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Ethical action flows from the heart

Neuroscience and the science of wellbeing is now catching up with the sages of our wisdom traditions in emphasizing the importance of self-cultivation, meditation and contemplation in ethical decision making and conduct. A recent column in Harvard Business Review titled Why Leaders Need Meditation Now (pandemic) More than Ever, lays bare the extent to which this has become part of the new leadership paradigm.

The column recommends that leaders (1) meditate first thing in the morning (2) start each meeting with a meditation and (3) pause to contemplate and step back when we notice we are caught in unproductive thought patterns.

One of the greatest impediments to ethical leadership is ego. Ego seeks its own advantage, whether it be money, power, fame, etc. over the common good. Ego pursues transactional relationships that use others as means to an end, rather than transformational leadership that sees people as ends in themselves worthy of honest and authentic collaboration.

Developing self-awareness of one's motivations and the capacity to self-regulate them and direct them in accordance with worthy core values such as #integrity and #empathy requires work, contemplative work, self analytical work. In that way, our efforts in the world recognize our interdependence and common humanity and lead to actions that bring about human flourishing.

Civic leaders seeking to enhance their skills in this area can now take a five week (intensive) university certificate course called Resilient Civic Leadership: Compassionate Integrity Training for Civic Leaders (Centre for Compassion, Integrity & Secular Ethics, Life University). Register here. Space Limited.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was an American Trappist monk, writer, theologian, mystic, poet, social activist, and scholar of comparative religion.

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