The Fast Track To Emotional Intelligence, A Natural Leadership Training
Core Empowerment, a five day Jnana Yoga retreat, could also be categorized as an intensive devoted to releasing the ideas and beliefs we have, that limit our possibilities and choices. These preconceived notions are what deprive us of a true present and of any lasting enjoyment and success in life. More than twenty years of results have proven that CE can indeed point people to fully experiencing who they are, which is usually quite different from who they thought they were. The retreat has been lead in different countries since 1989 and has also gone through a number of refinements. Yet the basic structure has always remained the same.
The first two days involve stimulating partner exercises which help clear the emotional charge of unconscious withheld memory, which acts as an impediment by filtering our ability to be fully present and aware. During days three – five, the main exercise of the retreat is introduced and integrated. It allows the participants the opportunity to peel away the filters of memory that rob us of a mindful true presence and experience life as if for the first time. Core Empowerment is a one-of-a-kind process that combines the eastern perspective of non-duality with a western spirit of “can do”. In the same way, it combines the best of eastern wisdom with the insights of western psychology. Ultimately, Core Empowerment uses the mind to go beyond the mind, to the realm of pure potential.
Core Empowerment refers to the skills and energy within us that are released when we cease disregarding them because we are too busy enmeshed in ideas and concepts that totally conceal our own inherent and unique source of genuine power: the awareness behind all thought . This 5-day retreat could be likened to an intensive which takes us back on a journey of self-discovery, through the maze of self-images, emotions and memories to the creative innocence of the wise. What is revealed is the man or woman who is able to live life from Heart, whose senses become even more finely tuned to deal effortlessly with worldly matters when no longer impeded by preconceived notions.
For most of the participants, this insight into their true nature comes as a great relief. They feel genuinely empowered. Moreover, they find that their attitude towards daily life changes dramatically and with that change, their life also shifts for the better.
Many varied processes are introduced that help you get back into the driver’s seat and to take charge when needed. At the same time they help you relax into your natural ability to let go, so that you can allow life to be your guide. Consequently, your new-found initiative does not turn into yet another frantic and frustrating pursuit of far-away goals. The natural leadership qualities that arise, help you to seize the moment and make the appropriate decisions that are called for.
The retreat further assists you in dissolving the kinds of blocks, which could hinder the unfolding of your own inherent creativity. Core Empowerment benefits all areas of your life, your career as well as your relationship with others. It also affects the way you take care of your health, as well as the way you perceive yourself. From your own direct experience, you begin to perceive everything through the eyes of the Heart, and allow its uncanny intelligence to guide you where you need to go.
Unconsciousness, the Cause for Unhappiness
The words “emotional intelligence” have become something of a catch phrase. More than being a trendy expression, they sum up the center focus of current leading edge exploration into the nature and workings of mind and cognition. They indeed point to the root of some key fundamental questions: “Why is it that so much of what our minds do, remains below the threshold of conscious awareness? What does this large degree of non-conscious cognition thought processing and ensuing action mean for our experience of the world? Why is our unconscious mind so all pervasive? Why do we have recurring experiences of being at the effect of the unconscious mind, to the degree that access to natural states of simple happiness seem to continuously elude us?
East Meets West to Unveil Age Old Research
Leading western psychologists, such as best-selling author Daniel Goleman and the late Francisco Varela, a professor of cognitive science at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris have worked with several prominent Tibetan Buddhist Rinpoches on the subject of emotional intelligence and the psychology of cognition. Besides presenting a thorough investigation into the cognitive processes, this ongoing dialogue sheds light on ways that we can successfully deal with destructive emotions and other forms of unconscious behavior patterns. This approach has been a major focus for practitioners of Buddhist meditation ever since the Buddha launched his direct investigation into the workings and nature of the mind, more than 2,500 years ago.
Science Now Agrees: Our Perception Is Ruled by Memory
Currently in several labs in the US, research is uncovering the secrets of cognition. Through the most advanced western technologies (for example, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS), scientists now realize that we do not see the world as it actually is, but only in terms of what we already know of the world. In other words, in states of non-conscious cognition (which is where most people are), memory shapes or dictates all of what we can perceive. We are thus deprived of free will and free agency. The moment we find access to being conscious and aware in the present moment, free will and free agency are restored. Brain scans using the same TMS technology also show how the practice of different forms of meditation, learned through long retreats, in fact influence perception in such a way, that humans can rise above an otherwise unconscious existence. For all human beings, this step into conscious awareness is of primary importance for it enables us to live a happy, balanced and fulfilled life.
Historically Only Lengthy Periods of Retreat Could Free the Mind
The question now is, how can this be accomplished? The traditional Buddhist approaches to the restoration of free will and conscious awareness require a long and arduous discipline of meditation over the span of many years. As the results of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation with experienced mediators suggest, these techniques do indeed work. The data collected at the E.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior on the Madison Campus of the University of Wisconsin, USA, demonstrate as much. The drawback is, in the past, these techniques were invented, taught and elucidated mainly by monks and other people who were in a position to live a life of seclusion and contemplation. In other words, in their old approaches these techniques are time-consuming and require years of dedicated effort.
Short Cuts Bring Awareness into the Present
The question now is, can we accomplish the same? Can the average person achieve comparable levels of conscious awareness as do Buddhist meditators after twenty or more years of practice? Living in the world, going about his or her business, and taking care of the many obligations that are taken for granted by any ordinary socially active person? The answer is, “Yes, with the right motivation, commitment and discipline, it is possible.” There are approaches to conscious awareness and emotional intelligence that are geared toward direct recognition of what is so in the moment which bypass the mental processing via memory. One pertinent example is the Core Empowerment retreat, developed by Dr. Paula Horan and based on several time-tested meditative techniques.
The Memory Trap Is Released by Clear Perception
In the Core Empowerment retreat, destructive emotions and unconscious behavior patterns themselves become the object of our exploration. They are not judged, and neither are they rejected. No effort is made to push them away. Instead, participants are guided to directly feel them, and to cultivate a sense of exploration about every circumstance that arises, whether seemingly “comfortable” or “uncomfortable”, “happy” or “sad”, “good” or “bad”. This direct feeling and recognition brings about a sudden shift in perception. We cease to identify with the latest destructive emotion or behavior pattern. Although we can notice and sense its presence clearly, we also know without a shadow of a doubt that this is not who we are, but only a conditioned response with which we sometimes identify.
Clear Perception is due to Heart Intelligence
Subsequently, once the link of identification is broken through noticing and most of all feeling from the Heart, the same old destructive emotion or behavior pattern can no longer rule us. In other words, often in the 5 days that the retreat takes, the same depth of balance and lucidity is achieved, which through more traditional approaches may take years to accomplish. This fast track is made possible through a combination of fine-tuned techniques and extensive experience on the part of the facilitator.
Depending on the individual, 20 years of experience has shown that participation in three to five, 5-day retreats over a two to three year period can help to stabilize one’s ability to transcend the filter of memory and live a true present. Because all emotions are reactions to thoughts, the ability to live in the present without clinging to passing thoughts, automatically gives one the ability to transcend the pull of emotion. The result is a greater degree of equanimity in all situations, whether “positive” or “negative” and the emotional intelligence of a life lived from Heart.