Posts filed under The Visionmakers Code

Keep The Faith

Recently I was asked for a definition of faith. The person asking didn't trust such words, he informed me, and why was I introducing such a word into a secular discussion? I'll call him Doubting Thomas (DT) after another famous skeptic. I could see DT was spoiling for a fight.


I explained that in Visionmaking, faith was seen as an unshakeable belief in Destiny. DT didn't care for that idea much either.


Since he had asked, I continued to define the term. The conventional definition of faith, I explained, requires a belief in something that carries no proof or guarantee. In Visionmaking, faith is seen as the energetic link that is set up between a Visionmaker and Destiny.


We all have an individual Destiny, a path we were formed for specifically, which no one else can follow. That is why we are born unique. We all have an original body and a never to be replicated configuration of aptitude, gifts, talents, character qualities, knowedge, life experiences and other resources. These are not random or haphazard. They are the hand of Destiny shaping us for a specific journey of meaning.


DT became even more agitated. Undaunted, I continued.


Faith provides an umbikical linkage with Destiny that serves as a guide for the pursuit of one's life dream. This linkage is called Intuitive Vision.


Faith also funds the power to make the life-long journey towards our singular Destiny despite the circumstances and challenges that we meet. Through faith, each of us has the power to take that next courageous step into the unfamiliar and unknown territory of life's experience. And to do so without an illusionary guarantee of safety or success.


Supported by faith, the fire to act grows stronger than our fears and concerns. Mohandis Ghandi writes, "A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history." Of course, he is right.


Every Visionmaker knows that whatever we fear, we will face it on the journey of meaning. Without the faith that we are up to the challenge, we would never get out of bed in the morning.


My friend was unconvinced. We agreed to disagree. Was he satisfied that he was living his life fully and that life was the meaningful adventure that he had hoped it to be? Things were ok, he said rather flatly.


There is a Doubting Thomas within each of us. There is also a capacity to believe in ourselves, trust that we are capable of achieving our dreams and that we have the resiliency to learn from our experience. The unshakable conviction of a Visionmaker is that each of us has a greater purpose and that this purpose is attainable.


Keep the faith.


© Patrick O’Neill 2010. All rights reserved

Posted on February 24, 2010 and filed under Original Vision, The Visionmakers Code.

Assist Others

"To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind." -Pearl S. Buck


The seventh, and last, of the covenants of the Visionmaker's Code, is assist others. 


While striving to observe the sixth covenant, mind our own business, service to others is a high ethical imperative and is rendered when requested and warranted. 


Assisting others, especially those who are vulnerable, threatened, hurt or in need, is compassion in action. An African proverb, that I first heard from Angeles Arrien, provides a guide for such service:


"Take care of the elders,

for they have come a long way.

Take care of the children,

for they have a long way to go.

Take care of those in between,

for they are doing the work."


Helping others on the journey of meaning is the Visionmaker's way of practicing gratitude for the gift of abundance. 


Visionmakers understand that we all meet tests and challenges on the path. Some of these tests and challenges, we are perfectly capable of meeting alone.


Other tests and challenges are designed specifically to teach the principles and practices of generosity–the ability to give and receive.


Generosity is the natural response of a heart filled with gratitude. Henry Miller instructs us about the importance of generosity and its relationship to abundance:


"The one desire which grows more and more is to give...Giving and receiving are at bottom one thing, dependent upon whether one lives open or closed.  Living openly one becomes a medium, a transmitter; living thus, as a river, one experience life to the full, flows along the current of life, and dies in order to live again in the ocean."


In the days of challenge that lie ahead of us, those that have something to give can assist others through generosity. Those needing help can assist others by being receptive.


Through the flow of giving and receiving, abundance is facilitated. Both the one providing assistance, and the one receiving it, are transformed through the dynamics of generosity of spirit.


© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.


Posted on March 5, 2009 and filed under The Visionmakers Code.

Be Respectful

"Every man is to be respected as an absolute end in himself; and it is a crime against the dignity that belongs to him to use him as mere means to some external purpose." -Immanuel Kant


The fifth convention of the Visionmaker's Code is Be Respectful.


Respect is defined as "due regard for the feelings, wishes rights, and traditions of others."  Respect involves open-heartedness, the commitment to understand other people's needs, perspectives, values and actions before judging them and the flexibility to embrace diversity.


Immanuel Kant provides guidance about why respect and dignity must be at the forefront of our moral and ethical choices. This is especially relevant now, when the lack of integrity amongst leaders in many of our institutions has brought instability and calamity to the world.


Kant warns us that we are committing a crime by misusing power to dominate, manipulate, and misuse other people. When we use others as a means to an end we are venturing into the dark terrain of sociopathy. In Visionmaking, this is known as sorcery.


Visionmakers must consider the intrinsic value and dignity of other people, and act with the respect that they would expect to receive. This is a courtesy that is extended to each person as a Visionmaker-someone who is making an original and authentic journey to meaning.


Ultimately, respect is a practice of open-heartedness. By extending our full attention and receptivity to all we meet, we announce that everyone deserves to be honored as a Visionmaker. 


By being respectful, a Visionmaker recognizes that Destiny is tirelessly working through every available channel–people, circumstances, chance encounters and synchronistic events.  Because of this, we can't afford to dismiss or diminish anyone.


Such arrogance betrays the irresponsible disregard for the gifts and the mission that may lie hidden within an unlikely package.


Your thoughts are most welcome on this, or any other, post. Thank you for taking the time to visit Visions.


© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.

Posted on March 1, 2009 and filed under The Visionmakers Code, Uncategorized.

Be Honest and Direct

"Though the whole world grumble, I will speak my mind." – Cicero


The fourth covenant of the Visionmaker's Code is Be Honest and Direct. 


Perhaps of the covenants we have covered to date, this is the one that may most radically depart from current social conventions.


We live in a world of "spin." Spin is a creative presentation of facts that are designed to influence and persuade others to see things in a particular way– usually, more favourably or to mask a deeper truth that does not want to be made visible. It is a form of social lying.


In Visionmaking, spin is known as sorcery. Sorcery is the misuse of power to deceive, manipulate or control others.


A Visionmaker is not a politician, bending words to serve popularity or to gain support for some agenda. He or she says what they mean in plain language, and does what they say they will do.


Authentic communication is an act of personal integrity and character. It is a stand that one takes to uphold "the practice of steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or standards."


Of course, the fourth covenant is balanced by the second: Do No Harm. To review this covenant, please refer to my Post of February 23rd.


Being forthright and doing no harm are not mutually exclusive, as we might assume. A Visionmaker speaks his or her truth in a way that maintains integrity and respects that powerful words carry impact.


Angeles Arrien, the cultural anthropologist and author, provides guidance in this regard:


"Skillful communication means we have aligned content, meaning and context. Blunt communication is an announcement of great content, but poor timing and context. Confused communication often carries good timing and context but poor content, and leads to incongruity between our words and our behavior."


Visionmakers speak from the heart. It is the source of their words and their actions.


Until we return to the heart, and learn to be honest, direct and compassionate with our communication, we will continue to suffer from a global crisis of integrity.


© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.

Posted on February 27, 2009 and filed under The Visionmakers Code, Uncategorized.

Keep Your Word

"The corruption of man is followed by the corruption of language...In due time, the fraud is manifest, and words lose all power to stimulate the understanding or the affections." –Ralph Waldo Emerson


The third covenant of the Visionmaker's Code is Keep Your Word.


In Visionmaking, words are seen as sacred gifts, because they are a symbolic container for meaning. "We speak words," goes the old saying, "...but we hear meanings." When our words and actions are heart-felt they carry a generative impact that cannot be overstated.


That is why a Visionmaker takes their word seriously and does not give it lightly.


It wasn't very long ago, just one generation back, that your word was your bond. When you gave your word, it was serious business. You kept your promises as a matter of honor.  


Your word and your family name were inextricably linked. Failure to keep your word, failure to honor this bond of trust, brought disgrace upon your family name.


How far we have drifted from this traditional practice of integrity! And how quickly that drift has occurred. Lying, or spinning the truth, like cheating the system, has become "normal."


A Visionmaker is not a fraud. Standing for the integrity of speech is the Visionmaker's way to stay connected to the Four-Chambered Heart, to the backbone of character, and to timeless principles that govern action and uphold trust.


Keep Your Word.


© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.

Posted on February 25, 2009 and filed under The Visionmakers Code, Uncategorized.

Do No Harm

"Caught in the relaxing interval between one moral code and the next, an unmoored generation surrenders itself to luxury, corruption, and a restless disorder of family and morals." -Will and Ariel Durant


The second convention of the Visionmaker's Code is Do No Harm. 


Being aware and taking responsibility for our impact on others ensures that we consider more than just our own needs and ambitions. This is the Visionmaker's way.  It ensures that choices are made with a 360º perspective.


Too late is the insight that harm has been done by a reckless addiction to power, wealth and personal gain. Once trust has been violated, it is hard to recover.


It is not just that there is an individual cost to such ethical lapses. The steady decline of integrity has undermined faith and trust in leaders in business, politics, religion, and cultural industries.


There has been serious consequences for such cavalier deportment. Public confidence is steadily declining and will severely undermine attempts to stabilize the crisis that has beset most of our institutions.


Moreover, it has 'normalized' breaking and bending the rules to  support winning-at-all costs. We have entered the "Cheating Culture", a term that comes from the work of writer David Callahan. He argues that there are four reasons for the escalation of cheating:


"The carrots are bigger now -- stars in every system make more than they used to and more people will cut corners to grasp those rewards.


The sticks are hitting harder -- in a leaner-meaner economy, personal integrity loses out to financial security.


Many watchdogs are weak and cheaters know that they can get away with it.


Our culture indulges it -- we're focused on materialistic ends and more permissive about the means of personal advancement."


The "relaxing interval" that Will and Ariel Durant described has been abundantly filled with misdeeds.  


Through the Visionmaker's Code, and the second covenant Do No Harm, Visionmakers ensure that actions are guided by the wisdom of reflection and the highest ethical standards rather than expediency. 


Those that operate from an ethical code of conduct will be recognized for their integrity and asked to assume greater leadership.


Those that do harm to others and themselves will find their journey of meaning interrupted by conflict, loss...and maybe even jail terms.


© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.

Posted on February 22, 2009 and filed under The Visionmakers Code.

Follow What Has Heart and Meaning

Your work is to discover your work And then with all you heart

To give yourself to it.

 – The Dhammapada


The Visionmaker's Code is an ethical framework that supports right action. My last post provides an overview of the seven conventions that guide action. The next series of posts will explore each convention individually.


As we have seen, unethical and immoral behavior, and the abuse of power always result in collective calamity. The news media is filled with accounts of talented people who have been overcome by temptation and fallen hard as a result.  A code of ethics, then, is a necessary source of guidance to ensure that our talent is matched by our integrity.


The first convention of the Visionmaker's Code comes from The Four-Fold Way, by Angeles Arrien. Follow What Has Heart and Meaning is a reminder that the distractions of bright lights, pretty people, and personal wealth is not the raison d'etre for a Visionmaker. 


The Visionmaker's first allegiance is to the journey of meaning, which emerges from the heart. Paying attention to what has heart and meaning is the Visionmaker's way of staying true to the Self, to a purpose greater than the ego, and to avoid the traps that visit those who seek to make change in the world.


Angeles Arrien reminds us that, "Paying attention (to what has heart and meaning) opens us to the human resources of love, gratitude, acknowledgement, and validation."


It also reminds us of what is truly important in meeting our three primary responsibilities–the responsibility to self, the responsibility to others and the responsibility to the larger world in which we live.


These are things that can be easily forgotten if we are pursuing the cultural dream of what constitutes success-money, sex and power. Too many talented people have forgotten their heart's dream and their primary responsibilities to grab the brass ring, only to find that it is an empty prize. Or to find that they have broken the law to get it.


Being anchored in the heart, and not in a collective trance of consensus that declares the pursuit of power as the ultimate the prize, allows a Visionmaker to attend to what is most meaningful and in alignment with the singular journey that each of us was born to make.


© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.

Posted on February 20, 2009 and filed under The Visionmakers Code.

The Visionmaker's Code

This old anvil laughs at many broken hammers, There are men who can't be bought.

–Carl Sandburg


We are currently in a cycle of high exposure. All the narcissistic excesses and abuses of the system that were hidden or 'normalized' by boom times are now in high resolution.


Scandals on Wall Street, cheating in sports, and corruption in politics are nothing new. However, they take on heightened visibility and repugnance, when the times turn difficult. 


Daily, we are treated to the tearful apologies of those who have been cheating the system for personal gain. We can argue that compassion needs to be extended to them. They are products of a society where it is increasingly difficult to locate a moral compass. Especially when millions of dollars are the prize for bending the rules.


Most of us are fed up with the nonsense of entitlement and double standards that have shaken our political and financial institutions to their foundations.


More importantly, what these times reveal is the growing importance of integrity as a foundation for conduct-and the integrity gap that currently exists in our society.


In an age where so much promise has been undermined by its absence, integrity may seem like a quality belonging to an earlier, more innocent time, unachievable in the modern world. 


Visionmakers reject such notions.


A Visionmaker doesn't see integrity as a conditional commitment dependent on what is to be gained or lost. He or she sees integrity as a matter of personal honor and the ground on which the journey of meaning unfolds.


Integrity requires a code of moral and ethical principles and values. The Visionmaker's Code is such a framework and is rooted in three primary responsibilities: the responsibility to self, the responsibility to others, the responsibility to the world.  These three responsibilities were outlined in my post on February 9th.


The Visionmaker's Code has seven conventions that govern behavior.


1. Follow What Has Heart and Meaning

2. Do No Harm

3. Keep Your Word

4. Be Honest and Direct

5. Be Respectful

6. Mind Your Own Business

7. Assist Others


In my next post, I will begin to address these conventions as a foundation for 'right action'.


Thank you for visiting Visions.  I hope that these insights help you make your way towards your heart's desire. Your thoughts and comments are most welcome.


© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.

Posted on February 18, 2009 and filed under The Visionmakers Code.