Planets go wherever they want.
Venus sways near the North Star.
The moon holds on to Leo.
The host who has no self is here.
We look in each others' eyes.
Be silent as we absorb the spring!

–-- Rumi (via +Farinaz Parsay)

The Host Who Has No Self

Intu­ition is a great well, one that draws on a deep­er sense of what it means to be human. In lead­er­ship, orga­ni­za­tion devel­op­ment and man­age­ment con­sult­ing work, it has enor­mous val­ue for it often opens doors to things that are most­ly hid­den from view: the staff mem­ber whose valu­able insights are being tak­en for grant­ed, the man­age­ment promis­es from years past that have become an assumed prac­tice of betray­als, the care­ful coverups by good peo­ple try­ing to do the right thing but who don’t feel con­fi­dent any­more, the ques­tions about strat­e­gy that have nev­er been asked. No one tells you these things, but intu­ition can lead you to them through an incli­na­tion of mind more than some oth­er kind of data. When it does there is often a very rich vein of gold to work with, an impor­tant oppor­tu­ni­ty to make things better.

I believe the fur­thest reach of intu­ition, beyond the “offi­cial” scope of most orga­ni­za­tion­al prac­tices, is about real­iz­ing a bet­ter or high­er self, and help­ing oth­ers do the same. What I mean by this is that we are all on some sort of growth tra­jec­to­ry to real­ize our best poten­tials, but we are all too often in a place of sta­sis where there is as much ener­gy in us to real­ize our poten­tials as there is “brak­ing” and resis­tance to any new iden­ti­ty. What gets us past the stuck point is intu­ition. We intu­it what we can be in thoughts that come for­ward in the emp­ty moments, thoughts about how we can come to our high­er sens­es, so to speak.

So we are not absolute­ly blocked. We may just have not been pay­ing atten­tion to the sub­tle mes­sages around us, mes­sages that have been uncon­scious­ly going out to the uni­verse and com­ing back to us through our expe­ri­ences. This is one of the most impor­tant rea­sons we can­not tell oth­ers what they should do with their dilem­mas. Rather the work is more fre­quent­ly about cre­at­ing envi­ron­ments and dia­logues that enable peo­ple to receive the inner mes­sages meant for them.

Carl Jung was known for his state­ment that “What we do not bring to con­scious­ness appears in our life as fate.” I most­ly agree with this idea, but it does­n’t have to be fate, per se — it can just be the every­day things that hap­pen to us, ones that aren’t near­ly as ratio­nal as we may think they are. I have asked myself, for exam­ple, “Why is it I am work­ing with this par­tic­u­lar per­son just now in my career?” or “How was I called to help this orga­ni­za­tion in this way?” My stub­born inner cyn­ic wants to dis­miss such ques­tions but anoth­er voice, part of the larg­er poet­ic enter­prise of liv­ing still asks, and intu­ition won’t be denied its due, ground­ed as it is in the Impli­cate Order of things.

The answers to these ques­tions are reveal­ing. “I’m work­ing with _______ because in dark­er moments I too often share his faith­less­ness about learn­ing.” “I was called to work with this orga­ni­za­tion to dis­cov­er just how pow­er­ful a real vision can be,” lead­ing me by asso­ci­a­tion to yet anoth­er thought: It can move minds to dif­fer­ent worlds, as a tru­ly vision­ary leader once told me about his own work.

Just the oth­er day, I hap­pened to pick a book from one of my book­shelves — a vol­ume of short sto­ries by Ray­mond Carv­er. It was mid­night and I was tired, but want­ed some­thing to fill one of those emp­ty moments. After read­ing a few sto­ries I noticed who had giv­en me the book, an old friend, a past client who had left an epi­graph on the title page from anoth­er author, Don Mar­quis. I’d for­got­ten who had giv­en me the book so it was a moment of gen­tle sur­prise and remem­brance to see my friend’s name on the page along with his thanks for our friend­ship. Some­how out of ran­dom­ness the book that night had come back into my hands to remind me that each of us is writ­ing a book of poet­ry just by being alive. What Don Mar­quis said was this:

Writ­ing a book of poet­ry is like drop­ping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon…and wait­ing for the echo.”

To me, that’s the way intu­ition works, too. You wait for the echo and in some mag­i­cal way, it just arrives.


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