This week during the inaugural Syntropic Global Summit, I somehow managed to pull together my dream team dinner table conversation.
Elizabeth Kapuʻuwailani Lindsey works to find, preserve and share the knowledge and traditions of indigenous populations before they disappear. National Geographic explorer and in my experience the embodiment of the divine feminine,
Jeremy Lent, the author of one of my favourite books, The Patterning Instinct. A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning.
Through Jeremy’s work I was introduced to the 1000 plus year old philosophy of neo-Confucianism, the best expression of my spiritual worldview that I have ever seen and never heard of.
Tyson Yunkaporta Academic, Indigenous Australian, author of the amazing book SandTalk – how indigenous thinking can save the world Tyson is a wonderful trickster mischief maker with a soaring intellect. Listening to him gives you whiplashes of surprise.
And Robb Smith – CEO of Integral Life. A profound integral and large scale systems thinker with a background in tech startups and finance. A husband, father, friend. I listen closely to everything he says. Robb has written several very significant pieces (90 pages each) on the coming transformation and reset. Follow him on twitter. @robbsmith
The topic we explored over a two hour dialogue was the question of how Integral Theory honours indigenous wisdom and human cultural history.
Adding to this milieu, and the many threads woven through the entire summit, I was reminded that way back in 2013 I wrote a short piece on reverence as a business practice.
Reverence – a deep and abiding respect. From Latin revereri; to ‘stand in awe of’
Nature never ceases to reduce us to awe. Its profound beauty, its seasons, its mystery. The cycles of birth and death.
How easy is it for us to stand and watch a sunrise and be mesmerised, reverent to the perfection of the constancy of the sun’s trajectory and how it provides for life?
In our shunning of much of the world of the sacred (sacred = hallowed/holy/blessed), we have also shunned words that evoke the sacred.
Words like Reverence. Sacred. Vows.
Yet what if we brought the sacred into business?
What if we viewed the act of business and enterprise as a sacred act?
What if we made reverence a business practice? That we held a deep and abiding respect for our work. For the people who come together and co-ordinate activity in the workplace? For people who buy our art, our product, our service? For the ecosystem in which our enterprise exists?
What if we replaced the central organising theme of business (money and profit) with reverence?
If we showed a deep and abiding respect for everyone and everything that our business touched?
Would this be a world you would love to play in? Would you then find yourself gazing at the enterprise, at the people who have committed to the enterprise, at the product or service of the enterprise, as you do the sunrise? With that same awe? The same love?
Is this not what we want as humans? Constant connections to reverence…days filled to the brim with a deep and abiding respect for…all that we do, all of who we are…all that we see in others…?
Was this not the story of longing of our childhood?
Reading it now speaks to my longing to birth Syntropic World seven years before I did. Ah to have had a wise mentor by my side, whispering, soon, soon..stay steady.
The questions the article asks are still very real to me. Why do we not animate the sacred in business?
Why do we have commerce, trade, work and half of our life be absent the sacred?
(I am speaking here of the sacred in a spiritual and not religious sense. If religion is your language, please consider this article in that light.)
Each day that I get the privilege of witnessing a sunrise I am reminded of the sacred. As the waves crash on the shore, as the sand finds its way between my toes, there is the sacred.
When I look into my lover’s eyes, I see the sacred.
When I look into my dog Milly’s eyes I see the sacred.
Everything is woven with the sacred. And the sacred weaves us in ways we will never comprehend.
Reverence as a business practice. Reverence as a life practice. Reverence towards ourselves. Towards others.
I love the sound of this word as it rolls on my tongue.
Why would we not practice reverence as the way of being in all things, including our accounting, our legal codes, our relationships, our work?
In the conversation with Elizabeth, Robb, Tyson and Jeremy it was the sacred that made her presence. The stories of listening to the wind, reading the stars, touching the wood of the boat that is the technology of celestial navigation in the Polynesian tradition of wayfinding – the ability to cross the Pacific with the instrument of nature as the guide.
The story of the peoples of the Andaman Islands who, through listening to the birds – or their absence one morning – knew to move to higher ground before the Tsunami of 2004.
Of Elizabeth’s grandfather calling in the fish. Singing the fish. Taking only the fish that were needed for that day, the song steeped in reverence for the fish – for the life we take to sustain us.
The exquisite book by Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweet Grass, speaks to this divine communion between peoples of the land and sea and nature’s bounty.
In Syntropic World we speak of the communion between the Steward Leader or Leadership team and the Pattern Integrity of the Source Idea we are birthing.
An idea on its own is ephemeral – weightless, invisible. To birth an idea needs people, earth, air, spirit, working in partnership.
Yet in our business-as-usual arrogance we assume the idea is ours to own, dominate, dictate to. That we get to impose upon it what we will, when we will, how we will.
We insist on our timeline. Our project plan. We impose our goals, our demands, on this sacred idea we have been gifted to birth.
This precious idea needs our reverence. Our deep and abiding respect. It asks us to commune with it. To be guided by what it needs to enable it to become all that is within its Pattern Integrity. This is to become a Syntropic Steward.
We also speak of Kairos time – divine time – the clock of the heavens. The time that you know when you know it is time. Kairos time is by its nature a communion and connection with the heavens, the seasons, the place we are in, the people surrounding us, the people not there yet, the people and creatures long gone.
Communion and atunement. These are key functions of a Syntropic Steward. We listen to the wind. We pay exquisite attention to the currents and flows. We notice the patterns playing out in present time, the stirrings from history repeated, the places of stagnation, the trenches of fear.
We notice the pop culture. How people are dressing, the lyrics of songs. The box office movies and shows.
All speak to a needing. An absence before we know it is missing. Like the missing birds that morning of the Boxing Day (the day after Christmas Day) Tsunami.
The Steward leader is not too busy to notice the hum of life in our enterprise ecology, between people, our community, the people we serve. Or the grind of stagnation.
The swirl and flows of warm data.
We know that when we do not know what to do next the next step is to pause and listen even more closely. Waiting is an action. Kairos time speaks with the wind.
In a Syntropic Enterprise we hold reverence for our people. For the relationships between. People who are actively participating, people who hold the field of support for our work, people who will be at effect of what we do.
And for the creatures. We cannot forget the creatures. And our Mother Earth.
As the 24 hours of our summit ended, on this day that I write, my lover, without telling me, went to the beach, the place we met, the place we play together so often when we surf, and opened his zoom camera to film the sunrise over the Pacific as people from around the world participated in the Summit closing ceremony. We, all of those present for the closing ceremony, held each other through digital space in a rich analogue experience imbued with love, watching – through the act of my lover considering our collective experience of witnessing together the sunrise – the surf rolling, people walking the beach and the sun rising.
Almost every human I have met, when we strip away the walls and masks, wants to be held with a deep and abiding respect. We want to do work that we hold with respect as we are respected.
We long for the sacred.
In a Syntropic Enterprise the sacred is integral to all we are, do and create.
Reverence is syntropic.