Alternative currency

Alternative currency

#growth
November 7, 2018
#growth
November 7, 2018

How does the philosophies of Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman affect us today? We live in an era dominated by consumerism and materialism shaped by the economic thinkers of years gone by. This impacts us in a huge way even to the micro level of how we feel about ourselves every day.

We live in a society where comparison and competition are pervasive. Common mantras and metaphors like early bird gets the worm, time is money and climb the ladder permeates our everyday language. We live in a world where Powerball is the top search term on Google and E-bay the most popular website. We are encouraged to go for growth, become better and achieve more. This has become our dominating currency. Is there an alternative? If so, we have never been taught how to consider anything but growth.

One of the root causes for chasing more is the concern that we will not have enough in future. Our fear of scarcity and uncertainty about the future create anxiety which we try and control by accumulation (money, looks, power, relationships). To have enough for the rainy day makes us feel more secure and in control.

One of the most memorable moments of all my travels to India was the day we met with the Karmapa Lama – one of the most senior Tibetan leaders apart from the Dalai Lama. One of my group members asked him about gratitude and being happy with what she has to which he responded “lower your expectations”. Imagine that! Somebody tells you to lower your goals and be content with less. How shocking is that!

One of our existential imperatives is to live with uncertainty. To truly embrace an uncertain future requires trust and acceptance in a deep way. Accepting your own reality, trusting yourself and trusting life. This requires living paradoxically accepting fate but mobilising free will to defy what happens to you. It requires living with a balance between being authentic and fitting in. And it challenges us to evaluate what is enough.

Here we come to the crux of the matter. When is anything enough? How do we learn to draw the line and accept whatever we have as enough? How do we calibrate our expectations to live with what we have, and not by what we want? This requires mature authenticity which runs on confidence. Only when we declare our own independence-day can we liberate ourselves to be ok with enough. Recognising another currency and getting comfortable with enough is a liberating, refreshing concept. Try it out you may buy yourself a whole lotta love.

These are the conversations we have on our journeys to India and in coaching sessions here in South Africa. To book a coaching session or find out more about our mindfulness retreats with Tibetan monks, contact me on klasie@streetschool.co.za

Get in touch
   +27 82 554 4614
  klasie@streetschool.co.za
   10 Repens Street, Paradyskloof,
Stellenbosch, 7600

Accreditations
Get in touch
   +27 82 554 4614
  klasie@streetschool.co.za
   10 Repens Street, Paradyskloof,
Stellenbosch, 7600

Accreditations

Live a life of purpose

Live a life of purpose

#growth
October 1, 2018
#growth
October 1, 2018

It was the Jewish mystic Hillel who first created the maxim:

If I don’t do it, who will?

If I don’t do it now, when will I?

If I do it for myself, what am I?

With these three short phrases he summarised the essence of what it takes to live a life of purpose.

“If I don’t do it, who will”suggests that each of us take personal responsibility to tackle our challenges. Is always good to ask for help but it starts with you.

“If I don’t do it now, when then?” points towards the transitoriness of life. Time marches on and no one knowns we will die. Why are we waiting? We often joke that the only certainties in life are death and taxes. Taking action keeps us moving forward. Small steps, every day.

“If I do it for myself, what am I?” suggests that happiness and fulfilment come from doing for others. Like Kierkegaard who said “the door to happiness opens outwards” the extent to which we add value to people around us is directly related to our experience of meaning.

So, if you feel a bit disconnected from your essence right now, try apply this maxim on yourself. These are the types of conversations we have in coaching sessions or on our journeys to the Tibetan community in India. Book a coaching session now or join our next trip to India from 21 to 31 March 2019. We travel through Delhi and also visit the Taj Mahal and Golden Temple on our way to Dharamsala.

R39,500 include all flights, all accommodation three meals per day, all local transfers and entrance fees, the lot. Contact me if you know of anyone interested. We journey is registered with the SA Board of People Practices and participants qualify for 60 CPD points.

Get in touch
   +27 82 554 4614
  klasie@streetschool.co.za
   10 Repens Street, Paradyskloof,
Stellenbosch, 7600

Accreditations
Get in touch
   +27 82 554 4614
  klasie@streetschool.co.za
   10 Repens Street, Paradyskloof,
Stellenbosch, 7600

Accreditations
If Buddha was a Life Coach

If Buddha was a Life Coach

#growth
September 12, 2018
#growth
September 12, 2018

Often referred to as the ultimate therapist, being coached by the Buddha may be an interesting experience. His approach to life, which is deeply analytical and based on natural law, aim to make us aware of the true reality of things. Rooted in personal accountability, he presents a paradoxical truth that freedom is a by-product of commitment. And the being mindful of the bigger context within which we live is directly related to our ability to find new solutions.

We love business models, so if one would pitch up at such a coaching session, I can imagine him revealing his BRI coaching model. The first step will be to analyse basic Beliefs. His coaching philosophy is built on the objective analysis of 4 life-truths. Firstly, we need to understand that life is a constant challenge. Life is full of ups and downs with many types of challenges – some as light as a mild irritation with a colleague, others as disturbing as death. Point is, life is full of discomfort. Secondly, we need to understand that there are causes for these discomforts. They don’t just magically appear. They have a source. And if we understand the source, we can more effectively deal with a challenge. This leads us to the third truth – the possibility to get release. There is always a way to alleviate our unfortunate circumstances. Life doesn’t have to be so hard. And finally, the fourth truth points to the actions that could help minimise our challenges. But we have to do something ourselves. It’s not up to others. This complete the first part of the coaching session – considering the 4 fundamental truths of life and applying it to our own situation.

This leads us into the second part of the session – analysing the true Reality of the world we live in. Here, the Buddha will most probably highlight two key concepts we need to grasp: Impermanence and Interdependence. Life, or whatever challenge we have, is impermanent. This may not immediately release us from the challenge but it can help to add context. To understand that things can change brings hope. We may never be free from challenges, but we are always free to decide how we are going to react. The next part of understanding our current reality is to appreciate Interdependence. Everything in life is dependent on something else. The subtlest type is causality of conditions, like the effect of bad news on our thoughts or the effect of seeing a loved one on our state of mind. The second type of interdependence is “mereological”, like a leaf being dependent on the branch, your job being dependent on having some clients, or a happy relationship being dependent on you doing something nice for the other person.

Now that we have contextualised our challenges according to fundamental beliefs and realities, we can move to the third part of the coaching session, setting our Intent. So much depend on the purpose with which we navigate. If we have a positive intent we will manifest good results. The Buddha will probably add that we need to have good intentions for the sake of someone or something other than our selves. To make the world a better place, one day at a time.

Five powerful questions to wrap up the session will probably include:

If your whole life has been designed in advance for you to learn a lesson from it, what would that lesson be?
What challenge do you have right now and what is life asking from you at this point? What is the one right thing to do?
If you were asked by a child you love to share the most important life lesson you’ve learnt, what would it be?
What is something you’d like to celebrate?
What legacy are you building, how would you like to be remembered?

These are the type of conversations we have on our journeys to India and in coaching sessions here in South Africa. To book a coaching session or find out more about our mindfulness retreats with Tibetan monks, contact me on klasie@streetschool.co.za.

Get in touch
   +27 82 554 4614
  klasie@streetschool.co.za
   10 Repens Street, Paradyskloof,
Stellenbosch, 7600

Accreditations
Get in touch
   +27 82 554 4614
  klasie@streetschool.co.za
   10 Repens Street, Paradyskloof,
Stellenbosch, 7600

Accreditations
What is this thing called mindfulness

What is this thing called mindfulness

#growth
January 15, 2018
#growth
January 15, 2018

There are a great many misconceptions, varied perspectives and a large measure of cultural scepticism regarding the “mysterious” practice of mindfulness. Put simply, mindfulness combines scientific rationality with eastern spirituality and presents us with a provocative and refreshing way to look at life. Mindfulness builds bridges between differing worldviews, and the majority of people who follow this practice do so in the hope of reducing negative experiences, becoming more peaceful and improving their ability to regulate their emotions. Only a tiny minority do so for religious reasons. In this article we look at some of the different perspectives of mindfulness.

The modern scientific view of mindfulness is that of a therapeutic tool to reduce negative experiences, develop calmness, regulate emotions and enhance general wellbeing, either as a neurophysiological phenomenon or as a psychotherapeutic protocol. Popular programmes such as the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) courses or Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) position mindfulness at the intersection of eastern spirituality and western scientific rationality. The scientific view of mindfulness is that of a secular therapy used to improve mental and physical wellbeing and to enhance adherents’ sense of self-being.

Another perspective of mindfulness it that of the monk who employs mindfulness as a means of self-cultivation and self-transformation. To some extent, the image of the Buddhist monk represents a classical aspirational image of spiritual development as a way to achieve enlightenment by renouncing materialistic attachments and the pursuit of hedonistic pleasures in favour of contemplating the bigger questions of life. The monk views earthly issues as vacuous and trivial and suggests we that should rather focus on direct experiences, like enjoying the present moment in whatever form. This view confronts the conventional approach to life by suggesting we give up everyday pleasures to focus on attaining wisdom and understanding.

A third view, especially popular amongst younger people, is that of the martial arts practitioner. The character of the ninja has been common in literature and popular culture throughout history and the warrior as spiritual hero represents an ideal of psychic integrity. The ninja or warrior view mindfulness as a strong ethical code to achieve mental discipline. With this approach, mindfulness is seen as the foundation from which to develop psychic integrity, quiet mental control and calculated behaviour. Mindfulness is seen as a selfless approach which gives up the pursuit of senseless pleasures in favour of cultivating a strong resolve of mind and body. It suggests a strong devotion to a life of discipline. The ideal of the warrior calls on us to reflect on our mortality and on our lives as a constant process of confronting and overcoming death.

A different perspective, that of the “zombie”, presents the negative preconception that mindfulness is a disconnection from life. The zombie represents the fear that mindfulness is really a way to tranquilise people into obedience and acceptance. By losing our sense of self we will become what we fear most – mindless zombies drifting about aimlessly. This view suggest that mindfulness will break our connection with the things that make life meaningful and that we will lose our sense of critical judgment and stop thinking positively. This suggests that mindfulness is a collapse of thinking and a form of human humiliation. The zombie is a nightmare of what the after-life might look like. Unlike the monk and the ninja, who see mindfulness as a way to enhance positive aspects of life and reduce suffering, the zombie embodies the idea that mindfulness prevents people from taking control of their lives.

Finally we have the view of the hippie. This counter-cultural approach to mindfulness suggest that it is a practice followed by people who have dropped out of society or, alternatively, is practiced by people who have renounced the conventions of life. Mindfulness is for those who have disengaged, or risen above the mundane boredom of suburban living.

Mindfulness has become part of our social construct and combines considerations of orientalism, secularism and materialism with discipline, rationality and intuition in the attempt to develop awareness, self-transformation and an improved sense of wellbeing. Whichever view you hold, by practicing mindfulness we ultimately hope to gain wisdom, compassion and reduce our suffering. Mindfulness is a personal pursuit. We can practice collectively but we can only transform individually. And whatever approach makes you a more thoughtful person is the right one for you.

These are the types of conversations we have on our journeys to India. Our 20 March trip is fully booked, but places are still open on our following trip, on 26 May 2018. Contact us if you’d like to join.

Get in touch
   +27 82 554 4614
  klasie@streetschool.co.za
   10 Repens Street, Paradyskloof,
Stellenbosch, 7600

Accreditations
Get in touch
   +27 82 554 4614
  klasie@streetschool.co.za
   10 Repens Street, Paradyskloof,
Stellenbosch, 7600

Accreditations
Emotional intelligence is a verb

Emotional intelligence is a verb

#growth
January 8, 2018
#growth
January 8, 2018

A lot of great research has gone into establishing a solid body of knowledge on Emotional Intelligence ranging from the work of pioneer thinker Daniel Goleman to the views of Howard Gardner. EQ has become a recognized dimension with which to navigate effectively though life and a key performance attribute with which to succeed at business. Whenever we think of emotional intelligence, chances are we regard it as something we can learn rationally with our brains, to ultimately enhance our interpersonal relationships. And to think we are going to improve our EQ by doing a quick online assessment and workshop is to commoditize our individual uniqueness. As humans we have a non-negotiable responsibility to be emotionally aware and there is a much bigger aspect to consider which stands at the very foundation of our spiritual growth. This is where I would like to take your attention if you don’t mind.

The ultimate benefit of becoming more aware and intelligently in control of our emotions touches the very essence of being human. Becoming emotionally intelligent requires us to appreciate others with a deep sense of compassion. We need the wisdom to see the difference between the person, and the act – an insight often not recognized. To develop such compassion and a non-judgmental respect for others and ourselves, we need to cultivate a new language. A language of the heart. With a transcendent energy force that speaks from beyond the rational mind. Whereas one could go a long way to understand the finer nuances of EQ by reading about it and doing self-assessments, it’s only when it gets contemplated upon, and mindfully rooted into our hearts, that it becomes second nature. At this level of consciousness, EQ enable us to deal better with our afflictive (negative) emotions like anger, greed, hatred and resentment on a path of spiritual growth.

Semantically, EQ can be considered as a verb – something we do (acting with emotional awareness), or as a noun – something we are (being intelligently aware of self and others). The two go hand in hand. We first need to transform ourselves internally on a deep level to become more aware, compassionate and understanding of others, before we can act emotionally in an intelligent way. And only when we act towards others in an emotionally intelligent way, can we think of ourselves as being emotionally intelligent.

Finally, to be emotionally intelligent presupposes that we have someone or some thing with whom to interact intelligently with. Emotional intelligence requires responsiveness like an echo calling us to connect and interact in a way befitting to the full potential of our human-ness. The words of Rabbi Hillel comes to mind when he said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?

Get in touch
   +27 82 554 4614
  klasie@streetschool.co.za
   10 Repens Street, Paradyskloof,
Stellenbosch, 7600

Accreditations
Get in touch
   +27 82 554 4614
  klasie@streetschool.co.za
   10 Repens Street, Paradyskloof,
Stellenbosch, 7600

Accreditations

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