Law of Attraction – Spiritual Growth and Business
Can business and spiritual growth go hand in hand and both develop simultaneously? Emphatically yes. Sufism and the Tantric paths are two examples of having a family and work or business in harmony with ones spiritual growth. The past Sheik of the Jerrahi order in Istanbul owned a candy store, and the Sheik before him owned a bookstore, both had families. My students personal business success is solely due to having a strong spiritual basis for their life and applying those principles in the cultivation of their character.
Spiritual teachings, regardless of the path, have a foundation of spiritual progress based on strong morals and the conduct of the student. Confucius and Lao Tzu taught paths of moral conduct more than religion. Honesty and integrity have long been the essence of a long-term successful business career. Now, as the world leans towards dishonestly in business, high moral qualities are seen as inharmonious to success. The truth is quite the opposite. If one possessed these qualities in addition to an aware mind developed through meditation and other spiritual practices, one becomes a rare commodity and that rarity makes one all the more valuable than the rest.
Ones spiritual progress is directly related to the condition of ones mind and character. The business world is an excellent testing and training ground to develop equanimity. When that balance of life is attained, spiritual growth happens naturally on its own. Of course, a workaholic is not on a balanced path, our daily life must include food for the soul. When I was in Japan, the head monk at a Zen Monastery said in a public talk; “Some of us are meant to be monks, some businessmen, others doctors or cleaning streets or whatever task they are good at. Do what you are good at, meditate 30 minutes a day, and everyday, make someone smile.”
People often complain that they are honest and cannot succeed financially because they get cheated and suffer continuous losses. For this reason, they justify their dishonest actions or lack of integrity. Many people cheat in business, and that makes the honest ones more sought out. Developing a reputation of reliability and integrity are the best selling points in a world where competition is plentiful. Most products can be purchased from a variety of companies, so why would a client go to one rather than the other? Because they know who they can trust to stand behind the sale or service. Word of mouth will bring the increase in clients. In a job situation, these qualities will insure the promotion and bonuses given to the rarest and most difficult commodity that an employer needs, good staff. It takes time to establish a reputation, so do not expect the world to treat you differently on the first day you wake up inspired to change.
Caveat Emptor is Latin for Buyer Beware. This was written long before Christ walked the earth. Dishonest people always existed, and always will exist. Because of this, one must not be foolishly blind and trusting in business but as a wise old Sufi said: “God does nothing without a good reason. If He gave us a logical mind, use it.”
Through cultivating an objective view of every situation, moment-by-moment, one can deal with integrity and not be subject to loss, at least as often. A great discouragement in maintaining these standards for our self is in seeing others cheating and profiting. Being honest and reliable are the qualities a spiritual person wants to have, but one cannot expect everyone else to posses the same qualities. Using wisdom, we can maintain our quality and not be taken advantage of. That wisdom is in an objective view of all situations rather than seeing it solely from how it affects you. Maintain the awareness that actions today return results, they may return days or years later, but they will return eventually. Patience and persistence are vital.
It would be very nice not to have to work or to choose exactly what you do in life to make a living. For some that has been attained, but for others who find that dreaming and meditating is not changing their worldly situation, there is a means of living with all our normal human constraints and still attaining a level of inner harmony within the chaos.
Acceptance of the events is common advice; yet how rare it is to fully accept our circumstances. We may feel stupid or incompetent because we lost or were cheated. The problem is not in lack of skill, but in arrogance. How arrogant it is to think that we are the smartest one around and should not have made any errors. There will always be someone smarter. As a spiritual seeker, or practical mystic, we use the business world with all its dishonesty to train our awareness and develop humility. Long past are the days when we sharpened our wits by trying not to be eaten by a dinosaur each day while trying to catch our food, now it is our work that gobbles up our life and energy.
Meditation is to train the mind, and is not the challenge of business and maintaining equanimity in all situations also and excellent training? If you are upset at circumstances, first you have the opportunity to see clearly that you are attached to the results, and secondly, that arrogance is up front in your consciousness. Now look it in the eyes and grab the opportunity to conquer it. Being a hermit or monk does not offer the chance for growth that the business world does. You cannot fight a hidden menace. The roots of our negative characteristics will not be found until the plant sprouts above ground. As a human, we are all with some aspects that inhibit us from being the perfection of our soul. Here we have a chance to polish the stone, cleanse the heart, and see clearly through the veil that hides the true reality.
Of course, before taking any of this to heart, one must question oneself as to ones reasons for living and doing business. Is the purpose to have as much money as possible, or is it to have a pure heart, and still take care of providing very comfortably. Buddhist teaching says to do the task at hand with the sole thought of doing the best job that one can do for the sake of doing the best one can do. I have found that in living this way, the financial gain among other benefits was very large.
The practice of developing an objective view of our self in how our mind functions, how it is effected by the events of the day, identifying with its surroundings and changing from moment to moment will develop the inner life. How that translates into business success is in its effects on the interactive level. Not being hastily reactive by being present each moment are spiritual teachings that clearly will make a significant difference in business as well as our personal life.
Successful business is not in what you do or sell, but in how you do it and who it is that you have made your self to be. The quality of your character will determine the long-term success you achieve.
The qualities developed through spiritual practices properly applied will prevent emotional reactions to stressful situations, which causes us to speak or act harshly, often rubbing someone the wrong way, causing a chain of negative repercussions. The loss of a client or good employee, or a relationship that broke up over a fight that started because one or both people let some simple words build into harsher and nasty comments, is a common event. If we had greater awareness of the true value of words and events, an objective view rather than a personal one based on our mental formations and memories, conflicts will end.
Practical application of spiritual practices is about seeing the reality of our being without long and complicated systems. Ignorance is the cause of our troubles and ignorance of our being is the most destructive ignorance of all.
Conversation is the main means of human interaction. This is the determining factor of the results of our activities and desires. If relationships are good, results are good, and if they are confrontational, results are less than optimal. Through the path of self-cultivation and awareness, we can learn how our moods and reactions are stimulated by our verbal interactions. Once there is sufficient understanding through the practices and proving to oneself the reality of how the mind is manipulated by its own imagination of what the conversation was about, we could significantly reduce our anger and conflicts. In this world, nothing is stagnant, it either grows or dissolves.
Eastern teachings are based on elimination rather than accumulation. This is to say that the path to success and inner growth is not in learning and acquiring new techniques, but in eliminating the causes of our disharmony. If we eliminate disharmony from our life, we do not need to create harmony, it appears naturally by default. The natural state of the universe is harmony; it is we with our subjective opinions, which create disharmony. The sky is clear until a cloud is created. If no clouds exist, only sun and clarity are present. Mysticism is about seeing the reality of our being without long and complicated systems. Ignorance is the only sin, and ignorance of our being is the most destructive sin of all.
There is nothing esoteric or mystical about the process of developing these qualities. The exercises are very simple and take little or no time out of ones day yet will make big changes, which develop our spiritual and work lives.
There are many parts to the human being, but for this article we will look at two. One part is always louder than another in its demands of its desires and dislikes. For this article, I will just refer to the soul that wants to evolve, or do whatever souls want to do, and the personality, which is usually much louder and controlling over our actions. The personality is that which takes things personally and gets upset at something someone said. The soul, being eternal, doesn’t really care what anyone thinks of the body’s hair or clothing, since those things have nothing to do with its true existence.
When one can see the emptiness of words to affect us on their own, one is free from the majority of mood changes. Words only have value that we give them. A confrontational conversation is like putting a knife on the table, you have to pick it up and stick it in your own stomach, and no one can do that to you. Developing an objective view of a conversation that is having a negative effect on you is the key to eliminating anger from your life.
This practice has its base and beginning with contemplating the true power of words. I can say that I will hit you with a stick, but until I actually do, and often without any words, I have not hurt you. Your imagination of being hit, or your subjective opinion of what I am thinking when I said that is what hurts you immediately. Your own thoughts are the source of your pain. Contemplate this and when you see it as true, then the next step will have greater value.
When you are having a conversation and you are starting to get upset, find a spot in your body that you may be feeling some discomfort. Put your mind there for a moment then put your mind in another part of your body. The same idea of biting your finger when your foot hurts. Notice how your emotion is changing. Knowing that words are empty of their own, but that you have picked up the knife and stuck it into your own body, now finding where you have stabbed yourself, you remove the knife by moving your mind. Negative emotions quickly dissipate.
People often speak of imagining your dream, focus and you will succeed. Often that does not work because the most important ingredient is ones motivation, the reason we want to achieve the goal. We can have all the most beautiful goals and desires for good, and do everything we think that we can do to achieve it but often we just do not achieve the level we seek. What is the motivation, the reason behind all acts? The Sufis say that it are not what you do but what you intended to do that counts. This is where the magic ingredient to success in all our hopes and dreams and focusing lies, is that reason which has to be clear and clarified. Often in the clarification of the reason and motivations we can discover if what we think we desire is really what we desire, and this can resolve many conflicts in our life by discovering and bringing to light if what we think we desire is truly what we desire or is that just a programmed desire or is there something yet beyond that.