There are more and more people who are striving towards a conscious, mindful or enlightened approach to their work activities. These words all point in the same direction, that is, taking what was previously the exclusive domain of yoga and meditation, and applying it in their business life.
Most people are familiar with the basic Biblical laws of damages, i.e. an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth (Exodus 21:24), even if they aren’t fully aware that the legislation referred to monetary compensation rather than retaliating with physical punishment. Later in the same passage is a group of laws about how a farmer must pay costs for damages caused by their unruly ox (Ex. 21:28-36). According to the mystics, this is our gateway to mindfulness.
On a surface level, this reminds us that we are responsible for the impact our actions. If our business (e.g. our ox) creates damage for somebody else’s wellbeing or livelihood, then we must deal with the consequences (whether it is libel costs for reputation damages, or workers’ compensation for physical damages).
The Kabbalists teach that the ox represents our inner ‘wild beast’, or the ‘animal’ within each of us. However refined the person, we all have an animalistic aspect to our inner being that just wants to consume or go wild. Corporate Finance scandals have often shown us what happens when a person’s inner beast tramples across the marketplace, taking what they would like and wreaking wreckage in the lives of others.
A truly enlightened business person is someone who is able to listen to the needs of others – employees, colleagues and clients – and strives to act with care and mindfulness even when executing difficult decisions.
We have the opportunity to elevate our work life on a daily basis. Spread the light!
HOW TO APPLY THIS IN THE BOARDROOM: Consider where you or your company has acted with a less-than-conscious mindset. Is there a culture of rudeness within your business community? Are there opportunities to pay more attention to the needs of others (colleagues or clients)? Make a list of three areas where you can be more conscious in your work arena.
HOW TO APPLY THIS ON THE YOGA MAT/MEDITATION CUSHION: The beast goes wild…unless we tame it.[/caption] Become aware of the animalistic aspect of your inner self; where you want to binge on foods or physicality, and where you would like to go wild without regard for others. Meditate on the question; where can I be more mindful in life?
Based on Parshat Mishpatim,
The essential teaching is inspired by the Lubavitcher Rebbe in Likutei Sichot, Vol 36, pp106-108., as recorded in the Interpolated Chumash Shmot, p155 (Kehot, NY:2011)