Who would have thought that the time would come when an organisation with the spiritual pedigree of the Esalen Institute would join forces with profiteering business in such an openly brazen way?
Sam Yau, Board Chairman of the Esalen Institute, a man with a vision for the powerful possibilities of linking Esalen’s purpose with mainstream business, brought together a diverse and heady mix of thought leaders in an event in February designed to evolve perspectives to new heights and thus to influence the course of business.
In the seats rubbing shoulders were seven executives from Fortune’s Best 100 Companies to Work For, leaders of conscious capitalism such as John Mackey of Whole Foods, Chade-Meng Tan of Google and Chip Conley of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, the physicist Fritjof Capra who talked of organisations as living systems, with Spiral Dynamics and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs thrown into the mix for good measure.
But this all makes sense, doesn’t it? We are all part of a greater whole. Science shows us that we are all interconnected and so false separations between ‘business’ and ‘spirituality’ exists only in our minds. To be true to evolution (see previous post here), our paths need to be towards finding new ways that include all and promote the greatest degree of collaboration and commonality, thus rising above our human tendency to separate and conquer.
Conscious capitalism presents a viable alternative to the destructive effects of a separatist mindset that we are seeing all around us as companies, governments, countries and continents crumble. It feels to me like a scene from Leonardo diCaprio’s Inception where the structures of his dreamworld, several layers down beneath surface reality, were unstable and crumbling as he looked at them.
With such deep-rooted implosion of our familiar systems of life, work and money, the emergence of the platform of conscious capitalism is the truest next step our evolution that we have. It is no longer a nice-to-have; it is necessary for our survival. It may not be the entire answer, but it points away from the demolition we are experiencing, towards a brighter future.
To guide us there, a mindset shift is required: letting go of some of the mental structures of our past and embracing some unfamiliar ones. There is some guidance around for this: quoting Frank Poletti of the Esalen Institute: “It’s time to grow beyond the divide between the ‘moral’ non-profit sector and the ‘immoral’ profit sector. Both can embrace conscious values…Any business can be ‘good’ and make a profit at the same time.”