Our early ancestors relied on their natural instinctual consciousness (which I call Whole Self), and this enabled them to intuitively respond, spontaneously and appropriately, to the truth of what was happening in the environment around them. Modern consciousness clouds our ability to respond in this manner, however each of us still has these same instincts hardwired in our bodies.
Much of the stress we see in the workplace is a byproduct of the human mind’s ability to generate fantasies of belief, trust, faith, and hope—none of which rests on the foundation of truth—as well as fear. Rivalries, ambitions, and prejudices, or the desire to look good often cloud our judgment, or we may go too far or be too perfectionistic, even though we can use our minds to reason our way through complex puzzles. We have strong emotional responses to simple differences in concepts, ideas, and perceptions. We may perceive things as personal threats that really aren’t. Reconnecting with Whole Self is the antidote to over-reaction and fantasy. It is grounded in truth.
An overarching effect of the Shift to modern human consciousness roughly 60,000 years ago was that it changed the course of overall human intention from cooperating and creating harmony to dominating and controlling. The seeds of this dysfunctional pattern are encoded in us by our parents early in life—behaviors practically seep into our pores, as a key way we learn is by mirroring our caregivers. As adults, we then stumble along, wrestling within ourselves to construct personalities that enable us to conform though we feel alienated.
Whole Self is remarkably effortless by comparison and it gives us a quiet confidence. Naturally tranquil, when we can combine it with modern cognition, which is innovative and adaptable, it amplifies our creative capacity, potentially affecting every area of our lives very positively.
Workplace meditation programs have the right idea to begin to help us bypass fear and control. Meditation gives us an initial taste of Whole Self, despite how transitory the experience is. Lao Tzu, the forefather of Taoism, over a millennium ago, was already calling for a return to the state he called the Great Integrity. In Tao Te Ching (as translated by Ralph Alan Dale), he writes:
“Allow the heart to empty itself of all turmoil.
Retrieve the utter tranquility of mind from which you issued.
“Although all forms are dynamic,
And we each grow and transform,
Each of us is compelled to return to our root.
Our root is quietude.”
People in the workplace, like all people, yearn for tranquility, truth, self-trust, and the ability to adapt to the realities of their lives without resistance—outside as well as inside the office. An important step they can take is to claim their freedom act and make decisions based upon truth and preference, rather than obligation. When it is grounded in Whole Self, this approach empowers them to show up and be more fully present and cooperative with their employers, employees, colleagues, and support staff. Whole Self leads us to trust ourselves.
The foundation of Whole Self is a simple three-part process.
1. Be in the moment.
2. See the truth of the moment.
3. Respond spontaneously and appropriately.
Stress can be reduced in the workplace when people begin to act not as “victims” who are being compelled to place other people’s needs, demands, and opinions ahead of theirs, but as willing participants in a shared endeavor in which they have chosen to be involved. This goes beyond the level where people are working merely for a paycheck to where they take pride in what they do.
Whether they’re working on their own or in a team, learning to access Whole Self quickly reveals if those who assigned to do certain tasks are well suited to them. Insights from results can lead to honest conversations taking place and clearer agreements and better decisions being made. Listening skills also improve when people are not taking defensive postures.
While the stress of pressures like meeting deadlines and sales quotas cannot be avoided, the emotional sting of such milestones approaching can be significantly eliminated if people know they’ve doing their best and using their talents and energy optimally.
When mistakes are made, it requires much less effort to course correct acting as Whole Self. The need to switch gears is just another truth in the moment that deserves a response.