Humans and Organizations as Transitional Beings


By Marita Fridjhon

I came across something earlier today in a teaching by Pema Chödrön that really got my attention. In it she talks about “humans as transitional beings – beings who are neither fully caught nor fully free, but in the process of awakening.” I read this as I was preparing for a call with a partner and colleague in Egypt and I found it very helpful during that conversation.

As we shared stories of friends and colleagues with health challenges, as I listened to his account of the confusing, as well as very much “on the edge situation” currently in Egypt, I was aware of how, not only are we as human beings in the process of becoming, of evolving, so are cultures and countries and regimes and communities. Countries, like individuals, are neither doomed nor completely free. With every action, revolution, political process, countries are creating their future; just as every individual does.

When we talk about “change as the new normal,” when we consider the speed of change, we truly are contemplating this transitional nature of being in this world. “Awakening” – or moments of it – happens at those times when we understand that we are neither fully caught nor fully free, yet recognizing ourselves to be in a very dynamic situation with great potential. We are awakened during those moments when we can truly contemplate what is trying to happen rather than grasping for the certainty of knowing.

​For as long as I can hold that level of consciousness, I can be open to the possibility that I have all the support I need to simply relax into the situation. It is what the aborigines believed when they “walked the song lines” singing the world – through their experience of it – into existence. They carried very little with them because they trust unconditionally that everything that they might need on the journey and at each rest stop, is already waiting for them.

While I may lack the personal courage to truly live from such a place consistently during these very challenging and often chaotic times, I am eager and open to reframe my experience of constant change as I age, as teams struggle with the challenges of change management, as families on a daily basis live the reality of the evolutionary and transient nature of existence. When I can reframe and make friends with the transitional nature of being, when I can accept the on-going in-process sense of my life, I can open to my willingness to engage in the process of awakening.

And when we, as awakening professionals, can bring this way of thinking to bear on our teams and organizations, we may be able to truly step into awakened leadership, recognizing within the speed of change the opportunity of a very dynamic situation with great potential.

​Pema Chödrön: Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change. Shambhala Publications.

Originally posted on our Relationship Systems Intelligence blog in February, 2013.


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