Many of the concepts of mindfulness and Buddhism can help us relate directly to our journey as entrepreneurs. The "three jewels" of Buddhism are the Buddha, the Sangha and the Dharma. A teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh in his book, Your True Home, got me thinking that listening to the Dharma, the teachings of the historical Buddha, can be particularly challenging for entrepreneurs.
LISTENING TO A Dharma talk is a practice. When you are hearing a teaching, you should sit in such a way that peace, relaxation, and ease are possible. Don’t struggle. Just open yourself to allow the Dharma to penetrate you, the way rain penetrates soil. You should not use intellect to receive the Dharma. The intellect can be like a sheet of plastic covering the earth, preventing the rain of Dharma from penetrating the ground of your being. The ground of your being contains lots of seeds, and it needs the rain to penetrate deeply into it. So do not use only the intellect. Do not compare and discriminate. Just open up to the Dharma rain, and let it penetrate you.
Have you guessed which part of this teaching got me thinking that listening to the Dharma might be challenging for entrepreneurs?
Yep, it's the part about not using your intellect to receive the Dharma.
But That's Impossible!
Here's my initial reaction -
Don't use the intellect? But that's impossible, I'm an ENTREPRENEUR and my intellect is one of the most powerful tools I have at my disposal.
Initially Skeptical 🙂
Exactly Why Not to Rely Solely on Your Intellect
When I observed my reaction, I immediately realized that this reaction is the manifestation of the plastic sheet that Thich Nhat Hanh refers to in the teaching. This realization helped me understand the importance of not using the intellect or at least not solely using the intellect, when listening to the Dharma.
In my own experience, reactions like mine -
- Prevent entrepreneurs from fully opening to our experience in life as it unfolds around us on our journey. Not fully opening to life could prevent us from realizing our true self, which then limits us as entrepreneurs.
- Are an attempt to make sense out of what's happening around us, by forcing everything to be consistent with our preconceived ideas about how things "should" be. I believe entrepreneurs have a very strong tendency to do this. We believe doing this streamlines our decision making process to make more efficient use of our limited resources.
If something doesn't deviate from what we feel is "normal" or the plan we've neatly laid out, we don't have to worry about it, right?
- May cause us to miss the important sign posts on our journey. Its these very signposts that may be pointing us toward realizing our passion in life and work. As entrepreneurs, with our laser focus on achieving our goals and our heads down in the relentless pursuit of progress, it's very possible that we miss these signposts along the way.
Don't Limit Yourself
So if you're an entrepreneur and listening to or reading the Dharma is part of your journey, remember to either turn off the intellect or at try and balance it with other parts of your being, such as emotions and feelings. Doing this will help you open up to the Dharma rain and let it penetrate deeply inside of you.
You may be pleasantly surprised that things start getting a bit easier and progress accelerates, when all the seeds of your being are getting watered. This makes all of your resources available to you, rather than limiting them to solely your intellect.
I'm not doubting your intellect is powerful, simply suggesting that it may be even more powerful when combined with things like feelings and emotions 🙂