THINK BIG (ger than yourself)
I was recently reading Bernie Sanders book called Our Revolution. Something he said on the last page really resonated with me. He listed some of the problems he thought we face such as, “a rigged economy, a corrupt campaign finance system, a broken criminal justice system, and the extraordinary threat of climate change.” He then made the leap to what lies beneath all of that when he said:
“The more serious crisis is the limitation of our imaginations. It is falling victim to an incredibly powerful establishment – economic, political, and media – that tells us every day, in a million different ways, that real change is unthinkable and impossible.”
Bernie is clearly talking to us as citizens and leaders in how our country operates. I am a firm believer that the primary job of everyone when assuming the role of leader at any level is to provide vision for those they lead. Yes, leaders do a lot of other things but to me, leading implies primarily facilitating new experiences, i.e. imagination. And even though as leader you have someone “above you” who is also leading you, that doesn’t mean that your role is simply to do what you are told.
My take away from what I think Bernie is suggesting is two things: 1) all of us are suffering from a lack of imagination and therefore, vision, and 2) all of us act in the role of leader at various times (family, work, community, etc.) and so leadership from top to bottom in the U.S. lacks imagination. And I also believe that the imagination he is referring to is not invention. It is very possible to invent amazing new gadgets (or an amazing new Republican or Democratic party) and not have the kind of imagination that Bernie is referring to (or at least what I think he is referring to).
I think the imagination he is referring to is the inspired idea that begins a fresh new experience. And that fresh new experience is in no way dependant upon creating a new gadget that can be sold at a profit or provide us with power.
A new gadget that helps me vacuum my carpet more thoroughly or drive me from here to there in more comfort, does not make the inventor an imaginative leader or me an imaginative user. It might make him or her or me some money or give us some power, but anyone can do that simply by manipulating a financial or other system of some sort for their own preferred benefit. Here’s my take on imagination and leadership.
Imaginitive leadership is not fundamentally focused on a logical extension or improvement in an existing system. Rather it is a leap outside of existing systems or the way things are currently done, to something that reveals both to us and through us, our incredible nature (our incredible nature goes far beyond any ability including the abilty to create new gadgets or positions of power). What is revealed is not what we can achieve but rather the unlimited nature of experience itself as an energetic reality, not an ideological achievement.
I use the picture at the left of a group of Native Americans to make a point about many of the people who came before us. Fundamental to many of those indigenous peoples was a commitment to align with natural order and in doing so, discover through that alignment, something far bigger than themselves and their (and our) limited ability to create new things.
Notice the feathers and other symbols of what is natural, that was common in their dress. My guess is that their experiences were incredibly profound and satisfying as a direct result of that alignment with Nature as fundamental to the source of their imagination and their fresh new experiences.
That doesn’t mean that I think or don’t think, that we should go back to feathers and totem poles. I do think, however, that a way of thinking about how to align with natural order, starting with the nature of humans, will serve the imagination that Bernie is talking about. And I am confident that it can be done in the corporation and in government and most definitely in our own home and communities. In fact, having fresh new experiences in those environments is only a courageous choice away.
That choice is to align with our unique nature by allowing our own energetic intuition to guide us. AND support others in doing the same. That means supporting what their intuition is telling them, not what you or I are telling them. In my experience, the more different those others are from me, the more profoundly my imagination and experience is impacted when I spend time with them, and the greater my insights into who I (we) are.
In no way is this meant to be a rejection of organization and achievements. It’s just that those things serve the imagination and not the other way around.
If we are to have a culture that thrives for many years (maybe 10,000 years), I agree with Bernie that imagination can not be limited. I feel that imagination, not systematic achievement, will be the foundation for both our own rich experiences and the experiences of all the generations that follow us.
Imagine the new experience that your intuition is offering you right now!