Love: A New Business Paradigm
It is now self-evident for many influential people across a number of disciplines – business, politics, education, science, philosophy – that our current prevailing logic (hallmarked by linear-thinking, silo’ed mentality, dog-eat-dog competition and control-based separateness) is exacerbating the very problems it is seeking to solve. It keeps us distracted from the very wisdom we need to tackle the crises in our midst.
Love is a much mis-understood and mis-used word. We live in a culture high on lust yet lacking love.
Rudolf Steiner is one of the great modern philosophers who set about trying to synthesize what it means to practice living with love. His concepts have been applied to great effect in education, agriculture and medicine. For Steiner, the discipline of living with love is attained through the direct perception of the heart, where our soul (the aperture to our authentic being within Spirit) opens up allowing a deeper, more authentic, passionate and compassionate attentiveness to become embodied by us through our ways of being and doing.
Bernard Nesfield-Cookson is the author of the book Rudolf Steiner’s Vision of Love which lucidly explores Steiner’s spiritual science. Here Nesfield-Cookson notes that Steiner warns against intellectual speculations which can divert us from the path of living with love. Steiner points to artistic introspective quiet contemplation as the best preliminary condition for this path. When in this state of contemplative presence, we may feel love emanating from the soul found within the heart. It is this Love that then permeates our entirety, enlightening our ego for right thought and deed. And so it is through a gentle stillness and introspection that we allow an opening of our heart which can then infuse each inter-relational embracement and we go about our daily activities. Only this way, is this Love made manifest into the world. The power of love empowers, enriches and enchants our way of attending to and relating with everything we do: our ‘being’ and ‘doing’ are infused with love.
‘When we tie in with the life force it rights us from our distractions and reconnects us to the rapture of life.’ – Richard Strozzi-Heckler
Step 1 – Slow down; embrace stillness and silence. Create a safe space for the subtle perturbations of the soul to be felt/heard. In allowing head-thinking intellectualisations and mental distractions to calm down, we develop the capacity for inner-sense: sensing the bodymind’s receptivity as we develop artistic introspection and heart-awareness. This is the preliminary condition for living with love.
This simple first step is not necessarily easy, in fact can so often feel like a great challenge in the midst of today’s busy humdrum of mass distraction, anxiety and egoistic posturing. It requires great courage not to succumb to the corrupting allures of our acculturated habituations. Yet, each of us is our own jail maker and jail breaker. It is up to you and me to take responsibility for our own awareness. In fact, taking responsibility in this way helps transform victim and blame mentalities (which keep us inured in fear-based control-based stories of separation and dualism) into self-understanding, self-loving, self-mastery, foundational to any wholesome relationship with others.
‘Disciplined empathy is not self-dissolving but self-opening’ Catherine Keller
The first step in righting ourselves towards a more balanced way of being and doing, is developing this ‘heart-awareness’ within our everyday living.
Step 2 on this path of awakening to the love of life is an embodied knowing of Nature and her wise ways: the ebbs and flows of seasonal sea changes nested at all levels of life; sensing the tensions and emergence of life; sensing and responding through a gnosis of life – the original Greek sense of the word meaning a heart-felt bodymind knowing beyond any head-based intellectualisation. This dynamic wisdom of the heart is ancient yet fresh, imminent yet transcendent. For instance, all ancient shamanic cultures are rooted in a deep heartfelt understanding that shows humility and respect for all relations. It is what these transformational times demand of us now.
‘The purpose of life is to live in agreement with Nature’ – Zeno
Steps 3 on this path takes us into the most sacred of inner sanctums at the heart of all ancient wisdom traditions – the Holy of Holies, the quest of the Holy Grail, the philosopher’s stone: an alchemic attunement of the masculine and feminine qualities innate within life; personal mastery embodied through our communal inter-relations. Here, our organisations and communities become the manifestations of this wisdom in practice. This is the beginning of truly sacred, sustainable business – soulful business where real value (beyond the abstraction of short-term shareholder value) is realised through purposeful, intentional undertakings in service of life. It is a sense of place and purpose built on trust, humility and service where fears, envies, vanities and self-absorptions fall away – personal mastery through communal service; a place of being and doing where barriers to love are consciously permeated.
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