The second of the discipline of holistic decision-making. How to receive the spark of light in silence.
In our previous article we have discussed the discipline for building the holistic consciousness. This kind of holistic contemplation and discipline creates a consciousness or an inner environment which is favourable to a higher holistic intuition. Sometimes, the very effort or stretching of our ordinary mental consciousness to comprehend the larger whole may lead to a holistic non-rational perception or insight. However if the mind is too much in tension and turmoil the emerging insight may get diluted or distorted and falsified by the disturbances in the mind. So a passive and relaxed silence in the mind is essential for receiving the holistic intuition. This combination of thinking and silence may appear contradictory. But there is no contradiction here. The thinking prepares the mind for receiving the intuition in silence. We must keep in mind that a narrow, selfish and egocentric mind cannot receive the holistic intuition by merely silencing the mind. To receive this higher intuition there must be a mental soil or environment similar or favourable to it. The type of holistic thinking and discipline which we have described earlier helps in creating such a mental soil and environment.
However as we have indicated earlier, in order to arrive at the final holistic decision, the decision-maker has to sit in inner silence to receive the intuitive idea, the spark of light, which indicates precisely the right choice or course of action.
The path for opening to this higher intuition has four facets: purification, silence, introversion and vigilance. We have already described the discipline of purification, which means rejection of all thoughts, feelings and impulses which are contrary or hostile to holistic consciousness.
Along with this rejection we have to keep the attitude of disinterestedness and impersonality, without any eager or anxious seeking for results. The inner aspiration has to be towards truth and knowledge and not for some personal gains. This inner purification brings a certain inner calm which has to be consciously deepened into a complete silence. In this silence, consciousness has to be turned inward to the spiritual source of our being in a state of alert and receptive passivity.
The decision-maker has to offer the decision-problem or the decision-situation to a higher consciousness beyond the rational mind deep within the heart or above the head, and wait in a receptive and concentrated silence for the intuitive idea to rise from within or descend from above. The fourth factor is vigilance and consciousness. When the intuition descends from above or rises from within, we must be mindful, vigilant and alert to receive and assimilate its contents.
Here are some corporate examples of intuitive decision-making:
Wayne Silby, founder of the Calvert Group is one of the first and largest socially responsible investment funds. When Calvert’s competitive advantage was in the verge of being destroyed due to a new government legislation, Silby found an intuitive solution to the problem by meditating in a sensory deprivation tank. As Silby explains the inner state for receiving intuition,
“To get new ideas you need to have a space where your mind chatter and judgement in your mind about who you are and what you are doing are turned down. And you can get in touch with a deeper part of yourself that can start revealing patterns that are pretty awesome.”
Here is another example of collective decision-making:
“In the thick of negotiations to purchase New Age ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s, Terry Mollner, a founder of the Calvert Social Investment Funds who is trying to buy the company-calls a time out. At this point people are ready to give up, walk out and end the discussion over a deal breaker issue. Mollner invites to the table of tense, polarized people to be silent for a few moments and suggests that everyone ask themselves, ‘What is the truth here? What is the highest good for all?’ He then opens the floor to anyone to speak. One by one people lean forward and restate their position in a way that accommodates the other side. The negotiations move forward. Mollner repeats the ritual three times during weeks of negotiations, each time achieving the same breakthrough.”
The author is a Research Associate at Sri Aurobindo Society and on the editorial board of Fourth Dimension Inc. His major areas of interest are Management and Indian Culture.