Friday
Dec142012

Can Advaita Life Practice Help You Manage Relationship with Your Boss?

There is this common perception that anything to do with Advaita, Non Dual, is out of this world and  cannot help us to manage our experiences in the world we find ourselves in. I beg to  differ and that is something I have laid out in quite some detail in my book Advaita Life Practice.

Let me take specific practical example which most of us may have been concerned about some time in our lives: how to manage a relationship with a boss to move it to being mutually supportive. I will walk you through how Advaita practices can empower you to be actually proactive and take control of your experiential life.

As I said in my previous post here, there are two things you need to figure out about a relationship: one whether it is mutually supportive and resonating and second whether the roles need fine tuning to make it consistent.

The figuring out starts with becoming aware of the roles you and the other person are playing. So for example when you talk with your boss on one on one basis, what is the typical conversation that happens? Does your boss ask you about what you have done well and what problems you are having and what help you need. Or does the conversation mostly start with pointing out what you have not done right? And then you become defensive and get into a conversation which leaves you feeling unwell by the end of the meeting? But this observation has to be done methodically and is the first  
step. As you start observing and contemplating on your interactions with your boss, you may then be surprised to observe how the same boss talks to different people differently. You can react to that defensively or there is a way to learn from it to your advantage.

To become aware of what is going on in your interaction with your boss you have to become a better observer. Observe in minute detail what you do when you think of the other person, when you are with the other person and when you talk about the other person with third parties. You have to observe even while you are playing out your role.

And observation is the first step. Then the natural question is what to do with what you are observing, what we call the contemplative step, helps you understand the bigger picture of what is going on in your relationships. There is a way of writing it down, diarizing it. Then to bring the different strands of observation together to weave the bigger picture of your relationship.

So the first step is to begin with just step back and observe every little thing that is happening in the relationship with your boss.

That is the first step. But the process of observation itself creates a momentum for change for better resonance in the relationship. And if I were you, I would jump at that and ask: "But wont the stepping back and observing put a damper in what I am saying and doing? Won’t it make me passive?"

On the contrary. As you begin to observe and become aware, you start taking charge of your relationship, rather than just repeating a script that you and your boss have developed over time, without putting a conscious thought to it.

How to step back and observe and at the same time not bring all your actions to a stand still is a powerful skill you will learn from practices taught at Advaita Life Coaching group sessions and courses, through specific breath work, visualization, meditations and contemplative exercises.

So to go back to the example of a making the relationship with your boss more productive, you will learn to make non-judgmental observations about certain specific things through the ALC process. Each of these observations will be like puzzle pieces initially. But writing them down in a structured was helps bring the pieces together for you. You are then in a position to see what changes to the script may be required to shift  the relationship to being a healthy one.

And while we are at it, let’s keep in mind that for many of us taking control and changing the script of the roles we play with our boss will likely make the relationship more productive. But there will be many others who may want to move on. And what is required to come to the decision and make it a positive one is to understand one's own strengths, our capabilities and where and how we shine at work. Advaita Life Coaching specifically helps with your own understanding of your own capabilities, your strengths and also to become aware of where you are not so hot. That way when you get to know
what will make you flourish.

Also, moving on means you will be interviewing a lot. And each interview may be the first step in forming a relationship with a future boss. Because one of those interviews will end up being where you will be working. So when you go through the Advaita Life Coaching relationships and work life coaching process, you will be empowered to work through these interviews - both to bring your capabilities and strengths to the table and also to have better control of your relationships with your new boss and colleagues and therefore the trajectory of your career at your new workplace.

The chain of observation, contemplation and action in awareness is the chain of practices from Advaita that empower you in your daily life, and therefore preparing ground for you to begin to perceive what is it that you want to continue to experience and what you want drop off to simplify your life and move one more step towards sustained happiness and thence to equanimity.

Every field of activity presented to us in our everyday life is an opportunity for Advaita, Non Dual, practices. One need not withdraw and become an ascetic to begin to move towards happiness and equanimity. Start today with where you are: start becoming an observer, with appropriate coaching, and become an empowered actor.

Jayant Kalawar is the author of The Advaita Life Practice, available at Amazon.

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