It's My Life! Ezine
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Column: The Spiritual Realist




Raymond Siew

Spirituality IN Business


by Raymond Siew
www.emasters.info




In the introduction to this column, I said that spirituality can be practised in business. Not only that, business also provides the structure for the process of spiritual growth - with checks and balances. And the WWW offers us the unique opportunity towards creating this reality — This column explores how and why.

But before I move on I would like to clearer define what I mean by spirituality.

Do not accept what you hear
by report, do not accept tradition,
do not accept a statement
because it is found in our books,
nor because it is in accord
with your beliefs, nor because
it is the saying of your teacher.
Be lamps unto yourselves.

~ Buddha ~

Allow me to begin by recounting the old story of the 3 blind men holding the different parts of an elephant: One felt the elephant's trunk and thought it was a snake. The other felt the legs and thought it was a tree stump. The last man held the tail and thought it was a rope.

This story demonstrates that there are limitations to our perceptions... but there are inferences to the general principles towards spirituality if we accept that INCREASED UNDERSTANDING is a spiritual principle.

The story suggests that each one of us is given a perspective, a sense of the truth. And the way to solve the puzzle is by accurate communication - without embellishment or suppression of information in order to establish trust - for the establishment of trust is important towards the acceptance of the bigger picture.

The story also suggests that we need to forbear from concluding that our perspective is the correct one — In order to do that, we need to develop a higher capacity to live with uncertainty.

If we also accept that wisdom seems to be scattered to the 4 corners of the earth, as if by design, then maybe the purpose is to foster genuine, authentic communication. So it seems a reasonable conclusion that an essential element in the path towards spirituality must be found in better communication.

Hence, below is my attempt...


The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak


It seems to me that self-knowledge about who we are is an important prerequisite to better communication.

And that self-knowledge about who we are is there because our flesh is weak. For because it is weak that we experience fear. This fear permeates our being and gives rise to our emotions... and that in turn affects our thinking.

But despite this, we occasionally overcome our fears — Every time we do that, we experience the spirit. And each time we do or don't, we also define ourselves.

To love, to lose it and to love again. To try, to fail and to try again. To experience lust and to recognise it for the emptiness it brings — To make a decision to move on, to let go. Again and again. Or not.

In this act of self-definition, an important distinction is between REAL and IMAGINED fears. Real fears can be solved. However, imagined fears - the illusions grounded in denials, rationalisations, compartmentalisations - defy resolution by any other but ourselves. For any attempt by another to solve the problem will only cause the imagination to create another.

Note: Denials, rationalisations and compartmentalisation are fear-based systems of thinking. I call these "mental constructs". And these systems are carefully guarded by the ego.
Imagined fears can be grounded through traumas, bad childhood experiences, and I imply no blame. Nevertheless, they need resolution. Imagined fears have no bearing to the objective/subjective reality to the situation you are in at the moment (by subjective, I mean seeing the other with clarity) — It is something brought forward from the past, which obscures and colors the moment.

And so the spiritual journey must always be a personal one (although it can be guided). And every time we overcome a fear, we experience spiritual growth.

Note: Some have concluded that denial of the flesh is the path towards spirituality. I believe that it is through the EXPERIENCE of the flesh therein lies the path to spirituality — By experiencing our fears, anxieties, anger, grief, lusts, etc... and seeing them for the illusions they really are. Maybe even our happiness.

Security is mostly a superstition. It does
not exist in nature nor do the children
of man as a whole experience it.
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long
run than outright exposure. Life is
either a daring adventure, or nothing.

~ Helen Keller ~

Whether we do or don't confront our fears - real or imagined - we define ourselves, and from this self-definition we define our world.

So the act of self-definition is really the act of knowing our limitations. For without knowing our limitations, we have no way of knowing how we color our reality.


The spirit


Overcoming my fears is the only way I know of engaging my spirit.

If I try to meditate, and know deep within me that I'm running away from something important in my life, I sense a disturbance in the spirit. If I take no action towards solving those issues, then the meditation brings no enlightenment.

Let's see what Martial artists have learned and if it is applicable to understanding the spirit...

In martial arts like Aikido, there has long been the understanding that imagined fear is the enemy of presence, of being in the moment, for imagined fear puts us back in time (by our history) or forward in time (again by our history - past conditioning, fear of failure, unrealistic expectations).

Only by total presence in the moment can you affect the future — By your thinking and action in the here and now. By seeing reality, in the moment, as it really is and not as a by-product of your past. By knowing what is really in front of you and not a figment of your imagination — And in doing so, increasing your chance of understanding, and dealing with, the clear and present danger. Or not. By doing so, their exponents have achieved astounding skills. *
And to be in the here and now you must have NO IMAGINED FEAR to start off with — The only way I know is to distinguish between real and imagined fears. And that can only come if you are connected to the spirit, at that moment, for the spirit has no fear.


Learning


This only takes place in the moment.

Without assumptions, prejudices and preconceptions (that binds us to our past, that may or may not have any bearing to the present) — This is the beginning of learning.

To see the present clearly, learning can only take place from the spirit — Increased learning takes us to a place where we are able to see each moment/each situation clearly, without preconception. For it is only in the moment that the answers are revealed. To come full circle and knowing it for the first time in our lives. It takes us to the place where we stop trying to force a square peg into a round hole. It takes us to the place of understanding how things are, and how things work. We begin to move with the FLOW.


Communication


It is very difficult to see ourselves clearly with our propensities for self-denial. And the way we communicate is a mirror of our current realities. It creates your realities.

If you communicate from fear then that will become your reality. If you communicate from the spirit, you create a different reality.

And that is why you are never given the total answers — It's the way of the universe to encourage us to communicate. The laws of attraction.


Summary


For me then, spirituality is that growth in each of us towards an understanding of the/a higher power... and its purpose in our lives, for our lives.

That journey is defined by our ability to separate real fears from imagined ones.

The understanding begins by first defining ourselves - and that takes place by first experiencing the purpose for our flesh (and engaging our fear-based emotions and thinking). For the flesh is weak so we may know the spirit. This self-knowledge defines our limitations and reflects back on us by how we communicate.

And that path must lie in the direction away from imagined fears... and towards learning.

The guide in this journey is our SPIRIT and it is a personal journey towards unveiling our gifts, our talents, our purpose in life.

It is the path to faith. And the defining moment is when we begin to love reality (God's imagination, creation) more than we love our illusions.




Have a Question for Ray?


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Click here to Ask Ray!

There seems to be much confusion between the tools towards spirituality... and spirituality itself — Meditation practiced as an end to itself. Spiritual messages bound with messages of fear. The offering of spiritual principles without acknowledgement of the process. Spiritual teachings that have produced subdued, fear-ridden people (rather than vibrant ones who dare to live, experience, question and grow).


Question: What happens if you attempt to shortcut the laws of attraction... without self knowledge... without confronting your demons?


I invite you to engage in a dialogue with me — I will answer any questions you may have either individually or in this column.

I also invite you to explore if there are any similarities between spiritual and business principles.


*Note: The definition given to us by martial artists seems in some way to suggest that violence is an acceptable solution. In the case of Aikido, its philosophy is the use of minimum force in order to subdue an aggressor. I would like to think that we may have evolved to the stage that it is no longer neccesary - but that may not be real. Observe nature. It also seems that most learning takes place in violent (turbulent) times of our lives. I think there may also be a time for judicious confrontation and assertion. It seems to be a necessary step in the act of setting boundaries and self-definition. The answer seems to be bound to the question... "Is life a timed game?"



Next time:
Is LIFE a timed game? — This will be the query of my next article.




Read other articles in this column:
Click here




About the Author:
Raymond Siew is the CEO and business development strategist for eMasters as well as her two online publications: It's My Life! (lifestyle ezine) and in-the-loop (business ezine). eMasters' core business is Design, Advertising & Promotions — Visit www.eMasters.info to view eMasters' suite of products & services, or to read Raymond's bio.






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