This piece summarizes our favourite author, Saurabh Bajaj’s journey through a 10-day Vipassana. It is considered to be one of the toughest tests of minds. As creative and brilliant he is, he has weaved his learning from Vipassana with his learning from Professional life to finally bring you – The CREDO Spiritual Manager.
“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most artistic materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only!” ~Mark Twain
India is an amazing country and the diversity of our nation allows us to dabble with many sources of intellectual, religious and spiritual exploration. I have had the good fortune of experiencing a number of these. I recently attended a 10-day course of Vipassana and couldn’t help sharing my reflections.
A question that I grappled with, is it possible to leverage the universal principles of spirituality to craft an ideal CREDO for a Spiritual manager.
Science & Spirituality
My experiences with spirituality perhaps started in my 8th grade with a book titled ‘Science & Spirituality’ that caught my fancy. Given that my family was never overtly religious, a book that combined that love for science and an opportunity to observe the fantastic was extremely exciting. Over the course of my journey, I’ve met really interesting people and read various religious sources. And, the one thing that comes out is that there are so many sources of religious inspiration and spiritual guidance, but eventually, all of them without exception lead to the same basic insights.
All of them start with an open acceptance that “Life is Hard”. If you explore further, the next phase of the exploration talks about how all misery is born of only two-sources: Either anticipation of a better future OR regret things gone wrong.
The solution in all of these sources is that the only person who makes the most of their life is the person who can live in the present and make the most of it now. Interestingly, even Sushant Singh Rajput, God bless his soul, reached at the same insight in one of his talks. He said that the biggest lie ever told is that happiness is money plus fame.
The greatest truth is that: Happiness = Excitement + Now (present).
But why is it so difficult to integrate this simple insight into all our lives? Vipassana founded by Mr. Goenka offers a unique way of experiencing and eventually answer the same.
The Vipassana Program
The Vipassana experience is undoubtedly one of the toughest that I have been through. It’s run through a 10-day program run on one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation that was taught by Gautama Buddha 2500 years back. One needs to enrol oneself for a Vipassana course about 3 months in advance as there is usually a waiting list. Several times you are dissuaded by your friends and family, and you will know why in a little bit.
The schedule for this 10 days, fully residential course that is run completely free of charge is as follows:
- Wake up at 4 am and sleeps at 9:30 pm
- Eat only solid meals for breakfast at 6 am and lunch at 11:30 am and tea at 5 pm. Nope, no dinner!
- Mediate 10 hours a day
The toughest principle is that for 9 days, you keep a Vow of Noble Silence and do not speak to anyone for 9 days. That includes no eye contact or gestures.
Through these 10 days, Mr. Goenka himself guides you, mentors you, teaches you, tells you stories, and helps you maintain discipline through notes, recordings and discourses every evening.
Every day of the 10-day program brings new emotions and sensations. The first day is just an introduction. The real trauma begins on the second day, where one feels that all of the World has perhaps ended. The 2nd and the 3rd day are no different. The 4th day is the one where maximum dropouts occur.
However, By the 6th day, you experience jubilation. You suddenly realize that there are these certain mental and physical barriers that you have broken. Not everyone that attends or completes the course is able to maintain the practice. But it is once in a lifetime experience.
The key learning that one gets over these 10 days is to learn step by step process that led to the liberation of Buddha and the insights behind his total liberation and how one can experience the same oneself.
CREDO of the Spiritual Manager
Given that I had ample time to reflect during the program, I wondered if it’s possible to integrate the universal principles of spirituality with the expectations we have from managers.
This reflection helped me craft a CREDO for the spiritual manager that I would love to share for your views:
Conscious: A spiritual manager aims to be extremely conscious of the deeper workings of his portfolio, its opportunities and challenges. However one doesn’t restrict one’s involvement to just the territory but also understand the role that the portfolio plays within the strategy of the overall organization. One is aware of the vibe within the organization and how one contributes to the overall strategy and not just one’s own deliverables.
Real: A spiritual manager has the power to challenge the status quo, overturn decisions of senior management and is an authority of all matters concerning his or her portfolio as the basis for decisions making is real experiences. The Spiritual manager is the voice of the consumer, the voice of the market, customs, and trade. Every decision is based on a real experience and not generally accepted practice.
Engaged: A spiritual manager is deeply engaged in his current role and brings intense passion to every day. His energy is infectious and he wastes no time either in craving for a portfolio that he doesn’t hold or in aversion towards his seniors or recruiters who are yet to spot his potential. He or she knows that his current portfolio is a privilege and lives up to our demands with complete dedication.
Develops: A spiritual manager is committed to his or her own development, the development of his brand or territory and of his or her teams. One realises that the task of development is one’s own and not of HR, the organization or the seniors. One creates opportunities for self-development is extremely committed to the same.
Ownership: Finally, a spiritual manager delivers a unique form of ownership. It’s ownership that emerges from Equanimity. A spiritual manager appreciates that there are several factors that impact business delivery and that one must remain humble in times of success and protect one’s teams in times of crisis. Such a manager is pragmatic, equanimous yet demonstrates the highest degree of ownership.
I am sure, we have all observed several organizational values and beliefs basis which managers are expected to conduct themselves. The above is my attempt to allow the same to emerge from the universal spiritual beliefs that have encountered across varied sources.
There has been much written of the wide gap between Eastern Spirituality and Western Professionalism. However, we are blessed to belong to a country that is seeing the benefits of rapid economic growth and rising standards of living and yet has a moral and spiritual code tied to learnings of the past.
I am sure by continuing to examine all sources of knowledge it’s possible to give birth to fresh ideas and new ways of looking at the same things. Would love to get your views on this piece!
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