Desi Anwar: A Journey of Discovery
The other day I graduated. For the past year, I’ve been taking a course from the MIT Sloan School of Management executive program, with United in Diversity, called IDEAS Indonesia. It is a leadership course designed to bring together people from the private and public sectors and civil society, to teach us to co-create prototype initiatives to address some of the most pressing problems we face today.
The method is to break down the sectoral thinking and decision making that we normally employ when dealing with complex issues, by creating an environment that is inclusive and wholistic and employing a mental model that goes to the source of our being and who we are.
With the program coming to an end, I am trying to think back to what I’ve learned in the past year and what sticks in my mind. Granted, in the larger scheme of things none of this is exactly earth shattering. Not like the discovery of a new subatomic particle, the Higgs boson — the particle that underlies all the matter in the universe and helps give the universe size and shape. The so-called god particle. This is a discovery that took more than half a century to make and it should be celebrated by all of us on the planet who have a curiosity about our origins, not only by a few scientists.
My graduation may not have much by way of cosmic significance, nevertheless I try to view it as the culmination of a yearlong journey of discovery and learning for me and my colleagues. And perhaps there is no harm in seeing it in the context of our relationship with the world, and even with the universe and the Higgs boson particle.
So, what have we learned? What discovery has been made?
For one thing, we learned that as we wish to transform the world, the first thing we need to do is transform ourselves. As the secret of the universe lies in its smallest particle, we learned that the secret of true knowledge lies in the source of knowing deep within ourselves.
We also learned that in order to really connect, with ourselves and with others, we need to know the different levels of communicating, through deep observation and deep listening. Not through superficial downloading and reconfirming of old opinions, but with open mind, open heart and open will. We cannot get to the source of the human heart by closing barriers, in the same way that it is only in the breaking up of atoms that we can get to the source of all things.
We learned that there are two sources of learning: by reflecting on the experience of the past and by learning from the future as it emerges. While I’m still trying to grapple with the meaning of learning from the future, I understand that in order to embrace the future we have to free ourselves from the burdens that we carry. We have to let go of the past. We must suspend the voice of judgment, the voice of cynicism and our voice of fear that keeps us stuck in our old identity and narrowness.
We learned to say goodbye to our small self, to merge with our big Self, the Self that connects us all to each other, to the planet and to the universe. In other words, to become the god particle, that magic particle that gives shape to who we are.
As we let go, we have to let come. This requires an awareness of being that keeps us rooted to the present. We must always remain in the present. Our learning is a journey, both individually and collectively. But then life too is a journey. A journey where the ride is more important than the destination.
In this I am reminded of Robert Hastings’ essay “The Station,” from which I quote:
“Sooner or later, however, we must realize there is no station in this life, no one earthly place to arrive at once and for all. The journey is the joy. The station is an illusion — it constantly outdistances us. Yesterday’s a memory, tomorrow’s a dream. Yesterday belongs to a history, tomorrow belongs to God. Yesterday’s a fading sunset, tomorrow’s a faint sunrise. Only today is there light enough to love and live.”
Desi Anwar is a senior anchor at Metro TV. She can be contacted at desianwar.com and dailyavocado.net.