This is an old story but enchanting enough to give it another outing on this blog.
In 1957 an entire Monastery in Thailand was being relocated by a group of monks. One day they were moving a giant clay Buddha when one of the monks noticed a large crack in the clay. On closer investigation he saw there was a golden light emanating from the crack. The monk used a hammer and a chisel to chip away at the clay exterior until he revealed that the statue was in fact made of solid gold.
Historians believe the Buddha had been covered with clay by Thai monks several hundred years earlier to protect it from an attack by the Burmese army. In the attack, all the monks had been killed and it wasn’t until 1957 that this great treasure was actually discovered.
I was able to share the story of the Golden Buddha at the end of a talk I gave recently when a woman in the audience asked “Is it just a utopian dream to think that I can find my ‘why’ at work? Where do I even start looking for my purpose?”
I explained that it’s already right there inside each of us, that it’s not necessarily found in another job, a new company or another country. It’s always been there and it’s way closer than we think.
What happens over the course of our life however is that we pile layer upon layer of clay over our own Golden Buddha. The heaviest layer of clay is of our own doing – it’s our own limited thinking and our unconscious conditioning. The other layers of clay get added on from external influences (parents, schools and teachers, bosses and co-workers, society, the media, the church, government and corporations). Eventually we are so laden with clay that we forget that the Golden Buddha is there all the time.
The secret to finding our Golden Buddha, our higher purpose, lies not in the future, but in our past. All we need to do is start chipping away at the clay and rediscovering those things we were passionate about as we grew up. We reconnect with why we first went into our profession or that job we really, really loved. We recall the times when we were in flow and time stood still. We chip away at our clay with a therapist or a trusted advisor. We get curious and we do something, anything. Action always precedes clarity. Action reveals the Golden Buddha.
At a company level, we also need to reclaim our Golden Buddha. I believe that most organisations are founded with a golden intent. They are started with a higher purpose to improve humanity and not damage the planet, however over time the clay appears in the form of poor management, flawed systems, board pressure, shareholder expectations or venture capitalist demands. The most vital role for leadership is to unearth that higher purpose again and make it both the glue and the guiding North Star of the company.
Imagine a world where every person and every company could return to their natural state, their Golden Buddha. Just imagine.
THE RISE OF THE PREDATOR CLASS A subscriber exclusive article by Foster Gamble
Two visionary thinkers I would like to highlight here today.
Foster Gamble creator of Thrive Movies One and Thrive Two, and Thrive On.
Jamie Wheal author of the global bestseller Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, Navy SEALs and Maverick Scientists are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work.
Foster Gamble writes:
Once upon a time, and the time was different in different parts of the planet, most people survived through hunting and gathering their food. They needed to stay on the move, adapt to harsh weather, follow the herds.
And then at some point some innovative folks were tired of the hassle, the risk, and the homelessness. They just wanted to stay put. A few figured out how to plant seeds, harvest and store crops for the winter, and then save the new seeds for the next growing season.
Such was the beginning of civilization- of some time to think, to plan, to build and create.
Settlements, villages and even small cities began to emerge.
But there were others with a penchant for violence and ill-gotten gains who realized they could just band together and steal from the storehouses of the farmers. This was still dangerous but took less life-force than hunting or growing in terms of energy output. Their lives became focused on fighting, pillaging and raping.
But they still had to keep moving and risk injury or death in battle, so they had to figure a way that they too could just stay put.
And thus, was born the notion of royalty. The head of a successful band of marauders would declare himself King of a region and then demand a percentage of everyone’s resources in return for protection from robbers just like himself.
People began seeing through the myth of royalty and collusion with the priesthood in they claimed as their “divine right to rule.”
So then the oligarchs had to up their game to keep their serfs believing that they should continue giving a large percent of their hard-earned resources to a group of nonproducing elite.
…so government was born.
Protection money was now going to be called “taxes” – the “price of civilization” – though such coercion is hardly civilized. This began the “social contract” (though the people never signed up for such a mythical contract… except at the point of a gun.
First there were the dictators, and as their absolute power became a source of resentment. Then came the presidents and premiers – democracy and republics. But this is, at best, mob rule. America was the “shining light on the hill,” and the Declaration of Independence was a dramatically ethical and liberating document – but soon people were paying far more in taxes than those for which they had fought the Revolutionary War against England’s King George I.
By the time this historic declaration of equal rights (except for women, slaves and poor people!) became the US Constitution, the elite had secured control over the people once again.
But even this was still a huge improvement in human relations leading to tremendous enhancement and prosperity. But what was all of this leading toward?
Martin Luther King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
We’ve come a long way from the pharaohs, kings and dictators. As Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government except for every other one that’s been tried.”
But what we haven’t tried is NO centralized authoritarian control, with no one having rights that others don’t.
We have been duped into thinking that we are already there, when we are actually just approaching true sovereignty – the individual freedom that each of us naturally seeks. We have been trained to believe since beginning in our government schools that life would be dangerous and impossible chaos without government – so we don’t even consider the final step in the march toward ultimate freedom – and that is a condition of voluntary association – with rules – but no rulers.
Rules that protect each individual’s body, person and rightfully gained property – but no rulers – no one who assumes special rights – like taking someone’s money and calling it taxation; like forcing indoctrination and calling it mandatory schooling; like kidnapping youth, calling it a “draft,” and sending them like slaves into the battles for imperialist plunder.
With all human association based on the Non-Aggression Principle, no one would have the authority to confiscate inventions, impose toxic pharmaceuticals, destroy ecosystems, suppress cures or forbid healthy food.
Our world could be a paradise on Earth of unleashed creativity, cooperation and thriving.
THERE IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE RABBIT HOLE!
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I would like to add here several reviews from Jamie Wheal’s new book Recapture the Rapture: Rethink God,Sex, and Death in a World that’s lost its mind. This book in particular fits in with everything expressed above by Foster Gamble.
Jamie Wheal’s new book Recapture the Rapture: Rethinking God, Sex, and Death in a World that’s lost its mind – is a “A highly personal, richly informed and culturally wide-ranging mediation on the loss of meaning in our times and on pathways to rediscovering it, from breath through psychedelics–a search fueled by Jamie Wheal’s boundless curiosity and commitment to transformation.” — Gabor Maté M.D., Author: In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction
“Can humanity survive today’s exponential world change? Doomsayers say NO–we’re flying blind in the spiraling collapse of civilization. But Wheal offers us a savvy, intriguing and novel roadmap to self-renewal. And it’s packed with literary, cultural, historical and biological references as well. You won’t forget this gem–it’s a fascinating read.” — Dr. Helen Fisher, Senior Research Fellow, The Kinsey Institute, Chief Scientist, Match.com, author Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love
“Recapture the Rapture offers an invaluable roadmap for transformational consciousness and culture, filled with practical tools to harness our healing, reclaim our inspiration and connect to each other for the road ahead.” — Rick Doblin, Founder and Executive Director, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)
Jamie Wheal is the author of the global bestseller Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, Navy SEALs and Maverick Scientists are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work. Wheal is an expert in peak performance and leadership, specializing in neuroanthropology––the intersection of culture, biology and psychology and the founder of the Flow Genome Project, an international organization dedicated to the research and training of ultimate human performance. Wheal is a mountaineer who’s climbed the North Face of Mount Everest, trained Navy Seals, Olympians and RedBull extreme athletes and advised everyone from the U.S. Naval War College and Special Operations Command to the executives of major corporations including Google, Goldman Sachs and Cisco, among others. His work and ideas have been covered in The New York Times, Financial Times, Wired, Entrepreneur, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, INC, and TEDx. Wheal lives in Austin, TX.
Quote from the book: Recapture the Rapture:
“Back in the age of empires, pharaohs built pyramids and kings constructed castles, enshrining their divine right to rule. In the medieval era, monasteries and cathedrals loomed large across Europe, reflecting the power of the Church. With the emergence of the nation-state in the eighteenth century, capitols and courthouses took center stage in urban plans and skylines. By the twentieth century and the age of corporations, skyscrapers towered above everything—monuments to the barons and banks that built them. Today, silicon campuses designed by celebrity architects claim the spotlight. Power has now been harnessed in the physical world by those who invented our virtual ones.” ― Jamie Wheal,