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A Conscious Business Is More Than Conscious Practices

Many years ago the company I was working for at the time began to engage various culture shaping initiatives.  As a “consciousness nerd” my curiosity was piqued as I looked forward to being exposed to new theories and perhaps a deeper understanding of my own nature.  Unfortunately, it was a disappointment.  While I witnessed several attempts by different firms, all were focused on changing surface behaviors without shifting underlying beliefs – lots of tools but no foundation of principles.  As a result, not much was integrated into individual behaviors and very little ever changed.  As I thought more about the experience, I came to realize what was missing – a unifying model that naturally supports conscious business practices.

You see, a Conscious Business is more than conscious practices.  Unlike a series of tools accumulated individually, which can be overwhelming and difficult to effectively integrate, the Conscious Business shifts its focus from outer behaviors to inner resources.  It does this by recognizing the organization itself is conscious, with an awareness of itself beyond the individuals who form it.  As a conscious entity, the organization has the potential for a resonant and coherent experience of those within it – enabling them to act collectively and often of one mind while still individually distinct yet part of this greater whole.  It’s a model in motion, powered from the inside out, with the capability to affect real change.

From this deepened awareness, the Conscious Business shifts its focus and operates from a genuine understanding and appreciation for why it’s in business, what it then offers and finally how it does that.  While the “what” and “how” may shift and change over time, the core “why” rarely does when its an authentic expression of who the organization really is.  Connecting with this authentic core in each present moment, the Conscious Business accesses energy and wisdom as valuable resources to build and sustain itself.  This circulating nucleus of energy intelligence fuels the wisdom that in turn informs the continued flow of energy. 

This nucleus is a grounded place of deep wisdom and naturally gives rise to the conscious business practices that generate sustainable results (see diagram of this Conscious Business Operating Model).  By shifting its focus to the core and working from the inside out, these practices become a natural extension of who the organization and its leaders are, rather than a collection of tools and methods accumulated over time.


Three Unconscious Practices In Business Today

Few people would disagree when I say that our current business model is no longer working – and may, in fact, be broken.  The debate begins, though, with trying to diagnose and then fix it.  I propose there are three unconscious practices in business today that, if reversed, would result in a more productive, sustainable and efficient way of doing business.  Consciousness, on the other hand, with its timeless and formless nonattachment is counter to the very principles of capitalism as we currently know it.  And it is in that difference that we may find the solution.

Short-term and myopic vision – While publicly traded companies are the extreme with their focus on quarterly reports and their stock valuation, almost all businesses seem more concerned with short-term results than long-term implications.  Companies are making really big decisions that have significant and detrimental long-term effects on our environment, the economy, workers and even the quality of our lives.  A timeless perspective, on the other hand, would honor the present and the future at the same time, finding the appropriate strategies and taking the proper actions that benefit each without harming either.

One-way communication – There was a time when business was about a good product or service that people needed, offered at a fair price so that you made money when people bought it.  While some businesses still operate this way, there are far more operating in reverse – they see commerce as an opportunity to simply extract money from their customers.  It’s a one-way communication talking to customers rather than with them.  And in so doing, forgets we are actually all in this together.  An approach of formlessness moves beyond the confines and constraints of one’s own experience to include that of others as well as that of our entire environment.  In stepping out of our own “form” we are able to take a broader, more inclusive perspective.

Simply working to live – In the last 50 years women moved fully into the workplace as the world population doubled.  That’s a lot more people working – yet we aren’t working any less or even easier.  In fact, we are actually working much harder and longer in jobs many of us don’t even enjoy, often managing email and other tasks once home in the evening and before out of bed the next morning.  Can you imagine how this will look in another 50 years?  It’s as if we are just working to live – an open loop draining our energy.  It’s just not sustainable.  

What if we were instead living to work – making meaningful contributions without attachment to or even expectation of outcomes?  It’s a radical perspective fully occupying the present moment, sharing our talents and trusting we will have what we need when we need it.  From this non-attachment our focus is entirely and utterly in the present moment and only with what’s occurring.  It is here that we have access to an intelligence that is directly relevant to that moment enabling everything to get much easier.

Timeless, formless and without attachment – It’s a paradigm shift in perception and an entirely new way of doing business – consciously – through deepened awareness.  In future posts, I will describe what that looks like and explore how we might possibly get there.


How To Live Longer … (or More In The Life You Live)

Many spiritual traditions and masters tell us our bodies have the capacity to live for 1000 years, yet we consider it quite extraordinary to make it past 100.  What gives?  Let’s agree for this discussion that the soul is infinite, without beginning or end, and reincarnates after each lifetime.  If we are going to come back anyway, then why die in the first place?  The answer lies in understanding the purpose of living – learning, as we evolve to a higher consciousness and fulfilling our purpose, while here in each lifetime.

At the moment of death our entire life flashes before us so we can review how we lived.  We see the karma our actions created that must be resolved in our next lifetime.  There is also a moment of universal clarity where we are given our purpose to be fulfilled in that next incarnation. Then, just before we are born, the understanding of our karma and knowledge of our purpose is veiled so that we can experience our differentiated existence.  It’s a cumbersome process but we are learning to be more efficient.

Many of us are healing ourselves and evolving within our lifetimes.  Through recovery, personal growth and spiritual exploration we now reinvent ourselves, enabling new chapters in our lives.  We are able to go back to the “purpose jar”, so to speak, for our next task as we fulfill the current one.  You see, we no longer need to die in order to heal our past and have our next purpose revealed.

Burdened by karma we don’t clear and the monotony of no longer seeking purpose, our bodies simply wear out earlier than intended.  Transformation is the way to living longer, or at least more in the life you live.  It’s the courage to live like you have nothing to lose.  And when you do, you find that you really don’t.


Uncovering Our Light: 12 Steps And The Shaman’s Journey

A spiritual awakening is simply the awareness that we are more than just a physical body, with a thinking mind.  We have a spiritual nature too, that many traditions speak of as a light.  Yet lots of us no longer have access to that light.  Addicts and Alcoholics have used drugs and alcohol until it‘s covered up.  And for others, the stress and demands of a fast-paced, modern world drive us to escape through the compulsions of shopping, television, internet, sex and other things, rather than retreat to the light of this spiritual nature.  In short, many of us find ourselves without the grounding foundation of that inner light. 

The Shaman’s Journey is one method for reconnecting with this light.  It has the potential to heal our spirit, freeing us from the fate of our past and allowing us to live out of our destiny.  We first identify our wounds, the root of our emotional or physical problems.  Next, we release old beliefs that no longer serve us.  These beliefs likely originated as a strategy for dealing with or even surviving those wounds.  But these beliefs are now hindering our ability to live fully and presently; or worse yet, have evolved into disruptive and destructive patterns.  With these old beliefs behind us, we can now heal our spirit by establishing new beliefs, building new strategies for surviving, and even thriving, as we build and nurture the most important relationship, the one with ourselves.  Finally, we begin to experience a holism where we live from an integrated perspective of our self, seeking meaning in life, with reverence and gratitude.

While the Shaman’s Journey is engaged through the non-ordinary reality of a hypnotic or meditative trance, the same benefits can be realized through working the twelve steps of recovery.  There is a divine intelligence in these steps that can so naturally awaken our spiritual nature and uncover our light, allowing us to live a full, genuine and authentic expression of who we really are.  

There is really nothing to learn in step work.  Quite the contrary, there are only things to unlearn and release – those things that have been blocking the experience of our light.  As we admit our lives have become unmanageable we let go of the notion that we are in control.  We then release the idea that we can fix this situation ourselves.  And as we turn our will over to a power greater than ourselves, we let go of the thought that we always know what is best for us or that we can direct the future. 

Having completed this important foundation work, we then embark on the most difficult task – releasing our past.  Along the way we begin to change, especially as we make amends to those people we harmed during our active addiction.  We realize we have a new perspective, acting differently, treating people with respect, and have access to a knowledge our selfish years of addiction and active using had closed off to us.  Quite simply, our light has been uncovered.

We have engaged the healing power of the Shaman’s Journey as we identified our wounds, released old beliefs and fostered new ones along the path to a more integrated life of purpose and service.  From this perspective we realize our place in the larger world and are in a relationship with our own selves – our light.  We honor this relationship with respect and trust through the practice of total honesty as we take responsibility for our thoughts and actions each day and correct in the moment, rather than accumulating karma as we did in the days of our active addiction.  And like our other relationships, we nurture this one by engaging a daily spiritual practice of prayer and meditation.  It’s our opportunity to maintain contact and communication with our higher self.

We are now naturally living from our light, which we cannot possibly prevent from shining once it is exposed.  We nurture our spirit and share ourselves more freely than we were ever capable before.  As individual beings we are limited in our capacity to contain all of God’s love at one time but fortunately we can still experience its unlimited fullness.  As we open ourselves to receive God’s love and then give that love to others it must first flow through us.  We receive it by giving it away.

Twelve-step work has even greater significance and potential for transformational healing when viewed along with the Shaman’s Journey.  The Shaman tell us we can divert the flow of the Amazon with just the back of our hand – when we go all the way back to it’s source, where it’s just a stream.  In the same way, change is easiest when we address the original source of separation from our light.  For me, that was the inability to love and accept myself just as I am in each moment.  By going to this original source of my trouble, all my other problems are solved as I am no longer living from a view of lacking but instead from the wholeness of my spirit.


The Role of Evolution WITHIN Our Lifetime

Deepak Chopra explains the nature of consciousness as a movie reel where there are multiple frames with a space between each … much like computer binary code … a series of “on” and “off” switches.  I find this description quite inspiring and helpful in advancing the possibility for spontaneous evolutionary leaps within a generation.  We have the tremendous opportunity in each of these “off” switches to shift our perception and dream an entirely different reality to impact our selves, and the greater world around us.

This is extremely useful when we realize the gravity of the social, economic, political and environmental issues which jeopardize our ongoing ability to inhabit this planet.  Viewing ourselves separate from the world, we have assumed the planet is here to serve us and have created an existence that is not sustainable.  When in fact it is the exact opposite.  We are here to serve this planet as its caretakers and we have sorely failed at that task.  Our failure is so extreme that we may not have the luxury of the time it takes for nature to solve these problems itself through natural disaster and cross-generational evolutionary bounds. 

What is necessary is our own active participation with inter-generational evolutionary steps that will significantly impact the planet and our world around us much more quickly.  We can do that by shifting our perception during those “off” switches so that what appears at each “on” switch begins to change, advance and improve in ways that solve for a sustainable future.  Attitudes and outlooks begin to shift.  Old institutions and ideas that no longer serve us begin to fall away and new, productive, efficient systems and institutions begin to emerge which will carry us into the future.  We begin to care about and thereby for the world around us.  And in so doing, we are transformed and find ourselves living sustainably.

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