Spirituality as a global organizing potential

Tags: organizations, spirituality, REFLECTIONS, business, connectedness, conversation, E. Roberts, Ken Wilber, World Business Academy, Abraham Maslow, San Francisco, HarperCollins Publishers, Jossey-Bass Publishers, spiritual values, globalization, New York, E. Amidon, Earth Prayers, Tom Chappell, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, organizational discourse, William Channing, high performance, human Spirit, organizational change, organizational excellence, organizational transformation, common values, performance, Dora Pena, business strategy, organizational development, Diana Whitney President Corporation, Diana Whitney, business practice, pot
Content: Spirituality as a Global Organizing Potential Diana Whitney
S pirituality has entered organizational discourse through the back door and is now sitting in the drawing room awaiting a proper welcome. There is much speculation as
to why spirituality is emerging as a dominant organizational concern. One possible ex-
planation is the process of social diffusion; that is, as I in my tribal paints and feathers
rub shoulders with you in your wool tweed jacket, I get covered with bits and pieces of
wool, and you come away smeared with earthen paint and feathers. As people of the
world meet to do business, we discover that our varied ways of working are grounded in
quite different worldviews. As Americans seek to understand Japanese business strategy,
they йnd themselves drawn into a study of Japanese martial arts. As Western businesses
market and sell their products in other countries, they йnd themselves face to face with
people for whom spirituality is an integral daily practice. As we attempt to sell Levis 501
jeans, McDonald's hamburgers, and Gerber's baby foods worldwide, we get more in the
trade than simply dollars. Doing business around the world has opened the door to spir-
Diana Whitney President Corporation for Positive Change [email protected] positivechange.com
ituality as a business practice because for many of the world's people, there is no separation of spirituality from life and work. Each morning, Balinese shopkeepers renew their sidewalk altars with fresh иowers and food for the spirits of life and abundance. That potential customers must walk around
these altars is not seen as detrimental to business as it might be in New York City, where
every inch of the иoor space is at a premium and even sidewalks are йlled with wares for
sale. To the Balinese, it is good to remember the spirits each step along one's journey.
One person who works in close relationship with spirit is Dora Pena from the San Ildefonso
pueblo in New Mexico. She is a potter whose pots are in many museum collections around
the world, including the White House art collection. Dora describes the way she works
as an ongoing prayer. Before she gathers the clay and sand from the hills near her home,
she prays and makes an offering to the spirits of the clay and sand. As she mixes water
with the clay, she prays to the spirit of water; as she coils and rolls the clay into its form
as a pot, she prays to invite the spirit of the pot to be present. And so her work continues,
with prayers for the wood and the йre, and йnally thanksgiving for the йnished pot.
Admirers and collectors of Dora's pots cannot help but recognize their life and spirit--
each one not simply the output of someone's work, or even a form of art, but rather a
living, breathing manifestation of spirit embodied in a pot.
A further explanation for spirituality as a business and organizational consideration
today rests with the move from modern to postmodern. We are living at a time when both
the beneйts and limitations of the modern worldview are readily apparent to us. We see
the miracles science has wrought, and we see what damage it has enabled us to create.
Great strides in information and communication technologies, transportation, and health
care have come packaged with great environmental destruction and the near loss of in-
digenous life styles around the world (Mander, 1991). The modern focus on objectivity
Excerpted from D. Whitney. "Spirituality as an Organizing Principle." Perspectives 9 (1995). Reprinted with permission from the World Business Academy.
and the separation of science and spirituality, taken to fullness, leaves people separate from one another, separate from nature, and separate from the divine. As a people, we simply can no longer ignore poetry and trust analysis, ignore nature and trust the sterility of the laboratory, or ignore the multiple voices we hear in the night and trust only the
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rules, laws, or policies written by some unknown people to guide their lives, not ours. Modern science in its иowering has given seed to the postmodern, and with it comes a quest for spiritual relationships, meaning, and integration. My purpose in writing this article is to provide an introduction to spirituality as it relates to organizational development and to create an opportunity for you to welcome the spiritual into the inner rooms of your life and work as global citizens. As an emergent concept, spirituality, as it relates to business, organizational development, and the workplace, currently engages organization scholars and practitioners in a multifaceted, postmodern discourse. Conversations range from the ordinary worlds of personal energy and enthusiasm to the sacred worlds of mystical knowing, alternative realities, and transcendence. Each of these conversations evokes within the organizational community a differing and yet somewhat overlapping set of principles and practices for addressing spirituality as a global organizing potential. For example, Tom Chappell, founder of Tom's of Maine, describes the link between spirit and business as he sees it:
By spirit or spiritual, I mean the part of you that survives when you eliminate your иesh and bones--the part you can't point to, but can feel, the part you might describe to someone else as your essential being, your soul. Soul is what connects you to everyone and everything else. It is the sum of all the choices you make. It is where your beliefs and values reside. Soul is at the center of our relationships to others, and for me, it is at the center of the business enterprise. (Chappell, 1994) Another proponent of spirituality in the workplace is Jack Hawley, who draws a line between spiritual and religion. In describing his book, he says: ``This is a nonreligious, squarely spiritual management book. . . . It's about the things we're all concerned about: purpose and meaning, peace (inner peace, especially), health, happiness, love, life, and death'' (Hawley, 1993). From yet another perspective, Larry Dossey writes that prayer, deйned as ``communication with the transcendent,'' is positively correlated to healing (1993). He suggests that doctors incorporate prayer as part of the work of healing. His deйnition of prayer is closely related to the Lakota Sioux view of spirituality as one's relationship with the Creator. Current considerations of spirituality as it relates to business, work, and organization development might loosely be clustered into four primary conversations that I have called spirit as energy, spirit as meaning, spirit as sacred, and spirit as epistemology. What follows is a brief overview of each.
Spirit as Energy
When we get out of the glass bottles of our ego,
and when we escape like squirrels turning in the
cages of our personality
and get into the forests again,
we shall shiver with cold and fright
but things will happen to us
so that we don't know ourselves.
Cool, unlying life will rush in,
and passion will make our bodies taut with power
we shall stamp our feet with new power
and old things will fall down,
we shall laugh, and institutions will curl up like burnt paper.
D.H. Lawrence For many, the notion of spirit in the workplace has to do with the energy or ``feel'' of the place. Theirs is a conversation about ``spirit as energy.'' High-technology entrepreneurial organizations are described as spirited, while large corporate hierarchies are considered sluggish and bankrupt of spirit. In this sense, spirit refers to a sense of aliveness and vibrancy, people's ability to stamp their feet with power. As the poem by D.H. Lawrence suggests, when we stamp our feet with new power, ``we shall laugh, and institutions will curl up like burnt paper.'' Consultants speaking from this perspective counsel managers
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to follow the path of least resistance (Fritz, 1984), to do what they love and the money
will follow (Sinetar, 1988), and to manage from their hearts as the means to personal and
organizational excellence.
Organizational high performance and the capacity for organizational change are said
to be derivative of spirit. As Owen (1987) put it, ``Whatever else high performance and
excellence may be based on, they would seem to have something to do with the quality
of Spirit . . . human Spirit, our Spirit, the Spirit of our organizations.'' Much of the early
Organizational high performance and the capacity for organizational
work in organizational transformation considered spirit as energy. Ackerman (1984) trained иow-state managers to ``work on the energy иow in the system, work for harmony, alter structures to free up energy.'' Post (1988) ex-
change are said to be derivative of spirit.
plained organizations in the language of Chinese medicine. She suggested we manage energy иows for organizational health in much the same way a Chinese medicine doctor works to open energy иows and to remove stagnation,
thereby promoting health within an individual. Aikido techniques became metaphoric
means and methods for dealing energetically with conиict (Crum, 1987). Both the purpose
and process of organizational transformation were to free the spirit, to build organizations
with vision, purpose, and values, and to remove the energetic blocks to organizational
high performance.
Spirit as Meaning
To live content with small means, to seek elegance rather than luxury, and reйnement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich, to study hard, think quietly, act frankly, to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never -- in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. This is my symphony.
William Ellery Channing
Another conversation among organization scholars and practitioners considers ``spirit as
meaning.'' Shared vision and common values are said to create organization meaning and
to provide the impetus for organization change. Leaders at all levels of the organization
are guided to inspire (to йll with spirit) rather than to motivate. Visionary leadership, as
demonstrated by the likes of Lee Iacocca, is said to make the difference between successful
and unsuccessful organization change. Visioning, or conversationally projecting the or-
ganization into the future, and creating alignment among organizational members about
the desired future are essential organizing endeavors.
Spirit and meaning are said to reside in the stories told about the organization. Like
a society or tribe's creation story, the organization's stories serve to create and recreate
what is meaningful for the organization's members. Storytelling, myth making, and the
celebration of the hero's journey (Barnhart and Borgman, 1991) are taught to managers
as tools to deconstruct and reconstruct the organization's sense of meaning. Organization
culture can be considered the grand story of the company, the story that holds it all
together. The conscious creation of organization culture involves the careful delineation
of the way things are to be done, by whom, and with whom. It is a process of making
meaningful selected patterns of daily work life and rendering others meaningless.
Central to the spirit-as-meaning conversation is the recognition that workers in the
industrialized countries, especially the United States, want more from work than a pay-
check (Yankelovich, 1981). The quest for the soul in business (Bolman and Deal, 1995),
artful work (Richards, 1995), and right livelihood is on. As William Channing's poem
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suggests, to live content with small means, йnancially, does not mean to live without a sense of elegance, worth, or wealth. To let the spiritual grow through the common is a path to meaningful living. Early conversations about spirit as meaning focused on people who found their work empty and sought meaning in spiritual practice (Occhiogrosso, 1992). As more and more people embarked upon the transformational lifestyle through the commitment to a spiritual practice of some type, the conversation widened. Now, not only do people want their own life to be full of meaning and purpose, but they also expect the same of their organizations. Awakening people want to work for organizations that care and that are consciously contributing to the planet. People want their organizations to make positive contributions to their communities and to the world, and they want work to enliven them. Empowerment (Block, 1987) has become a code word for spirit as meaning. People want to be involved creatively at work and they want their voices to be meaningful to those with whom they work. They want opportunities to express themselves and to know they are heard and are contributing to the social good. They want to be liberated (Peters, 1994) to learn and to grow while making a meaningful contribution. The exchange of labor for dollars is no longer satisfactory. Work has become a lifestyle, and people want a good life. They want to bring their whole selves-- mind, body, and spirit --to work. Meaningful work engages the whole person. It is a dialogue unbounded by roles and infused with creativity; a willingness to collaborate with others; and a daily enactment of beliefs, values, and relationships within the context of our now global community. Spirit as Sacred The man whose mind is rounded out to perfection Knows full well Truth is not cut in half And things do not exist apart from the mind. In the great Assembly of the Lotus all are present Without divisions. Grass, trees, the soil on which these grow All have the same kinds of atoms. Some are barely in motion While others make haste along the path, but they will all in time Reach the Precious Island of Nirvana Who can really maintain That things inanimate lack buddhahood? Chan-Jan The realm of ``spirit as sacred'' is a conversation quite different from the conversations of spirit as energy or spirit as meaning. One might consider this the realm of Spirit with a capital S, to distinguish it from the preceding conversations about spirit with a small s (Hawley, 1993). In this arena, there is an implicit understanding that all life is imbued with a divine spiritual presence, a spiritual potential awaiting discovery and emergence. Taoist, Buddhist, and Native American beliefs are drawn on to exemplify the understanding that divine spirit is a quality of all beings. Humans, plants, animals, and rocks are all REFLECTIONS, Volume 3, Number 3
© Emily Sper 79
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Spirituality as a Global Organizing Potential п WHITNEY
of spirit. From this perspective, spirit is not something
separate from mind, body, or action but is indeed an in-
tegral quality of being. To posit spirit as separate from body
or mind is to miss the point, something modern science
has helped us do very well.
Conversations about spirit as sacred in the workplace
would have us seeking the Dora Penas of the world. I know
of few people other than my Native American relatives who
live and work in relation to spirit as an integral part of all
life. Among them, the examples are many: Thomas One
Wolf who prays to the creator before hunting that he might
be gifted with the life of a deer. Grandpa Pete Concha who
reminds me to visit before traveling to the Far East for busi-
ness so he can bless me and ask the spirit to keep me safe
and to bring me home safe. The Pueblo women who dance,
as the spirit of the corn, with gratitude before the йelds are
planted and after the harvest is gathered. The people and
businesses most organized around the notion of spirit as
sacred are the many ecologists and environmentalists
around the world. They are, for our times, the voice of
spirit in all of life's forms. They are the voice of biodiversity
as a sacred trust. They are the voice of our human depen-
dency on nature.
The conversations about spirit as sacred are not about
trying to get spirit; it is already here. The quest of spirit as
sacred is to live spiritual values as fully as possible. That
is, to enact life, respecting all life as sacred; loving rather
than fearing (Buscaglia, 1992); recognizing original bless-
ing rather than Original Sin (Fox, 1983); cooperating rather
© Emily Sper
than competing with other members of our global community; and sincerely appreciating the many gifts life has
laid on our doorstep. Many organizations have entered into the realm of spirit as sacred
through the development of values statements and the conscious application of declared
values to decisions of strategic and global import. Two well-known examples are Ben and
Jerry's and The Body Shop. Leaders of both organizations describe their success as based
on the enactment of spiritually and globally attuned values. Decisions about their
organizations and products are said to be based on their
People . . . want to bring their whole
values. For example, Ben and Jerry's has a cap on CEO salary, and The Body Shop does not conduct animal testing
80 selves--mind, body, and spirit --
of its products. In each case, these organizations, like the
to work.
Balinese shopkeepers, risk the business implications of their decisions to enact their values and in so doing create
the world as a better place for all life.
The value of integrity is on most companies' values lists. As such, it is a code word
for honesty, authenticity, and truth telling within the organization. Discussions about the
application of integrity in organizational life seldom evoke the meaning of integrated or
whole. Organizations are still suffering under the modern йction of fragmentation, func-
tionalism, and division of labor. Spirit as sacred acknowledges the connection of all life
and all energy such that actions of the part impact the whole. ``In Chinese philosophy, it
is said that the slightest wave of the hand moves molecules all the way to the end of the
universe'' (Anthony, 1988). As modern communication and transportation enables us to
experience the world as one being, we see the reality of our connectedness. As we see
the impact of local actions on global existence, we wonder if perhaps we have been
connected all along and just didn't know it. Spiritual practices of peoples around the world
assume this connection. It enables them to live in ways and to perform rituals and cere-
monies that positively collaborate with the whole of being. I have been told that the
ceremonial dances performed by the Tewa people help the sun rise each day. The belief
that humans and planets are related is essential to their life and ceremonies. For many
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indigenous people, there is a sacred ecology of life based on a sense of wholeness and
For many Western business leaders, the notion of wholeness is one of the realities of
globalization still to be constructed. Globalization appeared in the conversations of my
clients, йrst as a title in a search of a job and then as a potential strategic leverage. Clients
with titles such as vice president of global marketing, global vice president of human
resources, and director of strategic globalization are asking questions such as: What is
globalization? What are other companies doing about it? How can we take advantage of
globalization? Is globalization just another business school fad, or is it real? All these
questions belie an understanding of the wholeness of the world and the essential relat-
edness of all life, as well as the opportunity to cooperate with relatives, colleagues, and
business partners worldwide to infuse the notion of globalization with meaning and spirit
that will sustain life for generations to come.
With the sense of wholeness and connectedness comes a deep reverence for relation-
ships. Spirit as sacred places relationships at the center of social organization. The Lakota
Sioux draw purpose for action as well as a sense of social location from their relatives.
A Lakota is credentialed not through schooling and degrees
earned or by years of experience, but rather through relationships. Relationships that matter, that is, those that give form to life and social organization, may be bloodline relationships, Hunka or chosen relationships, as well as relationships with spirit beings and relationships given
With the sense of wholeness and connectedness comes a deep reverence for relationships.
through vision. Each person's identity is in relation to
the community. The community and the ongoing life of the people are enacted through
One outstanding example of a business that honored the relationships of the local
people and, as a result, achieved global business success is Packard Electric, a division of
General Motors. When the decision was made to open a new plant organized with work
teams practicing total quality, several locations were considered. The йnal decision was
to locate the plant in the region of Chihuahua, Mexico, where family-owned businesses
are the norm. Families were hired as teams, trained in total quality principles and in skills
needed to operate the plant. Six years later, the plant and the community are thriving.
Unfortunately, one challenge facing organizations today is the many scars that exist
from times when relationships were not honored and people were not treated as sacred.
Spirit as sacred calls for a radical relational perspective, one that not only honors all life
and relationships, but also honors the multiple voices and ways of knowing of the world's
Spirit as Epistemology 81 When the animals come to us, asking for our help, will we know what they are saying? When the plants speak to us in their delicate, beautiful language, will we be able to answer them? When the planet herself sings to us in our dreams, will we be able to wake ourselves, and act? Gary Lawless Perhaps the greatest divide created by modern science between indigenous people and the Western world is the epistemological divide. While Western science developed methodologies and studied the world in order to control the forces of nature, indigenous people studied the world in order to cooperate with the forces of nature (Colorado, 1988). This difference is awe inspiring to me as I have come to realize essential differences in not only the ways of knowing but also the knowledge gained.
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For many people to whom spirit is integral to life, there are realities other than the visible worlds of technology, living nature, and human beings. Within these realities reside spirit beings who on occasion make themselves and their views known. Examples include the nature devas who guide the care of the gardens in Findhorn, Scotland, the spirit relatives who talk to Lakota people in sweat-lodge ceremonies, and the many spirits who are channeled by psychics around the world. In all cases, the presence of spirits depends on relationships among them and some person or group of people. To come forth and communicate, spirits are invited through ritual and ceremony. For example, the Navajo sand paintings may be looked upon as symbolic representations of healing, but to the Dine people, ``The making of the sand painting is the creation of the presence of the beings. The beings are not at all separate from what the sand looks like. Once the sand painting is there, they are there'' (Kremer, 1995). Business and organizations around the world call on holy people to bless buildings, business endeavors, and the people whose work is to serve the community. Once the blessing is made, be it by a Shinto priest, a rabbi, or a medicine man, what business or organizational leaders engage spirit daily for decision making, for team building, or for maintaining balance within the local community, as it relates to global well-being? All too often, consultants, serving as the metaphoric ministers of organizational well-being, provide assistance based upon the scientiйc paradigm of control over nature. The challenge of spirit as epistemology is to open to the voices of spirit and to learn the ultimate lessons in cooperation: how to co-construct global communities and organizations in balance and in harmony with spirit.
Spirituality as it relates to work, business, and organization development is a multifaceted conversation. The question is not whether it is relevant in the social understanding and creation of global organizations, but rather in what ways. People around the globe are giving voice to spiritual beliefs and practice while their organizations are suffering the consequences of years of spiritual estrangement. As people live more fully awakened to the spiritual life, old ways of relating and forms of organizing cannot endure. Spiritual ways of working and organizing that currently exist around the world hold potential for organizational realities that blend the best of science and technology with the best of mysticism and love. Let us have faith in the magic of conversation, relational realities, and co-creation, and let us expand beyond the realms of human interaction to include all our relations. Mitakuye oyas'in.
Ackerman, L.S. ``The Flow State: A New View of Organizations and Managing,'' in Transforming
Work, ed. J.D. Adams (Alexandria, VA: Miles River Press, 1984).
Anthony, C.K. A Guide to the I Ching (Stow, MA: Anthony Publishing Company, 1988).
Barnhart, G. and J. Borgman. ``The Hero's Challenge,'' workshop materials, 1991.
Block, P. The Empowered Manager: Positive Political Skills at Work (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
Publishers, 1987).
Bolman, L.E. and T.E. Deal. Leading With Soul (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1995).
Buscaglia, L. Born for Love (Thorofare, NJ: SLACK, Inc., 1992).
Channing, W.E. in Earth Prayers, eds. E. Roberts and E. Amidon (San Francisco: HarperCollins
Publishers, 1991): 108.
Chan-Jan. in Earth Prayers, eds. E. Roberts and E. Amidon (San Francisco: HarperCollins Publishers,
1991): 24.
Chappell, T. ``Bringing the Spirit to Work.'' Business Ethics 8 (1994): 26.
Colorado, P. ``Bringing Native and Western Science.'' Convergence XXI (1988): 49­67.
Crum, T. The Magic of Conиict (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987).
Dossey, L. Healing Words (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1993).
Fox, M. Original Blessing (Santa Fe, NM: Bear & Company, 1983).
Fritz, R. The Path of Least Resistance (Salem, MA: DMA, Inc., 1984).
Hawley, J. Reawakening the Spirit in Work (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 1993).
Kremer, J. ``Perspectives on Indigenous Healing.'' Noetic Sciences Review 33 (1995): 13.
Lawless, G. in Earth Prayers, eds. E. Roberts and E. Amidon. (San Francisco: HarperCollins Publish-
ers, 1991): 87.
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Lawrence, D.H. in Earth Prayers, eds. E. Roberts and E. Amidon (San Francisco: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991): 101. Mander, J. In the Absence of the Sacred (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1991). Occhiogrosso, P. ``Is This All There Is?'' Business Ethics 6 (1992): 20. Owen, H. Spirit Transformation and Development in Organizations (Potomac, MD: Abbott Publish- ing, 1987). Peters, T. Liberation Management (New York: Ballantine Books, 1994). Post, D. (presentation materials, 1988). Richards, D. Artful Work (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1995). Sinetar, M. Do What You Love: The Money Will Follow (New York: Dell Publishers, 1988). Yankelovich, D. New Rule. (New York: Random House, Inc., 1981). Commentary
by Ian I. Mitroff
Craig T. Mathew
Diana Whitney's article is a ``must read'' for every manager and executive. Were its ideas to be taken seriously, the end result would be a true revolution in how we conceive of, design, and manage organizations. A generation ago, the world of management was introduced to the then pioneering work of Abraham Maslow (1964; 1968; 1970). Maslow is rightly famous for introducing two critical concepts into psychology and management literature--the ``hierarchy of needs'' and self-actualization, his second and perhaps most important concept. Today, we call it spiritual. As previous generations were introduced to Maslow, a giant of psychology, today's generation needs to be introduced to another, Ken Wilber. Given the importance and the prominence of Wilber's work, I was surprised to йnd no reference in the Whitney article to his framework (1995 and 1996). Wilber has integrated the developmental streams of Eastern and Western thought in ways that no one has. Indeed, he is the preeminent writer on spirituality. Through an extensive study of a wide array of developmental theorists, psychologists, and students of world religions and spirituality, Wilber has come up with a framework to show a multitude of developmental paths of which humans are capable. These encompass not only the earliest physical and mental stages through which all humans must pass, but also the later, most profound spiritual stages through which human beings may pass if they so choose. While countless writers have incorporated Maslow's thoughts into management, in contrast, Wilber's are still to be appreciated and are extremely relevant to management.
Ian I. Mitroff Harold Quinton Distinguished Professor of Business Policy The Marshall School of Business University of Southern California [email protected]
Fourfold Framework
A good way to comprehend some of Wilber's contributions to our understanding of human devel-
opment and spirituality is by means of a simple diagram (see the йgure). The horizontal line shows
that what we experience and deйne as ``human'' comes either from one's deep, internal emotions,
or from that which is outside or external. The vertical line shows either the individual as the cen-
tral focus or the group, organization, or society of which every individual is a part. The vertical line
thus corresponds to the differences between those who instinctively focus on the individual or
those who focus on the ``big picture'' in understanding individual humans and their collective insti-
Through an extensive study of developmental frameworks and spirituality in the East and
West, Wilber has discerned at least four different spiritual orientations, represented by the four
quadrants in the йgure. In the West, spirituality has largely been deйned as an inner-individual
phenomenon. However, there is also a sense of spirituality that relates to the outer-individual. This
regards the human body as proof or evidence of the hand of God or a deity. Western scientists and
increasingly the Western public have so devalued the role of spirituality in everyday life--the inner
life, in general-- that they have come to accept the scientiйc deйnition of humans as the only valid
description. Wilber refers to this fundamental devaluing of the inner life and its complete reduction to the outer life as Flatland, a ``иat'' description of humans and their inner life. Newberg et al.'s popular book, Why God Won't Go Away, is a vivid testimony to this reduction
(2001). Although it is openly respectful of God as a force or presence in the universe, nonetheless,
it subtly reduces the experience of God to the biomechanical spiritual quadrant. In brief, the con-
tention is that our brains are ``hard-wired'' for the experience of God.
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Inner Spiritual Perspectiv e
Biom echanical Spiritual Perspective
Inner World of Human Experience Cultural Spiritual Perspective
Outer World of Human Experience Social Spiritual Perspective
Group, Organizations, Society Figure 1 Wilber's fourfold framework.
The outer-group or social spiritual perspective shows nature as a manifestation or evidence of the presence of a supreme deity. Many regard the very structure of nature, and not just the individual human body, as a direct visible sign of the presence of a deity or master designer. Another interpretation is that human spirituality is manifested through institutions that we design to help alleviate human misery. For instance, Mother Teresa's founding of a spiritual order led to an institution to alleviate the plight of the poor. Thus, the outer-group quadrant not only refers to nature, but also to those human institutions or structures that we create in order to realize spirituality on earth. The inner-community or cultural spiritual perspective indicates that spirituality and especially the institutions that alleviate the plight of the poor also have an inner life. This is the culture or ideology of an organization.
Progression of Spirituality
Just as individuals exist at various levels of development, there is also a progression of various
levels in each of Wilber's four quadrants. All the great religious and spiritual traditions recognize a
progression from inanimate matter to animate matter, from animals to human beings, and, йnally,
from mind to spirit. Where Western approaches primarily conйne themselves to the progression
from inanimate matter to the upper states of mind, Eastern approaches start with the mind and
proceed to the highest levels of spiritual attainment.
For example, the Harvard psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg has traced in detail the moral devel-
opment of children. As an individual progresses throughout life, he or she moves from notions of
morality founded on immediate identity, family, community, and nation to the earth and the entire
human community --the highest level or stages of moral development. In the work of Kohlberg and
other developmental theorists, this progression constitutes an orderly hierarchy whose various
stages cannot be skipped. The vast majority of human beings have to progress through each of the
stages before the others can be attained.
Wilber has identiйed four historically important models or progressions of spirituality (Wilber, 1995; 1996). Although he refers to them by different names, I label the four models commonality, union, identity, and no-distinction.
The commonality model is the nature mysticism found in the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Through nature, spirit assumes a physical form. Through the deep contemplation of nature, humans
can recognize, feel, and experience for themselves the commonality that they share with all things,
inanimate as well as animate. The union model goes deeper, further, and higher. In The Interior Castle, St. Teresa of Avila
describes in poignant detail the spiritual journey that she undertook, and presumably anyone can
undertake, to the center of the human soul wherein Christ resides (1979). The ultimate end of this
journey is the complete union or marriage with God.
The identity model progresses to an even more radical breakdown of the distinction between
the self and others. In the identity model, one йnally comes to the realization that ``God and I are
Volume 3, Number 3, REFLECTIONS
Spirituality as a Global Organizing Potential п WHITNEY
One.'' This does not mean that one literally is God, but rather, that God has been within the self all the time. Finally, the no-distinction model is characterized by the complete and total collapse of all distinctions. There were no distinctions from the very beginning. Indeed, there is no beginning to anything because there is no end. In other words, the universe is the timeless, spaceless, and formless nature of all reality, a Buddhist idea. According to Buddhism, the real self is not to be identiйed with the ego, its material possessions, or the physical self, all of which perish over time. Instead, the real self is the self that is timeless, eternal, and totally without distinctions or separateness from the rest of the universe. The four models constitute a strict hierarchy. Each of the succeeding models contains all that precede it. For instance, the union model contains the commonality model, and so forth. Thus, each of the succeeding models is at a higher and deeper level of spirituality. These four models are ideals and should not be dismissed merely because we cannot achieve any of them in today's world. I hope my remarks have conveyed both the importance and the necessity of understanding what Ken Wilber has to contribute to spirituality. Spirituality is important not only in our lives, but especially in the workplace (Mitroff and Denton, 1999). We need to understand the importance of spirituality, but even more, we need a framework that helps us to understand its very essence. References Maslow, A. Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences (Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 1964). Maslow, A. Toward a Psychology of Being (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1968). Maslow, A. Motivation and Personality (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1970). Mitroff, I. and E. Denton. A Spiritual Audit of Corporate America (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1999). Newberg, A., E.G. D'Aquili, and V. Rause. Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief (New York: Ballantine Books, 2001). St. Teresa of Avila. The Interior Castle, translation by K. Cavanaugh and O. Rodriguez (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1979). Wilber, K. Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution (Boston, MA: Shambhala, 1995). Wilber, K. A Brief History of Everything (Boston, MA: Shambhala, 1996). 85 REFLECTIONS, Volume 3, Number 3

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Title: Reflections Volume 3, Number 3
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