Awakin Calls » Simon Hampel » Transcript
Simon Hampel: A Quest for Visionary Leaders and Change Agents
Guest: Simon Hampel
Host: Bela Shah
Moderator: Rahul Brown
Welcome to Awakin Calls. Every Saturday, we host a conversation with an individual whose inner journey inspires us and whose work is transforming our world in large and small ways . Awakin calls are an all-volunteer-run offering of Service Space. A global platform founded on the simple principle, that by changing ourselves we change the world to create a more compassionate and service-oriented society. Thank you for joining us.
Bela: Good morning. Good afternoon, and good evening everyone. My name is Bela and I'm really excited to be your host for our weekly global Awakin Call. Welcome and thank you for joining us. The purpose of these calls is to share stories that help plant seeds for a more compassionate society while fostering our own inner transformation. We do this by holding collective conversations with guest speakers from all walks of life who inspire us to live in a more service-oriented way. And behind each of these calls is an entire team of Service Space volunteers whose invisible work allows us to hold the space. Today our special guest is Simon Hampel. Thanks again for joining today's call. Let's start with a minute of silence to anchor ourselves into the space.
Welcome again to our weekly Awakin Call, today in conversation with Simon Hampel. As an all-volunteer-offering, each awakin call is a conversational space that is co-created by many invisible hands. In a few minutes our moderator Rahul Brown will begin by engaging in initial dialogue with our speaker, Simon Hampel. And by the top of the hour, we'll go into a Q&A and circle of sharing, where we invite all your reflections and questions. I've opened up the queue right now so at any point you can hit star six on your phone and you'll be prompted when it's your turn to speak. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or submit a comment or question via the webcast form if you are listening online via live webcast.
Our moderator today is Rahul. Rahul seeks to bring deeper truth, love, and joy into his life and the world. Along the way, he’s started a few companies and social ventures, while also serving as a senior executive in others. In parallel with his entrepreneurial streak, he’s an avid volunteer who loves contributing wherever he can. Some favorite organizations of his are the ServiceSpace ecosystem, Gandhi Ashram & Manav Sadhna families, and the California Vipassana Center—and more recently his very own neighborhood, son’s preschool, and daughters elementary school.
One of his favorite quotes is from Dr. V of the Aravind Eye Hospitals who said, “Intelligence and ability are not enough. There must be the joy of doing something beautiful.” Rahul is currently spearheading a new venture that uses carbon markets to incentivize plant-based diets since meat-consumption is one of the largest and most under-reported contributors to climate change, species loss, and water scarcity. So I'll hand it over to you, Rahul, to introduce Simon and get the ball rolling.
Rahul: Thanks so much, Bela. So Simon has had a remarkable journey from a serial entrepreneur, to a social entrepreneur, and a leadership development expert. Along the way he’s acquired an eclectic portfolio of outer and inner experiences that have really paved the path for a thoughtful navigation that imports the direction of his heart. He's a partner and former managing partner of ‘Leaders Quest’, an organization that trains leaders to become more conscious, purposeful, and transformative. And he was a CEO of ‘Right to Sight’ from 2006-2010. Both organizations are ones that I'm actually coincidentally quite familiar with. In addition, he's also a partner of the Global Leaders Academy and is a trustee of their ministry of entrepreneurship. And he's a non-executive director at Positive Group, and an ambassador for Abercrombie and Beautiful Corporations. Simon, thanks so much for joining us from London today.
Simon: Thanks Rahul. Lovely to be on the call with you.
Rahul: So Simon, I wanted to just dive right into your journey. You know, you were a serial entrepreneur before starting Leaders Quest. What kind of companies were you building and why? I'm really curious what drove you in that period of your life.
Simon: I think, Rahul... I remember going to University. I'm feeling a bit stuck. Part of me felt maybe fairly, or unfairly that I was being guided by my family into somewhere I didn't necessarily want to go. So much as, I'm sure they're doing it for the right reasons, and love and care, I had around me a number of quite successful individuals who were uncles and grandparents and the like. And I ended up, my reaction to that, whether it was true or not, was to leave University after two years and to try and find my own path. So something was like, I've got to go a different way. And very quickly, ended up very fortuitously; working for a group of entrepreneurs as their sort of PA, age 21, and just learning.
I had this fast-track learning for two years about how to build and sustain businesses. And in that two-year period it became apparent that I had a series of ideas of my own. And I used to sort of sense-check them with these more senior and successful men. They're all men. And one day they said, “Gosh that's a good idea! Why don't you do it”' I was 23, it was the idea around a brokerage company trading equity and debt in Leisure clumps. I mean, completely off the wall; I’d never had any involvement with shares before but it prompted them to suggest I should go ahead and do it. And they gave me the wherewithal, like they lent me some money and gave me some professional advisors.
And it just worked and I think what happened -- to your original question, was I just...I just seemed to get things done and they seemed to go well and people liked them and I enjoyed the feeling of that. So I just kept doing it, and whatever I touch seemed to turn to gold, initially. And very quickly we had the business worth quite a lot of money, and people wanted to join it, and people were enjoying the services it provided, and it sort of gave me a sense of trying different things. And I didn't know what I didn't know and it wasn't about the money, it was about growing and building things and I think that's what came to me as I, at this young age, I just tried things.
Rahul: Right. And it very much seemed like there was just an intrinsic satisfaction in the creativity of bringing an idea out and letting it flourish in the world.
Simon: Yes. It was a brilliant idea and it was also the satisfaction of helping people resolve problems that they had. That I could find a way of resolving their challenges. So there was a sense of service there, but it wasn't in any way conscious. It was just other people coming in and saying here's my problem with X or Y and I was like "I can do something about that", "If I do this, this is going to help you." And they would reward me in so doing.
Rahul: Right. Yeah, absolutely. And you know, you're mentioning that everything sort of turned to gold in the initial days, but I think you count that experience as sort of an experience of later losing everything as a major turning point for you. You know it seem that that process was a gateway to a wonderful and sort of positive new opening in your life. I'm curious about how that experience changed the way you process suffering; either your own suffering or the suffering that you see in the world?
Simon: I certainly had never personally suffered as much as I did, when I literally lost everything. I lost all the businesses, all my money. The big one; I had one that was quite large, I tried to take from the smaller ones to support the big one, but I didn't quite make it. I was very close. It was a classic timing challenge.
And I think the suffering there, it was at so many levels. I had lots of friends and family money come in, because it's getting to the stage where people felt they could do well supporting me. I had lots of loving employees who were reliant upon, I suppose, my leadership to build the organization, with their own families, their own mortgages, their own financial needs. So I felt shame and guilt. I know I remember feeling incredibly guilty and shameful. And I just, I felt like I'd done something wrong - even though I hadn't - I felt like I had and I wanted to go to hide. So for a period of time I really struggled to make even the most sort of mundane choice. I didn't want to affect anyone's life. I felt like if I did, I would affect it badly. So even you know, what color socks I put on the morning was, it was a quite a challenging choice. And I think for about six months, I sat in that suffering.
And I wasn't sure what it was -- fair or unfair. I couldn't understand why that happened to me, I was not comfortable in looking out into the world. But slowly, I got better. I think because of where I was; I was in southern Spain and Seville, I found myself there more by accident, than design. But in being there, it was beautiful and warm. I earned in a year what I used to pay myself in a week. And somehow, I had an amazing quality of life. So I began to notice that I was all right; that I was okay even with everything that's gone wrong, I was okay. And that was quite an interesting feeling -- that "Oh! What's this about?" And then I also noticed that all I could do was trust because I'd lost everything else. I had nothing. So I had to trust that what I needed would come towards me. And it kept happening, and that was also interesting. It sort of helped me navigate this pain.
So after six to nine months, I definitely had moved on from the larger body of it. I think there was still ancillary stuff to deal with, for a few more years, around relationships with people That takes time and generally it's better face-to-face. But I am, and I think, Rahul, to your question -- it's just helped me, in the sense of suffering, both on a level of perspective -- you know, I had something that for me was awful. It wasn't death, but it was the breaking down of so much that I'd worked so hard to build, and yet, I’d come through it. And that's an amazing perspective, when we then didn’t have the next layer of life to lead, and the challenges that throws up, and think "I can get through this; and if I don't get through this, and if I lose everything again, I'll be okay." So suffering became and has become much less constant or when it comes into my life, it's just there for less time and less painful...if that makes sense?
Rahul: It does. It sounds a little bit like that experience was almost a fast, you know, like a fast from money. And just like in a fast that you do from food, you know there's an initial kind of difficult period and many thoughts and doubts coming up in your head. But what ultimately kicks in is the sort of the body's natural healing power and resiliency, and just the removal of toxins that allow you to see and feel and live more deeply. It sounds like the experience was some ways like a fast from money in business that that actually led to this this inner change and inner shift that was occurring for you. Would that be a fair kind of way to characterize it?
Simon: Yes. I've never, never have heard or thought about it in that context. But I really like that. It was definitely a fast of money. It was a piece about relationship as well. I was so used to being in charge, and very happy in relationship with all the people I had around me; friends and family, work colleagues and clients alike, but when I lost everything, I wasn't sure what I was worth. Why would people be interested in me? You know, I had... and I did notice that some “friends” just dropped me. I wasn't any more interesting. That was an education.
But many didn't. And in fact, not just that; many new people because of where I was living in Spain, just arrived and they didn't know about my past. In fact, they didn't even care. They just judged me for the man I was, standing in front of them in a street in Seville, and I made some amazing friendships there. It so much so that, when I got married finally, I’m 50 now, but I got married about four years ago, and we had 12 Sevillas, lovely men and women from Seville, who came to our wedding. And that was such a lovely connection for me -- that friendship lasting an extended period
Rahul: Beautiful. So following this period of sort of the money-fast, if you will, there was what seemed like an explosion of kind of exploration that sort of took you all around the world. I do want to talk about Leaders Quest, but I wonder if you could just briefly take us through what was occurring on the inside and outside in that deeply exploratory phase. What sort of coincided with what feels like just a burst of energy from the other side, of that place of not really having your bearings?
Simon: I love that you're painting a wonderful picture. Oh, I am not sure if I saw it quite as clearly. It could be looking backwards, it feels that way. At the time, it was all a big question mark, but it was done with a great sense of joy and excitement. I definitely wasn't fearful. I was very trusting. Because of what happened in Seville, where the city had opened his arms to me then, I ended up realizing you don't lose air miles when you lose your businesses. Amazing! So I had all these air miles. I could go anywhere in the world and of course I'd learn to live very cheaply. And so I thought, well, I speak Spanish now. I've got all these air miles. One brother gave me a rucksack and a sister gave me a sleeping bag, another brother gave me a tent. I actually went walkabout through Central and South America for nine months on hot air. I had no money, but I found a way of making ends meet, and every time I needed something it just appeared.
That's what I think to your question, I kept realizing. What I needed would appear. So trust and step forward. In doing so, all sorts of synchronicities came into my life, time and time again. Probably at the time, I wasn't thinking as I would articulate that now in this way, but I would just able -- because I had nothing else to lose, because I had nothing, I would just say, yes. So I was used to saying yes, and I was used to just going for it.
I ended up at one stage in a bar in La Paz in Bolivia having a quiet drink thinking what I’d do tomorrow. And I met a wonderful old explorer who was heading off down the Amazon. By accident, he was buying a drink and couldn't speak Spanish. So, I helped him and the next thing I know I'm on a trip into the Amazon for three months and end up working with him for three years, leading expeditions around the world, taking scientists for their work. That was just extraordinary and I loved the chance to be in community remotely with people and connect sort of common humanity. I lived in cities all my life and suddenly I was living really in nature and really outdoors and every day was hard living, but you'd sleep well. I just made friends.
So, I think trust, a sense of safety. Even if I didn't necessarily say that to myself, that's what I was feeling, I wasn't very fearful, because it couldn't get any worse than I had done. So, by that stage I was in my mid-thirties. So still I felt I had energy and an exuberance to move. But because I'd been in charge for such a long time, I was used to making decisions and that's a nice combination, actually, that gave me the confidence to step into the unknown.
Rahul: Yeah, and I really know that feeling of trust, safety and openness that comes from the kind of an open-ended exploration. I'm curious about whether that feeling has left you? Because in my experience, there's something about really being outside of that kind of ‘plan and execute’ mindset, it really enables that feeling of flow, that lands whatever you need right in front of you. Whereas for me at least, it's much harder to maintain that experience when I have an objective and a to-do list to kind of get through. So I'm curious what your experience has been with that sort of flow experience and you know, the inner orientation that's required to sort of remain in awareness of that?
Simon: That's a lovely question. I am flooded with thoughts as you say that. I'll try not to take too long. I think it's an important question and it spans, actually, that time of loss to today. I would say for the time I ran and led the expeditions and the time I led ‘Right to Sight’, I was open and free and trusting and unconscious that I was. It just came and I followed without question.
I then spent some time in a lovely Zen Center run by Bodhi Zendo down in Tamil Nadu, and I had a couple of months there with AMA Samy, this amazing master, a Jesuit monk. And I think he was a start point for me to become aware of what it was that I was doing. I was unaware and I became aware. And in that awareness, I didn't lose it.
And in a funny way it actually helped me become more intentional about it. But in the journey and then joining Leaders Quest which was already been started by my friend Lindsay, she started in 2001 and I joined Leaders Quest in 2010-11, I think I still had it, a sense of flow, a sense of openness and safety. Although I noticed in the last few months of me being the managing partner last year, I was feeling it less. Something had happened for me, where I just felt heavier, a weight on my shoulders. And actually, I resigned for a variety of reasons -- one of which was I think with Havana, our lovely baby daughter coming into our life fifteen months ago. I felt her when she looked at me, to the point at my heart and say, “You're a purposeful man, Dad, but you need to do more.” And I was like blimey, okay! And in resigning from Leaders Quest which was terribly difficult, because I loved it and of course, I'm now, I still continue to be a partner, and I'm sure I’ll be a part of it for many years to come.
But I realized, it got me to think, in letting go the managing partnership, I have re-found this sense of flow and trust, and so much in the last nine months has come my way, as it did before. And it's like -- oh that's interesting, I've connected back in. I was a bit heavy, just for a short while, but I've opened it up again. My fingertips are fizzing. I feel like a little boy again. Incredibly creative and more aware now, so I'm carrying all of it, but with more experience, more background, more tools, so I feel better equipped for the next phase of this journey!
Rahul: Sure. And I also understand how children really change and shift the orientation of one's life and one part in a big way and I'll get to that. I actually want to touch on that a little bit later in the call, but I am curious about what those first steps were like? When you were getting connected with Leaders Quest and you of course, had been journeying yourself quite a bit before that. So tell me about those sort of early steps and maybe what the first LQ experience was for you?
Simon: Yeah, sure. Well, I come back from Bodhi Zendo. I went there and wasn’t really intending to be there for long and I had a equivalent of a month of silence and a month of conversation with this amazing man. And I came back thinking, okay gosh, that's a real experience. And it gave me a meditation practice because I've never meditated for my life. And when you do eight hours a day for a continuous period of time, it's quite hard -- well I think either you go crazy or in some ways you plunge into the deep end and you have something.
And I'd been lucky enough. I was lucky enough then to develop the practice that still is with me today actually ten years and on. But looking back at it, with that practice, and with that shared wisdom from AMA Samy, when I came back to the UK, it was like do I go back into running another business of my own or someone else's, make some money and then possibly do something with it? And I thought about that for about six months. I sort of tested the water and I kept knocking up against the voice inside my heart going no. And I had to really listen to it in the end. The same time, Lindsay the wonderful friend who started LQ appeared and said why don't you come and join us and actually that stage it was a part-time associate role, just to test, I suppose, the waters and feel each other out.
So my first actual Quest was -- she said why don't you be a participant. Why don't you do it from the inside? And so they had one in the UK open, amazingly enough on on my doorstep, and I spent four or five days. I would explore my own journey through this lovely organizational embrace and came out of it thinking, oh, I love what they're doing. I'd like to do more and they seem to like me. And that's how the experience led to becoming a partner, and then after a year and a few, becoming the managing partner. But the chance to be a participant and to taste their work was such a great way of entering, because I could see it from the eyes of the people I'd be working with and for, in the years to come.
Rahul. Right. Yeah, I can definitely see that. So one of the things that seems to be at the core of ‘Leaders Quest’ is creating purpose. I am very curious about how you define purpose and what you feel are the necessary ingredients around purpose, for it to be sufficient purpose, because you know we can obviously have sort of mundane purpose in work, which is like yeah, I'm supporting my family or you know paying mortgage whatever it is. So what are those sort of the critical threshold of ingredients for that sense of purpose to be sufficient?
Simon: Cool I like that. Wonderful question that we could spend all day inquiring into. Well, what do I feel? My sense of purpose is when you connect to something bigger than yourself, there's an energy in that -- that makes it hard not just to get up and move and do. It doesn't mean you go into action. You can certainly be and listen, and be still and allow the right things to come through you, but there's a power in that connection to something bigger than yourself, but then results in action, in a way of service.
We often find people asking about purpose -- I don't know what my purpose is, I'm confused, should I have a purpose, I don't have a big purpose. The first place to go is just to think about our values and our way of being, because if we can live who we are across the breadth of our life, not just in one aspect of it with our friends, or in our office environments, then actually we are a more aligned, connected, integrated soul, in my observation. And in that integration, other things open up sometimes because of inspiration around you, sometimes because of inspiration inside of you. And who is to say what that would be or what it would look like -- because it's emergent. It can't be directed or told. But I do recognize that the integration of oneself can be a real help in establishing or finding a sense of purpose beyond self.
Coming to your question about a purpose of having a salary and paying a mortgage and car to take your kids around, of course, they are all valuable and important. But it doesn't seem to me that many of us get a real extended energy and drive beyond the normal from that. And there's nothing wrong with that. It's all lovely and important and we need to embrace that in our life. But when we can connect into something that's just a little bit broader, bigger, of an essence that feels different to us, there's a flavor to it that gets us thinking -- Oh, what's that? And when we taste it -- we feel that -- oh, I like that, can I have more of that? And sort of to continue the analogy of that nibbling and the biting and the chewing and the swallowing of it, actually one often finds that people start to expand. They see a sense of opportunity. They expand in themselves and therefore what they can be of service in the world at the same time.
Rahul: Mmm, so this is a very important and interesting question because I think many people have felt that sense of kind of purpose and deeper integration at different points in their lives, and yet somehow it doesn't sustain. It doesn't continue to be the guiding north star of their lives. So given that you've been in this field and been doing this for a long time with many different leaders, what would you say are the impediments or the blocks that keep people from touching that deeper space of alignment and purpose and service? Especially after they've touched it, and what would be the strategies to sort of deepen the bandwidth to that connection and maintain kind of higher fidelity of signal-to-noise in the way one goes about work?
Simon: Well, in my experience, one of the gifts I've been given was that time with the AMA Samy, where he helped me develop a daily practice of awareness. If I had a magic wand, I'd give that gift to everyone in the world. It doesn't need to be meditation or yoga. It's whatever each of us tunes into, to bring this into awareness. So it happens to be a yoga and meditation practice for me, which I do each morning. The reason I say that is it brings me back to a state. Whatever happens in my day, whatever disturbing it could be and disrupting, and often it's lovely and joyful too, I've always got this anchor of my practice to bring me back into awareness. And of course if you get an extended period of time that practice comes out into the day as well.
The reason I say all that is because when purpose is moving, or feeling like it's being lost, or the energy of it is tuning down, maybe that's just a seasonal thing? And we live life with the seasons. And sometimes things need to break down for other new things to break through. That's totally natural. And if we can remain centered and aligned and integrated and open and trusting and safe, then having already found a sense of deeper purpose, my experiences is it comes again. It may come in a different form, and a different guise because life and life experiences move with time. But it is constantly coming back to self and allowing and giving permission for that to come in, and then in so doing being aware of it, because I think so much of our time we are unaware that we can be aware, to go into choice and then action.
So the message for me is always keep practicing the awareness, because even if the purpose seems to be at a lower ebb or lower energy, in awareness, the trust will allow other things to come through. Don't force it and don't look for it. It will find me, if I can remain aware. And I noticed that, as I speak to my own experience, in the experience of others, over the course of the last eight years of working with extraordinary variety of leaders from business and politics to NGOs and the like. And that integrated soul in awareness, refines, rebuilds, re-calibrates and continues on their path.
Rahul: Well-said and it just feels so soaked in wisdom to hear you share that. Thank you. You know one of the things that you seek to do with LQ is catalyze transformational leaders. How do you define leader? And how do you define transformation?
Simon: (Laughs) Well, we are all leaders. My daughter certainly leads me a merry dance every day! But I think leadership is about how we help those around us shine and how we help them manifest and bring out whatever it is that they intended to do, both on that day and in the world. And as we grow as leaders, we have awfully often the opportunity to influence the lives of those who work with us and those we serve or contribute towards.
But my sense is always it's a relational thing. I don't see any hierarchical way, although I recognize we need to have structure and form, otherwise things fall apart. But it's empowerment, it's encouraging, its loving, it's carrying, it's listening and it's being responsible, disciplined. And it has those needs too. And of course, as we experience life, we have opportunities to lead all of us all the time, in our families with our children and our friends, as much as we do in our work context. So each of us in our own right, has the access to find our leadership voice. It just depends on whether we look at it like that.
And so it just happens with my work where it propels me to into the hands of people who are defined in a specific area -- I lead this organization. I run this charity. I lead this political party. But in my sort of other aspects of my life, I work with many people who wouldn't define themselves as leaders, but I look at them and think God you're such an exemplar of what a leader could be. You're such a thoughtful person, you just don't recognize it in yourself.
Rahul: So that touches on the leader part, but what about the transformation part?
Simon: Transformation...I think...there's a lovely man called Bill Sharpe. For those of you listening to this call, I'll recommend you to read his little pamphlet, called 'The Three Horizons: the Patterning of Hope' and it's a journey of future consciousness. And the reason I bring this into the conversation, Rahul, is I think Bill recognized, in his teaching of me and inside 'Leaders Quest', the capacity to see a little bit into the future, and to detach, and to feel it, and I think that's important.
I think otherwise we lose a sense of hope, we lose a sense of vision of what's possible in front of us, and somehow it connects me into this idea of transformation, because if what's breaking down is just supported by entrepreneurial activity that nudges forward change, and is then captured by the first horizon, the current paradigm of our living, and brought in to maintain the patent for a little bit longer, it's not transformational. And so much of what I see in what we hope will be change is actually captured in the current pattern to maintain, often inappropriately, but understandably. And for me transformation is what Einstein spoke to: if we are looking to answer today's questions with the same way of thinking, we won't find those answers. So we have to come at it from a different perspective, a different level of thinking and the transformation is when that pattern is finally allowed to break down. So a new pattern, the vision of the future we're looking to find, is allowed to break through -- then there is transformation. And then there's an energetic release, life moves towards abundance. That's when you see things happening differently.
So I'm not sure I've explained myself clearly, but it's this idea that too much of what we end up thinking is change, actually is the same, in just a different guise. And transformation -- it wears a new set of clothes. It walks in a different way. It's speaks unusually, and we recognize it for that.
Rahul: Right, that's brilliant! You know, and on that note, I'm just curious about how these folks who have gone on a 'Leaders Quest' and sort of come back with a newly invigorated sense of purpose and zeal for that transformative spirit, how does that end up gelling with what may often be a return to a job that's aimed at largely just maximizing shareholder value?
Simon: Yeah, I think that if you think of those who we work with inside organizations, commercial organizations, that's always a challenge. We're lucky enough, LQ's been lucky enough to move from not just working with individuals who self-select, but actually to work inside those organizations at a senior level. So that makes it more permissible to have the conversation, if you've got your fellow board members all with you, then there is a shared experience that can be spoken to, and found on return. So for me, that's an important part of this. You're not on your own. You're not just coming back into the system. Although that does happen with individuals, who come away with us.
Listen, sometimes people come back and they leave! They come back and they look around and think I can't stay here. This is not for me now, which I think is fine, because actually the organization wouldn't want them in the organization, because they would be putting up their hand and asking questions that probably weren't helpful for the organization. And the individual has got a sense that the genie's out of the bottle and I need to do something about this. And many don't. Many stay and try and change from within.
And really I think our role in that is to be with them on that journey. I often find myself regularly on phone calls, having emails, Skypes and going into people's place of work to have the next conversation. Well, what could that look like? How do you maintain that awareness, that sense of a new direction of travel? Who are the allies that you can find inside the organization who want to come on this with you, where are the successes that you can bring in to showcase that this isn't going to be a hindrance, isn't going to put a brake on just the shareholder value conversation, but actually it's in the benefit of all and that requires, you know, a long-term plan. And the bringing together of many people to try and actually, and it's not easy, and many people struggle, and speak to that struggle. Because our systems sadly have been set up to not allow this to happen regularly.
Rahul: Yeah, now I can definitely see that around me. I'm curious about this vision that you in particular have from your vantage point. There's a number of people who talked about how the return from some sort of transformative experience simply points to the fact that we must move towards kind of a purpose-driven economy, as opposed to a profit-driven society. From your vantage point and from the kind of breadth and depth of what you've witnessed in moving through so many of these journeys and so many relationships inside Leaders Quest, do you have any predictions about kind of the future of work, and the future of Corporations?
Simon: Hmm I love that. Unusual question, it could take a day to explore, or many years. Such a nuanced place, isn't it? So layered. I carry hope as a person that we will navigate our way through this, but I carry awareness that there could be great pain on this journey. Because if we aren't thoughtful and conscious each step of the way now, many people's lives will be poorly affected. Whether it be AI and technology taking jobs that aren't replaced appropriately and so communities are left behind, to actually thinking through this and allowing people to retrain to find other ways of living.
I do feel strongly that within 50-100 years, if we have made the right choices in that journey, we could be in a place where technology provides a huge benefit to society to take a lot of the jobs away from people that actually are not serving them, are not those that they like doing, are really holding them back from allowing their beauty to come through, and then we created a different way of living together whereby we can actually practice what it is that we're interested in. Because we are supported and because it's permissible.
I think the problem is we've got to get there. I can still see the vision of what it looks like. I feel there are many people thinking about it. It's just the journey to get there that won't be so painful and that my concern is the amount of short-term pain that could come about as powerful individuals and businesses retrench and hold tightly onto what they have, like an addict that can't let go and give up. And that of course can reverberate into the pain in the system which we all feel and we can see that today.
So I do think it's possible, I can see because I've met already many business leaders who are so thoughtful about who they are in the world, what their organization stands for, why they're doing what they're doing. I can see that business can be a force for good. I'm not sure about how that translates in the complete capitalist system we have today. I think it has to be adjusted and thought through more clearly, so it becomes regenerative, something that can embrace, that can support and care for all. But I think business can be a part of that journey, but it just requires us to be aware and to think about the consequences of our actions in a long-term sense, and unfortunately, that's not what's being invited for many of our leaders today.
Rahul: Right. I want to switch gears now and just talk a little bit about Right to Sight. Just for our caller's sake -- there are actually a number of organizations in the eye-related field that have that name Right to Sight. Just so our callers are clear, which one were you the CEO of?
Simon: Right to Sight based in the UK set up by a wonderful group of Irish ophthalmologists, still in existence today and very much supporting the IPB (which is the blindness prevention community). It was started by a lady called Kate Coleman for people who are tuning in and want to find out more about it (https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/charity-involves-surgical-firm-to-fight-blindness-1.921398).
I think our premise was not try and replicate what other people do. Amazing organizations, many, many, as you know, trying to tackle this awful sense of needlessly blind. I love, when I was listening to Bela at the beginning, talk about one of your favorite quotes by Dr. V. I never met Dr. V. He died by the time I led Right to Sight and went to Aravind in India, but they were instrumental in my observation of what was possible from a social enterprise and guided us to say -- look you can bring this into the hands of many without having to come to a purely medical background. We can use entrepreneurs, we can use local communities to help bring sight and relieve blindness in the world. And that was really powerful to me. So our job was to try new things and then feed back into the other NGOs and say look this is working, why not try to do; or this doesn't work and we don't suggest you come down this path. A lot of it was taking the Aravind Eye Care format and structure and then mold it to a different context, whether it be across countries in Africa or Asia, where we spent quite a lot of our time.
Rahul: Right? Beautiful! I know that you're no longer CEO, but I would love to send a link out to Right to Sight to the folks who dialed in, after the call, just so they can be more aware of that work. You've mentioned, Simon, a few times about your teacher in South Indian and sort of described him as remarkable and gifted at different points in the call. What makes a teacher gifted in your experience?
Simon: Since AMA Samy, there are two or three others I would say, who have come into my life similarly, and are remarkable and gifted, so I can speak to them all. They embody their wisdom. There are few people in life I've met who truly embody their wisdom. They live it. And you can feel it. Martin Luther King, I think, called it the sound of the genuine. It just sits in your heart and you can't help it sort of nod and smile and go "yes". It may or may not be completely what you're about, but there's something about what they're sharing that's just like drinking that beautiful hot chocolate as it slips down your throat, warm and melting into your tummy and it's just like -- yes, and a feeling of coming home! I find when someone gifted and remarkable talks to me, I felt like I've come home and I knew this all my life. But somehow someone had stolen the book and now I've been giving it again. That's happened three or four times for me. And AMA Samy was one of the people who brought that into my attention.
Rahul: I wonder if you can just share more about your teacher, is it AMA Samy, is that his name?
Simon: Father AMA Samy, Jesuit monk, Zen Master, based in Tamil Nadu at a community called Bodhi Zendo. I found him because of my younger brother. He had been there and this is one of those classic stories. He and some of my friends at Aravind had spoken about AMA Samy. When I resigned and went to say goodbye and thank you to everyone, I was in Southern India. This was a chance for me to go and do a little bit of exploration before I came home. I was thinking what would I do. And I thought maybe I'll go and visit this amazing man I keep hearing about.
So I wrote to my brother Angus and said would it be appropriate? I know you've met AMA Samy. I don't want to intrude on your relationship, but I'd like to go and meet him. He wrote back and said -- Isn't that funny, Simon? What you don't know is that the time you're thinking to go meet him is a time which is very full, lots of people around the world come. So all the rooms have been booked out. So you would never have got there, except that I've already booked a room - I Angus, and I can't go, because the girl that I've just met and fallen in love with is pregnant with our child, and I'm going to have to stay here. So why don't you take my room? (laughs). So there you are, life opened up and I went.
And I arrive at the beginning of a four-day silence. Because I was Angus's brother and he had already been and done a little bit of meditation for a few years, I think everyone just assumed I knew what to do. So I arrived and lots of people smiled and nothing else, because no one could talk. I didn't have a clue. It hits you so hard. I didn't know what to do, how to meditate how to sit, and I think the whole thing was chaos. But I got through it and after four days, fortunately, I could ask questions and they could all laugh and say -- Oh, I'm sorry, we thought you knew. And it wasn’t clear at all!
Rahul : Did I hear correctly that he's a Jesuit and also a Zen teacher at the same time?
Simon: Yeah. He is a Jesuit and a Zen Master and an amazing man, he has a cross on the Buddha and he sits there. Amazing man! But then I haven’t seen AMA Samy for a long time. I went back about three or four years after I was first there, for another stint with him. Angus keeps up with him and I think I hold him fondly from afar.
What's happened for me? I was, I met others, I think, in my journey, who've become more influential, more recently, not that his wisdom hasn't always resonated in my heart, but there's sort of layer upon layer, as life has a way of being. And actually what's happened is, I think, all of that has culminated in then me saying to LQ -- I need to leave the centre and be on the outer satellite again, and so managing that process with them, which is always challenging, but we've done it well, I'm proud to say. Because my enquiry now, which stems from all of these experiences is -- how do we bring consciousness, energy and technology together to create tipping points for change in the world?
Because I recognize that the leader’s best way of opening up the sense of purpose, a sense of perspective, sense of shift is incredibly important. The nuclear crack is required. But I also feel that we need to bring it into the waters of life more. And I think of the overview effect. In 1968, the year of my birth -- I'm 50 this year -- we had this chance to see the Earth as a beautiful planet, floating gently in space, a delicate marble and it shifted, I think, collective consciousness of our relationship with the Earth, and many organizations were born from that. People took new paths, new choices, and we see that manifest today. And I might enquire what's the overview effect today, that we can bring into our lives, to raise our levels of awareness to help us all?
All boats rise together, because I feel that's possible, as much as you have many of us also at the leading edge, that envelope edge, trying to break new ground and bring others, that create tipping points, by bringing others with us -- and then this rising tide allows that to become just more natural. The LGBT conversation, how we looked at slavery 250 years ago -- something happened in the waters of life that just made it more permissible, more understandable, but other people have had to start the process and then others fell in behind and I'm really interested by that and what I can do to be part of it.
Rahul: I love that and I actually really want to dive into that a little bit more, but I just had a comment about your teacher that I wanted to just express. How it really felt like, you know, this in holding these two great world traditions, it feels like it's only the Seer who has the calibre of understanding this deeper integration, this deeper Unity, that's able to find the way, it's sort of a transmission of that from these multiple doorways. And it felt like, I mean, just from what you shared, it felt like he was that, even though there wasn't that much that you shared, but I just wanted to express that.
Simon: Well I actually feel that, totally agree with you, We would sit in our silence and he would speak and it was just lovely and he would just weave his words, bring these experiences in his knowledge through and sink it in to us.
I’m remembering a moment once where he was describing Mount Fuji. He was on the on the Zen side rather than the Jesuit side of this talk, and he was talking about Mount Fuji being this incredibly solid rock, really anchored into the Earth and the weather blowing around it. And he was talking about our meditations, our thoughts, our feelings, emotions being the weather. Imagine us being Mount Fuji and the weather blowing in like our emotions, our thoughts, my feelings, hot and cold, wet and dry, and sometimes they're there and sometimes they're not. I was listening and interested. I thought it was a good analogy, and actually while he was speaking, I found myself becoming a rock. It was an extraordinary feeling!
I literally thought I couldn't move a muscle. I was anchored to the floor of that room and it's like what's happening here? And I couldn't imagine anything other than literally being Mount Fuji and then I had this experience of energy inside of me and it's like wow, this is -- I feel like I'm connecting into the mains of life through his teaching, through his ability to help me find something.
Bela: This is such a beautiful, amazing call and thank you so much, and I'm just interrupting to invite our callers to also join the conversation, if they would like, and share questions or reflections, and if you would like to press star six, to join in on the conversation, or you could also email us at email@example.com and I did want to share one comment that we received from one of the volunteers and she just wanted to share a feeling of strong kinship, resonates with everything you have shared with us. “Our life-bumps open up space in us, to go where we have never gone before. Grateful for the alchemy that turns our vulnerability into the transformation, that's going out of our comfort zone and gender, wonderful listen. Thank you Simon! And smiles, Mish from Brooklyn.”
Simon: Ah, thank you Mish from Brooklyn.
Rahul: Simon, you know, you mentioned your ongoing meditation practice and I think you mentioned the yoga practice which you do every morning and you are, if I remembered the timeline correctly, you're about eight years into having adopted an inner practice.
Rahul : How is your practice going?
Simon: Great, it’s going well. I mean we were talking earlier about that you aren’t allowed to give up practices, whether it's good or bad! But it is -- yeah, it's there. It's every day. With Havana, this is our daughter, she is most of the time with me in the morning. I get her up as Ella has a sleep, so I can be in charge and help then. And it was so nice to have her. I mean lots of my family and friends laughed and said finally you got a kid and that practice of yours is going to break, and you know, they were all grinning and laughing, teasing me. But actually what I found is that -- Well, Havana, for the first 12 months couldn't move, so I was in charge. I’d just put her in a chair and tickle her feet and she would gurgle away!
And now that she moves and it's interesting to watch her move and yes, it makes it more distracting, but it's lovely because I notice how often, she doesn't move far from me, when I'm actually meditating. When I do my yoga, she sort of tries to go under my downward dog and she tries to jump on my knees. And all these things she's doing. But when I actually sit, she sort of, goes in and circles me curiously. Sometimes she would come inching, nibble me and often she would lie on me; and then she gets up and then she goes and she wants a banana or whatever fruit she wants. But so it hasn't, even with having Havana, fortunately, I think I'm lucky to say that I haven't lost it. And I know given the amount of work I have, the amount of traveling and challenges that often I am asked to face, it's been just a gift. I think the knowledge of the gift is such that I wouldn't let it go. I just gotta get up earlier and do it and get over myself and I think it's ingrained. Deeply ingrained.
Rahul: Yeah, you know, I have, I think I've mentioned before the call, I've got two young kids as well and it's been so endearing to witness the way that small children react to meditation and yoga, you know? Like both of my kids also have that thing, where they, you know, they're trying to climb on me during the downward dog or something like that.
And then both of them have done the thing where they sort of barge in and circle around you, while you're sitting, a little bit. I've had this thing where they, for some reason, they push the top of their head into my chest and then run away! And then occasionally the sweetest is when you get, you know, a few minutes of baby or kid meditation where they actually will come and sit in your lap. So still, in sort of chronological time, it only turns out to be a minute or two, but in that sort of inner time, it just feels like an eternity, you know, and I just love that!
Simon: I so recognize it. I've noticed sometimes if I'm trying to connect, and I feel like I breathe in love and I breathe out gratitude. I say that to myself as a mantra. I notice when I'm doing that, Havana's often, this is the time when she comes and does that minute of her own baby meditation, is that breathing in love and breathing out gratitude.
I was going to say one thing and you've got me laughing thinking about this. So somehow I think in the last few years through the practice and through my experience with AMA Samy and elsewhere in the world, I've developed movement in my meditation. So my body moves and sways and I know many people have this and as he would say "it too shall pass" but even so, it goes on. And sometimes my head goes back and I shake my head, all these things are happening. And of course Ella, my wife, says God you can't do this in public, you know, you'd be locked up.
And what's really funny was that recently Ella went down to a new friend, local mother here in London and they were having a coffee. And this woman suddenly said to Ella -- what's Havana doing? And Ella said she looked and she was sitting on the floor, shaking like I do, with her mouth open, her head back! And I went like "Oh, no..!” <both laughing>
Rahul: That's a wonderful story! Well, congratulations, on keeping your practice through the early days of becoming a new father. I've heard even quite experienced teachers say that the first two years are sort of when pirates take over the ship, and you shouldn't expect to have a practice. I think a lot of it depends on the kid, because my daughter sounds much like Havana. Yes, she's just an easy kid. My son was just not a sleeper. And so it's like -- if you don't have the sleep, then it's easy for meditation to turn into nap time itself.
Simon: I think that we'd love to have another. And if we do, I'll probably end up with some riotously-noisy, non-sleeping kid and you'll ask me this question again, and I'll go - it's awful. I've lost it. <both laughing>
Rahul: Well, I have one more question for you before I turn it over to Bela and other folks on the call. Actually maybe I'll make this kind of a combined question. I'm sort of curious about how becoming a father has changed the way you engage in the world and see the world? And particularly from the vantage point of this overview effect (kind of seeing the Earth for the first time in 1968) really has a capacity to shift our consciousness. I think becoming a parent has that capacity as well to deeply shift our consciousness. And so I am really curious about how this has occurred for you in your own life. What has it shifted for you?
Simon: I think it's reminded me about humor and joy and laughter. A little bit more. I wasn't allowing those into my life as much as, that's who I actually am, and with a sense of purpose. Sometimes I say "forget it" because I'm trying so hard. Havana just makes me laugh, and feel young and creative and even a little naive slightly. I think these are all really helpful, healthy things to be. So that I don't mind asking again now, even though I'm a reasonably well-heeled 50 year old -- "why". I'm much better at asking "why" again now, than I used to be. I don't mind if I don't know. Letting go of some of that stuck-ness of self. She's giving me that curiosity again, another childlike sense. It's really lovely to feel that at my fingertips.
Rahul: Yeah, wonderful! I can so relate to that. We're sort of past the point in our call when we let folks ask questions. I know Bela may have questions and others on the call may have questions. You and I can keep going, but I'll pause right now to sort of turn it over to Bela and I can also jump back in later, if there's time.
Simon: Thanks! Lovely speaking to you. Looking forward to continue this conversation over a cold drink one day.
Bela: Hi Simon! I have a couple of questions that popped up on listening to you share about your journey. One of the things that I do is work with young leaders from around the world that are really passionate about creating change in their local communities and one of the questions that has come up recently in my conversations with them, is this difficulty in engaging with people that hold different values and beliefs than you do. It's not an easy thing. It's one thing to be a leader in communities of alignment, but how do you reach across differences, and be in open conversation with someone and really listen, to someone or to a community that is very different from you. But different in the sense that it could also be offensive to your value set and to your experiences. How do you work in that way? And connected to that I'm just wondering if you feel that awareness can play a role in that? Can awareness help you to engage with people that are different?
Simon: That's a lovely question Bela. It's hard, what you've described, it's challenging for us all. From my own experience, as I've grown and I felt this sense of an expanded essence, I suppose -- I recognize that it's possible to hold multiple perspectives without judgment. I think that's about consciousness.
If I look at the layers that Eastern traditions and then about the many, many thousands of years, and that Western developmental psychology is now beginning to identify - what we can see is that we live within layers. As we expand our layers, so we expand our sense of what the world looks like. And what seemed to be a problem at one layer is no longer the problem we thought it was at the next.
Actually what seems to be happening for me is as we expand enough, we don't get so judgemental about the layers that we've been through. We are more embracing of them. And so my sense always is to keep going back to self, and to work on oneself and expand one's capacity. Because in that capacity expansion, we are more able to see and feel others where they are at. We don't have to agree with what they think and do, but we're able to stay with them in common humanity. And with that, so we can often find a different level of conversation. But I understand it's incredibly hard and it's incredibly difficult to sit across someone whose views and values and behaviors you fundamentally disagree with.
I remember once being in a experiential quest -- what Leaders Quest work with is often experiential, you meet fellow leaders where they are in the world and you ask about the life they're having and you learn from each other. We were meeting some people in the States, some of the people with me were involved with climate change. And some of the people they were meeting in the field didn't believe in it. And there was a real animosity, you can feel the tension in the air. Until such time as two of the (sort of) leaders of that conversation on the boat, one on each side, suddenly discovered that if they went back far enough in time, upstream, so to speak, then actually their great-great-grandparents came from the same village in Poland. And suddenly there was a recognition of the other that they would never have found in that conversation about subject matter that they didn't agree on. But that commonality of humanity going back generations sort of warmed one to the other. And then you noticed the conversation changed. Very interesting!
Bela: That's really interesting and helpful. Like you said, it's particularly very difficult when you feel like you've been the victim of someone else's belief set or value. What I'm thinking about, social justice movements around race and ethnicity, and what you're describing though, makes me think of maybe the kind of space that Desmond Tutu was able to create in South Africa between victims and perpetrators after the Apartheid, to be able to create a space for that forgiveness to organically arise.
Simon: I love the book called 'The Power of Silence' by a journalist called Graham Turner. I just remember the book as I remember him investigating silence in all its forms. Meeting monks, going to the mountains, listening to actors who use it to hold the audience, musicians with their notes. And there's a part, I can't remember, I don't want to get it wrong, but it was about going into Lebanon and finding a group of people who had been very much at war and they had found each other in silence. They had spent something like a year meeting every month and never speaking. Only after a year did they finally find a way of communicating and of course interestingly, they felt they knew each other just in the sitting in silence in that room. I've been very struck by that, because that's interesting. There's something there.
Bela: So another question that's unrelated - I was listening to you describe your daughter Havana. When I hear those stories, I feel wow, how lucky that she has that sort of experience at such a young age to witness her father in silence. Maybe she's not quite sure what it is, but it's still planting some seeds somewhere in her consciousness, or maybe watering a seed that's already there.
You've talked about your life journey and particularly, when you hit that point in your life when you literally lost everything and then came out of it and discovered the power of trust. It's an amazing journey, but I'm also curious about this whole nature versus nurture. How do our parents, our siblings, the environment we grow up in, how does that allow us to have a more positive outlook, allow us to be more resilient? And sometimes how it doesn't? So I'm just curious about your upbringing and do you feel like your upbringing played a role at some level in your journey? And the way you responded to your journey, I guess.
Simon: Yeah, I do. When you ask that question, I thought about answering it slightly differently just now. So try and hear me out.
It seems to me, atleast the way I look at life, that there are six layers of intuition that I'm connecting to - there's a layer to my head, there's a layer to my heart, a layer in my gut. Somehow they each have a different voice. If I can tune in, I can listen to and can be helpful depending on the question that I'm asking. But then there's another set - there's a layer which is me as a person and my life experience, the 50 years of being on this Earth. There's me as the person, with the family I'm a part of - my parents who had me, grandparents and great parents, the societal influence that comes with that, the culture - the fact that I'm a man, the intuition that sits right inside of that. And the last piece is my sense of connecting to something bigger than me -- the sense of the whole. So when I think about our life's journeys, I think they can be affected by all six of those, in varieties of ways.
And yes, my upbringing, my background, my influences as a young man have a part to play, but not the whole of me, from that. I can access me in other areas and other ways, that I could either override patterns that I brought in because of my experiences that didn't serve or vice versa. They may have served, I may have arrived with inappropriate patterns because I've taken a different path.
So I think that's a “Yes and...” because I've been fortunate enough with this life I've led, to live in very unusual parts. I'd been in Angola and Congo and Rwanda, and I've been in Mongolia, Ethiopia; and I've been in Bolivia and I've been in China and India, all beautiful, amazing, incredible countries. Just people everywhere, wonderful humans. So many times I've been in places where people have got little materially and actually really challenging life circumstances because of war and famine, and whatever else, and yet they are, sometimes, bright lights, beautiful, leading purposeful, thoughtful, caring lives. It's always exciting to know that that's possible even with the situations that we create that's so detrimental to helping that flourish.
Bela: That's really interesting. I'm going to think about that and probably share that with the young people that I work with. So thank you for that.
I wanted to share another comment that we received from Aryae, who's listening in from Half Moon Bay in California, and there's a question embedded in that, I believe: “Thank you for sharing your story and the revelation from your journey with us, very inspiring. I'm taken with your vision of what business organizations and organizations of all kinds could contribute toward a positive future, if leaders will approach the world with a shift in consciousness and purpose. It feels in so many ways like this moment is such a dark time in our world. What is your view about how leaders who are engaged in the new ways you describe from different countries, cultures, spiritual practices, etc can interconnect and support each other in spreading the light?”
Simon: Hmm. Well my view is they should. It's a good idea. So to that point I absolutely concur and agree. Interesting! Just to give you a little vignette, I think you mentioned about Desmond Tutu and the Peace and Reconciliation Program. I'm just part of an organization in London now, it's been set up. It's called the Conduit Club.
It's a wonderful idea where a social entrepreneur Paul Van Zyl who was the man who pretty much helped lead that Peace and Reconciliation Program in South Africa as a young white lawyer in his late 20s, he had that amazing role in life, to have that responsibility so young! He is now, 20 years on, has been dreaming of how he can bring together impact, philanthropy and money, and the creative arts to help try and resolve some of the world's challenges.
So he's created a home and we all have a home in London, so we can join and be in conversation. I think that's a lovely thing to do and he wants to replicate this in other parts of the world. I encourage all of us to think about how we can bring this into our community.
I found one of the things that works for me, if this is helpful to the answer, again more by accident than design initially, was to find a group of people seemingly thinking the same way as me and inviting us to meet once a month for a few hours and just support, hold and challenge each other. And that lasted, it’s still ongoing now, seven years on.
So it's not scale-able, although many can replicate that model, but it allowed us to have community to fall back on when we felt things were difficult, and when the darkness descended. And always gave us this sort of encouragement and that spark of hope to get out and do it again. Try again. So yes, I think it's a good idea. Yes, I think we should do more of it both online and offline. I think these types of conversations are partly how we bring people together. And I don't know the answer fully, but I think it's a lovely inquiry and fully suggest we delve into it!
Rahul: I wanted to back pedal to something that you shared that I realized I wanted to dive into a little more deeply. If I recall correctly you're talking about how one of the focuses after you stepped down as managing partner from Leaders Quest was to look into how consciousness, technology and energy can sort of come together to sort of create new possibilities in the cracks, of the ‘breaking systems’ that we see today. Could you share more about what that has been? What you're doing specifically and sort of how it's manifested and how it's going?
Simon: Well, has my wife Ella asked you the same question? Because she keeps asking me the same question. (Laughs). I feel like I'm pinning clouds. I know this is the inquiry I need to be on and the consciousness piece is around my experience of layers of consciousness to what I was saying to Bela just now.
And organizations and systems seem to operate at the level of the consciousness of those who lead them. And if we can shift that consciousness, new parts are going to open up, new directions of travel are obvious and new actions come into the world. So I recognize that is, for me, a given. I feel it deep inside of myself. Technology for me is an enabler, a scalar. It's inert, its the intention behind it. There's a lot of shadow intention that we see inside of it, but understandably because of the models of practice that we have in the world today. But there is no reason why we can't bring more love and light, more thought and awareness and consciousness into it. And so I intend to try and do so.
And then the energy piece is, well, it's my personal experience, going back to the AMA Samy conversation of this experience in my body, which has been ongoing for many years now of feeling expanded. And I feel if I feel that, why can't we all? And how would I be able to bring that to other’s lives without imposing it into the lives of others. And not just that internal energetic expansion because that for me is partly consciousness too, is resonance and flow.
You talked about flow, you asked me about it earlier on, you know, this idea that when we are in flow, we recognize how we can make different choices. We can bring about different actions that really result in benefit to ourselves and those around us and people we’re working for in the world. And this resonance piece around -- if we all vibrate at certain frequencies, then we can raise resonance; and then actually our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being is enhanced. And resonance to me, is beauty and love and nature and sound and dance and laughter. So this part of me is thinking gosh, maybe I should write a musical or commission a lot of films and documentaries. And part of me is thinking yeah, look at the dots, look at the overview effect.
The overview effect is an example of technology expanding our sense of consciousness and maybe energetics by bringing it into the lives of all of us on television. What is that equivalent now? But then there's also my life journey has been in a form of leadership, working with leaders. So a thought in me says I should probably start a journey. I should start to knit together some of these experiences and help others on that journey so I can do a love dart to specific leaders and help them grow. Whilst I try and think about, in the waters of life and what that could look like more holistically, and the dance in between?
And to just finish off, I can see a research element to this, because I think I want to delve more deeply into how these three come together. There are many organisations, bodies that are already in there somewhere doing that. I'd like to enhance that and be part of it. I see a money element. I think there's a capacity to free up money to be part of this in a more conscious way, both in supporting people who already deliver this because often they struggle to come to sustain their own lives, if they have such beautiful wisdom, and also to scale that wisdom.
I see an education piece around it, because I feel that also, now that I have a young child as well, the systems we've created are not serving our educational needs. And then there's a sort of products piece. I'd like to build and develop, (my old entrepreneur spirit!) products that are exemplars of what this could look like, to set precedent, to show example, to give inspiration, to help us recognize what's possible. But to your question what exactly is it -- I don't know today. That's why I'm inquiring and letting it emerge and I promise I'll share more when I know.
Rahul: Well, I just love the space, you know, the broad canvas of possibility that you've painted with your directions or rather the dots that you're hoping to connect in all those ways and I would actually love to reach out after the call to set up a separate conversation, because there's just not enough time to dive in but I love to just explore that space with you more one-on-one, but we are coming towards the end of the call and I'll sort of turn over to Bela again for the wrap-up.
Bela: Yeah, thank you Rahul. And Simon we have one more question for you and that is how can we serve your journey and support your work as a community?
Simon: Oh, lovely. As I said to Rahul, I don't know what it is that I am going to do. It is tough to give you a complete direction. Just knowing you're there is helpful, holding a mirror up to me and reminding me that I am, in the words of AMA Samy, a banana, because we all are, most of the time! But joking apart I think I do intend to make this a more public inquiry.
So if people are interested, I will obviously, through your good offices and others, to start to become more open about my thinking and share. This is not about me. I know that. It's about a community of us coming together to bring new things in the world and I just will bring my skill set into helping that happen. But I absolutely -- this is not how I used to be in the old way. I can see collaboration, cooperation and partnership the whole way through this, so my commitment is to share more, with you, and if people want to come and be part of it, I would love that! And then bring their skills to this table and we can make merry together.
Bela: Thank you, and we're looking forward to sharing what emerges with this community and seeing how we can work together and support each other's highest intentions. And just thank you so much for this conversation, Simon for sharing vulnerably and so much wisdom has emerged from this call. Really grateful for your time and your presence, and your commitment is what comes up for me, as I listen to you sharing -- just your commitment to the cultivation of your awareness and how that is bringing you to a higher level of consciousness and then you're being able to share that with others. So, thank you so much. And I would just invite everyone now to hold a collective minute of silence in gratitude for this for this call and for everything that we learned together.
Thank you everyone. Thank you Simon, and I wish everyone a wonderful day afternoon and evening. Goodbye, everyone. Goodbye. Thanks. Thank you.
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