Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Empowered Servant-Leader

The Empowered Servant-Leader

by Bhakti-Tirtha Swami

excerpted from his two-volume book Technologies For An Age of Higher Consciousness

The Servant-Leader

Dasanudasa: I like to think of a true leader not simply as a person who leads but as a servant-leader. In Sanskrit, a servant is called dasanudasa, literally “a servant of the servant.” He sees himself as a caretaker rather than a proprietor or dictator. Instead of waiting for someone else to do the needful, a servant-leader will step to the front and do it himself, especially when the people's welfare is at stake.

When a servant-leader is served, he himself becomes a better servant. The more influence and facility a servant-leader has, the more he uses them to give back to the people. A servant-leader is aware of what is going on around him. He also is persuasive, sharing his ideas with others and building stronger communities.

Ten Essential Technologies For Empowered Servant-Leadership

The metaphysical technologies listed here are simple yet profound tools that you may want to incorporate into your leadership style. To reap the greatest benefit from these principles, you can include a meditation on these ten essential technologies for empowered leadership in your daily regimen.

1. What of It? What For? So What?

This meditation is designed to help us realize that many illusions can influence us or enslave us. Leo Tolstoy once wrote about a transition is his life when he began to question everything, despite his great success. Following Tolstoy's example, in this meditation envision yourself as possessing great material abundance such as exorbitant wealth, worldwide fame, vast knowledge, or dazzling beauty.

Consider each of these areas in turn, and others if you wish, realizing that it cannot be the ultimate goal of lie. Ask yourself the questions, “What of it?” “What for?” “So what?”

2. Not This Body

This reflection helps us realize that we are more than just the physical body. Therefore, we should not overreact or be overly attached to material stimuli. The exercise consists of saying attentively: “I have a body-but I am not this body.”; “I have a mind-but I am not this mind”; “I have a job-but I am not this job”; or “I have a house-but I am not this house.” Insert any problem into this meditation to help yourself release any attachment to temporary phenomenon.

3. The Other Person's Point Of View

This practice helps us become more sensitive to another person's perception of the situation, particularly during interpersonal conflicts. Choose a conflict that has been troubling you. Write a letter to yourself as if you were the opposing party trying to convince yourself of the opposite point of view. Employ this letter-writing technique for any conflict.

4. Seeing The Divine Everywhere

This contemplation helps us give more of ourselves to others and receive more love from people in general. Practice seeing everyone as an energy of the Divine

5. Everything Has A Purpose

There are no coincidences. Because the universe is controlling higher agencies, each encounter has come to us for a particular reason. We are subject to a spiritual law similar to a law of physics: every action produces a corresponding reaction. Therefore, we can try to discover the lesson in every occurrence.

The exercise is to turn negative events into positive ones and positive events into even better ones. If we learn from all events, then everything that happens can become a positive occurrence because we have become wiser.

6. Accountability

The knowledge that we are monitored by the Divine will encourage us to live more righteously in order to be rewarded rather than punished. The exercise is to imagine that we are always being looked after by the Divine's presence

7. Call For Love

This practice helps us appreciate the many forms in which a call for help can come and reminds us to always examine ourselves to see how we have helped others. The exercise is to see all interactions as either a giving of love or a call for love.

8. Love In Action

This technology helps us shower everyone and everything in our environment with vibrant love. The exercise is to see ourselves as embodiments of love in action.

9. Near Death

Imagine that your doctor has just informed you that you have a serious disease, and that you are going to die in three months. If this were your fate, how would you live each of your last days differently?

This reflection helps remind us that we can never be certain how much longer we will remain in this material body. Therefore, we must not procrastinate or have a weak link of priorities. Important things-essential things-must be done now!

10. A Second Chance

We must live each day in readiness to depart if our appointment with death arrives. The exercise is to imagine that you are dying right now, and can see what you are leaving behind and the effect that your death will have on others. What are your last thoughts? What are your regrets? What things have you left undone? You should do these things today.

Get Down To The Soul

Our basic thesis is that true (and mature) servant-leadership is impossible without embracing a deeply developed form of universal spirituality. This is so because the mature servant-leader is a natural philosopher and spiritualist: these highly evolved components are as fundamental to his or her way of being as food is to any other living organism.

A true servant-leader assesses the primary needs of his dependents and compassionately serves them. For this to occur, the servant-leader must have a profound understanding of the highest good, which necessarily goes beyond mere material requirements.

Ultimately, a servant-leader focuses on our identity as spiritual beings, as people who undergo material experiences even though, at their very core, they are beyond matter. Thus, the mature servant-leader must assist in servicing the soul, the real identity of each and every individual. It is the soul that is the highest expression of humanity and mature servant-leadership has little meaning without recognition of this.

For more from Bhakti-Tirtha Swami, including lectures and his books, check out his website at

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