Conventional wisdom dictates that we must set clear goals and have vision if we are to achieve great things. After all, how can we get to where we are going if we do not know where we want to go? Now ask, who is setting the goals and who is creating the vision?
Too Zen? Where there is Zen, there may be Yen. No joke, but studies of Fortune 500 CEOs found that the top executives relied upon quiet time, moments of prolonged inner reflection, to help them make better decisions . The inner connection allowed them greater access to intuitive problem solving which resulted in clearer thinking and more effective decision making. This modern approach to business is founded upon ancient Eastern philosophy.
Without going outside, you may know the whole world,
Without looking through the window, you may see the ways of heaven.
The farther you go, the less you know.
Thus he sage knows without travelling;
He sees without looking;
He works without doing.
Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tsu
This paradoxical advice speaks to a different level of our being, if we are willing and able to hear it. To "know without travelling", "see without looking", and "work without doing" is to be without effort. "The farther you go, the less you know," speaks to the great mystery of life that is beyond our personal comprehension.
The deeper aspect of ourselves, call it the soul if you like, exists in harmony and unity with all creation. A subtle, yet tangible force of energy, weaves a web that interpenetrates all life. Our thought, our consciousness can access this subtle realm to receive and to create, to learn and to impregnate. This subtle force is the terrain of the soul. You know you have found solid ground in this subtle realm when you feel peace, love, joy and bliss; not necessarily all at the same time.
To set personal goals, you can use the old tried and proven method and use your mind to think about what you want and develop a game plan to achieve those goals. Effective, but not necessarily the most enlightened approach. Lao Tsu also said: "Knowing others is wisdom; knowing the self is enlightenment."
This century calls for enlightened action. This approach requires a deeper knowing of the self. We all have within our soul a deep knowing about our unique purpose in this life. When we take the time to introspect and ask for clarity about this purpose, we can more consciously become aligned with the highest forces of creation. The process of realising our soul purpose also reveals the mystery of "being without doing".
The soul functions at a level that is beyond and transcendent of out personal ego. The will and intention, tools of the soul, are actually powerful forces that can be used for manifestation. Our own material efforts and unfocussed actions recede in the face of the soul's ability to intuitively perceive and manifest.