Spiritual Solutions to these Critical Times
Highlights from the April 2020 Optimism Cafe: Charlie Hogg in Conversation with Victor Perton and Robert Masters on Spiritual Solutions to these Critical Times. Charlie also shared an Optimism Meditation.
Victor Perton asked Charlie Hogg "What makes you optimistic?
Charlie responded, "If I reflect quite deeply about that question, I don't think it's external things that make me optimistic. I don't take my cues from certain things outside of myself, but if I really reflect deeply, it's probably what I consider the foundation of life or a quality life, which is my relationship with myself, in the sense that I often feel that's the first relationship in life. And when that relationship is healthy, it influences your physical health, your relationships, and inevitably that intrinsic internal feeling, just that vibe you hold in that sacred space of your mind, just how you feel. And if it's healthy, you tend to have a more positive outlook, and I would say a resilience to the inevitable issues and circumstances that every single one of us faces every single day of our lives today, which is so crucial, because if this relationship is unhealthy, once again, I think it influences each corner of my life, my relationships with others, and definitely that feeling.
And to me, this first relationship then creates my lens on the world. I look at the world through a lens, and my perception is my reality. And as we all know, maybe some can be naively optimistic, but I think it can be optimistic and realistic at the same time. But unfortunately sometimes, if that first relationship with me is not so healthy, the lens can be extremely pessimistic and almost no matter what happens, you'll read into it some not-so-positive result. And so I think personally at the heart of spirituality anyway is this wonderful journey of learning fundamentally who I am and reconnecting to that more positive part of myself. When that's there, I tend to feel no matter what the external circumstance, that you can maintain a healthy attitude, a positive attitude."
Robert Masters asked Charlie, "My question that I thought might be relevant to our leaders and that is, how did they move into that... or the questions that I need to think about it in their own mind about moving into the inner self in these times?"
Charlie Hogg replied, "Rob, I think that's the most brilliant question quite frankly because to me that's the seed of what we're seeing outside. Personally, I feel what we see in society, what we're seeing in the world around us is a reflection of our collective inner state.
"I think we've reached a point where this first and most intimate relationship with me is so unhealthy. I might be so educated, and I might have a prominent position, but often that relationship with me is very damaged and easily tiny things disturb me, deeply upset me, make me feel angry and it's like I have no control. I have so much understanding, so educated about the world outside, but so uneducated about the management of the world inside and how to deal with those incredibly powerful emotions that come on those feelings or chronic negative thinking.
"Or even more, that chronic self-doubt, that little person in your head that often it's creating so much doubt about myself. And this, I think what I've learned, no matter who we are, no matter what stature in society, often we go through this stuff, we all go through it in different ways. It's a wonderful conversation because I think unless the healing starts in the self as you say, Rob, I personally don't think we're going to see much change outside.
"And this spiritual university that Victor's been talking about, the fundamental ethic is when we change, the world changes. And we can do all the temporary bandages on all the stuff outside, but in this fundamentally, our human nature begins to shift a little bit, I'm not sure we're going to see a lot of change really happening around us.
"And that's why I think meditation and self-reflection combined with positive action is the methodology to move forward. And a part of that meditation is taking responsibility for who I am, taking responsibility. Otherwise, we palm it off. The finger of blame, the culture of blame is just absolutely rife. But I think that only exacerbates the problem rather than healing the problem.
"It's a big shift, but I feel the pandemic is almost automatically beginning to shift us towards this new paradigm of seeing myself much more deeply and taking responsibility."
Victor Perton to Charlie Hogg:
"One of the things that Rob and I, and the Center for Optimism often talk about is that only optimists can innovate. You've got to be prepared to try and fail, try and fail till you get it right.
"One of the things that struck me when I visited your university at Mount Abu in India was the award-winning technology innovations. You've got the biggest solar farm in India, feeding your university and you've got a kitchen there that feeds 20,000 people at lunch on a Saturday.
"And then, as I'm on the board of Yarra Valley Water, which is a water company, and as I walked up the mountain, there's a water treatment plant that is again, award-winning.
"I visited your hospital up there, which again, was brilliant in terms of delivering Western medicine and Ayurvedic medicine to people who've never had doctors even.
"So tell us about that innovation. Tell us about that drive to innovate at the BK Spiritual University.
"I think that when the mind is at peace, it can be highly creative, and it has the confidence to try new technologies, not only physically but mentally too, to experiment with new attitudes. Because I really feel that my mind is like the awareness, my attitude propels awareness and creates an atmosphere. And that atmosphere influences everyone. That's like a technology, that mental technology you can use to really influence.
"You know yourself that when you meet somebody who has got a positive attitude or a very light state of mind, you feel light, they uplift you because their thought field is doing its work. So I think when you're in that light space, you have the confidence to really experiment and really combine the oldest technologies of the mind with the newest technologies of science."
Quotable Quote on Optimism from Charlie
For my book, Optimism: The How and Why, Charlie shared this wisdom, "Optimism begins at the core of my being. It is our natural nature when I am connected to my true self. The first relationship in life is with me. If this relationship is healthy, the mind creates an infectious perfume of positivity and a natural optimism that permeates the atmosphere and uplifts spirits. This is the leadership that emerges from who I am rather than what I know. This is authentic leadership."