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Supporting Spirituality in the Workplace

Work and spirituality have been two mutually exclusive subjects, particularly at the macro level. Unless a person chooses to be overtly spiritual, in this case meaning religious in a symbolic manner, spirituality is seen to be detrimental to work, not unlike keeping religion away from politics. But it has been increasingly observed that spirituality, when separated from religion, does a great good to the employees and hence, enhances the productivity and efficiency.

Ken Wilber, one of the most important contemporary philosophers says that in our attempt to study the map, we have forgotten the map-maker. He calls this a flatland with no values and no meaning. There is space but no depth. This is a phenomenon that is prevalent in the human psyche, which is now being reflected in the workplace. Human beings have emotions. No matter how advanced science is, human being describes his state of mind in terms of emotions like happiness and not says that there is a high level of serotonin in his brain.

The world of business is increasingly recognizing the spiritual aspect of human beings instead of looking at them as bodies with a mind. Boston Globe on December 16, 2001 reported that employees were seeking more meaning at work. What happened on September 11, 2001 further emphasized the need to give a spiritual dimension to work. Employees bring their problems to work which in turn reduces their efficiency. They need methods to cope with personal problems and stress while they are at work. This need was recognized in the “International Conference on Business and Consciousness” held in Santa Fe in January 2002, and in the “Spirituality at Work : Releasing, Nurturing and Claiming the Sacred” conference in Toronto in 2005.

Fragmented lifestyles whereby work and workplace values are not integrated with the private life of a person has contributed to the crash of the American dream. Now it is a nightmare. The dropping out of mythologies has left the American groping for explanations of the forces that act in his life. People do not converse anymore. These create an empty space in the psyche that work alone is unable to fill. Now the world is catching up with the psychological lapse. There are more and more online communities that help people live a spiritual life while at work.

One particular technique follows these steps to sort out, in a spiritual manner, any problem at work. The first step is to describe the situation that is presenting the challenge. The next step is to describe how the particular challenge is testing you. After this, you are required to reflect on the spiritual teachings in your life that may help you find the solution to the problem. You may refer to the various scriptures or teachings of great people. This is a slow process because it tests your belief system but more and more people are following it because it connects them to themselves. This is more to say that the problem and the solution both lay within you. What you believe to be true and good would be the best course of action.

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