Sunday, November 18, 2012

Garage Sales

Most people have been to at least one garage sale at some time in their life.  Perhaps you have even held one yourself to clear out unwanted items and clutter from your home.  Such sales are interesting analogies for life in general.  You go through your home collecting odds and ends that have lost their utility and meaning for you.  Then you try to sell them to someone else to squeeze the last bit of value out of each one.

The potential buyers are interesting as well.  There are those that show up before the appointed start time to catch you off guard and try to obtain the highest quality items for less than the posted price.  Often these people will then turn around and immediately sell the same items for several times what they paid.

Don’t we sometimes do this ourselves in other situations?  We might try to skirt the rules and get something for less.  This is a “seller beware” mentality.  Of course the opposite “buyer beware” mentality exists, too.  Either way, the behavior, although it might not be illegal, it is also not spiritually pure.  

What is the difference between ethical behavior and spiritually pure behavior?  Every business course/book has an ethics chapter dealing with how one should behave in that specific discipline.  The problem is the recommended course of action is designed to keep the practitioner and company out of jail.

“Do no harm” is a common stance.  While this is commendable, it does not go far enough.  “Do the highest good” is much better for the life and cohesion of the planet.  This reflects spiritually pure action.

Individual and institutional egos encourage employees to get the most out of a potential sale that they can –again “buyer beware.”  Many will justify these actions as “It is just business, what you have to do to be successful.”  But is this really true?  Win-lose transactions are just that. One side is boosted up at the cost of the other.  This is NEVER healthy for either side.  This is true for business and it is true in relationships in our private lives.

When we extend our hand to help rather that trick, pull people up with us instead of stepping on them to get to the top, then we all win.  Ultimately, this is the best scenario.  Unfortunately, you often hear the argument “It is not my responsibility to care for others.”  Or “The only responsibility a company has is to make money for its investors.” These views are more than just shallow, they are dangerous.

They are dangerous to the ones who hold the view because it hardens their hearts to the plight of others.  The “others” are actually extensions of themselves, since we are all part of the same whole.   So in reality, when we take advantage of someone else, we are only harming ourselves.

I realize that those who practice win-lose behaviors do not buy this argument.  It is hard to understand it  when they are living in their mansions, driving fine cars and consuming the highest quality of everything, while the “others” are out of sight and out of mind.

I encourage everyone to spend time helping out in a soup kitchen or visiting poor neighborhoods to see the direct impact of greed and disadvantage.  Hopefully, the experience will trigger an awakening of consciousness that will move a small step forward toward healing the planet.

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