At the 2009 Shalem Society Gathering, Shalem staff presented groundbreaking work on Contemplative Leadership. In this section, we share the thoughts of Carole Crumley, Ann Dean, Leah Rampy, Liz Ward and Tilden Edwards on what it means to be a contemplative leader in today’s world.
To be a contemplative leader, one must be intentionally living at the center so that leadership flows from within. Contemplative leadership is dependent on a deep desire for spaciousness, flexibility, and openness to the True Leader, the Spirit, flowing in and among us. Contemplative leadership is creative, compassionate and collaborative.
Creative – Emerging from a deep awareness of multiple dimensions of reality, contemplative leadership becomes social artistry: imaginative, free, and illuminating. Prayerful and discerning, creativity is the agent of present-moment possibilities for shalom.
Compassionate – Contemplative leadership requires a countercultural paradigm shift, which chooses enlightened compassion over self-centered or socially conditioned power. This power shift from dominating, controlling power to the power of love is supported by daily practices and disciplines.
Collaborative – At its heart, contemplative leadership is relational, rooted in prayerful attentiveness and open to the overflowing energies of the Loving Presence, moment by moment, enlivening the interdependent creative and healing possibilities of our world.
(Ann Dean, October 2009)
Embracing Hope: Contemplative Leadership Today
Hope is the essential element of contemplative leadership. It touches our yearning for the more of God’s truth, justice, mercy, compassion, love, goodness, the wholeness that we know is possible in God. At the same time, hope expresses our trust, our abiding trust in the fullness, the enoughness of the present moment and the sufficiency of God’s mercy, love and justice for this very moment.
The two great movements of the spiritual life are held together in that word hope: the yearning/stretching for the more; the yielding/surrendering into the present moment. Hope is the fullest expression of our trust and faith that, in the end, God will not be defeated.
All the yearnings of the heart live in hope. We hope for God’s future, God’s shalom, God’s transformation, reformation, inspiration. Embracing hope-that is the vocation of contemplative leadership, the vocation we pray to deepen.
(Carole Crumley, October 2009)