Spirituality in Business… walking the talk.

For many of us, there is an inherent conflict between our spiritual seeking and aspirations, and what we have to do to support ourselves at an economic level. We basically have to shut down a lot of what we know in order to function on a day-to-day level and succeed in a society that favors aggressive consumption and enormous waste of resources.

Regardless of the religious background, philosophical orientation or spiritual tradition we follow, we struggle with this basic disconnect between those things which we believe and those things that we are forced to do in the world because “that is the way it is.”

It is, however, not totally impossible to begin integrating, more and more over time, our principles into our working lives. Everything starts with our own individual commitment to making this change and “taking a stand”.

The principles are:

Personal integrity. Whatever we do, we have the moral right and obligation to try to do things honestly, with commitment and dedication, and by putting our heart into it. Even the simplest tasks, undertaken with a spirit of dedication, can be an act of prayer and relay spiritual energy to radiate around us into our environment. So whatever our role in society, the intention and the focus are the important factor, and a factor over which we have total control. Whether you are a professional, a warehouse worker, a machine operator, a landscaper, a retail store clerk, you still can carry out your work as a form of dedicated action.

Business integrity. If you are in a position to influence directly the focus and activities of the company for which you work, or if you are self-employed, you can choose business principles that convey a benefit to others, that treat your customers and vendors with respect, that honor the efforts of those working with you, that treat all members of your team fairly and which create positive results that promote ever-expanding consciousness, prosperity and harmony in whatever field your action takes place.

Environmental integrity. All spiritual traditions recognize the value of the world and the abundance surrounding us. As conscientious stewards we can maintain an attitude filled with gratitude and appreciation such that we use resources wisely and do not needlessly squander them through excessive consumption, waste, burning of energy needlessly. We can follow principles of “living lightly” on the planet and our choices in how we do things, what we buy and how we dispose of them begin to have a positive impact in the world. The Native American tradition speaks of taking account of the effects of your actions down to the 7th generation as a way of helping all of us become conscious of consequences we create.

Social integrity. We frequently fail to consider the implications of our lifestyle on the rest of the beings on the planet, humans and non-humans alike. The fact that we in North America, consisting of 5% of the world’s population, use as much as 25% of all the world’s energy is a fact that we do not frequently enough consider. The implications are enormous, as pollution, global warming and warfare over scarce resource allocation, as well as exploitation of people all over the world to acquire these resources for our use, all result from this one fact. The fact that we are locked in a constant state of warfare is directly related to this factor. It is important for us to begin to recognize these issues and start to change the dynamics of the way we conduct ourselves, and begin to support policies, practices and changes in our social and economic lifestyle to bring about a sense of balance and harmony between ourselves, our environment and our fellow human beings, as well as the plants and animals that share the planet with us.

Spiritual integrity. It is valuable and even essential for each of us, regardless of our own spiritual direction or religious preference, to take some time to reflect, to refocus and to find ways to commune with Nature and with God. Time used in this way can be the foundation for clear, focused and committed action that is in itself an application of spirituality in life.

*The author, Santosh Krinsky has been working on the integration of spirituality and business since 1974 and is the editor of Lotus Press, a publisher of books in the field of spirituality and alternative health practices (lotuspress.com) as well as President of Lotus Brands, Inc. a manufacturer of natural health and wellness products (lotusbrands.com). He writes extensively for the Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit organization focused on bringing spirituality into daily life. (wholisticinstitute.org)

June 24, 2007, Racine Wisconsin

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