees with respect has a better chance to succeed in the long run.

 

Great leaders inspire loyalty. People will follow you into battle if they know you care and they trust you. When people are aligned around a common cause, then they will go the extra mile. They will make personal sacrifices to achieve commonly shared goals. We see this in business, sports and war. A leader must be able to unit his or her “troops” to work together and stay committed for success and victory. Integrity stands out and shines when it is present. When it is absent, then words are empty and actions are questioned.

 

Integrity is not always an easy quality to develop and maintain. We usually get tested and can easily make bad decisions and go down the wrong path if we do not have a solid foundation in core values and guiding principles. When the goal is to only make money, then integrity becomes less important. However, if the goals include helping to make the world a better place, supporting the life and welfare of others, and a living a life in such a way that when we die, we can move on to the next world with a clear mind and heart, then integrity becomes a relevant issue.

 

SELF ASSESSMENT

If you would like to know how you rate along these various competencies there is a self-assessment online at https://ronmann.com/executive_competencies/

 

Contact Information

If you would like to discuss how Dr. Mann can help you and your newly acquired companies, please contact him for a free consultation. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

mannr@ronmann.com

www.ronmann.com

310-387-5115 (mobile)

ronmann8888 (skype)

 

 

© 2012 Copyright Ronald L Mann, Ph.D.

 

Why does research show that people who have a spiritual life lead happier, more resilient lives; are there things that non-spiritual people can incorporate into their own lives to obtain a similar result?

I am not surprised by these findings. They are certainly consistent with my personal and clinical observations over the last thirty years and the information presented in my LA Times Bestselling book, Sacred Healing: Integrating Spirituality with Psychotherapy.

People who have a spiritual life have different core values and different internal states than individuals who profess no spiritual beliefs or experiences. One of the most important aspects of a real and authentic spiritual life is the realization that one’s true nature is eternal and a part of a larger consciousness. Individuals may vary in their belief about this force, be it God, Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Krishna, Mohammed, or a particular enlightened Master. The actual belief concerning the nature and source of this spiritual reality is not the most important issue. It is the actual experience of this spiritual source that solidifies one’s personal beliefs and values. The actual states of love, joy, peace and bliss are not tied to or determined by outer reality or circumstances. This is one of the reasons that spiritually aware people are more resilient. They are not at the total mercy of outer circumstances for their happiness.

When I traveled to India many years ago I was surprised and moved to see so much joy and light emanating from those individuals in dire poverty and living on the streets in Bombay, now Mumbai. These individuals possessed nothing by our Western standards, yet they appeared happier than many more wealthy Americans. The nature of spiritual realization results in a direct awareness of the soul, which is by nature love, joy, peace and bliss. One discovers this inner truth not by the acquisition of outer gain, but by the redirection of one’s awareness to an inner reality that has great depth and wisdom.

Once the inner spiritual world is discovered, many fears disappear. Certainly the fear of death dissolves as the realization of the eternal nature of the soul emerges. Loss of any kind no longer has a devastating and catastrophic result because a deeper sense of identity, support, and security exists. Anyone with a real degree of self-realization knows that life is transitory and attachments ultimately lead to suffering. When consciousness is stabilized in the deeper Self, then outer forces have less emotional impact.

I have had three major losses in my life: my younger brother by six years and both parents. I was especially close to my father when he left his body several years ago. Grief is a natural state of the human condition. There are strong energetic cords from the subtle body that connect us when we have loving, bonded relationships. It is emotionally painful when these are severed. I felt the waves of grief roll through my heart and it was painful. After three months, I decided to take a week off and go on retreat in Hawaii. I spent four to seven hours a day in deep meditation and by the end of the week I was so immersed in Divine light that the grief process had shifted. Even at the moment of my father’s death, my experience was different from those with only a worldly context and experience. His room was filled with a sublime, golden light that was very loving. His presence was tangible! I sat with him for three hours in deep communion with his soul. He was no longer in his physical body, but yet still present.

In my most recent book, Bouncing Back: How to Recover When Life Knocks You Down, I discuss the importance and power of a spiritual life.

There is an additional boon to a spiritual life—wisdom. Direct spiritual knowledge is a function of the soul through an intuitive process. It is possible to experience the interconnection within all life. This direct knowledge removes the sense of isolation and separation that most people experience on a daily basis. This sense of unity creates a degree of comfort and support as you realize that God is in your heart, and we are all in this creation together. The eternity of the soul is revealed, and most fears fall away—especially the fear of death. More important than mere comfort, this Divine presence can have a tangible impact on your life and help you in the most amazing ways. ¬¬¬

Resilience become possible when we feel are not alone and experience a tangible spiritual force which helps us feel stronger and support our every need in this human condition. Isolation, helplessness, despair and fear undermine our ability to cope with the changes and challenges of earthly life. It is possible to live with hope and happiness and recover from loss and personal harm when we are consciously connected to a greater spiritual force. Even personal healing from disease and injury is facilitated by this subtle reality.

Another important reality to consider is that spiritually aware individuals feel a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives. They feel connected to a larger community and are motivated to help others. The result is a sense of joy. We suffer most when we are totally consumed and preoccupied about our own happiness. Self-centeredness and selfishness does not bring joy!

The term “non-spiritual” is interesting because we are all made in the image and likeness of God. This does not change just because we have no realization of this reality. It is probably better to describe someone has “unaware” or a “non-believer” of these realities. If someone has no direct experience of these more subtle realities, not to worry. I believe that the desire to be physically healthy and emotionally strong provides enough motivation to a try a simple research proven method: meditation. The research shows that meditation will lower heart disease, increase job satisfaction, improve interpersonal relationships, and lower stress and anxiety. These are all positive outcomes for any life. In additional, as one learns to quiet the mind and internalize consciousness other more subtle realities may emerge. It does not take spiritual motivation or desire to incorporate a little meditation and proper breathing practice into one’s life. If one also spends a little time trying to help others, that will lead to a great sense of joy as well.

Ronald L Mann, Ph.D. is a best selling author, and a Peak Performance Coach for Golf and Business development. His doctorate is in clinical psychology and he has taught worldwide. His published books include, Sacred Healing: Integrating Spirituality with Psychotherapy, The Yoga of Golf, and Bouncing Back: How to Recover When Life Knocks You Down. He has helped individuals and business from the corporate world to the non-profit such as EBay, Self Realization Fellowship, Windstar, United Way, Dixon World Charities, Little Mendelson, UCLA Women’s Golf Team, and Ventura and Arizona Junior Golf Programs. Please visit his website at www.ronmann.com and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ronald.mann1.

© 2011 Copyright Ronald L. Mann, Ph.D.

This is a great part of an hour interview on the Freeman Michaels Show.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOe7eUT2Q0g    

We talk about the difference between religion and spirituality and how to gracefully move through life’s greatest challenges. The interview focused on the information in Bouncing Back: How to Recover When Life Knocks You Down.