Leadership Through Spirituality in Practice – Part 2

Leadership and Spirituality models

Internal and external focus (Yoga and Meditation):

Yoga and Meditation are two dimensions of exploring the “self” or the “inner person”

  • Yoga or union with the self can be through reflection on a set of activities:
    • Yoga lifts us from a subjective outlook to an objective frame of mind.
    • As explained earlier objectivity is increasingly larger, when we move from Gunathvam (Recognition of connectors and their roles) to Sagunathvam (Equal treatment for all three connectors and their roles to enable the identification of the dominant one) to Nirgunathvam (Connectors become irrelevant when every action is observed merely as a reflection of laws of nature at work – I am Brahman).
  • Meditation or calming the mind to focus or concentrate.
    • Such calming of the mind is necessary to engage in Yoga (described above).
    • Meditation has three stages:
      • Focused Attention (limiting the thoughts on a specific activity like breathing, prayer, etc.)
      • Open Mind (where the mind is calm on its own accord without relying on any object or event mentioned above)
      • Love and Kindness (where the mind is open and expansive – inclusive of any one and anything and excludes none).

Leadership can be seen in two dimensions of any person: External focused (X – Axis) as well as internal focused (Y – Axis).

  • The inner reflection (deep within) of the connectors and external focus (through a calm mind which is inclusive of any one and anything and excludes none) can be seen as the two dimensions of evolution for any person.
  • These are also the two dimensions of evolution for any one as a leader.
  • This two dimensional evolution of anyone (and how it includes “leadership” as seen in work place management) is illustrated in the figure below with some explanation.
  • We have discussed this figure in some detail and how it can be used in any aspect of life (from education to research to jobs and careers to personal life from childhood to old age!).

Leadership 1

External focus can be activity centered, goal centered or for the good of the humanity at large. These three stages are described as Focused Attention, Open Mind and Loving kindness. These are also three stages of meditation. These three stages are also the basis for all religions in their effort to spread harmony across the society at large.

The more one explores the inner self, one can progress from being impulsive to becoming reflective. A reflective person can see a larger order and hence transforms into a visionary. More details can be seen in books on philosophy.

Internal focus may be Subjective (opinion driven) and hence personal or Objective (non-personal) and hence generally agreed upon by many (like the judgment in a jury system or the analysis and conclusions in scientific research). The goal of any form of education is to move away from subjective to objective treatment of the matter under study.

Lao Tsu the 5th Century B.C. philosopher describes four kinds of leadership styles, as a relation between Knowledge and Power.

  • One without knowledge and power (ability to influence others) is timid and not respected;
  • One with power but without knowledge intimidates others and fear prevails as the leadership style.
  • Leader with knowledge but without power is merely respected
  • A true leader combines power with knowledge which enables others to act on their own, since they feel empowered by the leader.

It apples well for leadership styles focused on specific activities, where power can be seen as the ability to influence others (external to the self) and knowledge pertains to the activity in focus.

Activity centered leadership seems to be the basis for much of the leadership education. But, one can see a larger space for exploration of leadership. This additional space for leadership is available to anyone.  This larger space may also be the realm for limitless exploration for leadership in life, through Spirituality in practice and beyond professional work? It is the highest level of internal focus together with limitless inclusion of everything and every one results in the best among us. Those rare few are described as the enlightened person. They set the ideal and the beacon for others to emulate and follow.


The model for leadership evolution and how it applies to what we have learned thus far in Sipractce is shown in the figure below.

Leadership 2

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