Can A Business Be Spiritual?

Updated: Sep 12, 2020

For the past 7 years, spirituality and business have been my two areas of interest. As my interests grew, I could not help but wonder if the two can co-exist. I know of many great leaders (like Steve Jobs) who have incorporated spiritual practices in their life. But can the business itself be more spiritual? And if so how? I wanted to write this article, not because I know but because I don't and wanted to share the questions I have.



What Does It Mean To Be Spiritual?


To be honest, I don't think anybody really knows. I have looked for inspiration from different religions, philosophies and sciences and to be honest, I was confused. The best I can muster till the date of this publication is that spirituality is about being the best version of myself and helping others become their own best version of themselves. Yet I find that it is still difficult to create a holistic approach to a spiritual business.


Is The Idea Of A Spiritual Business Even Possible?


When I look at how business is practiced, I cannot fail to notice the discrepancy to any form of spiritual ideal. Even though I subscribe to spiritual practices, I find it very hard to truly respect the environment, my health, those around me and the community even though I try. It is even worse when the idea that I need money to survive is still present. This idea is what creates attachment to self interest, and unless managed well, one can easily fall into the pray of being abusive or greedy. So is selfless devotion, advocated by many spiritual practices, be possible to implement?


Is There Even Any Common Ground?


The best definition of business I have heard so far is: a group of people whose purpose is to solve a problem (give service) at a profit. When I first heard this definition I suddenly saw a bridge between business and spirituality: Service. Even though most businesses give service in return for money, at least I could see something that is common with spirituality: doing something good for others. At least I found at least 1 place where the two can meet. But is this enough?


Is Giving Service Enough To Be Spiritual?


Take Coca-Cola for instance. When customers are buying a Coke, they are really buying a way to satiate taste and thirst. Therefore, customers buy the service of manufacture and logistics to satiate their need. They buy a service in the form of a product. As much as I admire the mechanics how they accomplish this, I find the service as limited. The taste of a chilled Coke may be great, but my body doesn't feel good after I down a bottle. Many have stated that a Coke is unhealthy to the body. More than that Coca-Cola is also creating a dis-service by using plastic, by not collecting it and through the the carbon footprint it requires to be successful. So is this really a service?


What Would An Ideal Spiritual Practice Look Like? And Is It Too Idealistic?


In Easter philosophies, if you are harming 1 aspect of creation (a tree, a body, the air etc) then you are being of dis-service. This moral principle is quite steep to follow. With the current understanding that humanity has about life and the environment, even the staunchest of environmentalist is hurting the environment when compared with this ideal. This begs one to answer the question of whether such a spiritual service is a too idealistic approach. Also it asks questions of practicality of implementation, not to say that the impact on profit can be catastrophic. So is that it?


Can There Be A Way?


When there is talk of change, unfortunately there is not always an appreciation of what it takes. Consider this: 20 years ago environmental consciousness was laughed at by mainstream business. 50 years ago the idea of customer rights was only being introduced. 100 years ago employees had almost no rights whatsoever. 200 years ago businesses used slaves. In reality business has shifted enormously over the last 200 years. Therefore societies and businesses can make gigantic leaps, but maybe they need their time. To me this tells me it is OK to aim for an ideal path, but we need to take it one step of a time.


Would Business Care About This?


Businesses change when the consumers' consciousness changes for the better. Take McDonalds. They are now creating a vegan burger and removing additives from burgers. Why? Because customers want healthier options and are eating less meat. True, the global brand would change its way because it may lose money, but it is changing and fast. So businesses respond to what the customers value. The best way to ensure businesses is that we are living ethically, morally and environmentally conscious at home and with ourselves. Then our needs will change and so will business. Perhaps is we change our needs, then would business care enough to change?


Can It Be Done?


I really believe that it is possible to have a business that is spiritual. I believe it will depend on either or both of the following things: 1) how spiritual those running businesses will be and 2) how much customers are going to value it (or value something related such as environment, health etc).


I believe that if businesses see that a holistic view of service is their destination, rather than being slaves to money, then businesses can become of service to all humanity and the creation. This may take its time, but every inch close to it, would be amazing.


What Can I (You) Do?


For someone in business this means being caring for your employees, customers, community and humanity. If you buying even a single product this means to treat yourself, others and the environment with love. This doesn't mean that you do everything others want. It means that you care for them AND for you. We are all love-able. We need (myself included) to learn how to be able to do this and we need to take steps daily. As long as thee is progress, we are blessed.


What Do You Think? How About Leaving A Comment?


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