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Energy Flows Where the Attention Goes

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TOO MANY QUESTIONS

“Living in cloud coo-coo land”

A business research and development company is peopled with intellectual giants. They are dedicated to learning and always push beyond the frontiers of their existing knowledge. They create and test hypotheses and are rarely attached to any single idea. The pursuit of knowledge is their focus; being with them is always stimulating and opens new ideas and pathways for thought. They are extremely well read but never confuse the wisdom they have gleaned from others with questions that remain unanswered right now. They are students of philosophy, leadership and management. They are explorers in the truest sense, exploring the world of ideas and possibilities..

At the same time, their own relationships with each other and with clients tend to be shallow and intellectualized. They trivialize any form of emotional expression. Spiritual practices are similarly devalued and they are more concerned with the pragmatics of inquiry and research than with the actual relevance of principles and relationships to their life and work. In business, their success is marginal and flows from their great talent as teachers. When they do set goals and measures, they are without conviction. Their don’t follow through on many of their  business commitments. Their intellectual integrity is high and performance integrity is low. Although talked about eloquently, values and relationships are not central.

TOO MUCH ATTENTION TO VALUES AND PRINCIPLES

“The Lord does not do windows.”

In the productivity driven modern world, many places are Pragmatic rather than Values driven. Success and pragmatism seem to go together. I do know a spiritual community that fits this bill. They honor the natural world and pray often. They are tranquil and subdued in speech and have daily, weekly and monthly ceremonies that keep their traditions alive and keep them in the presence of their most important principles and values. They are personally close in their immediate families and with their spiritual colleagues. Most enjoy a remarkable, ever present spiritual experience and the assurance that all is well with the world no matter what happens. Most of their lives are prescribed and they experience a connection with each other and a rare sense of belonging in the world.

It is also true that many members live in poverty and are on the government dole. Most do not engage in financially satisfying enterprise, and while their relationships are predictable, they do not communicate about what they really care about. They measure almost nothing and keeping their word about work obligations is a foreign idea. Their integrity with respect to spiritual values is extraordinary. Their energy in the world of work, measurement and the search for new possibilities is very low.
As Erving Polster** once said, “Therapy is always the opposite.”
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* Serge Kahili King, The Urban Shaman
**  Erving Polster; Personal Communication.

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