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Spirit in Business

SHARANYA is deeply committed to healing and understanding (or making intelligible) the interface among economics, religion, spirituality, business, ecology and right livelihood. Toward that end, we are a part of the spirit in business movement, and offer the below introduction to a growing and powerful contemporary force.

For over 500 years, the indigenous peoples of North America have said that the land cannot be owned because Earth is our mother. Though accepted in many circles, this belief in the sacredness of nature traditionally has been at odds with corporate culture. To our collective peril, we have ignored an ancient wisdom and today, crises of both the environment and spirit abound. In the realm of doing business, neither has tended to matter much.

Yet despite the conflict our world knows between profit-driven enterprises and the well being of human capital and our planet, religious, environmental and commercial organizations too are now beginning to find common ground. What is today called the "spirit in business" movement finds that common ground at the heart of people. Too long left out of the equation for success in a driven world, heart and soul are fast returning to the business landscape. Spirit in business steps beyond religious and boardroom boundaries to find a simple shared commitment with heart. When successful, this commitment brings together economies, societies, companies and the natural world. As Bob Galvin, former CEO and chairman of Motorola, once said, theology is very practical business.

Indeed, business can no longer afford to define success solely in terms of profit. Increasing numbers of companies today suffer the ravages of greed, corruption, diminishing natural resources and unhealthy global competition. Instead, spirit in business advocates the pursuit of success as sound business practice only when it means life-affirming work - work that considers the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit within an inextricable web of relationships. For corporations, nonprofits and government agencies alike, this means creating new opportunities for cooperation, community building and a viable relationship to Earth within the parameters of business as usual.

Nature nurtures business by providing needed human and natural capital. As strategy, spirit in business fosters a reciprocal arrangement and in turn helps to bring healing to people, societies and our planet through sustainable organizations. The movement is in fact creating awareness of a kind of closed loop cycle that, like the stock market and nature both, goes through phases of growth, stagnation, death and renewal. To wit, the old patriarchal and paternalistic business framework, which has room for neither human emotions nor spirit because these qualities cannot be assigned a market value, is passing. With it, how we do business is being transformed.

Spirit in business sees a new social capital emerging from the foundations of humanity. People's jobs and where they go to work are both rapidly being affected by concepts such as "spirit at work," "conscious business" and "corporate soul." Increasingly, companies are paying attention to the intersection of spirit and business for the goal of long-term sustainability and the creation of shareholder value. Many corporations today have commitments to sustainability clearly defined within their annual reports in an explicit section highlighting targets and implementation strategies. Social investors can now also read the market with an eye for profit, and indices such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index help provide a measure of companies' sold financial, social and environmental performance.

Spirit in business is helping to accelerate and strengthen a transformation to sustainability. Through continued action on behalf of all Earth nourishes and supports, including corporations, we are slowly beginning to transcend imposed and deleterious boundaries. For whether for-profit or public charity, organizations are fundamentally human-centered. The balance among the variables of wealth, truth, beauty, values and power that spirit in business fosters is today not only helping business thrive - much in alignment with First Nations' principles - but also helping us all see the magic in living the fullest spectrum of what it means to be human.

More more information about who we are and what we do, go to our about SHARANYA page.

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