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Lions Roar : November 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2006 39 Typically, we resist opening because we want to hold on to our version of real- ity, our storyline. We want to bring our style, variety, and stage setting to our ex- perience; we want our world to behave itself and we have all kinds of suggestions for how it can shape up. In mindfulness meditation, however, we learn to let go of such ploys and open to our immediate ex- perience, directly, authentically, and often, monotonously. In mindfulness medita- tion we just sit and appreciate our imme- diate circumstances quite naturally. By letting go and opening in mind- fulness over and over again, we gradu- ally develop the muscles of a bodhisattva leader so that we flex them in everyday life by exchanging ourselves for others. That doesn’t mean we dress up as our boss and pretend to run the company, or change our voice on the phone so oth- ers think we are someone else. Such she- nanigans can be fun, but in this case, ex- changing ourselves for others is how we live an honest and realistic life. For when we open to our world, we discover that everything we need and aspire to has to do with others. Rather than arguing with ourselves about how to build a “me-cen- tered” replica of life, we can engage in a dialogue with our circumstances by ex- changing ourselves for others. It is quite natural for us to do such a thing, and each day millions of us do. Small gestures such as holding a door open for another or offering one’s place in line are common courtesies where we exchange ourselves for others. But as we all know, exchanging ourselves for others goes much, much further. Each day we give our lives for one another, care for one an- other, hold one another while we die. We raise one another as children, change each other’s diapers, and celebrate others’ joys. For the open leader, cultivating these moments of exchanging ourselves for oth- ers is how we listen to our world—how we appreciate and learn before we act. Wheth- er we are at home or at work, strolling in the park or attending a stockholders’ meet- ing, opening to our circumstances means others come first. Such a perspective is the wisdom of an open leader. ♦ This life-transforming book reads like an adventure story while answering questions about religion, God, existence, yoga, higher consciousness, and the challenges of daily spiritual living. AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI Paramahansa Yogananda The Book That Has Changed the Lives of Millions 194 6-2 00660thAn ni versAry The CompleTe ediTion TheBookThatHasChangedtheLives of Mil 194 6- 200660thAn n iversAry The CompleTe ediTion “I read this book when I was 28, a critical time in my life. It inspired me to change my diet, meditate, and pay attention to my spiri- tual well-being. Autobiography of a Yogi is a modern classic that also happens to be a ter- rific read — one of my very favorite books.” —Andrew Weil, M.D., author of 8 Weeks to Optimum Health Paperback, ISBN 0-87612-079-6 $7.00 Also available as quality paperback, hardcover, and audio editions. www.ayanniversary.org www.shambhalainstitute.org www.shambhalainstitute.org for Authentic Leadership The Shambhala Institute Authentic Leadership Summer Program June 18-24, 2007 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada Transformative learning for transformative action.