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Center for Enlightened Leadership

Be Here Now

  Adam Sokolow
  Adam Sokolow
Senior Advisor

Be here now! Go with the flow! Ever since the 1960s phrases such as these—including the Zen of golf and tennis—have found their way into our language as some sort of spiritual benchmarks. Their implied message: If we could only be completely in the moment, we could ease ourselves into a fulfilling experience of spiritual wholeness.

I’ve always thought these were catchy phrases, but I’ve often reflected that whenever the media reported that a motorist was shot over a minor fender-bender, or a student was murdered for his iPod—were the perpetrators so deeply “in the flow of the moment” that no reasonable or restraining thought could interfere with their crime? I feel that there is obviously much more that might be said about “being in the moment” than simply experiencing the exultation of hitting the sweet spot on our golf club and knowing, even without looking up, that we’ve hit our ball onto the green.

As often happens when people latch onto a spiritual phrase in a superficial way, they take something that was meant to help them achieve a higher order of psychic integration and turn it into a mere prop, which more often than not causes them and others a whole lot of trouble. For what they have neglected to consider is that all of us have two main centers that organize our psyche: our ego and our higher self. And if you’re just going with the flow of your ego, there’s no end to the mischief you can cause. For it is only when you’re in the flow that radiates out from the integration of your ego with your higher self that you are genuinely capable of being here now.

Generally speaking, our “ego” (a term of Western psychology) refers to our sense of identity based on what we like and don’t like, our strengths and weaknesses, the skills necessary to accomplish what we want in life, and those defenses that protect us by keeping harm at bay. Good enough, but what is a higher self?

The term “higher self,” imported into Western culture from India’s rich philosophical traditions, found resonance in what has come to be known as the consciousness expansion movement of the 1960s. Likened to sunlight refracted into brilliant colors through a multifaceted gemstone, the higher self is the light of consciousness that illuminates the full spectrum of humanity’s positive spiritual attributes. Also referred to as the witness or observer consciousness, it is an open field of awareness that transcends the limitations of our ego by expanding our attention outward, enabling us to recognize our interdependence and interconnectedness with everything and everyone else. Even more, our higher self is what connects us to God, or whatever you call the higher power that pervades all of existence.

Obviously we need both our ego and our higher self to be up to speed and operating in concert if we want to show up in the world as balanced, creative human beings. Not enough “ego” and we’ll probably live at a low standard or be dependent on others for our survival. Too much “ego” and we might get what we want, but we’ll leave a path of problems for other people strewn in our wake. Not enough “higher self” and we’re probably very selfish—maybe even a sociopath. Too much “higher self” and we may have noble thoughts but lack the power to accomplish our goals. And, if our two psychic centers are well developed and integrated, we’ll most likely be able to accomplish what we want for all the right reasons, and enrich our own lives as well as those around us. 

All of the scalable social problems that we face today, ranging from a lack of civility between people to the military confrontations between nations, are caused by the imbalances of the psychic centers within people’s psyches. So all of the difficulties that we face in our world ultimately flow back to the imbalances of the psychic centers within each of us. Therefore, we can rightly state that if we want to change the world in a positive way, we can begin by positively changing ourselves.

That said, I can tell you from personal experience that the journey is neither short nor easy. It reminds me of the parable about a king who wished to learn geometry. In response to the king’s command, that he wished to be instructed by the most efficacious possible manner in the regal mathematical concepts of geometry, the renowned mathematician replied, “My pardon, sire, if only this were possible, but in truth there is no royal road to geometry.”

Well, I ask your pardon, my dear friends, but the same holds true if we wish to balance our two psychic centers. Yet there is no doubt that the very desire to achieve balance will advance you more than halfway toward this noble goal; if you hold these reflections in your heart, you will observe the synchronicities that will further your quest: a title of a book may catch your eye, and when you open it, a phrase will leap out to answer a long-held question; you may be invited by a friend to join them in a yoga or meditation class; a scene in a movie may inspire you to actually decide to do the physical exercises or sports activity that you been meaning to do for some time. But most important, be curious and become a good listener, for clues that will point you in the right direction are all around you. They may come from a conversation with a friend or a spontaneous reflection while taking a walk in nature. Open your mind to new possibilities, and you may be astounded at what you discover.

With all of this in mind, by all means enjoy your game of golf, which is obviously a transparent metaphor for whatever you’re actually doing at this particular moment. But be mindful to replace the divots, so that those who are coming up behind you will also have the same opportunity to “go with their flow” in our shared “here and now.” 

Center for Empowered Leadership ®
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