Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Businessman or Employee
In the 1970's enlightenment was in the air. India, Tibet, and Japan exported many spiritual teachers to the U.S.A. Demand was high for insights from the Buddhist and Hindu traditions. I attended a workshop with one such a teacher fresh from India. He said: "You are either a businessman or employee!" It was an unforgettable comment. A businessperson does not assume there will be a "next" paycheck. To succeed, businesspersons must generate "confidence" (a word based in Latin, meaning "with faith"). A business' source of supply depends on the ebb and flow of clients, the cycles of the seasons, and the economic climate. Nothing is taken for granted. An employee believes that paychecks will keep coming -- hardly thinking the businessperson, the employer, is mortgaging their house to finance the next month's paychecks. The spiritual teacher from India, was a businessman. He scheduled talks, got the word out, collected money and planned for future workshops. He was not an employee. When I saw him, I did not appreciate that businesslike quality. Now, I see it as spiritual, and close to the Buddhist ideal of living with knowledge of impermanence. Employees pay a price for security -- akin to surrender of the ego. Come to think of it: that's Buddhist, too.