“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
I thought it would be a completely different dynamic; I was pleasantly surprised. When the call came in from JICA telling me that they were bringing in a team from a post in Kabul for a bit of OJT in Japan, I was pretty excited. A better opportunity for me to assist efforts over there wouldn’t be easy to come by. After all, consciousness is ethereal – its effects are far-reaching, but still take a long time to manifest physically when so many other forces are at play. Now I was being given the chance to effect real change, physically, in the moment, and I was going to make the most of it.
“Knowing your nature is the secret to fulfillment.”
Ever since I was a kid I’ve only known Afghanistan as a country embroiled in hardship. I thought I was going to be dealing with hard-eyed, reticent folk from a third world with nary a kind thought for a coach from the nation that was currently bombarding their land in a war on terror. I’d no idea what the media must be saying about us Americans; I was full of preconceptions and misconceptions. Up to my eye-balls in ignorance, I was hardly confident enough to do my job. I was brought on to teach leadership skills and how to add value to their product; told to encourage their employees and help them create a more fulfilling workplace and lifestyle. I wondered if I’d have the credibility in their eyes.
“The way you get results is by figuring out what you want, realize what’s stopping you, getting education and measuring results.”
The training began at 9am at Jica headquarters in Tokyo. The trainees were not what I had expected. Bright-eyed, eager and dressed to the nines; their English, while not exactly impeccable, was still accurate enough for us to get down to some serious business. As well, they were full of smiles, warmth, expectation and earnestness. It promised to be a fulfilling training for all of us.
We began traditionally, conservatively, by clarifying visions, reviewing goals and personal challenges. We looked at the psychology and mechanics of mastery, analyzing the blueprints and belief systems that created our personal states of mind. We targeted areas for change and growth, identified aspects of our lives that were ripe for transformation and made decisions to acquire new skills or let go of habit patterns that were no longer working for us. We played the red/black game, known in some circles as ‘the prisoner’s dilemma’. This gave the trainees further opportunity to observe themselves and the choices we often make unconsciously. We discussed how to maximize resources, the power of follow-through and the importance of training and pursuing the path of mastery.
“Take ownership of yourself first before having an effect on your environment.”
The guys and girls in this training were solid professionals, absolutely ready to be there. We shared and cared and knew each other through our eyes and words. There was a lot of reality in the room that weekend and we all left a little better for the time we spent together. Listening to the Afghans talk about their experiences in their war-torn homeland, I was touched by the softness of their expression and their love and appreciation for life. Praise of the Lord accompanied so many of their gestures and as we wrapped up the seminar with a workshop on values and principles leading into a definitive statement of mission, I felt it had really been myself that had been the one getting trained there in that room. We parted with firm handshakes and firmer hugs, each promising to carry the experience of this training back to our homes to spread the lessons we had learned a little deeper into our respective circles. After all, I appreciated being able to send some good intention and feeling directly over to Afghanistan through these gentle, intelligent and highly motivated folk. And praise of the Lord accompanied my gesture.