Having a certain ‘attitude’ means that we arrive at final conclusions without considering others, but this often leads to superficial assumptions and conflicts and occasionally even violence. That is why the underlying assumption of an ‘attitude’ is resistance. Fact is – a confused mind cannot have clarity. That is why we want to protect ourselves so desperately and become violent. The major cause of violence is that we are constantly searching for psychological security that we are lacking.
Because we constantly fail in dealing with the unknown and the unexpected, it is literally impossible for our minds to think in any terms other than confusion. The moment there is compulsion, the mind is already conforming to a pattern. If there is a motive for change, that motive is self-projected; change as the reason for self-centred activity is no change at all. This is the real thing we need to tackle: not following movie- music- successful personalities, guru´s brand ambassadors, influential people, global brands or famous leaders.
We need to regard leadership in an entirely new way. This means we need to learn how to learn differently. Leadership is a holistic observation, an observation that is not a particular observation, other than the ones we own ourselves which encompasses the totality of holistic leadership. We have been concerned with our own particular problems, espousing a saviour from outside who will transform or bring salvation for each one of us. This has been ensconced in western society for thousands of years, maintained through various words, rituals, habits, attitudes, qualities, traditions and symbols, as well as different conclusions. But it has been the same individual search for someone to offer salvation for our own personal well-being and to resolve our own complex problems.
As human beings we are separated, divided and isolated, and as such, have not been able to find solutions for our problems. Even if we are highly educated, cunning, self-centred and capable of extraordinary things outwardly, - inwardly we are more or less the same as we have been for thousands of years. We keep comparing, expecting, striving and destroying each other to gain security in this confused world. We have given up, relinquished our energy for digging further and deeper. We promote short-term success across every level of life: in our relationship, in our career, in our financial gains and lately even for our own health.
We believe we can resolve issues by exerting in the short-term because we are impatience and because time matters more than ever before. This is the vast problem we are currently facing worldwide: we literally sacrifice anything to attain inner security, even it means following a trapped path littered with dominance, corruption, manipulation, control, dependency and social influence.
What is essential to see is that we are confused, that all activity, all action which springs from confusion, are confused action. What is essential to see that we are actually confused and not trying to escape from it, not trying to find explanations for it; we are, in fact, passively, choicelessly, aware of our entanglement in confusion. Hence, we see that quite a different action springs from that passive awareness, because if we make an effort to clarify the state of confusion, what we create will still be confused. But, if we are aware of ourselves, choicelessly and passively, then that confusion unfolds and fades away.
That is why we must cultivate islands of stillness within any organisational system, giving ourselves and our entire span of attention to it. It is likely that most of us are unsure whether or not we dislike being confused at all, because in this state of confusion we are convinced not to act, as we are irritated and overwhelmed. So we believe this gives us satisfaction and inner-security: to understand confusion demands an action which is not the pursuit of an ideal or an ideation.
Often we don’t realise how much we are triggered by our own attitude. But what do we really mean by attitude? Why do we want cultivate an attitude? What does attitude really mean? Often we have an attitude about something, which means we have come to a certain conclusion after studying, after examining, planning and probing into some particular question. We have come to a point, to a certain attitude, which means that the very core of an attitude is resistance. This in itself creates violence. And this is why we cannot have an attitude towards violence or hostility.
It is so incredibly difficult for our mind to be clear, courageous, compassionate and consciousness about this, to learn about it, to be free to have the leisure to learn and to evolve. We are confused, yet we don’t realise we are actually confused. We are not aware why we easily and comfortably agree with these conclusions. All movements of escape and suppression have completely come to an end. If not, we must move away from it. But how ?
In fact, any search for comprehension will only lead to further confusion. So we choose to be violent to escape from this fact, because we simply don’t realise this at all, but rather allow for manipulation, dependency, influence, competition, excessiveness, ambition, dominance, - the sort of violence we cultivate in politics, economics, science, education and even with our own health and with our natural environment.
Assuming there would be no ideal at all, probably all we would be left with is ‘what is’. Would that make us complacent? Or would we have the energy, the interest, the vitality to solve ‘what is’? Is it possible that the ideal of non-violence is an escape from the actual fact of violence? When the mind is not escaping but is deeply confronted with the fact of violence – not condemning it, not judging it and not compromising it – then surely such a mind has an entirely different quality, and violence ceases.
All this implies that there must be profound self-knowing and self-awareness to understand the whole structure of our own thinking and feeling: our motives, fears, anxieties, guilt, aggression and despair. To know the entire content of our mind we need to be aware in the sense of ‘observing’, not with resistance or condemnation, nor with approval or disapproval, but inner observing with clarity, neutrality and acceptance. This observation is the negation of the psychological structure of today’s global society which requires that we ‘must not’; therefore, self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom. Self-knowledge is actually understanding who we are: our pains, fears, obstacles and anxieties, seeing them without any distortion. This means examining ourselves without an ‘attitude’, without any opinion, judgment or evaluation. This, however, is a surprisingly arduous tasks that requires patience we cultivate once we capture stillness.
That is why stillness of the mind is an extraordinary discipline and requires not the discipline of suppression, conformity, or the following of some authority, but the discipline of learning how to learn, which takes place throughout the day, considering every movement of thought. That is why we need to understand the central cause of conflict and sorrow and then dissolve it from within – not merely looking to something on the outside for peace. We are too lazy to take hold of ourselves and understand ourselves, and being lazy, a form of conceit, we would rather delegate our problems and hope others will solve them for us. And this hope forms an erroneous belief that we will be given inner stability, or perhaps that we should eliminate people who cause us trouble or adhere to different opinions.
Inside each one of us resides the urge for psychological security, that inward sense of being safe coinciding with the outward demand for security. Inwardly, each one of us yearns to be secure. If that inner security is jeopardised, we become violent, stemming from the psychological demand, the inward demand, to be certain in our relationship to everything. But there is no such thing as certainty, security, in any relationship. Inwardly, psychologically, we yearn to be secure, free and aware, but there is no such thing as permanent security. We have simply created a false security, making us believe that we are safe and secure.
When we call ourselves educated, knowledgeable, skilled or anything else, we are being violent. Why? Because we are separating ourselves from the rest of mankind. When we separate ourselves by belief, by race, by nationality, by tradition, by any other category, it creates aggression and breeds violence. So if we are seeking to understand violence, we must agree that violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or system. We must be concerned with the total understanding of mankind, finding a profound new zeitgeist of leadership for the 21st century.
The brain, when faced with violence, physical violence for example, undergoes a rapid chemical change; it reacts much quicker than the blow. Our whole body reacts with an immediate response. While we may not hit back, the very presence of anger or hatred causes this response, and then there is action. Yet when we discipline ourselves with self-control towards violence, thereby diffusing it into non-violence, this still leads us to self-centredness, because our mind is focused on getting rid of one thing and simultaneously acquiring something else, because we cannot deal with the unknown. Standing still in emptiness is necessary to cultivate our inner stillness across any social systems where we might possibly comprehend the reason for violence.
That is why we must cultivate awareness and attentiveness to vigilance. This inner vigilance is not disciplined attention, but an extensive awareness which is choiceless. Disciplined attention gives strength to the self, becoming a substitute and a dependence, leading us to a loneliness that stirs violence. This limited mind is experiencing, being cumulative, and enabling repetitiousness. Awareness is not a matter of determination for purposeful direction of resistance. Awareness is the silent and choiceless inner-observation of what is to gain by full comprehension. A problem is never solved on its own level; being complex, it must be understood in its totality.
That is why self-knowledge is a process, not an end, demanding an extraordinary alertness of mind and a keenness of perception and perhaps a way no longer to be violent.