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Fundamental Principle #1: Strengthening Your Higher Mind

The Problem

Consider that we all have two minds: a Lower Mind and a Higher Mind. The Lower Mind keeps us safe, keeps us alive and keeps us trying to accumulate as much power and resources as we can. This is the reptilian, survivor, let-me-get-through-the-day mind. This is the mind we operate from as we negotiate our existence in a world that doesn’t always seem like it wants to go our way. The Lower Mind provides the fight or flight impulse to protect our interests in the face of an actual threat, which is something to be grateful for. But this part of our brain is reinforced by our culture — as though we are more threatened than we actually are. It convinces us to think about ourselves, get ahead and strive to accomplish everything we dream. And so, through the lens of the Lower Mind, a lens that is touted as reality, we see life as a zero-sum game.

And then there’s the Higher Mind.

The Higher Mind lets us know that when we support each other, the pie gets larger, the resources get greater, and we are more stable when everyone has enough. It allows us to think about our own needs and simultaneously support the needs of others. When we come from our Higher Minds we see possibilities we wouldn’t see in our Lower Mind. We inspire others to join us in our endeavors, rather than trigger in them jealousy or competition.

Higher Mind thinking can be infectious if we let it be. It requires a deliberate attempt to not let the Lower Mind run our lives. The first step is to understand what motivates the Lower Mind: it wants to feel safe. It strives, competes, puts up walls, shuts out others — all because it doesn’t feel safe.

The Solution

So what can we do?

There are few opportunities to practice this in our culture since many things are setting off our adrenaline at every turn. But it can be done, if you put your mind to it. Meditation, Music, Dance, Exercise, Circle, Literary Fiction, and other practices increase one’s capacity to strengthen the Higher Mind. And when we’re there we find innovation where there was competition, and maybe best of all - our fight or flight goes off, and we live more peacefully. Then the game becomes how to help others get there too.

This is for many the next frontier in Leadership Development.

Elizabeth Clemants