True Success in Spirituality and in Work

What does true attainment and success look like in spirituality, and especially, in "spiritual business?"

Richard Rohr points out that the real test is whether or not there is "an unbroken awareness of the presence of God in all creatures. The signs are clear: unfailing compassion, fearlessness, equanimity, and the unshakable knowledge, based on direct, personal experience, that all the treasures and pleasures of this world together are worth nothing if one has not found the uncreated light at the center of the soul."

Though I get sidetracked as often as anyone else (which is: very often), I believe that realizing, connecting with, and ultimately identifying with this essential nature at the core of the soul IS the number one point and purpose and priority of life.

And as it relates to business, the question is this: what might business start to look like if I place something like "Realize God within yourself" at the very top of the priority list? Not *instead* of the other important things - just before them? What if I understood everything I do as secondary to that, as flowing directly *from* that?

This is why I don't look to things like how many clients I'm working with, how many people come to T-Group, or the amount of revenue generated to assess my success in my work. I pay attention to those things for the purposes of livelihood, but that actually doesn't take much time or energy. For me, I assess my success in terms like these:

~ Is my work making a huge requirement that I face my limitations and grow beyond them?
~ Is it requiring me to enlarge my heart's capacity to connect and to love?
~ Is it creating contexts where I and others are encouraged to contemplate and reach for connection with our most essential inner nature?
~ Is that essential inner nature truly the force that is moving me as I unfold these projects I care so much about?
~ Am I cashing in the real paycheck of the spontaneous, cause-less joy that has no opposite?

By those metrics, I'd say I'm doing... just okay so far, but getting better. Huge room for improvement;-)

Rohr goes on to say, "A mystic is one who not only espouses these principles of the Perennial Philosophy but lives them, whose every action reflects the wisdom and selfless love that are the hallmark of one who has made this supreme discovery. Such a person has made the divine a reality in every moment of life, and that reality shines through whatever he or she may do or say."

And the Perennial Philosophy, the core assertions at the heart of all the world's mystical traditions, says this:

1. The core essence of our soul is indestructible, immortal, and inseparable from God, the spiritual essence of all existence.
2. This essence can be realized by humans. It is usually covered over by our identification with the ego-self or personality.
3. Discovering that core essence is "life's real and highest goal."
4. When we realize that essence, we finally see that it is the same as the essence in all other beings. We realize our unity and oneness with all things.

And doing business from the place of oneness with all beings and service to all beings - that's how I conceive of real success.

Richard Rohr is an author and a monastic in the Franciscan order. His teaching on contemplative prayer has been extremely useful to me, and his efforts to re-create "initiation rituals" for men across the globe inspires me deeply. Find more about him and his work by Googling The Center for Action and Contemplation.