"OK, SO WHAT IS spiritual leadership? . . . What flows through the world's diversity of religions and in the hearts and souls of spiritual leaders and practitioners is the spiritual energy that awakens consciousness to deeper levels of experience, purpose, values, and meaning than can be perceived from a strictly materialistic vantage point. Spiritual leadership means leading from those deeper levels, and it is the purposeful actions and behaviors that naturally follow from doing so.

"This kind of leadership calls for qualities and habits of mind that generally have been overlooked in the leadership literature and seminars: faith, patience, intuition, humility, expectancy, inspiration, compassion, and, yes, spirituality. We tend to be heavily reliant on physical sense perceptions and rationality. 'But why assume that sensation and rationality are the only points of correspondence between the human self and the world?' Parker Palmer asks in his book To Know as We Are known: Education as a Spiritual Journey. 'Why assume so, when the human self is rich with other capacities—intuition, empathy, emotion, and faith, to name but a few?' . . .

"There's an important paradox in spiritual practice that educational leaders neglect to their own detriment: While spiritual practice takes time, it also can have a liberating effect in relation to the imprisoning experience of time. Spiritual practitioners often have found that their discipline sets them free.

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CHRISTMAS—its promise and fulfillment
December 19, 2005

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