Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Searching for Spirituality in Business

Whenever dharma declines and the purpose of life is forgotten, I manifest Myself on earth. I am born in every age to protect the good and destroy evil, and to reestablish dharma.
(Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita)

There was an article about Amazon's "inhuman" work conditions in this week's New York Times Sunday edition. Actually, just to be clear, when I say inhuman, I mean to say that they are not compatible with our spiritual community's ideas of how workers should be treated and how colleagues should interact with each other. I am sure that Amazon's CEO will always find some business school professors or consultants who would approve of their work standards and call them adequately competitive, productivity enhancing and ultimately good for the global market economy.

I actually feel that something is changing in our society. We are moving to a more creative, a more caring and a more spiritual mindset. Unfortunately that doesn't mean that it will happen everywhere. The opposite is often true. Instead of somehow being all the same -  as societies used to be in the past - we now have the freedom to express ourselves however we want to. In today's world you will find a solar-powered electric vehicle next to a hummer; a McDonalds next to an organic food store. And for every competitive, exploitive and greedy corporation you will find one that promotes diversity, equal rights, and that tries to operate in a creative and caring environment.

Life simply happens; as does what some would call progress. If Amazon drives countless of retailers out of business, consumers will benefit from lower prices and have the convenience of shopping and watching movies at home. But if you have fond memories of the ways we used to shop in the past, no worries, new retail and community concepts will likely emerge. Perhaps the new shopping opportunities pop up on a smaller scale; maybe some big American cities will get a European feel or look in coming decades. Perhaps there will be more emphasis on services and interpersonal interactions in the future. These small businesses may not be able to compete on price with Amazon, but they may have lot more soul to offer instead.

I venture to say that for every globally operating Fortune 100 company there will be countless small entrepreneurs who are flying below the radar screen and have a completely different mindset. A "Thank You Economy" is in the making where the connection with the customer is as important as the economic transaction itself. The more greedy, competitive and power-hungry one industry is, the more potent and spiritual the counter-revolution will have to be. That is the promise of Lord Krishna.

It is easy to fall into the good versus evil trap for a spiritual traveler. Don't fight evil capitalism; just let happen what has to happen. Everything that exists is here for a reason. Sometimes you have to allow people to discover who they are not in order to help them to find themselves. Maybe a business executives at Amazon participates in the rat race because he wants to send his kids to the private school he was never able to get into. But very much to his surprise they rebel against him and don't want to go to college, period. Who knows, perhaps that is enough of a wake up call for him to start over once again; maybe because of his shattered expectations he starts a little company with a much kinder and more creative business philosophy of his own, 

No matter what we do, and no matter what mistakes we may have made in the past, the divine spark inside of us will always find a way to catch up with us. Our soul siblings will always stand ready to heal us once we open up to receiving their spiritual messages. Who can say what is good and what is bad. The promise of our Creator is that our divine core will always shine through; always!

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