At 7:07 a.m. on Tuesday, July 2nd, a tweet from RhinoforDinner popped into my email inbox. “Thanks for the follow! I’m Page! What leadership quality do you think is most important for young leaders to learn?”
I tweeted back, “Great Q, Page! I’d say Confidence, meaning “with faith” in their True Selves: having the courage to hear & follow inner voice of Conscience.” I double-checked Page’s avatar – a seriously disgruntled cartoon rhino.
Here’s the description: “What is real leadership? A rhino in a restaurant is no doubt powerful… But he has no authority! Helping leaders lead with authority!” So I followed up, “Conscience is the connection with ultimate inner authority.” Then, on second thought, an hour later, “Con-science = with science, the true meaning of which is ‘with knowledge.’”
I have enormous compassion for Millennials . . . as well as great hope, which is why the 2014 edition of Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change is dedicated to them:
Though it may seem as if they’ve been economically disenfranchised by their elders, material misfortune on the surface of the Positive Paradigm Wheel contains within it the hidden seeds of humanity’s long-term survival.
Ours isn’t the first time in the repeating cycles of history that leaders have squandered national resources. But in the context of Lao Tze’s larger reality, material resources aren’t that significant when compared with the intelligence, inner strength and inexhaustible vitality available to those whom circumstances oblige to return to the less tangible but very real levels of inner experience.
Millennials are the ones for whom the results of the materialistic, conflict-paradigm are so catastrophic that they have no vested interests to protect. They’re the ones prepared to move forward once again into the past, recovering the timeless treasure of the Positive Paradigm buried deep within the Tao Te Ching‘s wisdom.
They’ve been given the greater opportunity to dig deep,
rediscover their inalienable inner resources, and
become the truly radical agents of substantive, positive change.
In the repeating cycles of generational pendulum swings, their 1960’s grandparents (indiscriminately) embraced all things change – on the surface. Religious, sexual and cultural norms went by the board. Hippie flower children dropped out of “the system” and tuned in to drugs, hard rock and doing their own thing.
Working with less-than-perfect translations of the I Ching, they popularized the misunderstood Chinese Book of Change to rationalize (predictable) rebellion against security-obsessed elders, who (as survivors of the great depression and World War II), had reacted in opposite and equally extreme ways to the extremes of the generation before them. (And so on, and so forth, round and round again.)
My best hope for Millennials is that they’ll benefit from the lessons of history and NOT mindlessly perpetuate the pattern of yo-yo swings between opposite and equally dysfunctional extremes on the surface, disconnected from the timeless center.
We now recognize that different visions of timeless truth are, necessarily, inherently the same. Looking back in time, the Tao Te Ching (along with the I Ching worldview it expresses) is remarkably compatible with Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Looking forward, it is equally compatible with the teachings of Christ. Most recently, the correlation has been made with the three variables of Einstein’s famous formula. He had the Unified Theory, though lacking familiarity with ancient teachings, didn’t know it.
Now, as in the time when Christ walked the Earth, true fundamentalists and radicals (both words mean the same thing) aren’t conflicting extremist groups that meddle with events on the material surface of life’s wheel, but single individuals with the courage and vision to change themselves from the inside out.
Millennials, along with the parents and grandparents who dearly wish them well, can benefit from a hard-earned, deeper understanding of change. They’re becoming aware that times of adversity and extreme danger offer opportunities for self-transcendence. They can anticipate hidden blessings (however well-disguised) and prepare according to The Common Sense Book of Change view of CHANGE:
Day and night replace each other
in endless cycles of CHANGE.
The same natural law generates flux
in human events.
The unprepared see change
as a threat,
but the well-prepared
face the unknown calmly.
They know that after degeneration
reaches critical mass,
Welcome the new.
Avoid short-sighted fear.
This, in turn, however, leads to a whole new subject.