Monday, 14 March 2011

New Project: Synchronicity, Avoda and Mastery

Synchronicity is a concept that is bandied around some parts of the magical community. It’s not really that prominent in Project Management community, but perhaps it has some useful applications in risk analysis by exploring what additional meaning there is when a risk has or could actually occur.

Recently I took up the book recommendation from the The Scribbler in this post about Mastery. Not being a very practical person, I fit mostly in to the dabbler category of trying something out for awhile and then moving on. I also fit in to the hacker category of trying something out for a bit and being happy after a bit of advancement but not willing to commit to achieving mastery. The obsessive category that the author mentions as the third of his categories in the opening chapter does not really fit me.

Having been inspired by reading this book, I started thinking about the current activities that I have in my life and choosing which ones to invest in extra to progress along the path of mastery and which not to invest in. My list consisted of:

  • Prayer
  • Cooking
  • Calligraphy
  • Playing an instrument
  • Hebrew to English translation work
  • Academic studies of Kabbalah
  • Meditation, study of
  • Meditation, practice of
  • Exercise

Not long after this a friend returned my copy of “The Thirteen Petalled Rose” by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz that I’d lent her probably over a year ago. Not only did she return my copy but also gave me the new edition as a gift so that I could continue to lend out this excellent book.

In the new edition of “The Thirteen Petaled Rose” are two chapters, the first of which is on prayer. Since meditation was high up on my list of things to achieve mastery of, it seemed like more than a coincidence that the “The Thirteen Petaled Rose” should have a chapter on prayer since the two topics from a Jewish mystical perspective are closely linked.

In fact the Hebrew word for prayer is “Avoda” (Ah-voh-dah), which means work or service. It’s a whole topic of its own that I will comment on in future posts, but it’s also something that I want to get better at. Hence prayer and meditation are going to be my focus area for achieving mastery.

As a Project Manager I immediately started trying to devise a project plan for how to achieve this. But then looking back at the “Mastery” book I realize that this is perhaps not the right approach. Yes it is good to have some planning in the sense of working out what the progression should look like. But tracking it against milestones, with risks recorded and cost estimates is perhaps a bit over the top.

Having decided that Prayer and Meditation (practice of) are my top two does not mean that the others get dropped. Just that the path towards the other items in the list will start slower so that eventually the paths will layer one on top of the successes of the other. That’s the plan at least …