Yesterday, I reflected upon a leader, Lieutenant Colonel Oakland McCulloch (US Army, retired). A man who applies much to what it means to be. How to actively apply one’s learning, and be dutiful to the shared influence and better outcomes that result. It required me to rethink a post from the day before. In the end I saw both perspectives, and found them each to be reflecting upon the same needs in delivering change.
To adequately address my own narrowed perspective I used a practice from another mode of my learning to help me reconcile and reframe my understanding. I found a middle way.
Consider these five factors, as attitudes or modes of any enquiry.
1. Vigilance – awareness, exploration, new insight. Not better understanding of what you know, but new understanding of what you do not. Changed perspective, wider perspectives, and in their differences comes understanding that is new.
2. Sensitivity – to what is being witnessed a dynamic perspective of actions or changing state, not a static unmoving object to covet or reject.
3. Acuity – meaning to separate, differentiate, and observe the moving parts, the layers, the processes of change they represent.
4. Noticing – your own physical reaction, emotion, desire or need. Perhaps also that of the other(s) you are modelling in your mind.
5. Reminding – staying present to the enquiry, remaining vigilant. With a humility that expects to find new meaning from what may otherwise be thought of as known. Acknowledging but not becoming engaged with the distractions – re minding back to the present enquiry.
This is the best way to outline the phenomena of the active engagement of an open mind,. Not that I am finished looking. These are learnings from contemplation, when looking outward. These are learnings from meditation when looking inward. They are skills to learn and to develop. They need not be linked to religious belief from East or West, but they have long traditions in both and can be embraced within whatever suits best.
I now do this everyday. From an increasingly diverse range of accounts of how to apply this meditative practice. And like everything I learn I attempt to apply it. In my daily life, my research, and my work. I am enquiring as to its merit at scale. It is why I have presented it as a means to make enquiry here. I think it becomes a tonic to modal confusion. A means to tease out deeper rooted problems. By applying vigilance to what is assumed to be known, to prospect and see anew.
Cognitive science and psychology both sit happily here. Scientists like John Vervaeke produce contemporary, helpful insights that connect mindfulness to the study of the mind. The above perspective was first glimpsed from one of his Dharma days. Where he was introducing Metta, or the outward looking contemplative practice – but as had already been informing the Vipassana, or inward looking meditative focus, it sits alongside. There is so much of his material and influence to share, but I’m reading his many references to wider work before I do. Importantly, he says, is to understand what this mindfulness is not. It is not a practice of finding contentment. This is not escape. This is embracing change. Cognitive Science is indicating it is this observational modality that offers the benefits with mindfulness.
This is being mode. This is addressing modal confusion. This is the interconnectivity of layers of time bound intended change. Projects | within projects. From mind to management. Starting with yourself.