The heartful innovator – part 4

The heartful innovator – part 4

In previous articles, RAVI VENKATESAN outlined 4 key aspects of the “inner state” that we want to fine tune to become Heartful Innovators. He explored the role of the intellect and the ego, and their transformation in enabling innovation. In this article he explores the role our awareness plays in innovation.


I’ve always been fascinated by how the cameras in the latest smartphones are able to capture videos and take pictures that are way better than even professional cameras from a few years ago. The “secret sauce” of course is the software running on these phones, and not the hardware. This software powered by what is called machine learning (a sub-category of artificial intelligence) is able to make adjustments to what is captured and improve it in many ways.

What is interesting is that we have similar processes that operate within the human being. Let’s take just one of our senses, for example. Our vision actually is much poorer than we perceive it to be. The fovea, which is 1% of our visual field at the very center, has high resolution and can resolve several thousand dots in this area. This is very high resolution, but the area is very small. If you hold out your thumb and stretch your arm, the area of your thumbnail is about your fovea. Even though this fovea is only 1%, our brain’s visual cortex devotes 50% to inputs from this area. So why don’t we see everything except this small area in a blurry manner?

What happens is that just as the software on our smartphone is enhancing the images in real time, based on artificial intelligence, our mind enhances the images coming from our peripheral vision. For example, as you come to a room for the first time, your eyes scan various parts of the room. Your mind builds a mental model rapidly. Once this is done, even though your eyes are seeing a very small portion of the room clearly, and the rest of it fuzzily through your peripheral vision, your mind creates the impression that you are seeing the entire room clearly. In a way what you see is an illusion!

Surprising, isn’t it! The observation that our mind is able to enhance our senses and perception in this manner opens up many other possibilities for us.


The concepts of consciousness and levels of consciousness often appear elusive and esoteric. A simple way to look at it is simply as the degree of awareness. In other words, the higher the consciousness level, the more heightened the degree of awareness. And what is this awareness really? It is our perception of everything internal and external. The inputs can come from the senses for anything external, or from within the mind for anything internal. The perception of this input by the mind is what we refer to as awareness. Remember that this perception is not exactly the input, but an illusion created by the mind, based on that input. The word illusion can feel negative, but in this case it is positive. In fact, it helps us navigate the world effectively. For example, if the power goes out and you need to walk to the next room to grab a flashlight, you can envision the path from where you are to the next room, and carefully walk in the darkness avoiding obstacles. Your mind is creating an illusion that lets you see without light, and helps you navigate.

In a similar manner if we raise our level of consciousness, and achieve very heightened awareness, then we are able to perceive many things in a natural and sometimes magical manner. We “see” things that others don’t see, we “hear” things that others don’t hear, we “feel” things that others don’t feel. This ability of “super-sensing” becomes a strategic weapon for an innovator. So how can we develop it?

Inner practices that help us raise our level of consciousness are the most effective way to do this. In the next article we will explore this link between levels of consciousness and heightened awareness further, along with some concrete practices to achieve this.



Ravi Venkatesan

About Ravi Venkatesan

Ravi lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and is currently Chief Technology Officer at USAT. He is also a regular public speaker and public speaking coach. He has been a Heartfulness meditator for over 20 years and is passionate about applying meditation lessons to improve workplace relationships and productivity.

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