Stories & practices that empower real change

Hein Dijksterhuis: From Championship Sailing to Transformational Leadership [Transcript]

In dialogue with Walter Link on GlobalLeadership.TV


To watch the full episode, Hein Dijksterhuis: From Championship Sailing to Transformational Leadership click HERE.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:00:10] It is more important to really be connected to everything there is and out of that a certain action will arise, that’s in sailing, it’s tacking, in my work as consultant it’s intervening, but the most important capacity is that you allow all the information to be there, without a judgment and for me it has to do a lot with connection that you are really there to have a deeper relationship with other people, for example, with your clients and that judgment of each other is not there, and that you really dare to connect and that together you come up with new solutions.

 

Walter Link: [00:00:54] Welcome to GlobalLeadership.TV, my name is Walter Link. I have always been fascinated by the question of how we move from our many challenges into our full potential as individuals, organizations and whole societies. In this television series I inquire with some of the most innovative leaders from around the world about how they managed to move from inspiration to real change. Please join us in this exploration because we all make a difference and we all can get better at it, therefore on our website we not only show other dialogs and publications but also the kind of practices that these leaders and their organization used to move from inspiration to real change.

 

INTRO TO HEIN DIJKSTERHUIS

Walter Link: [00:01:52] Please join me in my intimate dialog with world champion sailor, Hein Dijksterhuis, one of Holland’s most respected experts in strategy and innovation. For decades, he has supported a wide range of institutions. From the country’s largest to it’s most creative corporations and civil society organizations. Together we created leadership development programs for Triodos, Europe’s foremost sustainability bank and for Sarvodaya one of the world’s impactful social movements. Join us as we examine together the crucial importance of inner and interpersonal work for ground breaking innovation and transformational leadership.

 

THE ART AND CRAFT OF BECOMING WORLD CHAMPION

Walter Link: [00:02:46] You became world champion in Flying Dutchman Sailing which is particular fun because you are actually Dutch and you were even the first Dutch who ever won that world championship, but what was interesting to me is that you said you didn’t have the best boat, you didn’t wear the best trained sailor of them all because you next to it you have a big job in your day to day life to do, so you nevertheless were in a condition that allowed you to win enough races over a week to actually win the championship. How did that happen? What was that made you nevertheless so successful?

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:03:32] Yeah. Indeed, we were by the Dutch Water Sports Association, we are not regarded as the highest potential people to win such a championship but we knew when we were not successful, so we changed a bit our conditions in our sailing or at least in our preparation. So we set, at least two weeks before the championship, we need to have holidays separately with our family and to really relax and to get more connected to ourselves, then we need a week of training on the competition water before we started to race. So that was one of the conditions that we needed to excel.

 

Walter Link: [00:04:21] And what does this enhanced capacity to perform has to do really coming into the moment?

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:04:31] At a certain moment if there is so much trust with each other, then you really start to sense the environment and it’s almost as if you, to be in a moment feels almost as if you are sailing on an automatic pilot or so, or that you don’t have to think about it anymore, but all the information that’s there, comes to you, so you know where the competitors are, although you even don’t see them probably, you know what the wind is going to do, you know the influences of the shore and you know each other. And then you just decide, you just go into it, and you don’t think about it, you just act.

 

THE POWER OF INTEGRATING AWARENESS AND ACTION

Walter Link: [00:05:21] So there is some kind of deeply enhanced capacity both in the individual and in the team to act, that comes from this deep connection with yourself, not yourself as a separate individual but yourself as a reality connected to all the rest of reality.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:05:43] Yeah and still amazing, and we even at a certain moment there was a boat in front of us in the last race and we were behind him and then we sailed through his wind shadow and officially that’s not possible and you never do that but for us it was only way to get in front of the other 116 competitors. So we knew we had that’s the only possibility so we do it like this and indeed we sailed through his wind shadow because of the sails and we ended up in front of him. Now that was so demotivating to him that we have never seen him back again and it was funny for me as well or and it is a bit strange that you can – and then you sense indeed that there is so much more possible that you think that that is possible because all the rules or the convictions about sailing and what is at a certain moment it is almost as if they are not there and to connect with that and to sense that and to feel it and to experience it that is pretty special.  And to become world champion is of course its nice especially for the outside world because that gives a lot of recognition and at the same time to us or to me it was not that important, it was more to be so much in the moment and to really make the best out of the situation that you are in and to be so much connected with each other, the environment, the boat, the water, the other competitors and then to bring that to another level or so.

 

Walter Link: [00:07:38] So in a way what was really exciting about this championship was kind of a deeper discovery of life and how life can bring about this excellent action when you are really totally in contact with it.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:07:56] Yeah. And it is what we say, the present, it is the right action at the right moment in the right circumstances and that is really what we felt there and that’s a wonderful feeling and so often of course we are sailing or working or doing in our hands instead of really doing it, so we think about it and how we should do things and this goes beyond that, so you don’t think about it anymore, you just do it. You are into it, you just do it as you go and instead of all the doubts and all the fears that are always there as well, because as soon as you are a world champion you are supposed to win every race, and of course you don’t and then that can be a reason to start to doubt again, maybe I am not so good, and may be I really cannot sail so well, or at least that is something that I easily do and that’s not helpful of course.

 

Walter Link: [00:09:10] So there can be like a disconnecting from this direct action that happens and instead you start getting busy and doubting yourself, arguing with yourself.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:09:22] And as soon as you do that there are always all kinds of voices in your head while sailing because the feedback that you get is immediate, as soon as you tack, you see, if it was good or if it was wrong, and then it’s easy to blame yourself that you did a lousy job or you shouldn’t tack and you shouldn’t do this, and as soon as you do, you are out of it and you are not connected anymore because you are sailing in your head as I say it and then you won’t perform.

 

Walter Link: [00:09:53] Yeah. So the performance has to do with getting out of this inner destructive dialog and into a deeper self of yourself and out of which the action can flow.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:10:07] And the trick is to have your own practices and it could be a miracle race sailing how to become more present again.

 

HOW TO CHOOSE EMPOWERING DISCERNMENT OVER LIMITING JUDGMENT

Walter Link:[00:10:37] So, it’s sounds like it’s really important to develop an awareness from moment to moment so that you can notice when these unhelpful processes are happening and what supports you while you are sailing to kind of notice Oh! I am doing that and then come back into the moment.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:10:58] Yeah, all the inner practices and the inquiry that helps me to be aware when those voices show up, so at a certain moment I hear myself blaming myself again and then the practice that I am doing at the moment is that I am counting numbers in my head. How much the boat is leaning over, so the mast can be straight or it can be like this and then I start to count, this is for example, 1 this is 2, this is 3, this is 4, this is 5 and then when I am steering the boat, I am just counting numbers, so I am telling myself 3 2 1 4 2 3 4 and it doesn’t make sense because the inclination of the boat or how much my boat is leaning over, it does not influence the speed so much but it is more to really be in the moment and to sense indeed what the boat is doing and then you can get in it again and so then you get out of the all the voices in your head, you just, it’s almost like a kind of meditation.

 

Walter Link: [00:12:12] Because I think that’s a very important element, the judging because so many people judge themselves and each other for so many things and we somehow think that judging is also an important thing because it helps us make decisions and we kind of pride ourselves to have developed a critical mind, but I think what we are talking about here is that there can be a clear discernment of what’s happening and then on top of it you add like value judgment and it’s the value judgment that puts you down or puts the other down that doesn’t really add anything to the situation. It’s good to see what’s really going on but why do that additional element of blaming or judging or putting people down or putting yourself down. Is that what you see in the sailing also?

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:13:07] It is more important to really be connected to everything there is and out of that a certain action will arise, in sailing it’s tacking, in work as consultant it’s intervening, but the most important capacity is that you allow all the information to be there, without a judgment.

 

MEDITATION, INTUITION & THE POWER OF COMPLEXITY

Walter Link: [00:13:29] Yes. And so then being aware of this information allows you to take an action outside of this inner argument, so it enables you to act faster in a way.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:13:41] Yeah, yeah, for sure.

 

Walter Link: [00:13:43] When I spoke, for example, with the Prime Minister of Brazil, who runs a huge country and has to make hundreds of decisions a day in a very fast succession she told me that she wouldn’t be able to run the country if she wouldn’t meditate every day and the reason she gave for that wasn’t stress reduction or some other kind of thing that you hear about mindfulness, but in fact she said it attunes my intuition and my direct contact with reality so deeply that I can make decisions without having to analyze so much because there is no time to analyze. If I would have to analyze everything and make a pro and con list, the day would be filled up with these lists and the decisions would not get done. So in order to be able to decide I actually need to be so finely attuned that the yes and no and this and that kind of arises.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis:[00:14:49] Yeah, yeah, it is beautiful.

 

Walter Link: [00:14:52] So it’s interesting to see running a country or sailing a boat has a lot more in common with each other than one would think, especially if you want to win championships.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:15:07] Yeah, that’s something that you know and I don’t think that I could run a country like Brazil, I am pretty sure I can’t, and at the same time I can see that there are some similarities and it has to do indeed with the intuition, with confidence, and bearing witness part that you are really there to see everything, but I see a lot is that people try to simplify the world and that they start to look at within certain boundaries and just don’t allow certain information to come in because of the person they are or because of the way they are raised or whatever. I think for me it’s important that you are really there, that all the information that’s there to come in, and based on that you can decide.

 

Walter Link: [00:16:08] Right. So the way that they manage complexity is by reducing the input and I think that if you only rationally think about things you actually have to do that because our mind isn’t that powerful digestion mechanism, but if you go deeper into your awareness where the rational mind is available as one input but there are also other parts of your consciousness that can digest input then you can have as much as input as you want or as there is because there is some kind of internal information management process that comes up with very pointed focus decision, so that’s I think a very interesting and important thing for a world that becomes more and more complex.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:17:07] Yeah, I totally agree and to do certain practices like the Prime Minister of Brazil like meditation, I started using the wheel of awareness practice by Daniel Siegel recently and he says that there are different kind of senses and of course the five normal senses as well to really connect with your body, to connect with each other in a different way, to connect indeed with your emotions and your thoughts and to bring that all together in a meditation practice and to me that has been very helpful recently, to connect even better with who I am and what I am feeling and those kind of practices I think are needed for many people.

 

HOW PEOPLE & ORGANIZATIONS ACTUALLY DEVELOP

Walter Link: [00:18:18] So when you asked me to work with me as a coach, you wanted to learn how to bring this particular capacity that you experience in the sailing into your work in the world, and I wonder what you have learned how you connect this experience of sailing at the level of winning a world championship to working with companies and other organizations that you are working with. What have you learned through the coaching and your work about that connection?

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:19:07] I think most important what I have learned is to do assignments as a consultant really together and to co-create it instead. Before the coaching what I did is that I tried to listen as well as possible to the other person and since I am psychologist I can listen pretty well or I am taught to do that, then I went to the internet or to a book shop bought a latest book about it, about what the topic was and convinced the other person, this is what we need to do and we went for it, and then at a certain moment I realized that this is not the impact that I want to have because at a certain moment I was good enough a consultant, so people were appreciative and they liked what I did and at the same time I was myself a bit struggling with the impact that we were having and then indeed I was looking for a coach and I found you.

 

Walter Link: [00:20:18] So what I understood is you that were doing these huge projects with big banks and other major companies, you used this Harvard methods and other big name methods and you observed somehow that these companies keep doing like program after program but that somehow change doesn’t really happen, there isn’t really transformation that takes them to a new level of innovation and a new level of success. How do you understand that? What’s needed there to make that breakthrough happen?

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:20:59] It is always way too superficial, so they do all kinds of things because they are nice, because they have read about it, but they do not really go for it, so they do something about behavior change and at the same time, they don’t do the followup and so it is always at a certain superficial level without a connection with themselves who they really are and what their only purpose in life is and what they want to realize in their lives. It is always a certain, more shallow level that they are operating from and they find it hard to deepen and as a consultant it is part of your job to support people to deepen and that they really connect with who they are and what they really want to realize in their lives. I think most important what you did to me is when we dove 10 years ago deeply into my sailing experience I started to appreciate it even more and I started to become more aware of what happened there and then I thought, but hey, that was really special and I dared to tell myself that it was really special moment and because of that I started to long more for those moments and not so much become more times world champion because that’s hard and maybe I am not that good as a sailor but I can be as present as possible and to be aware as possible of myself and my surroundings, evolution, whatever, and that is what makes special to me but those moments, they are hardly there to recognize.

 

Walter Link: [00:22:57] Right, and I think in some way even though it’s may be not as public as becoming world champion everybody has these special moments where they are deeply in contact with life and where they suddenly are capable of doing things that they usually are not capable of, but our consciousness is organized in such a way and also our society is organized in such a way that these moments almost filtered out and that they are seen as an accident rather than as a breakthrough into the potential that we could live every time.

 

THE FORCE OF EVOLUTION VS. THE STATUS QUO

Walter Link: [00:23:58] In my understanding there are kind of two main forces in life, the force of evolution that takes us closer and closer to our potential and the force of the status quo which also for good reasons fear of survival and fear of rejection in society, etc., etc., tries to keep us exactly in the place where we are and allowing just a little opening here and there but basically keep coming back because there is a fear of this movement towards evolution and the contribution that inner work can make is to disempower the force of status quo and to empower the force of evolution. And it’s a very personal process because while these are general principles and general forces in each of us the status quo limits us is in a very individualized way and each of us also have a specific potential and a specific way to get there and that’s where I think awareness work and inquiry is so important to make it very personal to ourselves and to invest the time and the care and take ourselves seriously because we all can make a great contribution.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:25:30] Yeah, I agree, and the inner work helps us to realize the limitations of the status quo as well and that you start to become, because you are less fearful to step into the unknown and I think that is really important, that we dare to step into the unknown and feel confident enough. And for me at least inner work has helped to do that and it helps, so the inner work is part of it but the sharing or the debriefing, that’s just as important because then you start to say things that you maybe you do not dare to say out loud, but as soon as you do it, as soon as I share with you that sometimes I have the feeling that I can read somebody’s mind then it’s there, then it’s in the open and then you dare to then you start to see it even more often.

 

Walter Link: [00:26:51] So for me, I think you pointed very important phenomenon here, that inner work isn’t meant to be kind of again a new silo where I am just doing it with myself, I think that’s a fundamental misunderstanding also about meditation that if we are present together and that if we are inquiring with each other which includes not only to be silently aware of ourselves but to speak, to share and to share together, and to discover together, in my experience, it’s much easier for most people as a path, than to only silently meditate alone. The silent meditation is a support practice that really deepens the inquiry but the being together really empowers the discovery.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:27:58] And especially if you can do with people who are not very similar to ourselves and because then you start to see the different perspectives on the same situation and especially I like it so much to travel abroad because then I start to see myself through the eyes of other persons again.

 

THE RICHNESS OF DIVERSITY

Walter Link: [00:28:23] Yeah, and it reminds me of the, I think my first thing because I was so busy, and you said you wanted to work with me, and then I said, Oh! Come to Brazil, I am just running a workshop there and why don’t you come and then we continue working and I think that was a useful thing for you to come out of your usual context into a new context with strangers and foreigners and I think it speaks to this importance of diversity and this kind of risk you were willing to take also to go into the unknown.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:29:00] Yeah. And that is something that I always feel that my intuition told me I need to go there and although my rational mind, there were lots of reasons not to go there but at certain moments there is just the intuition to go there, and I think quite a few people do not dare that, that they make indeed a list of pluses and minuses and then for me the best solution would have been to stay home but I didn’t. So, to dare to take those kind of risks I think is important. What stood out for me was at a certain moment I was sitting opposite of CEO or former CEO of a huge organization in Brazil and we looked into each other’s eyes because of a certain practice that you facilitated and I felt rather uncomfortable to look into the eyes of a man for such a long time, for minutes, it was a long time and then at a certain moments you said, now, you share what’s going on within yourself while looking at the other person and I really didn’t dare to because it felt way too intimate.  Luckily he had longer hair so he had to start sharing what he was seeing and I felt so touched because he said, I see a beautiful person in front of me sitting, so he said about me, I see a beautiful person sitting in front of me, who took such a long, such an effort to come to us, to this place so far from his home and I see the love and wisdom in his eyes and I appreciate it so much that you are here, that is something that was never told to me before because it was almost, maybe somebody told me but then I never heard it because usually I valued myself because of all the things that I am doing and over here I met a man of 60 maybe, who was regarded as one of the top people of Brazil, who was sharing something like that with me and that supported me, to start at least to see myself differently.

 

THE DEEPER SOURCE OF SUCCESS

Walter Link: [00:31:40] Yeah. So what you are saying is I mean you did get a lot of appreciation for your role and your success, but this kind of deeper source of where really your success comes from, who you really are, that’s somehow wasn’t seen by you and the others that can acknowledge it and I think again it’s because I think especially in the northern world we are afraid of our feelings and we are afraid of sharing those with each other and that’s nothing to do with being touchy-feely, that actually has something to do with seeing the source of our capacity and the source of who we are this somehow I know him very well of course and because of the work we did together and because he is Brazilian and it’s easier for Brazilians to speak about their feelings, he somehow could give you a gift that was somehow important in that moment for you and now you pass that gift on, so the diversity, the difference could have been shocking and shutting you down but it was somehow really opening you up.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:32:54] Yeah. Because of that I was able to share my own feelings with him because I felt so touched already by what he told me that I dared to say the love that I felt for him and what I saw in his eyes and that is something I would have never shared in the Netherlands if it was one of those bankers over here, and I still won’t, but I can if I want to and I know and I allow to have those feelings myself and then even don’t have to express them those people will sense them anyway, so you can say them out loud but that’s not normal over here and I don’t feel comfortable doing it, it’s not needed because people can sense it on another level. So and that is more of the expression of the feelings that can be through the mouth or through words or by just being with them, or whatever, but it is for myself important that I dare to allow those feelings.

 

HOW DEEP CONNECTIONS SOURCE INNOVATION

Walter Link: [00:34:28] So I think that’s a very interesting point you are making there because I think our western modern way of learning and of hoping for development has all to do with intellectual learning, that’s what happened in schools, at universities, and trainings, you somehow present a new idea, you present evidence for that new idea and then the thinking about that idea and this new evidence should bring about a different behavior. And somehow what you are noticing and I notice the same is that it is not enough to just intellectually engage, you also have to get into the whole person, and that’s somehow what you also say about championship sailing, it wasn’t analysis of the situation, it was kind of including all of you and then from that to act in an immediate and confident way that actually brought about real transformation or in this case real excellence.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:35:38] Yeah, and for me it has to do a lot with connection that you really dare to have a deeper relationship with other people, for example, with your client and that judgment of each other is not there and that you really dare to connect and that together you come up with new solutions, so they are not so much from the book, it is just by sitting together, by diving into the problems, to let go of all kind of convictions that you think that are in place, but that you really dare to digest all the information that’s there. And if you are able to do that together with your client or with your team then something new arises, but it is a bit of a painful process because you must as a consultant you think you are hired because you know, and then in those moments you just don’t know and together you don’t know, that feels uncomfortable.

 

TO INNOVATE WE NEED TO BEAR NOT KNOWING THE ANSWER

Walter Link: [00:36:46] Right. So you have to dare to bare not knowing so that something new can arise because if you knew already why would you need to inquire, why would you even engage in the process, if the knowledge was already there, just do it.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:37:04] Yeah. But of course a lot of clients hire you or at least at the start that they look for somebody who is going to tell them what to do and that is the trick or that is pitfall that you can step into, and I think if real transformation is needed at another level not a superficial level but real transformation then there is a different connection needed and you dare, together you dare not to know but still get all the information that’s there and out of that information indeed something new arises.

 

WE LONG FOR COMMUNITY

Walter Link: [00:37:45] So it’s a new connection with yourself and a new connection with each other, reminds me of our leadership program for Triodos Bank, where we invited the bankers to have a deep inquiry and to what is the essence of banking and surprisingly too many of them they came up with the result that banking is fundamentally about relationship.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:38:16] There are lot of individuals who really feel alone who hardly dare to share that with themselves, that they feel so much alone, that are disconnected from their own feelings let alone that they are dare to connect with each other and that’s the way that I see a lot of those things functioning and the role of a consultant can be that people start to become more aware of themselves again and to connect in new ways with each other because there is always a deep longing to do that and usually there is not so much needed to ignite that longing.

 

Walter Link: [00:38:58] So the longing is there but it needs a kind of support to be enacted, I think maybe also because to talk about relationship and to talk about the heart that it’s not just the professional mental relationship but we also care about each other and we share a deep passion and that’s something that also lives in our hearts, in our bellies is somehow not quite okay to talk about in a professional context.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:39:29] No, no, but what I have sensed is that as soon as you team up people in pairs, and you ask them a question, for example, what is your purpose in life? And to tell me your story and the other one has to listen for 10 minutes without intervening, so it’s not a dialog but one person just shares what he or she thinks or feels his purpose in life is, then that always leads to a wonderful conversation because these kind of topics people don’t talk about these days, but they want to although they even don’t know and usually they just don’t know what their purpose in life is, but if they need to talk about it for 10 minutes they come up with it and that is something, so there is only a small intervention needed to let people open up, it’s my experience.

 

A STRATEGY BUILT ON INDIVIDUAL & COLLECTIVE PURPOSE

Walter Link: [00:40:21] How does that deeper connection to themselves and each other, translate into innovation, better leadership, more success?

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:40:31] As soon as people know better their own purpose or what they really are longing for they start to share that more often with each other and it becomes more and more clear what the future direction for example for an organization is, and so what we always do is that we first talk about the purpose of the person, what is really important to you, what it is that you want to realize in your life and then we connect it to the organization, how do you translate it to the organization that you are working for and sometimes we see indeed that people realize that this is not an organization that I want to work for anymore, so it is better for me to leave. That always happens in these kind of assignments and at the same time the people who are really there, they really start to see what their mutual purpose is, and what they want to realize with the organization, and then the strategy becomes more and more clear, and deeper rooted, so it’s not only superficial anymore that is something that they want to do because whatever but it is really rooted within themselves and within themselves as a team and then you become almost unstoppable.

 

Walter Link: [00:41:59] So the deep connection to the purpose of the individual and the shared purpose of the organization kind of becomes power base for action.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:42:12] Yeah, it is really a power base for action and because you feel so much connected at that level then project plans and operational plans are not so important anymore because you are connected with each other at another level and because of that, people trust that intentions and actions that arise from there are the right ones.

 

HOW TO ATTUNE TO EVOLUTION

Walter Link: [00:42:58] So the deep connection to yourself and to the other whether it’s a person or a team and to the surroundings of life kind of is putting you in touch with what you could call the evolutionary impulse, what wants to happen here. I mean when we talk about innovation or good leadership, it’s not so much what I want to do as an ego personality, that wants to impose my will but it is to listen to what wants to happen, and so I think that’s what you are talking about here that you can attune to what wants to happen and you become the leader in that situation because you can formulate and help the others to also attune to that and then together you do evolution.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:43:55] Yeah, you follow evolution and you start to see it and you know, but sometimes even as you know, it’s with each other, and indeed feel connected to that evolution and where it needs to go and there is no doubt anymore, it really needs to go there and the best strategy and assignments I felt that as well that we really knew where to go, what the next steps were or the end picture, not end picture but dot in the horizon or whatever you want to call it. It is just this direction, that is special and individual interaction as well that sometimes even can read somebody else’s mind and that I just know what is going to happen or what he or she is going to say and I don’t know from where, but it is that you are so much attuned that you know the flow or the direction that it will go.

 

Walter Link: [00:45:01] Right. It’s like when you were talking about the sailing and you somehow know how the wind or how the current or how the competitor is going to sail, like we have the capacity if we let go of this idea that we are these separated individual silos, if we open through processes like awareness and meditation and inquiry into the connectedness with everything, then we get suddenly information and we as a personality get out of the way so that life can happen and it’s in my experience also very satisfying because we are just part of what wants to happen and it’s so enjoyable to kind of be part of that flow rather than to have to schlep up the hill doing our own thing alone against everybody else, we become part of life.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:46:03] Yeah, become part of it and there is always such a deep connection with other people and that is what I enjoy so much as well.

 

 

INNER WORK IS ABOUT BECOMING REAL

Walter Link: [00:46:14] So I like that we are getting more into how inner work really works because I was just working with top-top consultant from an accounting company that works with the world’s leading CEOs and CFOs in these very complex and very important matters, where like a little movement to the right or left can express itself in hundreds and millions of gains and losses and she is also working on herself and when we started to work more together, she said, I am so relieved to find out that inner work is not about being nice, it’s about being real. And I think that in this huge innovation potential that inner work brings to the world, we need to start to understand the details more because there is a lot of misconception and the people that are afraid of conflict hide behind trying to be nice and saying, Oh! inner work is about being more nice and kind and they kind of avoid the challenge and the courage that it takes to be real with each other, in a respectful way, in a caring way but still also in a challenging way and then the people that are more powerful in the world and are more willing to be courageous and engage life look at that kind of inner work and say, Oh! that’s touchy-feely, that’s not real, that doesn’t help me, I don’t want to do that and then they don’t get the benefit of the deeper connection with themselves and each other that is needed.

 

Walter Link: [00:48:10] So how can we bring this new complexity of the inner world in a way forward that is not too complicated, where not everybody has to meditate for 20 years, or study 20 years with a Buddhist teacher but still the core principles and the core practices become available, so that the world can benefit from them because there is a lot benefit in it.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:48:44] Yeah, I dare to say much more indeed since I am meditating or I am much more confrontative or challenging but still in an appreciative way, so you can challenge with intimacy as well and the people feel indeed and sometimes if I sit back and I think, did I really say this and he didn’t feel offended. How come? But it’s some kind of other connection that the love and kindness or whatever you want to call it that people feel as well, so you say something and at the same time they feel your commitment and they feel that is it, not for your own benefit that sounds a bit patriarchal, patronizing, but it comes more out of love, although the words are really challenging and because of that you can help a situation further.

 

RECOGNIZING SHARED HUMANITY: MAINTAINING OPTIMISM

Walter Link: [00:49:41] So there is kind of different understanding of what it means to be human that is not so isolated, but that is more collective and I think when we have this contact, like you had it with the CEO in Brazil, we are reconnecting to the fact that two very strangers who have never seen each other can connect to our shared humanity and that if we really take this seriously we could live in a world of a shared humanity and we could live in a world in which we also share that relationship with nature and from that basis it becomes more natural to be more sustainable, it becomes more natural to be democratic, to be cooperative, to be peaceful because when you meet each other in our depth of humanity and the depths of life why would you want to destroy nature, why would you want to hurt each other?

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:50:53] Yeah, I totally agree and at the same time I am less optimistic. For myself I have discovered that I want to live like that and to connect at that level but I am not so optimistic if that will be the future of the world or the society.

 

Walter Link: [00:51:22] Maybe optimism has also something to do with timeframes, so if you think about we once were one-cell creatures that had very little consciousness, no intelligence and just kind of existed on a very strange planet and from there we developed through evolution into this incredible manifestation that’s there now maybe we can trust not us, ourselves, but evolution to take us further into a potential and trust that these moments of deep interpersonal connection show us what the potential is even though it will may be take us many, many more years and generations to make that day to day reality.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: [00:52:18] If you can think of millions of years then I think I agree but I am less optimistic about the upcoming ten.

 

Walter Link: [00:52:31] I think maybe the most important change that has happened in the world over the last 100 years or 50 years is the difference between the valuing of women in the world and of course you can still say that there is lot of lack of equality, lack of opportunity, even very serious abuse in many parts of the world and day to day life here but also when you think what happened over the last 100 years or last 50 years, then a lot has happened in a relatively short time frame. And so I think, yes, it might all take very long but I think it’s also important to realize what has already happened because otherwise I think will become cynical, we pull away and we say, Oh! nothing can happen, I mean I am not saying that you do but I think it’s important to notice also things do happen but not to be naïve and think it will be after tomorrow.

 

Hein Dijksterhuis: No, and what I heard Dr. Ariyaratne saying is, Hein, do realize that you can’t influence anything that’s outside of yourself? Because those trees are growing, those cameras are clicking, the planes are flying, you can’t do anything about it. The only thing that you can influence is your inner state of your mind. And you can always be with love and kindness. But that needs a lot of practice but it’s the only thing that you can really influence. And because of that you can maybe influence the rest of the world. But the only thing that you really can influence is your mind. And that is something that is close to my heart now and I try to do every day.