Integral Business

Summary of the group sessions on Integral Business at Sourcing Our Oneness Retreat 2017

Looking at the outcomes of the 4 sessions on Economy in the group focused on business, I will try to recover main points. Directly connected to this work is also the group work we did in the mornings, three sessions on respectively Aspiration, Rejection and Surrender. This morning work helped create clarity when looking at business, what we aspire for, practices that have to go and what is happening right now that we also can build on. Some very good suggestions for direct action also came forward.

We were a very diverse group, not exactly a group of business people, still we were surprised to see that most had links and experience in this field. Matilde who works with her husband Marc in their Auroville coffee business shared about their practices and experience. This gave a good base for our further sharing and discussions.

There is a shared motivation and acceptance of what Mother says, about that money should serve the Divine. Often it is seen simply as that we have a business and from the we earn or give money for work related to Mother and Sri Aurobindo.  Now we were looking at what does it mean if we want to have an effect at each stage of a process, what does an integral approach mean in the context of business? Sourcing, production, labor, costs and prices, effect on environment and environment created, wellbeing, sharing etc.

In the context of this discussion, the suggestion came up to create a platform for sourcing and resource sharing, possibly for India at large. The prevailing business method is to hold your cards tight to your chest on a competitive market and keep prices up. To make money is the aim. Now, if we really want people to benefit, if we want to create wellbeing and look at the circulation of money as the aim, where we know that simply by circulation, more abundance/ wellbeing will be created, then what is the way to approach this. Open source is clearly an approach which can be seen as a part of the new paradigm manifesting. Matilde told us that they are managing to source for example organic wheat flour in large order at the same price as normally grown flour and that way provide not only their business with a quality product at a reasonable price, but also supply this for Auroville at large.

Could an Internet site be created, clearly based in our values, the 12 qualities and related values, anchored in an approach which looks at organic farming and related services as something which is for the wellbeing for all, not luxury for a few. There would be sourcing direct produce as well as processed products. It could also be widened to not only cover consumption items but also wider with for example handicrafts, culture and even home stays.

During our discussions the topic of animal husbandry came up in relation to the very Indian topic of the cows. It became clear that in relation to all business, factory farming of animals is a clear no. Many things are spaces of change and transformation, but certain practices have to be clearly rejected. Factory farming of animals is one such example, we need to look what other scenarios are fully incompatible with the values we stand for.

In these contexts we also looked at the 4 fields of environment, systems, resources and contribution.     Keeping them in mind help us have an overview and understanding of where we are and what can change. This takes more  sustained work though. The flower cards which we used each session, helped us to deepen our individual understanding and commitment to change, inner as well as outer.

The four sessions brought more understanding and interest to look at these aspects rather than just “Business as usual” and then do something good with the money earned. This became a really shared space. In the end we decided to make our presentation to the other groups as a constellation workshop, where we would without rehearsal select amongst ourselves who would hold the business role and the others qualities to be present and then by inner sensing find our way. As it was a very “new “ way of presenting we do not know how it came across to the audience, but for the group is brought bots a sense of insight/understanding, unity and something to take with us.

Jaya 24 October, 2017