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Respect

For those who remember the Ed Sullivan Show or Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, you will recall the late great Rodney Dangerfield, one of America’s best-known comedians. Those born a little later may recognize him from the film, “Caddyshack”. Rodney’s famous one-liner was, “I don’t get no respect!”

 

Like many comedians, Rodney Dangerfield was a complex fellow. In one interview later in his life, he spoke seriously of having experienced profound depression at various points in his career. I was moved and motivated by his story. I began to use his catchphrase in many of my lectures and classes, changing the “I” to “mental illness” or “mental health”, as in: “Mental illness don’t get no respect!” and “Mental health don’t get no respect!”

 

I believe these twelve words tell a story and reveal a truth about the way we perceive, speak about and care for mental well-being. Sometimes, we lose balance and make physical health a higher priority, which may have fatal consequences.

 

For decades, the World Health Organization has been listing depression and anxiety among the leading causes of death worldwide, ahead of cancer and AIDS. Mental illness is recognized as the major contributing factor to the most deadly physical diseases on the planet, such as heart disease. And yet treatment and prevention of mental illness receives a puny percentage of funds globally allocated to physical illness. The stigma associated with mental illness is pervasive and shameful. Our humour, insults and even our exclamations reflect our prejudice and disrespect.

 

A Canadian television ad I saw many years ago brilliantly illustrates the point. A young man is lying in bed, fully clothed, his sheets rumpled, his hair disheveled. A voice from outside the scene, presumably his mother, shouts at him, “Come on, get up, don’t be so lazy”. In the next scene, the same actor is in a hospital bed, his leg in traction. He is upbeat as his friends and family surround him, signing his cast and supporting him with enthusiastic banter. The scene reverses again, back to the depressed boy in the dark room, an angry frustrated voice demeaning him, then back to the football hero in the bright hospital room, laughing with his crew. The message is so clearly portrayed in under thirty seconds – a physical challenge may bring positive reinforcement, a mental or emotional challenge, humiliation and derision. I think this ad should be replayed often. I call on its essence often in my own life and when I counsel or teach others.

 

In the arc of my career, over decades, I have had the opportunity to work with heads of state and rock stars, corporate geniuses and entrepreneurs, children and caregivers, media personalities and spiritual teachers. In every case, the priority has been sanity in the midst of confusion, disorientation or crisis. I offered an approach to mental health that provided calm, connection and correction. Along the way, I also met many cohorts in the field of mental health and holistic healing, experts who tested my approach and often invited me to work with their patients, students and therapy groups. I developed enormous respect for the dedicated and committed people and organizations worldwide who explore, innovate, treat, and care for people struggling with mental health as well as the brave individuals who embolden us all through their journey to intelligent and emotional well-being.

Ruthless Analysis

The primary requisite of a leader is wisdom, which is first determined by the ability to know the consequences of any given action. and its ramifications over time.

In every situation or decision, there is a –

  • Set-up
  • Pay-off
  • Pay-back
  • Price

When did you set it up?

If you can be ruthlessly and very privately honest with your Self, you will be able to determine the timing and path of any event or choice, taking full responsibility for its origin. Ask your Self, when did I set up whatever is happening now.

 

What was your expected pay-off?

What power did you think it would give you, what was your expected reward? 

 

Who was involved in the pay-back?

The pay-back is in the relationships, who is being affected, negatively and positively. 

 

What was the price?

Finally ask your Self, what is it costing me, what is the price.

 

Create a habit of examining your leadership choices with these four steps and you will have a unique wisdom. The secret is to keep it to your Self. Ruthless honesty is not a sharable commodity. Sugar coat it or deal with it superficially and you will miss the Self-training opportunity. 

Lift Off

We are entering the Space Age. If you don’t get ready for it, you are going to be sorely disappointed and left behind. This isn’t the Information Age anymore. This isn’t even the New Age. This is the Space Age. Unless you understand that your neighbourhood is the Solar System and you’re preparing your body and your nervous system for space flight, you’re going to be in trouble. The human sensory body is going to fly further than the atmospheres of Earth within the next hundred years, probably within the next twenty. We shall move forward with space travel, sharing our experience beyond the planet, and engaging in permanent exploration off the planet. Unless that happens, there will be no way to contain the pain because the human must move forward. And when it doesn’t, it falls and fails. This is progress, individually and collectively. When the subconscious and unconscious are clear, and are cleared regularly, when that internal pipeline is kept clear, then the exploration of inner space as well as outer space becomes achievable and healthy – and that’s where all our children are going, to the higher and deeper realms of both inner and outer space, equally. Let us prepare the way for them to succeed, in peace.

To See Or Not To See

For decades, thousands of personnel, costing millions of dollars, have been working in clandestine bunkers and mysterious settings around the world to develop a secret weapon:  extra-sensory subterfuge. Their aim has been to achieve power and disruption of power through corporate espionage, military interference, government surveillance, and social movement infiltration.

It is just as you might imagine it: in one office sit groups of remote viewers, trained to see what transpires in another location, using only their minds. In other locations, from secret laboratories and home basements to moving vehicles and fake executive suites, remote senders transmit messages, also using only their minds. On both sides, instruments record brain waves and assess stress, veracity and accuracy. Can an officer on either end “see” an officer in another location and track their movements and environments?  Can they intercept their thoughts and manipulate their thinking?

Remote viewers are not imaginary, they are real. They spend countless hours hoping to learn skills in manipulative clairvoyance – peering into someone else’s mind or their bedroom, taking control of their brainwaves or their microwaves, making it rain or disturbing magnetic fields.  In other words, psychic warfare.

One such warrior insisted on impressing me with his skill, as he concentrated and appeared to be straining. I couldn’t help thinking that he looked like he was on the toilet and perhaps constipated.

The truth is that entering the mind, body or spirit of another is not that hard. But it is a very low level of connection, no matter how much one may strain. What a huge waste of time, energy and resources.

The mind control of the future is not the control of another’s mind; it is the control of one’s own mind, one’s own psyche. It is within easy reach for every individual and community.

A sophisticated intuitive mind is priceless. In developing a relational understanding of reality, the threats to our personal energy and thoughts, including digital or cyber attacks, can be reduced and eliminated. The extra benefit is that we can use the same energy to communicate more effectively, and reach new heights of personal and collective intelligence, discovery and peace.

I once knew a famous Yogi. During a talk, he told his followers that he could visit them in subtle form as they slept. One of his students, a young American man, yelled out, “Get out of our bedrooms!”.  He promised he would. The well-intentioned and legitimately gifted respect limits and have manners. All else is very heavy karma.

Nation Building

I had been summoned to offer counsel for a visiting head-of-state. Their schedule was grueling, with interminable back-to-back events. By 2am, when all the demands and minutiae of diplomacy, emergencies and commerce had been met, the head of their military escorted me in. I had been invited to the inner sanctum, the end of the day ruins, the exhaustion, the lonely battlefield of a leader.

“You know my strategic problem and the threats to my government, what is your take on it?”

“Distraction, discipline and delivery”, I responded. “All threats originate internally. Opposition works to distract your team and then the people. From there, you lose discipline and your team loses strength and power. Leadership without discipline cannot deliver. You are seen but not heard, the message is lost, the impact is less and you become replaceable. Fear replaces vision. But this can be corrected.”

And thus our discussion began. Sovereignty, strategy, world view, safety and security, winning and losing, perspectives shared, straight forward, to-the-point, no-holds-barred, respectfully engaged. Grateful we were for the stimulating company, lasting until dawn’s new day.

As the limo pulled away, I thought, I’ve seen this so many times, in politics, industry, conference rooms, legal offices, family rooms, back rooms, etc.

Corrections begin within the Self and extend to the realm of leadership – organizationally, perceptually, and progressively. The most effective and honest  influencers know the trajectory of long range thinking and planning that keeps an arc of success possible. Short term is vulnerable, untrustworthy and open to corruption. Any nation, big or small, can become a failed state, without a blueprint. Any person, young or old, can become an unshakable victor if they stick to a plan and check their ego at the door.

Innovate for Peace

On March 20, 2003, I awoke to the news that another war had been launched, this time with an invasion of Iraq led by a U.S. coalition. I called my team together and said, we too are launching a campaign, we are waging peace. One day we will look back and wonder how this kind of illness of war had afflicted our humanity and our planet for so long. Let us begin the healing.

Peace is a discipline. It requires measured action and neutral training. Many of the same qualities of war are necessary to achieve peace – strategy, patience, negotiation, intelligence, acceptance, tolerance, precision, commitment, etc. Reactivity is not one of them.

Peace is not simply the absence of war. Once you experience peace, you do not want anything less. It requires courage to achieve, sustain and guard. If we turn the discipline of battle to the discipline of peace, we achieve a society that will never want anything other than the consciousness of peace.

Let us be brave and not repeat our failures, but rather turn hostility to calm, dominance to justice and inequity to balance. We have a duty to achieve a sustainable peace, within ourselves, collectively on our planet and beyond. This is not a passive experience or one reserved for the few. It is the sovereign right of all people, a minimum standard for future generations.

On March 20, 2003, I made a simple gesture, a toe in the water of peace, with free meditation programs, held daily without fail. We waged peace through meditation. A tiny step in some ways, a massive one from another perspective. 

Since then I have taught leadership, launched activist organizations, reported on disasters and inequities, taught more meditation, created controversy, settled grievances, and helped to solve problems for those in positions of power and influence.

During my career as a Yogi, and especially over the last decade, I have dedicated myself to creating and supporting culture-changers, leaders in government, education, media and now finance. My intent has always been to bring people in my student and professional network to new facets of their potential and life purpose; to enhance their impact and positive influence, and most importantly, to encourage them to take strategic quantum leaps for their own advantage and for the betterment of society.

I have been successful in this area by keeping my network quite small, and my reach large. This year, I am working with an editor to publish my first book. While this creative endeavour underscores everything, I am very determined to also bring certain projects to fruition in the short term. This includes local and global business efforts, new courses and healing centers – all innovative, large scale and beneficial. During this time, I will draw on the fundamental Yogic technique of Sadhana, the art of spiritual discipline, as the foundation for this stage of my life expression. I invite you to share this with me. 

Let us, each in our own way, meditate together and share our path of peace and healing with as many people as possible. Let us work together to build strong minds, resilient bodies, a consciousness of maturity, and a commitment to transformation.

Peace is not gentle. It is fierce. We are people of compassion and hope, but we too can be fierce. This is my invitation to you, to innovate for peace. To be forward-thinking, fierce and present.

The Big Ask

A politician in a developing country was set to address a large audience of corporate and political leaders, asking for donations, as he had every Christmas. He was proud of this gathering and of his annual call to remember the poor, requesting food baskets and toys.

I proposed a different approach – go for the big picture, the big idea, the big ask. This, I offered, could be a rare opportunity for accelerated leadership, upgrading the conversation, and shifting the opinion others would have of his tradition of generosity, transforming it with a vision of much greater impact.

Instead of asking for Christmas baskets, I suggested, make a commitment to eliminating poverty, permanently across the board, and challenge everyone present to join you in that effort, as part of your larger national and regional safety and security agenda.

Everyone talks about poverty, I said, but you are going to get it done.…ask your audience to imagine it….to create a real solution versus settling for something rote, smaller and easier.

The speech was broadcast live nationwide and streamed globally. His words had real weight. He felt energized and empowered.

Immediately afterwards two executives approached him enthusiastically. One, the wealthiest business person in the area, another the VP of a major oil company. Each pledged hundreds of millions of dollars that night to achieve the vision he had simply laid out.

Of course, Christmas baskets were distributed that week, and he continued to carefully and patiently follow up with the major financial offers throughout the year. The largest investments were in fact secured and accompanied by more enthusiastic support for the reforms he had been working on for safety, security and urban innovation.

This was a turning point for him, as he discovered that peace was not a noun but a verb, and it needed to be envisioned, declared and delivered. It required a bit of a push, which is where I came in.

He and I agree – the eradication of poverty is our greatest lever for long term and sustainable safety and security locally and globally.

As leaders, we sometimes must state the obvious, and go for the big ask. It brings focus to the vision and raises the conversation to action.

All Life Communicates

A well-known academic spent decades observing primates in their natural jungle habitat. She attempted to create a dictionary translating animal body language into English. She was exhausted and disappointed as it was, after a lifetime of her effort, far from accurate or complete. What a huge expenditure of energy when all she had to do was become very quiet. She would have heard these instinctual beings communicating, in their true native tongue, silently, subtly and clearly. It takes a bit of practice to open a quiet room in the mind for that intuitive perception. But it is so much more natural, instant and loving – and can be applied to communication with all life, all living beings, all things.

Intuitive Intelligence

Animals have instinct, senses and physical prowess to protect themselves. They can leap further, run faster and bite harder than humans. They smell what we cannot detect, hear what is beyond our range, magnetically sense what we don’t feel, and even communicate telepathically seamlessly. However, they do not have intuition. This is the unique protective instrument of the human, part of human consciousness, individually and collectively, providing protection far superior to any physical, mental, sensory or instinctual instrument.

Intuitive intelligence is not a psychic experience. Nor is it a special gift, reserved for sensitives. If you have to “channel” it, then you are not getting out of the way fast enough to be intuitive. If you have to see it, read it, hear it or feel it, then you are slowing down the process and not engaging your intuition.

Intuition does not arrive. It is always there. It is our awareness that changes, as we become accustomed to its trustworthiness.  For some, intuition eases into one’s life over time. For others, it seems to burst on the scene like a stroke of lightning. It can be a gentle prod, an inner whisper, a series of synchronistic events, a wonderful coincidence, a feeling of being guided, or a moment of extra clarity. Or it can be realized as a shock, as if reality is suddenly turned upside down. Whether it is a gut feeling, a hunch, a flash of insight, or a whole new way of looking at life, intuition always begins with an awakening, an extra sensory awareness of life that adds genius to our perception. The key is to understand that intuitive realization is permanent and seamless.

Every problem has two sides – information and intuition. Without information, one is ignorant. Without intuition, one is blind. Either way, without both sides in gear, problems are a fool’s gamble. With both sides working, one can know what is best and move in that direction, re-calibrating along the way.

Economics 101

The project had been announced, a billion dollars, an urban gem, seven stars. The architect held a glitzy press conference. The designer dazzled everyone, having traveled the world to find the latest trends in construction. Yet the developer who initiated the project, the person with the most to gain, lost control of his own creation.

Although he had never attempted such a large project, the developer had a good reputation, having always paid his debts on time with smaller high-end projects, so it was assumed that he could handle this step up. Something went awry. Ego instead of insight created cracks in his business model. Mistakes were made.

Were they rookie errors within the bureaucracy of permits, disgruntled consultants leaking misinformation, greedy partners juggling power among investors, or banal jealousy? All of these of course, but the main problem was lack of intuition.

The developer started off with a single visionary investor who was forced to drop out early due to political issues. Then from desperation the developer allowed high-priced lawyers and accountants to step in and create a very complex financial structure involving an unimaginative group of investors, each protecting and enriching their narrow interests and mortgaging his. Soon enough the gaggle began to question the developer’s original plans and brought the project under their control, ousting him from his leadership position and pulling back most of the innovative features of the project.

The developer was deflated personally and professionally and the project was delayed. It was too late to step in and correct himself. He remained the face of the project, but it was not his anymore and the original concept was toned down. He forgot the first rule of economics – money is what money does. In this case, the doing was in the hands of those who had manipulated and connived to gain control of the money and the project. He had lost that jurisdiction and innovation suffered, as usual. 

Some would say, so what, the developer knew the risks. Some might offer that he was not up to the task, having lost his way in the closed and devious cabal of local financiers. After all, how dare he try something new, how dare he not know his place and refuse to bow to the existing cartel.

Money was not his problem, it never is. Lack of intuition was his true Achilles Heel. Intuition would have protected his project and prepared him for greatness. His multi-layered reasoning had not served him well enough. Lack of intuition made him vulnerable and slow to act. It also made him settle for less in newer projects, easy to blame others, suspicious of fresh financing opportunities and rude in his dealings. He doubled up his support of popular causes, distracting himself and saving his reputation, barely, but not saving his original project. He became like all the others, stunning in his capitulation to the norm.

Lack of intuition is the enemy of progress. In this case, it reduced a powerful developer and diminished a powerful project. Once again, mountains of debt were spent on one very tall but very boring building.

This was not my client, although I would have been happy to step in. Sometimes, intuitive leadership starts from outside.