The hives have been angered, and bees everywhere are being massacred by our predatory lifestyle. We are facing a dire need for the cultivation of bee communities to ensure that all flowering plant life are not deprived of pollination, to continue the precious dance of life and feed the infinite beings dependent on them. Even more importantly, bees, and queen bees, are needed at the human level, for the social and cultural fabrics have been denigrated. Sacred leaders, like queen bees, need to be cultivated, and brought back to serve humanity, to mobilize sacred communities to restore life again.
True leaders are rare. Even more rare, though, are the elusive, self-effacing Sacred Leaders, who have a sense of magic about them. It may take years or even lifetimes to meet one – and yet, when you do, and are able to recognize their truth and beauty, you are mesmerized. Several of these beings have shaped world politics, redefined world economics, and have seemingly paradoxical ways of solving some of the world’s most daunting and pressing issues. They speak from their heart, are sometimes unpredictable and irreverent, and have a following around them wherever they go. Most importantly, yet subtly, they have the ability to make global change, just by their very state of being. They have tapped into the divine essence of their being – that God power that makes them unique, insightful, loving and powerful – all at the same time. Their actions don’t come through fighting – they come from a place of stillness, of beauty, resilience and wisdom.
The word sacred draws many meanings in the dictionary – mostly related to religious and sacrosanct topics. To me, however, the word to me, the word conjures something even more precious and divine – the respect for oneself and all beings, and spiritual alignment with the greater forces of the universe – a greater understanding of the interconnectedness of all events and beings. The preciousness of each thought, word, action, and how each impacts the world. Of goodness, love and eternal wisdom.
What are the traits of the sacred leader, and how does one embody those very qualities?
My interest in this subject started many years ago, perhaps indirectly, as I traversed the work and education landscapes. I looked for examples of role models in the business or public arena, and yet I found very few that inspired me. My varied background in the private and public sectors, and of business school, rarely personally exposed me to examples of such greatness. My parents have been strong role models – I fondly think of my father, who till today, has never talked negatively about anyone, and has beautiful values and convictions as firm and strong as a diamond and has followed through with them, no matter what others may think. My recent experiences with the Service Space community have exposed me to many (such as Nipun Mehta :)), which I am grateful for.
In the past two years, I have focused on my own healing and inner transformation, and have explored the concepts of change and transformation intensely. This exploration has brought a new level of consciousness in me, and I have seen a shift occur on my views on true, authentic and impactful leadership.
As I searched far and wide for examples of exemplary leaders and role models, they seemed to pop up in ancient traditions – the Aztecs and Mayans, North American Native Americans, ancient India, the Egyptians, amongst many others. These individuals were magicians, healers, leaders, warriors, poets, priests, farmers, story-tellers and lovers; many were combinations of many of these elements.
Examples of sacred leaders who had a deep impact on the world, and changed hearts, minds and souls, include Mahatma Gandhi, Aang San Suu Ki, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, amongst others. A common denominator, amongst many others, is that they were able to impact the world through their state of being, not through their long-term visions or any singular action. Their truth, even if spoken softly, could be heard millions of miles away; and their stories often evoked a sentimental response – a reverence for the divine, the sacred in each of us. They inspired millions, simply through their very state of being. These beings acted with conviction, even when all forces are against them. Many more examples abound in the business, political, academic, medical, legal, policy-making and social communities, who are making an impact in their communities, and are inspiring others through a powerful ripple effect.
A good friend of mine recently quoted, “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”. At the end, he added, “Even greater minds think in terms of patterns”. This really struck me. As I thought about patterns, both in the natural world and human life – life occurrences, bird migration patterns, complex and symmetrical bee-hive formations, flow of the winds and ocean currents – it made me realize that observing and consciously incorporating behaviors of great leaders led to understanding their patterns.
So what are the qualities of a sacred leader? This is what I would like to explore in upcoming reflections.