Principle 66

This entry is part 63 of 98 in the series Principles

The Business Principle

The world of business is often considered an evil enterprise by spiritual seekers. If at all possible they seek to withdraw from the world where goods are exchanged for profit and seek an uninterrupted spiritual quest in a monastery, some type of ashram, a cult, or even their parent’s basement.

Ahh… to be free from business to them is like being free from the greed of the world. With such freedom the seeker can then pursue his spiritual quest for peace and enlightenment without distraction.

I wonder if such a person has ever asks himself this question.

Who travels faster upon the spiritual path? The one who withdraws and concentrates on moving the self forward to the light…

Or

The honest businessperson who seeks to make a living for himself and others by providing a product or services needed and appreciated by many people?

It would indeed be an ironic twist of fate for the dedicated spiritual, but isolated, seeker to learn, upon achieving true soul contact, that the businessperson may have taken the higher path.

In the end he may discover that the apostle Paul was one of the greatest examples of one who treads the Path. He supported himself through his business of tent making while learning and teaching others about the things of the spirit.

Imagine how different the Christian Church would be today if he had not made those tents and sold them for a profit. He may not have had power to accomplish his mission, and without Paul, it is entirely possible the movement would have withered into oblivion just as many other great movements have before and since.

Let us just look at the spiritual benefits from someone like Paul compared to the monk who withdraws from the world.

Let us examine Paul first:

(1) Through his business he supplied others with shelter through making tents. How much profit did he make? Probably the going rate, but without the possibility of profit the tents would not have been made and the shelter would not have been available. Maybe some children would have died in the hot sun.

(2) Paul was more concerned about bringing light to others than to himself. He exerted great zeal and effort in teaching others the highest he knew and in the process changed the church and the world.

(3) In addition to teaching he proved to be a great server. He said:

For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. I Cor 9:19

So even here, in being a servant of Christ, Paul sees the principle behind gaining a profit for your work saying “that I might gain the more.”

He understood the great principle taught by his Master:

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. Mark 8:35

If one loses himself in the service of others without thought of self then he will experience the greatest possible benefit to himself as well as those he helps.

But, if one puts service to self first then little if any benefit will be gained.

(4) In losing himself to service additional light was given to him until he was caught up to the “third heaven” and heard “unspeakable words.”

He again discovered the truth of the words of his master:

For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. Mark 9:41

When Jesus spoke of water he generally meant the gifts of the Spirit, but that does not diminish the value of giving physical food and drink.

Let us compare this to the one who withdraws from the world to seek enlightenment of self. What benefits come to him or others?

(1) He is of very little service to others. Perhaps he makes himself useful by sweeping the floors in the monastery.

(2) He may gain a little self control and focus he can use in another lifetime, but will be of little use to God or man in this one unless he becomes a true server.

The popular health author, Andreas Moritz, gives an interesting account of his own escape from separateness:

A few years later, I began working for, and with, the founder of TM, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, to spread his meditation to the rest of the world. Little did I realize during the following ten years that I had become just as strong a fanatic in pursuing this mission as the early missionaries who tried to convert ‘lost and Ignorant souls’ to become children of God.

In fact, I had become exactly what I dreaded seeing in others. The Maharishi told us that his meditation would solve every kind of problem in life, no matter of what origin. Therefore, as a teacher of this meditation, called ‘Governor of the Age of Enlightenment’, I believed 1 knew the answers to every difficulty. I would feel guilty if I missed a few minutes of meditation since I was supposed to meditate for a certain length of time twice daily in order to gain enlightenment and help create world peace. Being a very devoted and ‘responsible’ teacher, I was absolutely regular in my practice and spent whatever time and resources I had available in spreading TM to the world. I had no ‘time’ for personal relationships for over ten years and when I learned that not listening to the master’s (Maharishi’s) instructions or going against his wishes would incur such bad karma that not even God could save such a person, I became even more disciplined and meticulous about how I lived my life.

All I had done was replace the fear of God and the Catholic Church with the fear of a spiritual master, another God. I wanted to become spiritually enlightened so badly because I believed this would save me from hell. Thirty years of meditating twice a day, several years of which I would dedicate eight hours a day to the going-within practice, certainly helped me develop qualities of serenity and patience and other values, but it didn’t bring me enlightenment. I had unsuccessfully searched for something I already was…

From his book, Lifting the Veil of Duality

Then instead of meditating eight hours a day he spent the rest of his life dedicated to the book publishing business giving out useful information on health that has been appreciated by many thousands.

I’m sure he still did some meditation, but not to the extent that it would interfere with service to others.

Many seekers who are not able to withdraw from the world still hold a disdain for business. It is frustrating for most that they have to depend on some kind of business to make a living. Even if they work for the government they are paid with taxes earned from business, so there is no escape from some type of reliance on them.

The question before us is this. Is this faction justified in their negative view of business? If not, then what is the cause of their illusion?

The first step in resolving this is to put the Business Principle into words. Here it is:

The Business Principle consists of several ingredients.

(1) Find a service of product that that is useful enough to the public to be desired by them.

(2) Figure out a way to efficiently provide that product or service.

(3) Figure out reasonable price for consumers to pay based on:

(A) What they are willing to pay.

(B) Incorporating enough built in profit so the business can pay itself and its employees a high enough wage to keep the business viable.

(4) Figure out a way to promote the business so the public is aware of the products and services.

This could be condensed into the following:

The Business Principle consists of serving your fellow men and women by providing a more valuable service or product than the money exchanged for them.

For instance, if I purchase $1.00 worth of bananas I have decided that the bananas are worth more to me than the dollar I am exchanging for it. If it is not, then I will keep the dollar and not purchase them.

“Okay, says the skeptic. You make business sound like it is almost spiritual. How do you explain all the greed and corruption that we see on display?

The answer is quite simple. Wherever there is power, or an exchange of power, you have the built in possibility of constructive or destructive used.

Does this mean that the goal should be to eliminate all use of power so no one has power to do anything?

Of course not. That would be plain silly to consider such a thing.

What needs to be accomplished with any power is to put it to constructive use and do our best to eliminate harmfulness.

Business is a real source of power that causes civilization itself to work and exist, but there are other powers.

Political or governing powers are higher up the ladder than business for they can tell business what to do. It is true that business influences government, but government has the last word, the deciding vote.

Is there misuse of political power? Indeed; Hitler’s destructive use of it made business people look like Mother Teresa by comparison.

Even in the best of governments we see more greed and corruption than we can take.

How about religion? Is there a misuse of power there? Indeed we see almost daily stories about corrupt ministers, priests, and members doing outrageous things with their power.

Here is a couple of paragraphs that turned my stomach from this morning’s paper:

QADIYA, IRAQ — In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen girl practiced a religion other than Islam, the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her – it condoned and encouraged it, he insisted.

He bound her hands and gagged her. Then he knelt beside the bed and prostrated himself in prayer before getting on top of her.

When it was over, he knelt to pray again, bookending the rape with acts of religious devotion.

“I kept telling him it hurts – please stop,” said the girl, whose body is so small an adult could circle her waist with two hands. “He told me that according to Islam he is allowed to rape an unbeliever. He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God,” she said in an interview alongside her family in a refugee camp here, to which she escaped after 11 months of captivity.

From: New York Times, August 13, 2015

I have never experienced any harm from any business that comes close to the above misuse of power – and that from people claiming to represent a benevolent God?

Power is exercised in all areas of life, through the media, Hollywood, science, education, law enforcement, money, lobbyists, associations and even family.

All power can be used for good or evil.

To single out one use of power, such as business, and to classify it as evil and some other source as good is illusion indeed.

It is essential that power be available for use in all areas of life, just as we insist on maintaining our power of free will. Many misuse free will but none of us would relinquish it. Yes, free will and power are risky elements in the hands of humankind, but essential to our progress and happiness.

Slowly the wheels of justice turn and guide us toward right use of all power granted to us.

It is written:

Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. Titus 1:15

Basically this says to me that if you have a pure heart you see the good in all things, the glass half full. You see the good that is in politics, religion, science, the media, education and even business – or perhaps, especially business.

“There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.” Ray Goforth

Copyright 2015 by J J Dewey

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