“Studies have shown that people with high EI (Emotional Intelligence) have greater mental health, job performance, and leadership skills.” For example, Daniel Goleman, in his book Working With Emotional Intelligence, indicated “that EI accounted for 67% of the abilities deemed necessary for superior performance in leaders, and mattered twice as much as technical expertise or IQ.”
Dr. Goleman states that there are four competencies of emotional intelligence that are required for effective leadership:
2. Self-management (positive outlook, achievement orientation, self-control, adaptability)
3. Social awareness (organizational awareness, empathy)
4. Relationship management (inspirational leadership, conflict management, teamwork, mentor, influencer)
In the last 10 years, much research has been published showing how meditation provides foundational support for these skills. Of course, meditation alone will not produce these skills. But, with a foundation of a regular practice, these skills can more readily develop as old stresses are set aside and new capabilities allowed to flourish when certain areas of the brain develop.
Self-Awareness and Self-Management is supported by the prefrontal cortex which is associated with body regulation, communication, emotional balance, response flexibility, empathy, insight, self-knowing awareness, and fear modulation. The prefrontal cortex also releases an inhibitory neurotransmitter (GABA) that actually counters the impulses of the amygdala which helps to modulate fear. In a study of regular meditation practitioners, the left side prefrontal cortex activation tripled after four months of practice.
“Feeling fear but not acting on it" is a physical, chemical process, even if it is experienced subjectively as purely mental in nature. Over time, with meditation, activity in the reflective, regulatory, mind increases. A common experience among regular meditators is that rather than immediately reacting to a stimulus, as they may have in the past, they find a new “spaciousness”.
Meditation strengthens the connection of the insula (what monitors the body sensations and gut feelings) to the Medial prefrontal cortex (Me Center of the brain that constantly references back to you, your perspective and experiences.) which increases in Social Awareness and Relationship Management.
Before one begins a regular practice, if you were to look at a person’s brain, you would likely see strong neural connections within the Me Center and between the Me Center in regards to bodily sensations. For odd body sensations (e.g., a tingling, pain, itching, whatever), a non-meditator would begin to feel anxious, scared or assume that there is a problem (related to you or your safety). This Me Center activity, unchecked, is what causes the repeated loop, “There is something wrong….” and can begin the cascade of the fight/flight chemicals.
Because meditation strengthens the connection of the insula to the medial prefrontal cortex, it increases our capacity to understand where another person is coming from and put ourselves in their shoes. It also helps regulate the over-stimulated Me Center created thoughts, so that the anxiety related feelings settle down.
In the Art of Ascension, the three-fold structure of the Ascension Attitudes causes each of the three primary aspects of our personality -- our hearts, our minds, our bodies -- to move in the direction of growth. This process unwinds or loosens the deeply held judgments and beliefs that keep us bound to fear and restriction.
The Ascension Attitudes are designed to clear out past beliefs and behavior patterns which inhibit full mental and physical functioning. This process is primarily one of effortlessly uncovering ever more expanded states of awareness.
When the pattern of thinking and desiring is orderly, the result is health, happiness, joy, progress, creativity, and fulfillment.