By Ameeta Mehra
An insight into ways to create an ideal organization to ensure both individual and collective growth, without sacrificing one for the other
THE IDEAL STRUCTURE
When deciding upon the organizational structure and responsibilities, one important principle to keep in mind is that each person should be given the work most suited to his capacity and temperament, keeping in mind his swadharma (nature).
For lasting progress and harmony in a collective work, two processes must go together:
1. Individual transformation: inner development leading to a union with the Divine Presence
2. Social transformation: creating an environment favorable to the growth of an individual
In most organizations, there is a tendency to sacrifice the individual for the collective unit. This takes many forms, though the underlying syndrome remains the same: the organization becomes self-centered, only looking at people as serving its economic or functional need, and paying only that much attention as is minimally required.
This is a trap that all of us can fall into. The opposite perhaps is even more fatal, when the individuals sacrifice the collective good and growth to satisfy their own ambitions and greed.
In all organizations, different shades of these problems come up. A balance between individual growth and freedom and the realization of a collective ideal can successfully be achieved only when individuals base their growth and freedom on their soul, and when an organization becomes an instrument for the flowering of soul in man.
The main obstacle for individual and collective advancement is the ego, which manifests itself as greed, ambition or self-interest, either of the individual or the collective body. The solution lies in realizing the greater potency of the spirit within, and allowing its influence to guide. This greater potency can be realized when our focus is on the inner growth of consciousness and the measure for this growth is the progressive change in our day-to-day work, attitude and existence.
In a conscious organization each individual is viewed as a soul that has taken birth to express a unique potential, and not as a cogwheel. Then it allows this truth to govern the organization’s activities and policies. This does not mean that one turns a blind eye to insincerity, lack of discipline and ill will, but the attempt is to deal with these firmly without losing the inner vision. Essentially, an ideal organization is a collective aspiration to facilitate the integral growth of the individuals in harmony with the overall collective progress of the organization, the nation and the world.
In an ideal situation, the members would:
1. Aspire for inner development
2. Share a common ideal and attempt to realize it
3. Work towards a collective endeavor and goal
4. Always invoke a higher consciousness
5. Resolve conflicts in a creative-spiritual manner
6. Uphold the inner and outer environment, conducive to the growth of each member
This is the basic shift that is required if you want to create an ideal form for individual and collective administration and advancement. How does this translate in practical terms? What are the key factors of change that would make a difference in any organization? Let us explore the options available for a more conscious working.
Since the environment affects the individual and the value of the environment depends upon the value of the individual, the two ought to grow side by side. But this can be achieved only through division of labor, which requires the formation of a group, hierarchized, if possible.
The Mother, cofounder of Auroville and the administrative brain behind the Ashram in Pondicherry, India, said: ‘A hierarchized group means a group in which the activities and functions are organized according to the individual ability, with a leader at the center. A military organization, for example, is a hierarchy.’
This means that each member in the group should have a clear function, with a leader/facilitator at the center. The function and role of each member of the organization should be decided on his capability and innate ability. The choice and function of the leader is paramount. He must be spiritually developed and capable of taking wise decisions. He must be a person of vision and substance and respected by all.
LIGHT ON DECISION MAKING
As science and yoga psychology have found, there are deeper levels of knowing beyond the human intellect and reason. There are, in fact, other powers of the mind, for example intuition and illumination, which we can open ourselves to through meditation and yoga. It is these forces that can be invoked consciously, so that some higher light and knowledge may descend to our mind. Therefore, each meeting should begin with a conscious invocation through meditation. Often, at times of difficult decision-making, this brings forth a deeper insight. Another way is to consult each member. When the time is right for a particular activity to begin, normally a large number of people voice the same idea or suggestion. This, of course, holds true much more in a conscious group, where each person is aligned to the central purpose.
The third way to do short- and long-term planning for the organization is to observe the natural road that life is showing us and apply our efforts in that direction.
In any group, where diverse personalities and temperaments are interacting, conflicts are bound to arise.
1. The first thing to do is offer the problem to a divine power and ask for help and guidance, both individually and collectively.
2. Then, a small meeting can be called. The meeting begins with meditation, and then the people involved are asked to state simply what the problem is. This is done by trying to be in the highest state of consciousness.
3. There is normally a discussion among the group, and a feedback is given to the persons who are the cause of the problem. This part is not always pleasant, as it often brings a few home truths into the open. The mediator then sums up and indicates where the solution lies. The important point, however, is not the external modus operandi, which could change according to circumstances, but the inner attitude that is taken. Everything should be done in an atmosphere of calm and impersonal love which can only be maintained if there is a conscious invocation of the Divine Presence which brings with it clarity of mind and emotions.
INNER CAUSES FOR LAPSES
There is a story about someone who asked the Mother for sympathy for his unfortunate circumstances. After listening to him, the Mother replied: ‘I am full of sympathy but unshakably convinced that each one meets in his life the circumstances, which he has inwardly built for himself. It is always a mistake to complain about the circumstances of our life, for they are the outward expression of what we are ourselves.’
I remember many occasions when I have recalled these words, especially when things were not moving smoothly. Slowly, I began to experiment with these ideas in my work. Though it did take some effort, the next time something was not completed, instead of flying into a rage, or even becoming irritated with the person in front of me, I stepped back to reflect.
I asked myself, in what way was I responsible for this not happening. Were my instructions clear and precise?Had I taken into consideration all the elements of the situation?
Often, I would find that just the act of not immediately blaming other people or circumstances brought a tremendous release of creative energy to resolve problems. I found I was more calm and balanced and more perceptive, and if indeed it was an oversight or negligent action on another’s part, I was more able to take effective action. Ever since I resolved to work according to the above principles, the growth in consciousness and in quality of work has been substantial for me.
Even as a group this method can be adopted consciously. It is perhaps the most difficult thing to accept that you cannot blame others or even circumstances for your failure, or an inability to get on harmoniously with others. It is a bit of a knock, for a curious characteristic of the Homo Sapiens is that we always look outside ourselves for the cause of all our problems. We hate looking at our own mistakes and readily put the blame on others.
There are various small things that happen in the course of a day. But in a conscious organization the responsible person first asks himself: ‘Since this responsibility was given to me, where did I fall short? Did I fully accept the responsibility or was I a bit lackadaisical? What can I do to make sure this never happens again?’
But this takes courage!
The question we must put to ourselves is: ‘What is our aim?’ Is it to create one more run-of-the-mill institution and fulfill the egotistic demands of human nature, or do we want to align ourselves with the future by mastering the complex demands that are being put on all of us, both as individuals and as a society?
Though on one side we have become dysfunctional and selfish, on the other there is an awakening to a new spirit that is taking hold of the human race. Through all this chaos there is the secret working of an evolutionary force that is pushing us all towards the exploration of deeper and higher frontiers, beyond the ego and mind.
v Ask yourself: ‘Am I here to repeat the old ways of acting from egotistic motives, or do I want to consecrate myself to the highest truth of existence?’ If the first and foremost endeavor is to become examples of this truth, then the whole way of looking at life and circumstances must change. We must abdicate the ego and discover instead our inner divinity or psychic being and allow that to be our leader and guide. Perhaps the mantra is the conscious invocation of the Divine Presence. It demands another way of looking, thinking and acting.
Are we ready for it?
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