“Enlightened leadership is spiritual if we understand spirituality not as some kind of religious dogma or ideology but as the domain of awareness where we experience values like truth, goodness, beauty, love and compassion, and also intuition, creativity, insight and focused attention.” –Deepak Chopra
Decades ago, I took a test to clarify my career interests, and learned that my true calling was to be a minister. In actuality, I relish the idea of looking into a crowd of earnest eyes and experiencing that magical “click” of an idea taking hold and tectonic world views slamming into new formations. And, ultimately, I believe we all want to know we’ve made a difference in others’ lives. The slight problem with becoming a minister, however, was that I couldn’t find a church that made me want to stay through a whole service.
It’s not that I’m an atheist, or even an agnostic. I know there is something there, and I do love exploring and basking in the spiritual realm. I meditate; I am as devoted to “new agey” books as my husband is to Indiana basketball; and while I still can’t settle into church services, I settle into yoga poses religiously.
And so, since I wasn’t entrepreneurial enough to start my own church of Joannism… I settled for teaching. My father thought I was avoiding reality, and encouraged me to ditch the academic ivory tower for banking… but the idea of serving in the very temple of the root of all evil disgusted me. (I was young.) Eventually, I moved into recruiting, sales, management and finally into HR. At a glacial pace, I warmed to business as more than a necessary evil to pay my rent… then mortgage… then Alt. Min. tax. Years later, I took that same vocational interest assessment again, and found that my true calling had evolved to personnel director. (Maybe there is something to those tests, after all.)
When I read Deep Chopra’s quote yesterday, it was as if a tsunami had tossed me high on a wave, and plopped me back into a mirror world. Could this be the way to finally resolve the schizophrenia between my idealized vision of Pastor Joanne and results-driven reality of Personnel Director Joanne? I’ve always yearned for the blending of business results and compassion. Not namby-pamby, pat-on-the-head, “take your mother to work day” niceness; but the hard-core, strength-of-metal compassion that changes the world. And certainly not the holier-than-thou, we-don’t-serve-gays, arrogance of wolves in sheep’s vestments… but the broad-minded diligence of micro-lending, conscious capitalism and Fortune’s Change the World List.
For me, Chopra’s quote shows the way to a new reality that mirrors an ancient truth: The spiritual realm and the physical world are two sides of the same coin. Accumulating money is only “evil” if we refuse to acknowledge its ability to do great good. Successful leaders (yes, even political leaders) are those who honor and/or leverage our need for truth, goodness and compassion, while also focusing on the bottom line. Businesses are finding that mindfulness and yoga classes help employees envision disruptive technologies that can heal the sick and feed the multitudes…
And so, I symbolically “genuflect” to the enlightened leaders like Deepak Chopra, whose awareness and vision bring us full-circle and heal the rift between heart and mind, body and soul, spirituality and this-world reality.
Please add your thoughts about the Deepak Chopra quote, my thoughts, your experience…