HomeIn the FieldConsciousness in management

From the 1 to 3 August 2019, an international group of academics, thought leaders, Yoga and meditation practitioners, and corporate consultants and managers came together at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, the premier business school in India, to address the topic of “Elevating Consciousness Through Meditation for Global Harmony.” ELIZABETH DENLEY shares some insights on the activities and ripple effect this conference had on the participants and the field of management, and interviews a number of the presenters and delegates.

At this pivotal time in human history, we are seeing the winds of change sweep through management schools around the world. While the existing paradigms of business and management have been successful in many ways, they have never been sustainable. We now realize that a significant shift in human consciousness is needed for us to continue to survive on Earth. Without this shift, management schools are no longer serving any useful purpose; in fact they will only cause more harm.

Dr. Ramnath Naranswamy, Professor of Economics and Social Sciences at IIMB, had this to say during his keynote address: “Management as an academic discipline developed during a dynamic period of knowledge growth and expansion in the western world, evolving out of Fordism and Taylorism. To enrich and balance that perspective, today the need to incorporate heart-based principles of leadership, service and character ethics has become increasingly vital. In particular, meditation offers a way to cultivate emotional, social and spiritual intelligence, and a way to elevate and expand consciousness. Nowadays the mainstream business community acknowledges that meditative life skills are fundamental to well-being and happiness.” But there is more to the story. These life skills also provide us with the elevated consciousness to embrace a new set of paradigms; those needed to solve the current problems facing humanity and take us forward.

This conference was a first. While there have been many forums on management and meditation, this gathering brought together the science of consciousness from the meditative traditions, especially Yoga, with scientific and management principles, and with simple practical tools in order to elevate consciousness.

This gathering brought together
the science of consciousness from
the meditative traditions, especially Yoga,
with scientific and management principles, and
with simple practical tools in order to
elevate consciousness.

Alain Desvigne, Group CEO and co-founder of the Amarenco Group, a European sustainable energy company, and Director of the Heartfulness Institute in France, presented a few chilling facts about our current business models, and proposed the 18th Sustainable Development Goal of “Evolution of Consciousness” as the solution to implementing the other 17. He challenged everyone to consider bringing the evolution of individual and collective consciousness front and center stage, so as to offer new avenues of thought to tackle the SDGs: “A radical change requires a radical shift of approach!” His paper will be featured in the next issue of Heartfulness magazine.

Sharat Hegde, Director of the Heartfulness Institute in India, summarized the activities in the following way: “The participants came from 15 countries and all regions of India, comprising researchers, academics, leaders and practitioners from different faiths and professional backgrounds, who came together to explore the urgent need to elevate consciousness, the tools and techniques available, and the outcome from these tools and techniques. The conference brought together wisdom and practical aspects for individual and organizational transformation. There is growing research on the positive impact of meditation, including studies on Heartfulness Meditation that were presented at the conference.”

Mr. Hegde also noted that, “Over the course of the three days, the discussion moved from understanding the philosophical aspects of consciousness, to the research findings, and finally on day 3 to the implementational aspects in organizations and the changes needed in management policies. Organizations and management schools can benefit immensely by understanding these aspects, which are so fundamental to individual behavior.”

The introductory keynote address was given by Kamlesh Patel, known to many as Daaji, who gave a very inspiring masterclass on consciousness from the experiential approach of Yoga. He mentioned that Yoga helps us “to solve that problem which will solve all other problems,” and this statement reverberated through the thoughts of many of the participants during the conference. Daaji challenged the audience with the simple statement: “Steadiness and stillness of mind is a must for a leader. How to arrive at this state? Master your mind and allow it to work on your terms.” He then went on to ask, “How to swiftly move from one level of consciousness to another level of consciousness at will – not just by desiring, but at will – and make it more productive in our day-to-day life?” He then went on to share his experience of how this can be done. It was a comprehensive exposé of how to work with consciousness through meditative processes.

Dr. Rosalind Pearmain, from the UK, described her experience as “a palpable taste of a new future emerging. Speakers presented expertise and discerning reflection from the disciplines and practice of science, spirituality, management, psychology and sustainability. Most powerful was the sense of harmony and heart that permeated the whole event. This is the aspect that still reverberates on for me and suggests a new field unfolding. Something more unified and dimensional is possible that can support us in our dire circumstances on this earth. It will keep resonating on in further connections and no doubt in a further event drawing many more into the gathering wave.”

Yoga helps us “to solve that problem
which will solve all other problems.”

Enrico Amiotti, Executive Vice President for the Fondazione Enrica Amiotti in Milan, Italy, said, “This conference will be recorded as a milestone for the development of human consciousness, and will have unexpected ripple effects in the months and years to come. I think that each of us will find more insights as we go on in conversations with people we met and in reading and sharing the conference material. We INSEADers are already thinking to export it from Bangalore to Fontainebleau in France next year, to benefit the European audience. It may result in a ‘BangaBleau’ new school of conscious in global economics.”

Dr. Hester O Connor, a clinical psychologist and health service executive from Ireland, said, “These 3 days were a taste of the consciousness that we have been longing for, not only in the business world but globally. It is a taste of the consciousness of the beauty and simplicity of the heart. The task now is to enliven and share what we have received with others in the moment-to-moment connections as we go about our busy lives.”

Dr. Marilyn Cornelius of Alchemus Prime, Fiji, shared her observations: “This conference was of the highest caliber in terms of people, science, and discourse. It also demonstrated heart and soul in a way conferences rarely do. It affirmed my approach of using meditation as a practice of shifting consciousness to address individual challenges like stress as well as global challenges like climate change. From behavioral and spiritual viewpoints, all we can control are our actions, which collectively can achieve global harmony. This is the priceless hope and motivation we can leverage to keep working to actualize what I call personal and planetary wellness.”

Tushar Pradhan, Chief Investment Officer at HSBC Asset Management (India) Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, felt that “this attempt to cross pollinate the idea of expanded consciousness into all practical fields of human endeavor was truly remarkable. It is indeed undeniable that today’s challenges, be it the environment, business, or politics, are deeply influenced by human behavior. I truly believe that such thought leadership will permeate larger swathes of society and bring the true potential of the human existence to light leading to a better future for all on this planet.”

Stanislas Lajugie, from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, France, said that the conference “highlighted the urgency to change our individual and collective behaviors and systems in order to live in harmony. The urgency is for our own welfare, and more importantly for future generations. The conference also emphasized how to do it! Change can only happen if consciousness changes. The simple experience of heart-based meditation convinced many of us that a shift in consciousness is within the reach of one and all.”

It is a great platform to build on and hope
that we can improve on what was a unique disruption
to how management is taught. With conferences like this,
corporate life as we know it can shift!

Mutsa Samuel, Founder of the UbuntuLab, from Zimbabwe, expressed that what he enjoyed about this conference was “the diversity of thought, approach and background of all the participants. … It is a great platform to build on and hope that we can improve on what was a unique disruption to how management is taught. With conferences like this, corporate life as we know it can shift!”

Vasco Gaspar, Human Flourishing Facilitator from Portugal, had this to say: “My heart is full, my mind feels expanded and my body is energized and still resonates with all the inspiration I’ve received in this conference. I feel that we humans, as a species, need more spaces like this to learn from each other, to cross-pollinate our ideas, traditions and methodologies. My sincere wish is that this conference may grow, become even more inclusive to different areas of society and traditions, and expand to several places across the world, becoming a luminary for the human race to learn how can we all flourish together for the purpose of a Greater Good.”

The ripple effects are already palpable. One participant noted how refreshing it was that at no stage during the conference was there any argumentative tension with the varying points of view and perspectives. Everyone was inclusive in their approach in order to integrate ideas into a larger framework, embracing all.

Starting with Daaji’s thought-provoking address, the conference was able to take the elevation of consciousness much beyond the commonly-held ideals of goodness, values, compassion, emotional and social intelligence, into other dimensions of existence. This was supported through the meditation practices experienced by the participants every day.



Elizabeth Denley

Elizabeth Denley

Elizabeth is the founding editor of Heartfulness Magazine. She is Australian, loves meditating, writing, playing and singing music, gardening, thinking, spending time with her two grown up children, and life in general. She has been a st... Read More