So let’s talk about the ‘Consciousness’ word and why it matters to organisational life beyond ideas about mindfulness or personal development. Hopefully in a succinct way…
Some might wish that humans possessed tightly contained minds that are easy to control, mould and train for functional purposes, and which could operate separately from our emotions. You can see how that might make things simpler and more predictable in a management world that requires outputs, deliverables and measurable performance. But in reality, when you hire someone you get all the other stuff – a physical body, feelings and emotions, compulsions and habits, oh and other unknowable outcomes like creativity, originality and moments of genius too! 🙂
To look at the totality of a human being – that is, as a whole person – we need to include the deeper longings and unconscious drivers that generate meaning, fulfillment and the realisation of potential. Research tells us that our inner drives will regularly override rational thinking. These drives originate below conscious awareness, buried in instincts and conditioning. Indeed, the self-fashioned ‘work me’ that shows up to deliver business outputs is often a tiny presenting part of the full person. Imagine then the potential of bringing the whole person to work. And go bigger – imagine the true capabilities that become activated if you make an evolutionary leap and become a purposeful, conscious, co-active agent in a causal universe. “What the @*#?!” I hear you exclaim…
Yes, I am redefining the role and purpose of a human being based on current theory. Superfast version = Quantum physics explains that no experiment happens in a vacuum, or in any truly objective way. ‘Events’ occur in an experiment every time you introduce a human observer. In other words, we affect life. It’s not a static, inert backdrop. Life changes and evolves with us!
And the same is true for organisations. As an evolving, intelligent entity, an organisation is collectively expressed through human agents who go about fulfilling it’s purpose. But we’ve been going about business rather narrowly and blindly. So now we’ve reached the limits of thinking in terms of ‘negative externalities’ and even ‘carbon reduction’. We need a vision and plans of action based on renewal, balance and guardianship of life.
It’s time to become truly conscious and activate all of our awarenesses, which includes our felt senses and visceral connection to life – no more self-numbing, drugging or avoiding. It’s unwise to continue bearing the human and planetary cost of operating within depleted, stressed, unsustainable and under-resourced systems. We need conscious, fully alive people being creative with life to nurture the vibrant future that we want on our beautiful home planet.
In his book ‘Homo Deus’, historian and author Y N Harari articulately and humorously explains why scientists don’t yet understand consciousness. But it doesn’t have to be explained. It has to be experienced and practically applied here and now. We can draw on millennia old wisdom about consciousness from humanity’s treasure chests, as well as nature’s intelligent templates, which have undergone millions of years of testing. There are techniques and methodologies that exist right now and use present-moment phenomenon and the quantum field to work systemically with the entire chain of life.
We can choose to act decisively and innovate a different future reality – one in which sentient life is integral and precious to commercial activity. That’s what consciousness and specifically this conscious business movement is really about.