Monkey business

I am currently staying in a pirate-like hut at the far end of a remote beach on a south-east Asian island. Monkeys swarm around the place in the morning, looking for food.

Despite their uncanny display of many human traits, monkeys, unlike us, are very good at living in the moment. Today, when one got a little too close to my morning fruit, we got into a mutual show of guts, teeth and growling. Sure enough, in the blink of an eye, the macaque retreated to a stunningly detached resting position.

In the great Chinese epic Journey to the West, the main character is not the boneless monk who sets out to collect the holy scriptures in India. It is the bold monkey who boasts, bluffs, blunders and fights his way to their common destination. A goal that turns out to also be his attainment of Buddhahood as a result of cultivating many virtues along the way.

This Monkey King is not only the outrageous hero of a picaresque novel, but also a profound inspiration for anyone seeking to transcend their monkey nature.

Many aspects of this journey are readily applicable – and of great significance! – to professional life, not just to esoteric practice. So I am delighted to be able to share more of these insights and practices in my leadership programmes.

In particular, one of the workshops I will be offering later this year will be on the incredible benefits of SAFETY and PLAY for optimal communication and development.