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Breakthrough
"Productive insight; clear (often sudden) understanding of a complex situation."  Free Dictionary

Pop the bubble of conditioned thinking and emerge into the creative realm of "no absolutes," continuous change, uncertainty and unlimited possibilities.

Then, there can be innovation, adaptation and optimal performance.
Performance and Open-minded Mindfulness
Open-minded:questioning everything, accepting diversity and uncertainty.  

Mindful: consciously aware; concentrated. 

Foundation for blending process, project, engagement and knowledge management into a cohesive approach to optimize performance.

Breakthrough
Newsletter

VOLUME VII ISSUE NO. 5 | MAY 2015 

Applying Wisdom to Manage Stress

By George Pitagorsky

Whether you shoot for stress relief, optimal performance or Nirvana, is up to you. Some are satisfied with simple stress relief: meditation as medication. Others want more: meditation for liberation.

 

But, meditation by itself is not enough. The way you view the world and your place in it influences your happiness and stress levels.

 

Meditation is one third of a program for stress management and the pursuit of happiness. Wisdom and skillful living are the other two thirds of the program. 

 

Meditation is training the mind to increase mindfulness and strengthen concentration. Wisdom is about our intentions and how we understand the world; our mental models and beliefs. Skillful living is about how we translate wisdom, mindfulness and concentration into positive, ethical action and optimal performance.

 

These three elements contribute to personal mastery, the ability to focus energy proactively rather than reactively. Personal mastery relies on the cultivation of patience and objectivity.

 

"People with a high level of personal mastery are continually learning. They never arrive. Sometimes language, such as the term personal mastery, creates a misleading sense of definiteness; of black and white. But personal mastery is not something you possess. It's a process. It's a lifelong discipline. People with a high level of personal mastery are acutely aware of their ignorance, incompetence, growth areas, and they are at the same time deeply self-confident. Paradoxical? Only for those who cannot see that the journey is the reward." 1

 

Vision, Goals and Flow

Most people want to be happy and have a positive vision of the future. Many of us have a need to grow and to contribute. We want peace and happiness.
 

In 2009 Vishen Lakhiani the founder of Mindvalley posited that there were are four states we can experience in our personal process. We can be:

  1. Unhappy, stressed out, with no direction, depressed and miserable; spiraling downward.
  2. Relatively happy in the moment but stagnant; maybe high on weed or wine among friends on a nice day or vegging out watching TV. In this state the need to grow and contribute are not fulfilled.
  3. Stressed and anxious, but with a great vision of the future. Unhappy; unsure of the fulfillment of the future goal but moving forward.
  4. In flow, happy in the present and with grand vision of the future. Moving and grooving on the journey. Adjusting for the changes and staying on course to the highest goals you have. If you are happy in the moment and have a momentum and a vision, then you will be able to operate most effectively. As soon as your happiness is ruled by your achievement of your goals you will experience stress and unhappiness. 2

The wise seek to be in flow, being present and aware, actively engaged and free of being caught up in thoughts of the past and future.

 

Through meditation and the mindful experience of living, we identify what it feels like to be in flow. Once we know what flow is, we keep recognizing when we are not there and bring ourselves back to flow. We do this while we are doing whatever else we do. It's a process, a lifelong discipline.

 

The Paradox of Being Goal Oriented

When we talk about this process, it is very easy to get caught up in a goal oriented quest that makes us unhappy (that third state in which we have great vision but are stressed by not having achieved it yet or thinking that we might fail.) Thoughts of unworthiness, guilt and the like create unhappiness and make it less likely that we will perform optimally.

 

There is a paradox. The cause of suffering is clinging or attachment; wanting things to be different than they can be. Nirvana is what happens when there is no attachment. There is a way to eliminate attachment, which implies a goal and attachment to a future state. However, goals and attachments promote suffering. All we really have to do is be present and in flow without clinging, right now, not in the future.

 

If we are attached and future oriented we suffer. If we give up our highest aspirations and intentions we suffer. If we judge ourselves for being attached we make ourselves miserable. If we prematurely give up all attachment, we may avoid our current challenges. What can we do?

 

Find the Right Balance - Non-dual View

The trick is to take a non-dual view. A non-dual view takes a both-and attitude. We are conditioned to think in terms of either-or rather than both-and. To relieve unnecessary stress, change that way of thinking.


A non-dual view allows us to understand that we are simultaneously immersed in both the absolute and the relative realms. This understanding is perhaps the greatest stress reliever of all. We begin to see that most of our stress is self-imposed because we take things too seriously.

 

The absolute realm is described as vast open space, clear and bright, without boundary. In this view, everything is empty, impermanent, without substance, an illusion. Things arise and melt back into open spaciousness like waves in the ocean or clouds in the sky. In the absolute sense there is no attachment, no one to be attached and nothing to be attached to.

 

The relative is our normal everyday reality. In this realm there is duality; you and me, this and that. In this realm, there is someone to be attached and something to be attached to. There are thoughts, emotions and desires.

 

While we may know that it is all an illusion, we also know that we must live in this illusion and manage our relationships. In this realm we can direct our efforts toward compassionate action and happiness or to whatever goals we choose.

 

The relative and the absolute coexist. We don't escape or avoid the messier parts of life, though we know where they fit and don't get so caught up and reactive.

 

On the simplest level, wisdom and the meditation practice that promotes it are stress busters that offer relief without drugs or avoidance. On a deeper level they are the foundation for spiritual unfolding that appears as skillful action and optimal performance.

 

Enjoy the journey.


 

___________________

1 Senge, Peter, 1990

2 http://blog.mindvalleyacademy.com/happiness-and-positive-living/live-ultimate-state-human-existence) 

 

2015 George Pitagorsky                                                 Top

Performance and Open-minded Mindfulness

Open-minded: 

questioning everything, accepting diversity and uncertainty.  
 
Mindful:
 consciously aware; concentrated. 

Foundation for blending process, project, engagement and knowledge management into a cohesive approach to optimize performance.

 Learn More
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Pitagorsky states up front that conflict management is not a cookbook solution to disagreement-a set of prescribed actions to be applied in all situations. His overall approach seeks to balance two aspects of conflict management: analysis based on a codified process and people-centered behavioral skills.

The book differentiates conflict resolution and conflict management. Management goes beyond resolution to include relationship building that may serve to avoid conflict or facilitate resolution if it occurs.

 

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Projects are often more complex and stressful than they need to be. Far too many of them fail to meet expectations. There are far too many conflicts. There are too few moments of joy and too much anxiety. But there is hope. It is possible to remove the unnecessary stress and complexity. This book is about how to do just that. It links the essential principles and techniques of managing projects to a "wisdom" approach for working with complex, people-based activities.

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