Buddha’s smile, silence is


We had a Buddha’s picture and one of us would start off

Why is the Buddha smiling?

Some of the answers were

“It doesn’t take an Einstein to figure it out. It is simple. If it is that complex God wouldn’t have anything to do with it – that only the ‘Einstein’s’ would be able to figure it out.” ‘

It is all there in you. You don’t need me.”

“Stretch your lips. That is all it takes to improve the world.”

We took the game to our community stretch workouts which would go on for 8-10 hours for 3-5 days, to give us breaks in between. The game came to be called ‘The Buddha’s Smile’ and continues to evolve.

Here is how it goes after a bout of questions and answers on his smile.

Close your eyes. Stretch your lips just enough to feel the gentle vibrations around them when you smile. Be with it. Come back when you notice that the stretch is lost to regain the pleasant feeling. Observe your breathing as it goes in and out of your nostrils. Go with it, in an out. Observe the breathing becoming slower and slower

Imagine that you are lying down on the ground on a rectangular sheet of rubber with your hands and legs along the diagonals

Keep observing the stretch of your lips and the rate of breathing

Imagine the centre of the sheet, where the diagonals meet and the sheet being stretched evenly in all directions. The sheet is under stress and there is conflict all around. But the centre is not disturbed. At the centre, ground zero is the lighthouse with nine levels. Keep connected to the stretch of your lips, breathing, the centre and the growing silence. Four garden plots of rectangular and equal size spread out from the centre. The sheet turns into a foot ball and is filled up. The centre of the sheet is shifted to the centre of the football. It is being kicked around but the centre is not disturbed. Imagine the football to be a living organism, an amoeba or a cell in your body capable of going on continually

Re-NE…Wing its self.  Observe the stretch, rate of breathing, the centre and the silence

Silence                                                           IS

This is a rough cut of the game. The details vary with the facilitator, community and from events to events. Buddha continues to smile

Stretch your lips. The body chemistry improves….

Silence                                    IS
Most eloquent

the space between every letter, word and sentence. But for these, gaps nothing would be communicated.

Aruna is beautiful, deaf and dumb, in her teens. She comes home with her mother in the morning to help Lizzie with the household chores. Liz makes a lot of noise with her mother, to get things done her way and often fails. Aruna is different. Nothing needs to be said. She connects directly to Liz – no noise – in silence.  She connects intuitively to whatever Liz wants done and always exceeds her expectations.  There is perfect communication, best results and no noise. When they leave Liz makes a lot of noise. She is overwhelmed. All praise and wonder as to how she does it

We learn, communicate, connect and reflect in silence yet seldom do we recognize the power and value of silence and to be connected to the centre. Silence is the most powerful weapon, the communicator. We are afraid to face it and keep making noise to avoid facing it like an idiot box that cannot be switched off.

Connect to the centre in us, the silence, at the core of our being.

At the centre there is absolute silence

Return to the Centre (Bede Griffiths).

Silence                                  is


Our Models of the World

The Eagle’s Gift

The eagle lived on the tree beside a deep well and in the well a community of frogs. None of them had ever been out of the well. Every night the eagle could hear the granny frog tellling bedtime stories to the young one. One morning when the thermals had begun rising in the air, the eagle swooped into the well, grasped one little frog in its claws and rose up with the thermal. The heights and the fear of death overtook the little one. Then the eagle let go of the frog from the heights above the well. While falling back, the frog had just a glimpse of the world outside. The eagle went back to the tree and waited for the sun to set, to hear the story of the day. What will be the story of the day? Tell us?

We have been collecting these stories for over 19 years now. Initially everyone connects it in their own ways.

Some identify themselves with the eagle and some with the frog and the fear of death. Not many with both, eagle and the frog, the big and the small, telescope and the microscope, Hubble and the Femtoscope, Global and local and the  connections in between, how mental models are formed and revised to become  mental maps – knowledge

How best to continually learn and how an old world of the frog collapses or the new frames come to sit on the older version of the software. A new world is born. Yet we are all in that well – of Nature

We will never see all of it, but we can see much more now than any time in the past and there is a long way to go on that road.

Knowledge architecture

Meenakshi asked, “Explain knowledge architect” and Wanderer found the word “awesome”

Knowledge Architecture is Knowledge + Design, as we see it.
Designed to?
• Creating a more desirable future.
• Learning faster as individuals and communities
• Targeted at problem specific solutions
• Deliver sustained improvements.
• Facilitate dialogue and learning
Most often, solutions do not lead to net improvements. The provider turns myopic to the issue out of a natural bias to one’s own baby, driven by selfishness than appropriate selfishness (Handy), create leaders and followers, teachers and students amounting to more of dependence than independence and interdependence
Knowledge is the sum of all that we know, we will know and can know and the process is learning. To learn is to connect, reflect and catalyze- better, faster and deeper and improve together. Parents and teachers desire that children learn faster. Managers desire that they learn faster than the competition. Citizens wish that the country positions itself as a learning community and improve faster. But do we really learn?
There is extreme urgency for rapid learning in the context of environmental concerns, social divides, growth vs. inequity, war for talent, inclusiveness and the role of corporations in creating a more desirable future. Technical connectivity enhances the possibility of real time collective and purposive learning. Complexity of these issues demands a new pedagogy, tools and processes. More of the same would not suffice. It is not that we may not know. It is also equally important to design new ways of prioritising, showing, experiencing, comprehending what we already know at a greater scale and pace. Knowledge architecture addresses these issues of crafting new ways of seeing, a prerequisite to creating a more desirable future. There are many ways to achieve this.

Visemiotics is one. Symbols facilitate easier navigation than written text as in the case of GUI of computers and software applications. A picture is worth a thousand words. At times there is no substitute for a visual symbol as in the case of road signs. Some aspects can only be communicated through visual symbols and text often hides the big picture. The younger generation is more visually dependant than on any other stimuli for learning. The visual stimuli have the highest bandwidth too. Yet one cannot ignore any one since each one has their own preferences. Stories, storytelling, scenarios, dream work, models, experiential leaning, open space, real time management development, dialogues, a lot many tools are now available to take care of the process.
The integral framework is a visual tool, a product of knowledge architecture to accelerate learning and mastery of some of these competencies

+ Manish Agarwala, the Mac Arthur Grant 2009