Posts Tagged ‘Spiritual Practice’

We are rarely 100% committed to what we say we want.

I’m assuming that because you are reading this that to some degree you are committed to the concept of bringing spirituality into business. On a scale of 1-100, where would you put yourself in relation to the degree to which you are committed? If you were 100% committed there would be nothing to stop you and you’d be fulfilled in having reached your desired outcome. However, generally speaking, there are underlying or conflicting commitments that create obstacles to us moving forward towards our stated desires.

These conflicting commitments are in alignment to a desire to remain invulnerable and avoid what we consider undesirable. In essence we want to remain secure and stable within our comfort zones. The degree to which we are committed to our conflicting commitment is the degree to which we use avoidance, distraction, procrastination and denial as strategies; this keeps us doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. What occurs is a dilemma, the consequence of which is a feeling of being stuck, confused, doubtful and lost. The bottom line is that we are confounded by the dilemma with which we find ourselves.

Dilemma

I’m prematurely slipping in a D word here, because this is where life gets sticky. How one chooses to be with dilemmas will contribute to the inevitable outcome.

When we distinguish what we are committed to from our conflicting commitment we can see that we are at a choice-point. So, on the one hand we want change; on the other hand we want to avoid the undesirable consequences that accompany change. Hence, we have a dilemma. How do we choose? How do we choose to choose what we choose?

What most of us do, because we are unaware of our choice-making process that has brought about this dilemma, is to compromise our stand for what we say we want, at the same time compromising our stand for what we don’t want. We become professional fence-sitters. If you are interested in creating transformation or a paradigm shift within yourself or your organization it won’t happen by using compromise as a strategy.

What becomes clear as you sit with this dilemma, at this choice-point, perhaps with a thinking partner who can see the bigger picture for you, is a couple of things:

  • First, either choice will require surrendering or relinquishing your attachment to the outcome.
  • Second, the consequence of either choice will mean being confronted by vulnerability and loss of whatever you are attempting to hold onto. This is the nature of cultivating spiritual practices within the workplace. It is an allowing of the unfolding of the natural course of things to occur in service to what you say you want. This is also when the practice of faith kicks in, as you begin to consider the possibility of crossing the threshold, anticipating that first step required of you in order to begin this journey.

What’s at Stake?

What I like about working in corporations is that there is far more at stake for individuals, departments and the organization itself to actually walk its talk. The risk is greater and so is the reward. Not unlike any other institution and group of individuals, there is a culture and that culture has rules – some are spoken and some are not. Always – always we are walking the line between cultivating an environment that supports us and one that protects us. Again, if we are looking for a paradigm shift we have to surrender our attachment to this walking-on-a-fence approach to change and really challenge ourselves to practice acting in alignment with our speaking. What’s at stake will be different for each individual and organization. Generally though, we are afraid of losing what we have.

The distinction between business coaching and transformational coaching is that transformational coaching requires you to step into your commitments; to expand your comfort zone; to confront beliefs, interpretations, expectations and assumption that may not serve you or your organization; and to create a practice within which you exercise muscles that support cultivating consciousness and compassion for yourself and all beings impacted by the current paradigm shift. Transformational coaching requires you to be with the BIG-FAT-BE-WITHS that challenge current interpretations regarding personal gain and loss, as well as death of a way of being that no longer serves the highest good of all. It also requires a different way of choice-making in support of your commitment.

To choose to shift the degree to which you are committed by even one degree is enough to allow even baby steps to be taken towards your desired outcome; it’s enough to empower you to be with the anxiety and discomfort that comes with letting go and letting a higher power provide support, the consequence being that the process unfolds effortlessly. This is where the spiritual rubber meets the three dimensional world.

If Nothing Else

If nothing else, cultivating awareness through the practice of noticing will inevitably create profound shifts. Consciousness generates a greater capacity to change, to create and to generate from an empowered stand. This stand is grounded in a conviction to follow through with intent. It is far more powerful than just wishing and hoping for change to occur. A fascinating phenomenon that is challenging to grasp from a logical/rational perspective is that by intentionally increasing your awareness of what you are wanting, and bringing yourself – your being into alignment with your intention creates a vibrational modification in yourself and your environment. This in itself generates profound shifts beyond your wildest imagination. What isn’t in alignment with that vibrational state will either shift or it will disappear. Transformation at its finest!

Consciousness results in self-realization that we hope will translate into self-actualization. Without acting in alignment with our realization – well, all things will remain the same except for the fact that we know more then we use to. As I said above, if you shift how you are being to be more in alignment with your highest knowing, this in itself is transformational. You don’t have to overtly attempt to change your world or your organization. Just notice, shift and allow. This in itself is bringing spirituality into business.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Rosie Kuhn will be speaking on the topic of “Spiritual Wounding in the Workplace” at the San Francisco New Living Expo, Concourse Exhibition Center, Room #7, San Francisco, April 29th, 2011 at 7:00PM.

Business, as a context, can look and act as if it could be at the furthest possible reach from spirituality. When I began exploring a career in business coaching I was initially turned off by all of the thoughts, interpretations and judgments I’d been carrying regarding business. Eventually I realized that what’s true about business is based on one’s interpretation – Business is in the eye of the beholder. By shifting my interpretations I was able to allow a greater potentiality for change – well, I’ll go out on a limb and say transformation.

Initially, business meant ruthless, unethical, immoral practices. It meant power hungry individuals sucking the life-blood out of anyone and everything for profit and gain; it meant status, money, dominance; it meant people don’t matter except for what they can do, compensated with the lowest salary possible. Not a pretty picture.

Not every organization looked like this to me but my projections of the worst of the worst were thrusted upon all businesses, which quite often included governments and political organizations.

My original interpretation has shifted from: if it weren’t for Big Businesses our world would be a much better place to live in, to, Big Businesses contribute in incredible ways to social causes and humanitarian efforts. They’ve created miraculous technologies and innovation, which contribute to a much better world. Business is not bad; it’s the practice of bad business that’s challenging all of us today.

There’s Beauty in the Breakdown

Things are not looking up for the world economy and business in general. We, the people, are demanding more of our businesses, whether local, corporate or global, requiring them to be accountable for the practices that on the one hand are literally killing us, while on the other they provide monies that fund projects that generate so much good on the planet. We value the good they are doing but are no longer turning a blind eye to the bad. The old paradigm can no longer sustain the pressure, and to paraphrase Einstein, we won’t be able to fix it with the same thinking that created it.

Inevitably there will be a breakdown, and it won’t be pretty. Heck, we are in the breakdown now, with few brave souls competent enough to take us through this turbulent course, understanding the currents, the rifts and perils of what’s unfolding before us.

Breakdowns are required in the process of all growth and development. Ask anyone who has lost their job, their health, their families, their business or livelihood. They will tell you that tremendous good came out of it. They didn’t ask for it but inevitably were glad it came. These are brave individuals who willingly faced the dismantling of their reality, not knowing if a breakthrough would occur; they only hoped it would occur in their favor.

Breakdowns are messy, full of angst, agony, horror, loss, humiliation, anger and resentment – humanities toughest be-withs. A be-with is something – an event, a circumstance or situation that you can’t control or change; you can only be-with it. A Big Fat Be-With occurs when facing what we’ve been avoiding, denying or distracting ourselves from far too long; there’s nowhere to go and nowhere to hide.

Breakdowns allow for a release of what no longer serves, is completed and finished. What follows is a void of activity, something that drives most of us humans, bonkers. Much like Winter, when things are dark, bleak and cold, we’re powerless to make things be different. We feel helpless and powerless, and often begin to lose hope. All we can do is take leaps of faith, which may mean just staying in this moment until the next moment arrives.

Bleakness is inevitable in any paradigm shift. Even thinking outside the box doesn’t get us out far enough to gain the perspective we need. Sometimes, awareness alone of the Big Fat Be-with is enough, and again the F word – Faith that something will shift.

One very interesting facet of the breakdown process is that blame begins to take center stage. Individuals begin taking inventory for their part in the breakdown – whether personal or organizational. They begin to see how their personal choices impact on the company, the family or community. Blame is a fascinating strategy, which serves our desire to avoid condemnation, rejection, and humiliation. It’s not my fault allows us to ignore my own responsibility and allows me to supposedly get off scot free from any accountability. Over time though, all of us will have to meet ourselves, take inventory and willingly acknowledge our responsibility for things being the way they are. Not one of us is blameless.

Breakthrough

I planted some wisteria seeds a couple of months ago. They’ve undergone a hard transition. I did the best I could to give them an environment rich with nutrients, plenty of water and sunshine. I watch with anticipation for signs of a breakthrough. Little by little their essential nature to burst beyond the hard protection of the seed pod unfolds. Tiny little shoots show themselves. They have endured incredible hazards, not of their own choosing. We rejoice in the breakthrough!

For individuals curious about spirituality in business this inevitable paradigm shift will require of them and their organization to bravely go into these breakdowns in service to what they know to be in service to something greater – a greater good for all.

Each business or business practice has emerged because of a calling a knowing, a vision, a dream: innovation comes out of these dark nights of the soul. Few of us are brave enough to follow our dreams and visions; few are bold enough be a stand for what they believe in.

Being a stand is a phrase used in personal and leadership forums. It means that who you be and how you be is in alignment with what you say is important to you. Though the phrasing sounds incorrect it’s important to understand that who you be and how you be is at the core of every choice you make; it is at the core of every choice your organization makes.

The major dilemma facing every business is the recognition of the humanity running the business. It’s balancing the elements of the people and the bottom line. Are the individuals just a resource, treated as such in service to the product, service and investors, or are people valued for their humanity, for their gifts, for their unique talents and perspective. How does an organization shift the balance? How do they allow a breakdown in service to the breakthrough?

Those of us in support of healthier business models and business practices; what’s our role? How do we empower people to empower themselves and others to facilitate this paradigm shift? It isn’t a maybe; it isn’t a perhaps. As the paradigm shifts we are readying ourselves for a global meltdown. Don’t panic, for it will be an amazing opportunity of greatest magnitude in cultivating awareness and actualization of a more spiritual orientation to every aspect of life.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Rosie Kuhn will be speaking on the topic of “Spiritual Wounding in the Workplace” at the San Francisco New Living Expo, Concourse Exhibition Center, Room #7, San Francisco, April 29th, 2011 at 7:00PM

Beginning any journey whether it be spiritual, business or family oriented, begins by simultaneously building and stepping onto the path. Laying down the materials can be done in any number of ways; if you’ve researched business training programs you know what I’m talking about. A paraphrase I found from the Chinese philosopher, Lau Tzu (604 BC – 531 BC) said:

“Even the longest journey must begin where you stand.”

We find what we need when following the impulse to begin. It doesn’t matter where you start or in what direction you go; beginning is the most challenging & courageous aspect of the journey.

I’ve chosen to adventure with you on this journey of spirituality in business using the ABC’s. My intention is that through the simplicity of the alphabet combined with the elegance of these concepts that I consider essential within a spiritual practice, you will be inspired and will accompany me from the beginning “A” to the end “Z” of this fascinating Spiritual journey.

A is for Acknowledgements, Avoidance, Anxiety, Awareness, Actualization and Acceptance.

  • A is for Anxiety: Anxiety is the most challenging “A” word. What is labeled most often as anxiety, a sensation in your body that can get very uncomfortable, is one of the primal responses to life as a human being. It keeps you safe; it keeps you from doing things you shouldn’t; it keeps you in the fold of what others expect of you. That anxious feeling arises when you think beyond the current moment to include what may seem to be beyond your comfort zone. Anxiety can be a control freak in your life. It can become the master that you serve. No one likes to feel the qualities of being anxious and so you do whatever it takes to make them go away. The dilemma is that your desired results generally lie on the other side of these sensations.
  • A is for Avoidance: Avoidance of Restlessness, Irritability and Discontent (RID). Underlying the majority of our survival strategies – our addictions and habitual ways of being – is the commitment to avoid the sensations of anxiety, also experienced as restlessness, irritability and discontent (RID). Distinguishing how we be and what we do – the choices-and the processes we’ve developed to avoid what we don’t want to be, do or know, is a huge practice. Yes, there is a great deal that we don’t want to know or to think about, much less feel or sense in our bodies. However, the choice to avoid the discomfort of RID will create significant obstacles blocking each of us from having what we say we want.
  • A is for Acknowledgment: By reading this blog you are cultivating awareness (another important A word) regarding some foundational practices of spirituality in business. As you begin to explore and discover underlying sensations and strategies developed to avoid these qualities of being, it’s imperative to begin the practice of acknowledging yourself and these processes. In doing so you are becoming self-realized, and by doing so you are more at choice about how to actualize yourself; that means intentionally choosing to choose what you choose in service to your essential self, your essential truth and that which you want to manifest in the world.

Acknowledging yourself is one piece of this practice. The other is to acknowledge others for choices they make or ways of being that make a difference to you. In the modern work environment too often people are treated only as a resource; their work is void of the humanity, which is the essence of being in all of us. Lack of acknowledgment of our human being-ness creates significant challenges within every aspect of the business world. These issues occur within all of our environments – not just at work, however, because we spend so much of our time at work, lack of acknowledgments here create depression, resistance, low morale, resentment, and apathy, to name just a few. The practice of acknowledging people lets them know that they are seen and valued for everything they bring to the workplace. Everyone is nourished through acknowledgments – including the person giving the acknowledgment.

You might think this is a no-brainer, but notice how often you really acknowledge people for who they are being and how they are being. Notice too, all the times you hold back from acknowledging people. Notice what shows up inside you as you consider whether you’ll say something that lets someone know they are being truly seen. Watch your resistance to saying something nice and ask yourself what creates that resistance, then do it anyway – just as a practice.

It’s easy to love the loveable and it’s easy to say nice things to people you like. Cultivating a spiritual perspective means practicing kindness to those who may rub you the wrong way. What stops you from acknowledging them? What are you wanting to avoid by avoiding an act of kindness?

This is not an easy path, nor is it a comfortable path, for it is wrought with uneasiness, tenderness, agony, grief, anger, anxiety and fear. It’s all about you and only you, as you begin to explore how you be you.

Self-empowerment means becoming self-determined. We face emotions, thoughts, feelings and sensations that at some point we empowered to be bigger than us. Through cultivating awareness we begin to take control and exercise muscles that will support us in limiting the interference of these thoughts, feelings and sensations. We gain the sense of power from the inside out because we are aligning with our own wisdom, which allows us to live on purpose and face our fears more effortlessly.

  • A is for Acceptance: The serenity prayer goes like this: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

What are you accepting as impossible that you actually have the capacity to make possible? Where are you wanting to avoid the whole conversation of what’s acceptable and what isn’t in service to avoiding the anxiety and all that it leads to? To truly bring spirituality into business we have to be committed enough to ask ourselves these challenging questions – accepting that this is foundational to our personal, professional and our spiritual practice. Enjoy the journey!

Editor’s Note: Dr. Rosie Kuhn will be speaking on the topic of “Spiritual Wounding in the Workplace” at the San Francisco New Living Expo, Concourse Exhibition Center, Room #7, San Francisco, April 29th, 2011 at 7:00PM