You may have noticed, we’ve been sending out news to our lists more frequently over the last weeks. “What’s got into you Arjuna? You used to be such a quiet, retiring kind of fellow. Suddenly you’re sending out email, like popcorn.” When you send out more frequently to a list, it is inevitable that some people will unsubscribe. You can do so today through the ‘manage your subscription’ link at the bottom of any e mail we send you. I hope you don’t, but it’s always there if you want it.
I got one particularly energetic unsubscribe request recently from a young man in Germany. Rather than using the link, he decided to send me a personal message. And here it is:
“Bullshit!! All your ‘doing’ is just making the “I” stronger. I think you’re just trying to build your business and make money.”
I really appreciated the passion with which my young German friend expressed himself, and I got to thinking about it afterwards. He had some important things to share. The first was that the activity we were creating was re-enforcing the “I”. And in a way, he’s got a point. Many of us have created a schism between the vast empty space of awakening and the realm in which there’s a ‘you’ and ‘me’, and activity happening.
The interesting thing for many of us these days is not so much to disappear completely and rest in a void space, but how can this dance of ‘I’ and ‘you’ and ‘we’ and ‘they’ continue in a context of wakefulness? The trick of living an awakened life is not so much to make the sense of an “I” go away, but to see its illusory nature and let the dance of life continue anyway.
His second point was even more interesting: he was accusing me of just being interested in building a business and making money. There’s truth in what he says there too. For thousands of years we have believed that there is an inevitable schism between awakening consciousness and worldly and material success. Jesus set a whole process in motion when he let that comment slip about the rich man and the camel in the eye of a needle. I’m sure if he’d anticipated how many people would be living in unnecessary hardship as a result, he might have thought twice about that statement.
Today, so many of us who are interested in awakening feel that there’s something wrong with participating in the world, making money, and having stuff. If you’re teaching a seminar about business leadership or coaching skills or even relationship skills, it’s fine to charge several hundred dollars for a weekend. If your topic is about a deeper connection with yourself, the question becomes much more sticky.
I’ve questioned all this in the last years, since I was invited in 2005 to become a member of the Transformational Leadership Council, founded by Jack Canfield (the most successful author in the history of publishing). Other members of the council include John Gray, Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks, Marci Schimoff, and Raymond Aaron. The Transformational Council is where the movie, ‘The Secret’ was filmed. We meet twice a year in beautiful locations to inspire, connect and relax together. Almost all the members of TLC are phenomenally successful in worldly terms, well known, and…rich. But what I’ve also discovered, from hanging out with them, is that many of them are also remarkably awake. Almost all of them fit the definition of Translucent, as I defined it in The Translucent Revolution. Being a member of TLC has inspired me to radically review my understanding about awakening and money. I’ve seen that people like Jack Canfield and Raymond Aaron have tremendous freedom to make a difference in the world in whatever way they chose. If they hear about an ecological challenge, or a village in Africa that needs a school, they can do something about it.
In the last years, my primary focus has been on training Awakening Coaches to be facilitators of awakening to clients in position of responsibility. I encourage the people I train to charge professional fees for their services, and there have been some remarkable results. Business leaders and other professionals generally wont even take you seriously unless you’re charging professional fees for what you do.
I’ve thought carefully about that passionate email from Germany, and I’ve concluded that I’m guilty as charged on both counts. By training coaches we are spreading genuine awakening among business leaders, entrepreneurs and people who can make a difference, and… we are building a business.
So tell me, what are your thoughts? Do you think that awakening and business should be kept separate? And that one would contaminate the other? Or do you think that marketing Awakening Consciousness to business leaders is an effective way to change the world?