A canopy of lush green leaves covers the grass. Streaming sunlight travels through the covering and lights the earth. Flowing sunbeams mark each grassy undulation. Crows and magpies peck here. They make myriad movements married to the grass. A crow breaks into hopping and stopping. Suddenly wings explode in slapping and flapping. The crows energetically rise, skim the flat grass and leave.
Your Healing From Lust For Fame, Money And Power
Some time ago I was in town and as I was leaving a shop I met my old boss from the days when I worked in his architect's office. He was an energetic guy then, full of fun and vigour. He used to drive in late to the office in his expensive sports car, bounce in through the doors and annoy most of the staff by telling them how much he had spent taking his friends on expensive dinners the previous night.
I was wondering why he looked so forlorn. He told me his business was almost bankrupt. When I worked for his office he employed about fifteen people. Now he told me all the lucrative government contracts had been cancelled and that he and his partner were the only ones left. He confided that he had to sell his expensive sports car and I presumed there were no more expensive dinners. (I wondered if the expensive friends were still around, or if they had left too!). Greed is a charade. It does not lead to happiness. My one time boss had lost his materialistic trappings and he was struggling to cope. However I could see that these troubles were encouraging my former boss to change. He had let his defences down by sharing his vulnerability. I was being invited inside his ring fort.
Unfortunately our society is built on greed. Financial institutions and private investors, whose only concern is to make money from their investment, support many great corporations. Most of these investors do not care if the corporation they are investing in is kicking indigenous people off the land in their search for mineral wealth, or if the corporation employs child labour in a developing country. In truth they may never know that these abuses go on. They don't know because they are focused on making money.
Unfortunately this heartless attitude to investment, creates an all-pervading business culture where greed is not just ok, it is positively celebrated. The best company bosses are the ones who make the most money, the best companies are the most profitable, the greatest entrepreneur is always the wealthiest and the best salespeople are the ones who sell the most. Where in all of this does our worth as a human being come into play? What part does our character play in business?
A friend who works in a telephone call centre for a major international corporation told me a story recently. At this call centre the staff are paid to ring the company's customers and try to persuade them to buy more telephone services.
One telephone sales lady was on the phone to a blind, vulnerable and elderly woman who was on a small pension. The telephonist realized on talking to the lady that she was blind, vulnerable, elderly and poor and did not need the services on offer, so she did not really try to persuade the old lady to buy. At these call centres managers listen in to calls like spies. After making this call the telephonist was taken aside and lambasted for not really trying to sell the company products to the blind, elderly lady. It's disgusting, isn't it? This sort of thing is going on all the time.
It is said that we should be proud of our capitalist system and the people who run it. Many people think we have to base our society on greed for it to function. Competition for money and profit, they tell us, is essential to make people work hard and get ahead. This is a complete fabrication. Do not be tempted to believe these lies. Some fight the system, rebel and protest and even resort to violence. I agree with not giving corrupt institutions my allegiance but I prefer to support those who are doing things differently. I would like to tell you of a place that does not correspond to these precepts.
I do my voluntary work on Wednesday afternoons in a village community just outside Belfast called Glencraig. This village has a farm, a woodland area, a small commercial pottery, a room for weaving, a school, a church and offices. It is a go-ahead place. The farm uses up to date techniques of organic agriculture. Some techniques are ahead of their time. The potters and weavers produce the most exquisite work. The woodland is preserved as a conservation area but produces timber for carving and for wood-burning stoves. In the village many of the houses are home to adults with learning difficulties. Everyone works in the village, commensurate with their skills, interests and abilities.
The other week I was leaving Glencraig in the early evening. It was dark. The work of the community was carrying on, even in the cold and dark. There were jobs to be done and people were mucking in. They were not doing this to get a pay rise. They were not working hard to get promotion. They were not doing it for the overtime pay. They were working these long hours in the cold and darkness because they cared.
You can care too. If you are investing some money to provide a small nest egg for your family you might like to consider one of the many excellent ethical investments available today. Wherever you are working you can stand up for caring – even if it doesn't lead to bigger profits for the company and higher wages for yourself. Caring is what business should be all about. We are drawn intuitively to care about our work and how we earn a living. The business you work in can start to care and this caring can start with you.
Caring is infectious. When one person starts and persists, others follow. Our working life is a very important part of our potential. Developing our potential will heal us of our lust for fame, money and power.
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