Monthly Archives: March 2014

‘The Floating Bridge of Heaven’

What value could an obscure and ancient concept bring to modern business and life’s challenges?

The founder of Aikido explained his art through a concept out of Shinto philosophy, called, ‘the floating bridge of heaven’.

The implication here is to be connected to both heaven and earth, being able to maintain some connection with your divine origin, as well as your place in the mundane world. It implies allowing the fullness of your dreams along with ability to see what is actually so, with neither impeding the other.

The metaphor of the bridge implies the idea of being able to stand in two places at once. This might apply in our world as being able to understand the two positions in a conversation whether it be, management and labor, teachers and students or mine and yours.

For a parent to truly understand their child’s interests, as they do their own, changes their ability to guide the child. It also changes the child’s ability to hear and receive that guidance based on their understanding that the parent sees both positions. Translate that to any and every hierarchical structure and the same principle holds true.

Understanding complimentary views increases the depth of our understanding and effectiveness of our actions. Standing on the floating bridge, seeing multiple dynamics, means being able to make decisions with a more inclusive and informed understanding of what’s going on. Your leadership and guidance for those who follow you, for whom you are responsible or are in your care is enhanced by that power.

The concept of ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’ is an example of standing on the floating bridge, as might be, maintaining the well-being of our customers as our profits, maintaining the well-being of our employees and those in our charge, as well as our own. If we were to apply this power in the political or economic realms it would transform the way we live and work together.

Standing on the floating bridge implies living in a world of growth and development for individuals, ideas and systems of thought. It may only be possible in imagination or heaven, but I believe it is possible ‘on earth’, as the saying goes. Imagine if all the energy and resources expended in conflict were instead invested in education, art and commerce. That’s what I think standing on the floating bridge might mean to our world.


Fight for What’s Right

Is it a fair assumption to say, “Everyone wants to be right, nobody wants to be wrong.”

I assume everyone thinks what they think is right. Otherwise wouldn’t they just think something else?

But my question pivots more around, “Are you conscious of whether you are more interested in feeling right, or being right and what really is the difference?

What I mean is are you interested in truly challenging your own beliefs and assumptions and listening to a larger whole? Or are you interested more in defending what you believe no matter the information, even and especially, if it implies you should re-evaluate your conclusions? Does loss of face or fear of the unknown dominate your natural curiosity? Consider the power of being able to recognize our tendency to defend our position or beliefs first and ask question afterwards if at all.

Since we want to know the answer, is it fair to say, we find it hard to sit with the question? The question itself hold power. Buckminister Fuller once supposedly said, “Once you’ve defined the problem properly, you’re 90% of the way to the solution.”

I don’t think it matters whether you’re trying to understand how to connect with a larger market, or build an ever more accurate perception of a larger universe, whether you are trying to educate your children or develop employees, design a product, develop a team or improve your grades, job position or athletic performance. Based on your perception of reality and whatever you consider important, wouldn’t you like your interactions have a greater power in creating what you consider to be a better world?

Or would you rather just be right and leave it at that?

Paying attention to that process in yourself, of defending your assumptions and beliefs versus challenging them, might be a doorway into exploring and understanding extraordinary listening.

  Listening is an act of intent!