In the last two posts we’ve discussed two important ways we “move” or respond in our relationships: power and mindfulness (or knowing). The ‘power” response describes our ability to use our personal agency to take forward action. In the mindfulness response we step away from the situation in order to focus on “knowing” about the situation rather than reacting to it. There is a third movement or dimension called the heart dimension, or you can think of it as “love.” In the third response, heart or love, we show respect and regard for the other person involved in a situation. Like power and mindfulness, the heart dimension can operate not only in the positive zone (as described above) but also in the negative zone as well. My recent trip to India illustrates this well.
Last week I had a business meeting in Houston. On my ride to the Los Angeles airport my driver enthusiastically described Donald Trump as a great businessman who will get America back on track. He then expressed his outrage at all the “sore losers” protesting in the streets. A few hours later, on my ride from the Houston airport to my hotel, the driver explained with dismay that his young daughter had awakened in tears, afraid that she and her family could be deported. He was outraged that America could elect what he saw as “an insecure bigot.”
Never in my memory has the country been so divided in reaction to an election—a state of affairs clearly represented by my two drivers. It is amazing that any two of us can look at the same event with very different eyes. Some see Trump as a national treasure who will save America. Others see the same man as a dangerous narcissist and bigot. How can we see the same reality in such different ways?
July 18th was Mandela Day: A perfect time to look at how Nelson Mandela exemplified someone who found the balance of power, heart, and mindfulness in his great life.
As one of the most respected and beloved world leaders of the 20th century, Mandela instigated the peaceful transition of power in South Africa that many had thought impossible. And he accomplished this remarkable feat within the backdrop of his own personal and protracted sacrifice and suffering. Mandela received over 200 awards including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is held in deep respect within South Africa, where he is often referred to as Tata (“Father”). Continue reading “Nelson Mandela: Someone with the Balance of Power, Heart and Mindfulness”