by Riddhima Kowley, FOUNDER
Balance Between Our Inner and Outer World
NIRSARA is an idea coined from two words that belong to ancient Hindu and Buddhist philosophy. NIRVANA, which refers to the evolution of our inner world, and SAMSARA which refers to our outer world.
NIRSARA's mission is to bring balance between our inner and outer world through conversation with horses. Learning takes place at this very intersection. Most Learning and Development approaches today are focused on engaging our brains. Horses, on the other hand engage our entire inner self in the learning process. They are so large, that we find ourselves becoming 100% present with our entire body and whole self. Four faculties of our inner selves become more aligned in the process - Mind, Body, Emotions and Belief/Value System. Once you learn a behaviour with your whole self, you cannot unlearn it - it just STICKS! :-)
I have been an HR professional for over 13 years. With the knowledge gained through my training as a professional coach, I have noticed over time and across various cultures and groups, that our outer conflicts are often linked to inner conflicts we may have between two or more of these faculties. A common one is 'the heart vs. the mind'.
I experienced such conflict and it's effects quite recently in my life. I learned that actively building harmony within ourselves enables us to be happier, better and more powerful humans, leaders and colleagues. In 2017, seeking harmony between inner and outer worlds and helping others do this, became an important piece of life's work for me.
Human Resources Bringing Positive Change In The Smart Machine Age
I am a Human Resources specialist. I have had an exciting and rich corporate human resources career. I specialised as a Leadership and Organisation Development Coach and Consultant. I partnered with some fabulous business leaders and their teams to drive challenging transformations. I have had fabulous mentors, teachers and guides - and feel blessed that this continues. I have lived in the Netherlands, France, Egypt, various Indian cities and London. I feel truly thankful to have accessed so much abundant learning.
In 2017 something big shifted for me.
I felt strongly about bringing a positive change in the increasingly fast-paced digital future of corporate cultures - Leadership and Teams being the biggest agents. I felt the need to take Leadership and Team development beyond the cognitive, analytical and classroom approaches to engage the entire human system in the learning and development process. I felt the need to access a more powerful feedback mechanism where immediate feedback-learning-feedback loops are available for people to experience faster shifts in mindset and behaviour. I found that horses enable 'rapid feedback loops', engaging the whole human system in the learning process. I had discovered the perfect partner to enable positive change for the future of work.
Reinforcing 'Soul' in Human Nature, Through The Wisdom of Horses
I have always been in awe of horses. Their strength, power, grace and agility. Every time I had an encounter with a horse, I felt a deep sense of humility. My experiences with them have taught me deeply. I discovered through my personal journey and work with them in 2017, that every horse carries the wisdom of their herds. This wisdom can be summed up by agility, operating as one when many, goal orientation as a collective, vulnerability based leadership, ego-lessness and social bonds. Attributes of the soul.
As I discovered what horses are able to teach us, I realised that these attributes sit at the very core of human nature. These are attributes that cannot be replicated by machines. These are attributes that will differentiate us from machines, and will become foundations for a happy and human future of work. And a key differentiator of human nature from smart machines. These attributes will be needed much more in the era to come.
That is when it became clear to me that as an HR professional, passionate about shaping a sustainable future of work, I wanted to help build leadership competencies that would help humans thrive in the smart machine age. And what better partners than a 60 million year old species who are masters at those very competencies that we are trying to master?
And NIRSARA was born in November 2017.