Universal leadership qualities
Some fundamental needs apply to all living beings. The perspective of a dog behaviour expert, Cesar Millan, puts up an interesting mirror for us humans.
Cesar always underlines that being calm and confident is key for developing a good relationship with any species. He says: “When I come into people’s homes (to get to know a new dog), I always behave very quiet, very calm because calmness builds trust. Then I ask the dog to stay at a distance when we first meet because asking for distance creates respect. I prioritise trust and respect. After that, I give affection and nurture what everybody wants in any relationship. Often people interpret this as if I am not very loving because most of my clients like to greet dogs by going straight into their intimate space and express affection, but that does not establish trust and respect.” Cesar keeps underlining that animals respond to the energy we send out, to our state of mind, and that the state of calm and confidence is the basis for establishing a good relationship with any animal because it creates trust and a sense of safety, of stability. Animals are drawn towards stability, just like nature strives towards regaining balance. He says that dogs are happy to follow a calm and stable leader, they have no ego about who is in charge. As long as their master is calm and confident they feel safe and are happy to follow. But this also applies to people, we want a leader who is calm and confident, it is what is really expected. If a dramatic situation occurs people will automatically be drawn to and want to follow a person who keeps cool and levelheaded, one who is not getting upset, even if it is not the formal leader.
Now, being calm and confident is also a fundamental need for me as a human, despite how much I become excited by dramas. If I am genuinely calm and confident, from the inside out, not based on external achievements, but from my heart, then I feel safe, and I become ready for life, prepared to interact with others. Calm and confidence is the doorway to open my heart, to generosity, to be curious and interested in others and to be truthful. So, others will feels safe with me and will trust me. I need to acknowledge this need and care for this to help myself return to balance. Many things around me can trigger fear, insecurity, worry and disturbance, but the response comes from inside me. There is something within me that sets off the reaction. So, it is in my hands to cultivate the interest in finding ways to attain calmness and confidence, inner stability. To take care of my basic needs. This genuine interest is at the core of any spiritual practice. Depending on my unique situation, I may need to find all kinds of help from all sorts of sources. This is what a spiritual path is about, getting to know oneself profoundly and learn to take care of my real needs. This will create deep inner stability. If I keep this desire as my guiding star, doors will open along my way. When a desire is pure, it attracts help, and we can learn lessons from many sources. The animal kingdom is a clear mirror.
By Lotta Arbman, Secretary of the Spirit of Humanity Forum