We discussed in a class the skills that we needed to bring into the Art of Coaching. The reading material listed a number of attributes.
- Desire to learn
- Respect for the other and several others
First reading of this list raised this thought in me. There is nothing new in this list. This list applies to many other, in fact all other, interactive and communicative situations with another living being. So, what is new?
On reflection, i asked myself how often i followed these principles. I knew them no doubt, as do many others, but how often did i practice these attributes? How much has i internalized these principles?
When was the last time i talked to someone in a true listening mode, in genuine respect, in complete mindfulness, focusing only on helping that person? When was the last time you did?
Suddenly, it dawns on me that all these attributes relate to a meditative state. One need not practice techniques to go into a meditative state. Meditation is simply a state of being in the present moment, in the realization that we are an integral part of the universe, and being in a deeply respectful mode in realization of this.
A simple centering technique i read about describes this mode.
‘Look at everything you see as if you are seeing it for the first time’.
As children, we looked at everything around us in awe, amazement and joy. We looked at everything with fresh eyes. We had no judgment, because we had no experience. We were not conditioned to looking at things in a particular way as defined by others. We were carefree, completely in the present moment, unafraid and unworried about what the next moment may bring.
Next time, when you have a chance, look at a little boy or girl looking a flower inquisitively, or a squirrel, or any thing else. Observe the focus, the single-mindedness and the curiosity. Nothing else exists for that child except the flower or the squirrel. Watch a child eat his or her favorite food, perhaps an ice cream. Observe the intensity.
Contrast this with the way an adult eats. Watch the way an adult gulps down his/er food in a canteen or restaurant, or consume a hot dog while walking, or demolish a hamburger while driving. Watch yourself eat the next time!
What do you do while eating? You walk, talk, drive, watch TV and do many other things. You multitask proudly admiring your own ability so casually disregard something that nourishes you.
No wonder obesity is so prevalent. When you dump food in as if it’s garbage, your mind body treats it the same way. It builds a garbage dump for you, inside you.
When you meet a friend or an acquaintance, you do not meet a friend or an acquaintance. You meet your memory of that person. You have a huge data file in your unconscious disk that has all the details of your past interaction with that person. One look, and the fastest computer on earth brings up the entire file. You then talk to that memory.
If you meet a person for the first time, the unconscious struggles a moment, but then successfully brings up all possible stereotypes for you to choose from. Is he dark? Then he spells trouble. Is he unshaven? Then he must be smelly. Does he look different? Then he is definitely dangerous.
You don’t agree? You are then a hypocrite or less likely, a saint.
Perhaps your stereotype classifications are different, but every one of us has a built-in content management system that throws up conditioned memory classifications in milliseconds.
When we look anew, afresh, we discard these memories. We force ourselves to look at another as a child would. Have you ever come across a young child fearful of strangers unless conditioned by parents or caregivers? This is not possible.
Try to see everything around you without your filters of conditioning. Each time a preconceived prejudice surfaces, discard it and look again. There are techniques that help in this by clearing the stored baggage, but the mere knowledge and awareness helps if one commits oneself.
As you read this piece, hundreds of past knowledge bytes will pop up in your mind unbidden. Now, i challenge you, reread this piece as if you have never read anything before.
See the difference!
That is meditation. That is coaching.