Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership by Jaworski

Book Review: Strongly recommend. Unusual book on leadership for business people

This book was first published in 1996 and has an introduction by Peter Senge. Senge refers to Robert K. Greenleaf’s book “Servant Leadership”, as the best book on leadership (to that date) and says that Jaworski builds on Greenleaf’s thinking and goes further especially in dealing with the path of personal transformation that the effective leader must undergo. Senge also refers to the transformational effect that a meeting in 1980 with David Bohm had on Jaworski.

Jaworski’s account of the influence of synchronicity on his life is well written and interesting. He describes how he became dissatisfied with his successful life-style, he was a highly paid trial lawyer, and wanted to do something else. He resisted this, but details a number of influences and incidents that were important for his own development and growing awareness.
One example he gives is of an encounter with an ermine, in the Grand Treton Mountains of Wyoming; he says of the ermine, “She couldn’t have been more than ten feet from me. All at once she appeared with her almost black eyes looking directly into mine … She sat there staring straight at me, moving not a whisker.” He added, “We communicated, that ermine and I, and for those few minutes, I experienced what I can only describe as a kind of transcendence of time and a feeling of oneness with all the universe.”

Jaworski became to believe in the importance of teaching people the importance of good leadership and eventually founded the American Leadership Forum which focused on developing leadership in American communities, businesses and administration. He had no formal training in leadership, but was heavily influenced by the writings of Robert Greenleaf who wrote that the essence of leadership is the desire to serve one another and to serve something beyond ourselves, a higher purpose, Greenleaf described this as “servant leadership”, the leader as the servant of the people he or she leads. For Jaworski, with his growing sense of the interrelatedness of everything Greenleaf’s ideas made perfect sense. He saw relatedness as the organizing principle of the universe.

Jaworski has a concrete sense of the importance of following your own destiny, his description of his departure from his law firm to set up the new venture puts this well:
“At the moment I walked away from the firm, a strange thing happened. I clearly had no earthly idea how I would proceed. I knew no one who could help me on the substantive side of things, no network of experts. …. Yet, at this point, strangely enough most of my concerns and doubts about the enormity of the project were erased. I had a great sense of internal direction and focus, and an incredible sense of freedom that I had never felt before in my entire life.”

Jaworski believes that when we focus on what we have to do then something miraculous happens. He says: ‘The day I left the firm, I crossed the threshold. From that point on, what happened to me had the most mysterious quality about it. Things began falling into place almost effortlessly – unforeseen incidents and meetings with the most remarkable people who were to provide crucial assistance to me’. Jaworski describes how a meeting in 1980 with David Bohm, the physicist, had a profound effect on him, coming as it did after he resigned from the law firm.
Bohm had just published “Wholeness and the Implicate Order”. Bohm told Jaworski that the concepts of time, space, and matter no longer applied, they talked about what happens in a “bubble chamber”, in the bubble chamber particles sometimes move backwards in time and notions of earlier and later are no longer clear; time-space processes sometimes run in reverse casual sequences.

They discussed Bell’s theorem, which proves that the world is fundamentally inseparable. Bohm said that everything is connected to everything else, and told Jaworski that, “The oneness implicit in Bell’s theorem envelops human beings and atoms alike.” Bohm said that everything is enfolded in everything, “If you reach deeply into yourself, you are reaching into the very essence of mankind. When you do this you will be lead into the generating depth of consciousness that is common to the whole of mankind and that has the whole of mankind enfolded in it.”
Bohm said that we are all connected, but that people create barriers between each other, but if these barriers are removed then human beings could operate as one mind, and pull together.
Jaworski goes on to describe the successes and setbacks he met, and of the way in which synchronicity operated. That when he tried too hard things did not work, but that when he let go then things flowed. He experienced the effectiveness of collective thinking, or dialogue. Jaworski also notes Bohm’s idea that the fragmentation of thought is reinforced by a world view inherited from the 16th Century. Jaworski describes the traps he encountered; the trap of responsibility, the trap of dependency and the trap of overactivity. But this book is above all a description of a process that transcends the “normal” existence of many humans.

As Jaworski says:
“If we have truly committed to follow our dream, there exists beyond ourselves and our conscious will a powerful force that helps us along the way and nurtures our growth and transformation. Our journey is guided by invisible hands with infinitely greater accuracy than is possible through our unaided conscious will.” He uses the metaphor of the journey or the quest.At the end of the book he also refers to the inscription that hung over the entrance to Jung’s house in Switzerland: Vocatus atque vocatus, Deus aderit – “Invoked or not invoked, God is present”.

I strongly recommend this unusual book which was published in order to inspire business people dealing with the issue of leadership, but one which deals with the real development of people and the need to connect to the higher powers that we are linked to. At their best the authors of “business” literature are trying to inspire – Jaworski achieves this.

For a list of recommended books please click here.

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