The Great Shift: Ecological Awareness

Have you noticed that sometimes what you want to share is so huge that you don’t end up sharing at all? It is so visible and yet invisible. So obvious and yet oblivious. I decided that I must share today even if it is just a quick glimpse of that which is evident to many of us. And yet I felt is good to just put it out there, however inadequate it seems to capture the magnitude of what is emerging.

I am sure many of you have noticed many of these shifts in a small or big way. The implications are just way too huge to even try and understand. And yet the very effort to understand is fascinating.

So from my lens, the shifts that I am seeing are:

• Perhaps one of the best ways to describe the shift is to look at it as a shift from ‘Egology to Ecology’. The way we are organising ourselves is unlike the industrial age organisation. Hierarchical, sequential, linear, masculine. More like nature- organic, connected, networked, more feminine before we come to being androgynous. (History which was His story to discovering Her Story to finally arriving at Our Story). e.g. Raj Sisodia et al in their fascinating book, ‘Firms of Endearment’ speaks of more evolved organisations focusing on all stakeholders (SPICE- Society, Partners, Investors, Customers, Employees) – essentially seeing that they are not islands focussed on maximising shareholder wealth. And these orgainations who see themselves as ‘ecologies’ have outperformed business-as-usual by 9:1 (900% better!)

Markets as places to trade to Markets are Conversations. This paradigm brought forth by the landmark book, The Cluetrain Manifesto- Rick Levine et al speaks of how the internet has completely changed the very playground. As if taking the rug out from under our feet.

Integrity, Intuition and Co-creation are the new rules of the game. It is not as if this was absent in the past but somehow being in Integrity and accessing Intuition is becoming imperative. There is a shift in consciousness in this new world, variously described as ‘The Conceptual Age’ (by Dan Pink in ‘A whole new mind.. Why right brainers will rule the future), ‘The Aquarian Age’, ‘The Connected Age’ (by Sudhakar , Chairman, Mastek in ‘The New Constructs’movement), ‘The Network Age’ (by a dear friend who prefers to be anonymous who introduced me to this Great Shift 8 or 9 years back!), ‘The Ecological Age’ (by Azim Premji) and the Age of Transcendence (by Raj Sisodia mentioned above)

Work Ethic to Play Ethic – Pat Kane in his book, ‘The play ethic’ speaks of how the old work ethic is giving way to a way of working. He opens the book with a quote. ‘It doesn’t matter what I think, it plays’ – John le Carre, Tailor of Panama (film) 2001. He dedicates the book thus.. ‘to the net … she is everything to me’. Ricardo Semler’s ‘Seven Day weekend’ and ‘The 4 hour workweek’ by Timothy Ferris are other books which indicate this.

There is more, much more. But this should be enough to whet our appetites. If you want to explore deeper, do have a look at the books I have mentioned and also google these people. You are in for a delightful few hours- provided you can make time and space.. And if you can’t remind yourself that the rules of the game have shifted. And its cool to let go of the treadmill, the routine, the boring, the should and dive into the dance of the day.

I would encourage those of you who can make and see connections, to please mention them as comments. eg I would be requesting my friends Murtaza (a cinema therapist and graphologist) and Rohit (working and playing together to build CoEvole!) to share related films. I would request Deepti and Santhan of Deep Red Ink to share internet related connections they see. And of course my friends, Raj Sisodia And Shubhro Sen of the Conscious Capitalism Instt to share what they see. And of course my fellow travellers in the ChittaSangha to share what they see. Sultan of Edumedia, my x-monk friend NithyaShanti,  Suresh Shottam of Uforia, the Wellness Zone, Valerie, my mystic scientist friend, Raj Mali, Chinmay and many others.. would love your perspectives.

Letting go of Positive Thinking, Welcoming Reality

When anything becomes a ‘hype’ or a cliché, a jargon or a should it loses its innocence and beauty. And Positive thinking is one such thing. Not that its wrong or bad, but obsessing about anything is not respecting the polarity. And true beauty is always when we see the whole. Unless we can accept ‘negative thinking’ and don’t deny that part of ourselves, positive thinking just becomes an escape, a desperation.

Many years ago I read this beautiful book by Robert Fritz, ‘The path of least resistance’. Peter Senge is a great thought leader, who many know as the person who brought the idea of the ‘learning organisation’ to the world. In his seminal book, ‘The Fifth Discipline’, the first discipline he mentions is ‘Personal Mastery’ and this discipline is based on this book of Robert Fritz.

This piece from the book is worth reading.


The Powerlessness of Positive Thinking
(Robert Fritz in ‘The path of least resistance’)

A familiar strategy in this mode (dealing with the ‘oscillation’ of the human life between polarities like pleasure to pain, high and low, ebb and flow) is to fortify will power through positive thinking, exaggerated affirmations, motivational resolve, and inspirational fervor. Some of the theories suggest that it is necessary to “program” the mind with positive propaganda so that you can enlist the cooperation of your subconscious, which is presumed to control the course of your life. The assumption is that if you can change the “program” of your subconscious, you will live happily ever after.

Every year thousands of books and magazine articles encourage people to develop their will power this way. Dozens of cable television programs are dedicated to these approaches. Subliminal message tapes, affirmations, self-hypnosis, positive reinforcements, motivational meetings, slogans and mottoes taped to the bathroom mirror, and cheerleading of all kinds are attempts to overpower structural conflict through exaggerated determination and the “power of positive thinking”

If you assume that you can influence and direct your subconscious, what messages do you give it by using many of these programming techniques? It is very hard to communicate with the subconscious. It takes special and extraordinary means. Old “programs” have enormous power; the subconscious is stupid and unruly. It must be treated like a child.

If you thought that programming the subconscious was the key to your life. Why would you want to influence it with that kind of message? When you try to force-feed the subconscious with positive thoughts, the actions of manipulation speak louder that the propagandistic positive words.

The Disempowerment of Positive Thinking

What is wrong with positive thinking? In a word – truth. One of the skills of the creative process is to assess the current state of the creation in progress. This is difficult if you have a bias. If you try to impose a positive view on reality, you will not easily be able to adjust your actions in creative process.

For years advocates of positive thinking have claimed that your attitude will shape your destiny and that is you think positive thoughts, positive results will occur. The strategy you use is to force you self into thinking the “best” of any situation.
If you wake up in the morning and feel sick, tired, and headachy, one of the positive thinking would have you force yourself to think something like, “Boy I feel great today. Isn’t it fabulous to be alive?”

A second school of positive thinking would have you say to yourself something like, “ I really feel sick. I think it’s just wonderful that I feel sick, because good things always come from these kinds of situation. What a wonderful learning opportunity.”
Positive thinking is a willpower strategy designed to help people exert their will over themselves as a kind of self-manipulation.

There are two assumptions, generally unexpressed and unexamined, at the roots of both schools of positive thinking. The first is that you need to control yourself by overpowering your habitual negativity. The second is that the objective truth about reality is somehow dangerous to you and that you must therefore impose upon the truth a beneficent interpretation.

The radical difference between positive thinking and the creative orientation can be seen in parallel assumptions about the creative process.
First, in the orientation of the creative, there is no need to control yourself. Instead , the orientation assumes that whether you are habitually negative or not, you have a natural inclination toward creating what you most truly want. Furthermore, there are no inner forces you must overcome, only inner forces that might be aligned organically as part of the creative process. This is not programming yourself, but rather working with all of the forces in play- including the forces you may not especially like.

Second, in the orientation of the creative, it is essential to report to yourself what reality truly is, no matter what the conditions and circumstances may be. A clear description of reality is necessary input in the creative process. Were you to impose any “rose-colored” or otherwise synthetic views on your reality, you would obscure it.

In the orientation of the creative, if you woke up feeling sick, tired, and headachy, you would report the truth to yourself, exactly as you observed it. Furthermost, there would be no need to interpret the ultimate meaning of your situation (“Good things always come from these kinds of situations”) Reality may, of course, include your opinion of the situation, for example, “I feel sick, and I don’t like feeling this way.”


Accepting reality – the whole of it- vs. denying it by forcing positive thinking on top may be a wiser way to deal with it. Sometimes it is essential to have a band aid or a quick fix or a temporary solution. But then let us recognise it as such and not be surprised that the ‘problem’ keeps resurfacing. That is in the nature of ‘problem solving’. Dissolving it is about embracing the creative process which honors what is emerging. And collaborates with it. Uses it. And hence doesn’t see it like a problem. But something to play with. Work with. Embrace. Allow. And learn from. It is about adjusting the sail. The blowing wind is not a problem. That is just what is so. And the way its blowing is precisely the way it needs to blow.

Loving Confrontation- Rohit S

Rohit has joined CoEvolve last month full time. He brings in a wisdom that deeply resonates with CoEvolve and yet complements my energy. With this post we also start to post here writing of others in the ecology who resonate with this vision.

Loving Confrontation- Rohit S.

These are 2 words that aren’t used together very often. They are considered exclusive and maybe could never fit in the same frame together.. Most of my life I have heard, seen and in fact also lived this belief that one can never confront someone with love. And yet in all the personal observations and experiences I have had, harsh confrontation has never been able to do what saying something straight to someone while caring for them can do.. They are leagues apart.
Some questions which enabled me to shift my views and style of confrontation are..Can it not be done gently?? Can it be done in a way such that the other person and his feelings are taken into consideration?? Can it be done such that its straight and caring at the same time??.
Ever since then I have practised, cultivated different ways of confronting people while holding the same essence of the things I want to communicate. Confronting is actually a form of love where u care enough to tell the other person their flaws or shortcomings they can improve on.. Growing up my mum used to always say that “ The ones who point out your flaws are your true friends cause they care enough to tell you the way it is” That has stayed with me.. Because honestly, when you think about it, nobody really wants to screw up. They just need to be told where they could do better in a way that enables them to see that without fear and gives them space to inculcate it in their lives. One of my mentors always said this and I think it would be the right way to finish this post “We are all doing the best we can, some gentle nudges here and there could indeed help us do better, but they need to be nudges not train wrecks!”


I came across a book many years back, ‘Caring enough to confront’ and this is the spirit of that book. The author coined a beautiful word- Carefrontation. In more everyday lingo, this is the skill of Assertiveness- being honest, direct and caring. Fr. John Powell said something like- ‘The genius of communication is the ability to be totally honest and completely kind at the same time.’ Not submissive out of fear, not aggressive out of anger (hidden fear) but carefront out of love 😉

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