“I want to be Teal, but not spiritual.”
I have heard variations of this comment many times. Ironically, that’s equivalent to saying: I want to study for a Ph.D., but I want nothing to do with reading or writing.
All human beings, animals included, are born spiritual, although many of us are not intellectually aware of our spirituality. Being Teal or having a high level of consciousness is the result of spiritual growth and spiritual maturity.
When we were born as infants, our mind was only capable of thinking short-term self-interests which is all about “me”. We hope to control or influence our environment and other people in order to serve “me” – the center of our universe.
As we grow and mature, our circle of self-interests and awareness expands and starts to include others. First, the circle includes our family, then our community, our nation, and eventually the entire humanity. Growing along with this circle is our level of consciousness. In the process, we grow from a taker to a matcher (balance giving and taking) to a giver. By the time we reach the highest level of consciousness, we become the embodiment of three qualities: wisdom, compassion, and self-mastery.
When we meet a child who is caring and thoughtful, we consider him mature. The same is true with adults, except that adults’ thoughts and behaviors are much more complex. However, a trained mind can easily identify the maturity level of a person by observing his thought and behavioral patterns and such patterns follow a specific trajectory. Teal is at a later stage of this trajectory.
Each person, organization, or society operates from a certain level of consciousness (or spiritual maturity). An organization or a society’s consciousness (Teal or pre-Teal) is a reflection of the collective consciousness of its people, which is limited by its current organizational or social structure and/or leadership.
To understand how a high conscious (Teal) leader behaves, let’s take a closer look at the following 10 aspects of Yang in the previous story:
- Self-Identity: Despite the devastating situation (her son’s death), Yang didn’t see herself as a victim nor blame anyone for the situation. Instead, she tried to understand the situation from a neutral or a leader’s perspective by putting herself in the shoes of the person who caused her pain.
- Wisdom: Knowing that her loss is irreversible, instead of indulging herself in her sorrows, sense of helplessness, or anger, she surrendered to what was out of her control and focused on what was within her control. Her wisdom and ability to accept “what is” reflects an exceptionally high level of maturity.
- Calmness: Like a typical person who has reached the Teal level of consciousness, Yang has an obvious grounded-ness and the ability to stay calm during a crisis. This is the result of self-mastery (aka self-management) – the ability to manage her thoughts, emotions, and actions – little affected by external circumstances. Without excessive emotional turbulence, she was able to focus on the tasks in front of her and be more sensitive to other people’s needs.
- Confidence: She had an innate self-confidence that is disproportional to her social status – her education, title, wealth, or exposure. Although from an isolated village, she had no inferiority complex going about her business in the big city or making her requests to the authorities.
- Independent Thinking: Even though there was an entire team of lawyers trying to help with her case, she knew exactly what she wanted and was not easily persuaded.
- Compassion: Although the truck driver took away the most precious person in her life, she did not lower her consciousness by “punishing” him for his mistake or focusing on the accident in isolation. Instead, she cared for him as a human being while trying to understand his personal needs and challenges. She did not use her pain as an excuse to inflict more pain on others.
- Resilience: Mature people usually have gone through many hardships in their lives. In her case, Yang lost her husband while she was young, yet raised an outstanding child under very difficult circumstances. Her ability to endure pain and turn it into strengths is extraordinary.
- Worldview: Many people in her situation would have focused on monetary compensation or her own challenges. But Yang focused on what is the “right thing” to do that benefits all people involved in the long-term instead of her self-interest in the short term. Despite her own poverty, she had an abundant mindset.
- Power: An old woman without any social status, she showed up gentle, kind, and with integrity, like a bright light in the darkness. That’s the source of her power, which is completely opposite from the “power” derived from the authority to control. Through this power, she attracted people to her small village from all over the country to improve the lives of her village. She has the quality of a true leader.
- Letting go: By conventional wisdom, Yang was “stupid”. The compensation from the shipping company was rightfully hers. Yet, she wanted to separate her son’s death from money. However, when she let go of money, money started to chase after her. The same way profit always chases after Teal aligned companies.
None of these qualities exist in isolation. They come from a way of thinking, expressed through actions. Yang turned a potentially confrontational situation with loss and pain into a heartwarming experience with inspiration and hope. This is due to her high level of consciousness, which is exactly what Einstein meant when he said: “We cannot solve problems with the same level of thinking we used to create them.”
Moving to the next level of thinking is what “going Teal” all about.