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Making innovation work for good. T:@inspirechilli

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Goldfish at the temple

It doesn`t take long to immerse yourself back into Japanese life. Like swimming in the sea, you dunk your head under the water and suddenly acclimatise.  Within 5 minutes, there is the wonder of heated toilet seats; followed by sushi and green tea; then the strange experience of a functioning train system; the endlessly repeated rituals of politeness and respect; and finally, after just a few hours of arrival, you are floating naked in an onsen looking through the heated mist into the horizon of the sea, wondering how you ended up here and why you ever left the last time.

Day two in my trip takes me to the temple, snaking through 3 hours of train tracks high into the hills.  The trees are still autumnal, red and gold in the piercing sunshine. I arrive, by coincidence, in time for the twice yearly opening of the Buddah casket; a moment of luck they say.  The head of the temple invites me to see him for coffee, and we exchange stories of our work overlooking the great bell in the grounds. He likes Open Talent, has seen the film and calls me `the enlightened one,` a title I scarcely deserve. But it gives me the opportunity to be shown the temple`s new approach to it`s work, which has had amazing results, carefully recorded in files of spider diagrams. It is simple, like all good answers, and raises some profound questions about the direction we have been heading at home. I can see how far, even in Open talent, we have reflected our society`s disconnection of the individual from community and family.  The shaping of reality is far more complex than the narrative we have been prescribing. We are using a focus on a positive future to reconnect and direct what is possible, which is true and right, but we have missed understanding how to link ourselves back into the past beyond the limits and problems that have led us to detach from it.  There is a different type of mediation, which we have perhaps left in the rush for ourselves, not realising that our identity as players of life is more delicate and complex than a coach can teach alone.

The afternoon deepens into shade as I make my way slowly back, surrounded by the chaos of rush hour, wondering how I can possibly begin to explain the thoughts goldfishing in my head.

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