Human nature is loving and compassionate at its source level. And yet, even though we all have access to this deeper source dimension, we typically reserve it to be expressed in closer relationships and on special occasions. Fear-based narratives have captivated our hearts and minds eliciting defensiveness and criticism while keeping us away from mutual understanding and compassion.
When these narratives lock us inside, we can see a growing disconnect in the relationships we have with ourselves, others and the living planet.
This disconnection leads to a personal inability to respond to what we are experiencing and witnessing in helpful ways and a systemic failure to address current challenges in effective ways.
On a personal level we have come to realize that we have lost connection with ourselves, our highest aspirations and feelings, resulting in soaring stress-related diseases, anxiety, depression, suicides and burn-out.
On a societal level we are seeing the effects of disconnection in ever more individualized communities, in which the distribution of wealth has never been more unbalanced and polarisation, populism and loneliness are on the rise.
And on an ecological level we are becoming more and more aware of the disruptive consequences of our behavior, such as climate change, air and water pollution and loss of biodiversity.
We, the people, our organizations, societies and nature are ailing.
Why do our attempts to deal with the challenges of our time so often fail? And why are we stuck in so many destructive patterns?
Our societal context makes us look at the world as a finite entity in which we need to compete for resources;
We have identified ourselves as separate beings and are trying to protect ourselves from one another;
We have created systems in which we use rules and regulations as means to control each other and fight to make ourselves safe;
We see the world as a place with cause and effect mechanisms leading to predefined results and to get to these results we use operating structures that command and control people towards these goals suppressing their voices;
Many leadership theories are about what leaders should do and how they should do it, without addressing the inner place, the source dimension from which leaders operate;
Deeply incoherent messages are at play in our systems: On the one hand we ask people to be open, honest and responsible, while the unspoken agreements are that we must succeed at all costs (or we will lose our jobs) and that we are independent agents focusing on individual contribution, fighting for ourselves against all others;
We are disconnected from source dimensions that go beyond our rational thinking: dimensions from which care, compassion, social engaged action and effective leadership come into being. This disconnection shows up not only in our collective leadership but also in our everyday social interactions and in the relationship we have with ourselves and with the planet.
We believe that all of the above are at the origin of our collective failure and to start walking away from these disruptive patterns, we can harness the power of putting love at the center of our way of being and interacting with the world within and around us.
Putting love at the center doesn’t have a straightforward recipe, instead it requires us to come together to listen, dialogue, imagine and practice with an open heart and mind so that we tap into what is possible for our collective future.