Our popular contributor Kara-Leah takes a look at two interesting books that cross the barriers between yoga & meditation and business.
by Kara-Leah Grant
Every now and then, you read a book that stops you in your tracks.
It blasts through your mind and fires up your heart. It makes you leap out of your seat and want to run around yelling the message from the top of your lungs.
These are the best books – books that speak to my heart, reminding me of all I already know. The kind of books that I read and I feel like I’m not just reading the messages contained within, but that I’m remembering them.
Both of these books contain gems of wisdom that hold the potential to change the world. Of course, to create change in the world, gems of wisdom need agents of change – the ideas need you and me to enact them.
So this article is my first step at taking these ideas and applying them, while spreading them.
The Diamond Cutter had me hooked on this paragraph:
“You want to be a success in life, but you also have a strong instinct that life wouldn’t be much unless it had a spiritual side to it. You would like to make a million and meditate on it too.”
Written by a Buddhist monk who was instructed to take his knowledge and apply it surreptitiously to the business world, The Diamond Cutter is built around stories of the diamond company that author Geshe Michael Roach joined.
The company started with a $50,000 loan and went on to have annual sales in excess of $100 million. The principles are simple – that everything has potential, that what a thing becomes is just our perception of it, and perceptions are created by prior mental imprints.
Therefore you can’t change your perception now, but you can change it for the future, by taking charge of the mental imprints you make now.
Roach lists several common business problems and their solutions according to these principles, for example:
“Business problem #1: Company finances are unstable, in a constant state of flux. Solution: Be more willing to share your profits with those who helped you produce them, and be very strict about never making a single penny through any improper action. Remember the amount you share with those around you is not what determines the strength of the imprint; rather it is your willingness to share whatever you have made, even if it’s not a lot.”
Roach investigates several problems and offers solutions for them all. The answers all seem so… obvious. Yet they are not what one would traditionally implement in order to deal with the said problem in a business setting.
How many businesses faced with variable profits make an effort to share and reward with gratitude more of those who helped them make the money?
Businesses are more likely to look at how they can cut costs, over sharing more.
The Diamond Cutter segues beautifully into What God Wants in its last chapter, which covers the real source of wealth. Those who really feel themselves to be truly wealthy are those who can effortlessly give away that which they know is coming to them anyway. (Remember, you may have a whole heap of money, and still not be wealthy – wealth is a state of being, not a bank balance.)
“The only person who could really give away enough to others to plant the imprint in their mind to see a great deal of wealth coming their way later would be someone who didn’t really see much distinction between themselves and others.
The person who has the best chance of being truly generous to others is the one who has figured out the biggest secret of life – the biggest source of all happiness; a person who has figured out that just working for a single ‘me’, a single mouth and stomach, is profoundly boring, uninspiring and false to our whole human experience.
It’s a whole lot of fun, it’s an unexplored and endless joy, to expand yourself to include other bodies, and then take care of them.“
Because in order to do this, in order to really believe in this, you have to know in the core of who you are, that you are me, and I am you.
You have to look at another person and see not the Other, but You. It’s not asking you to give away all you have so that you are destitute, but just to know that when you give to another, you are really giving to yourself.
Neale Donald Walsch talks about this concept of oneness exhaustively in What God Wants.
I inhaled this book, drinking in every word and nodding all the way through. I know what God wants of us, and if we all knew this and acted on it… what a world it would be. But I’m not going to tell you What God Wants, because I want you to go and buy or borrow a copy of Walsch’s book and read it.
I am going to talk about another concept though – this concept of Unity. It’s important – very important. Just by shifting our fundamental beliefs about life and God from separateness to unity, we can shift the world.
Or rather, the world shifts. You are not separate from God. God is present in all of life. You are part of life. God is present in you. God is present in me. God is present in all humans. And if God is in all of us, then we are all God.
We are the same. What you do to another, you do to yourself. If you can know this, believe this, feel this, right here, right now, your life will shift.
As Walsch says in Chapter 30:
One day I was walking down a street with a Master Teacher of mine. I saw a man lying up against a building, dirty, smelly, unshaven, holding an empty bottle of wine in a limp hand. He was snoring. “There, but for the grace of God, I go,” I whispered. My teacher looked at me and said, “No. There, because of the grace of God, you go.” I didn’t understand, and so my teacher explained.
“Every time you see something outside of yourself, don’t separate from it, merge with it. Become one with it. You ARE one with everything. Don’t encourage yourself in thinking thoughts of separation. Look at that man and say “There I am, being a drunk.” Look at the movie star and say, “There I am being famous.” Just keep seeing yourself everywhere. Practice this daily and it will give you, in three months, an entirely different outlook on life.
This is the fundamental shift required to change our world – for us to realise that we are not separate, we are one. Because when we know this, when we hold it to be true in our core, how can we allow ourselves to starve? How can we bomb ourselves? How can we kill, rape, steal to and from ourselves.
We belong to the Family of Humanity. There is no difference between me sitting here in my home office in New Zealand and you sitting at your computer reading these words.
We feel, laugh, love and hurt the same. And perhaps this is why these two books spoke so strongly to me. Why I read them both in two short sittings. Because I see in these books a growing recognition around the world that it is time for unity, for oneness.
Both books contain the same truth, dressed up in the flavours and life experiences of their authors. Both books speak of the necessary shift to an understanding of Oneness, a shift that will profoundly change the world we live in.
Can you know this in your life?
Can you look at another and see yourself?
Can you be the way you wish others were to you?
Can you feel the pain and heartache of not just your friends and family but those you would consider your enemies?
Yes, you can. So do it.
Change the world. By being the change. Right Now.
Kara-Leah is a writer and yoga teacher who has always been infinitely curious about the make-up of the human psyche and body. Regular yoga helped her heal and recover from chronic back issues, including a spinal fusion at age 16, and two episodes of psychosis at age 29.
Her daily home yoga practice began in earnest when people kept asking her to teach them yoga. She’s since trained as a teacher with Shiva Rea, and immersed herself in practicing, teaching yoga and writing about yoga. Kara-Leah lives just outside of Queenstown, New Zealand with her son Samuel.
She’s the publisher of The Yoga Lunchbox and has just published her first book, Forty Days of Yoga – Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice. She’s also a regular contributor to the Elephant Journal.