2. Presence and Relational Trust, a basis for engagement
Of course, the above environment, one that honors pursuit of truth(s), openness and authenticity, is hard (if not impossible) to form without a base of relational trust and presence. In my work with mindfulness and leadership, I focus a great deal on presence, which might at first sound very basic and elemental. I mean, are we back to Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am?” or can we drive deeper into this analysis of presence? Basically, in order to be present with another, and in a system, we first have to address ourselves and our own intention. We use awareness techniques, as well as deep observation, to gain insights about what it might mean to be contributing to a network of ideas. At Mindfire, we were often paired in close discussion with peer-groups, learning by modeling our ideas, and making time to engage with multiple views. Our mutual and collective trust seemed to be forged quite naturally, at the beginning, as we realized our alignment in the mission to “crack the brain code”! As we investigated some of the values underneath our motivations, it became clear that many of us are driven toward promoting social good, which strengthens our group bonds of trust. There’s more to talk about, discover and appreciate in this arena, too, as the mission continues.
3. Awareness and Respect, a basis for joy
We mention a lot in posts that Mindfire Mission-1 celebrates diversity, yet what does this actually look like in practice? Well, we have physicians, computer scientists, psychologists, neuroscientists, teachers, lawyers, programmers and roboticists in the group, among others. We have diverse backgrounds, mother languages, upbringings, preferences and dance styles… dance styles?!? Yes, we danced together. We laughed together. While it sounds like an adage to “respect each other”, we operated by a code of ethics with a foundation in mutual respect and dignity. To cultivate this practice of respect, self-awareness and awareness of the values of others is the foundation for joy and happiness. It’s a tenet of mindfulness. These are the environments that thrive, the ones that go beyond a notion of tolerance into a territory of care, of honoring the “other” and looking to truly see each other, and to honor the mutuality of freedom inherent in that seeing. Embodied awareness is a form of listening, shared dignity, and, once again, trust. We can use this level of connected network to impact and influence the range and dynamism of our ideas and conversations. We can trust the environment to take risks that will lead to great breakthroughs. It amps up the depth of our understandings, as well as our emotional intelligences, simply by tuning into the collective, allowing for inclusion and joy.
These three arenas– openness & surprise, presence & relational trust, and awareness & respect— served as a firm foundation for Mindfire Mission-1. During these five days, we formed a vibrant community. From the basis of this community, much is possible, as a world opens.