The great yogi Swami Kriyananda said something incredible: that the true purpose of business is to teach us how to sustain our FOCUS. That’s quite a statement – most of us think principally of the money aspect. But what if money isn’t the purpose of life… what if it was something far greater?
To find the answer to that, we need to go within ourselves, and for that, we need to practice meditation. But here’s the good news: business has been preparing us for this gigantic step all along. In fact, the capacity to concentrate for long periods of time on a single project is de rigueur to begin a meditation practice, eventually helping us sustain our focus on much more subtle realities… first on breath, then on energy moving in the body… and ultimately on stillness and silence itself.
I would add a few other useful qualities that business develops in each of us that eventually reveal themselves to be necessary on the spiritual path:
LOYALTY: By learning to remain loyal to our companies, our projects, and our business plans, often for years, we are better able to remain loyal to our spiritual intuition, once we discover it, listen to it, and allow it to lead us out of the labyrinth.
SELF-SACRIFICE: By giving 110% for long periods of time, overcoming our hard-wired preferences for comfort and easy living, we prepare ourselves for the arduous and inglorious adventure that a life of meditation entails.
PATIENCE: By working hard on long-term projects, often with no guarantee of immediate payoff, we boost our capacity to defer gratification. This comes in quite handy on the spiritual path, as results — though guaranteed — are often in the far distance.
ENDURANCE: By pushing ourselves continuously in a single direction for months or years, without getting distracted or discouraged, we learn to stay focused and committed to an inner calling that can often be hard to explain to others (let alone ourselves). Without endurance — and good company — we’ll never make it.
FAITH: By doing our best at work, every day, fully knowing that any or all of our beautiful plans can be derailed at any moment (whether by changing markets, international tariffs, or sudden quarantines), we learn, in one way or the other, to trust the Universe. Even though events are beyond our control, we give our all, nonetheless.
Yes, all these qualities are important for business… but we only find out their true, inestimable worth later… as we head out into the most exciting adventure of our lives: the path to our true Self!