Cultivating the Wealth Within

Cultivating the Wealth Within

In a culture virtually saturated with and distracted by artificial stimulation, devoting time and space to exploring our innate natural resources is becoming increasingly important, albeit exponentially difficult.

Einstein was correct; there is genius within each of us but it requires enormous effort to mine it. Time and energy are precious commodities, but well worth expending for this purpose.

Centeredness, serenity and generosity are concomitants of introspection, issuing a wide range of benefits, including better health, stronger relationships and even better business. In fact, the deeper one drills, the richer the resources and the more spectacular the results.

Business people who take time for cultivating the wealth within can attest to the positive effect on their bottom line. Ideally, the noblest impetus for attending to our souls is altruism, but it’s an undeniable fact that attributes of introspection translate into an enhanced bottom line for enlightened companies.

Businesses with the insight to address deeper enduring realities reap better consumer relations, which always positively impact the bottom line.

Customers will pass five of your competitors to patronize where they are recognized, valued and loved. Ray Oldenburg does a masterful job in his book, “The Great Good Place,” explaining the expanding social void resulting from an increasingly impersonal society that is spending more and more time interacting with machines.

In part, this explains the rising popularity of coffee shops. The connection to community in the context of a casual intimate atmosphere has widespread appeal.

Let’s not forget poets and philosophers are as critical to human development as scientists, engineers and financiers. Building upon a firm foundation of love, beauty and meaningful thought is the most effective antidote to that universal mysterious gravitational pull toward unhealthy self-centered living.

A commitment to making the lives of our fellow creatures better is the path to realizing human potential both individually and collectively. “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world but lose his soul?”, (Mark 8.36).

The most influential teachers in the history of human civilization have recognized this truth, and the very fact that these teachings have not only endured, but also thrived, is testament to their universal appeal and seminal power.

If nature abhors a vacuum, then technology despises a void. Much of our collective human energy is sucked up by something electronic that frequently does our thinking for us.

Think of how many phone numbers you have memorized compared to 20 years ago. Now the need to remember phone numbers has vanished, relinquishing that geographical space of the brain to some other function. Only time will tell if this is ultimately positive or negative.

Whether managing mundane matters, interfacing with entertainment, creating commerce or merely relaxing in the park, technology is ubiquitous in every aspect of life. Gismos and gadgets are gobbling up time that could be directed to the precious pursuit of intrinsically important issues.

I must confess a love for technology and a vulnerability to the dazzling devices available today. But we are all able to identify the dark side of these wonderful fancy toys that seem to have such a hold on us.

While living on Maui, I was traveling the highway to Hana, which is a dangerous narrow switchback with 690 turns, 75 one-lane bridges and one of three rainforests in the world accessible by car.

The locals drive this road at high rates of speed and have little patience for slow-moving tourists mesmerized by ethereal vistas, which are around every corner.

Rounding one of those blind tight curves, I encountered oncoming vehicles and a group of cyclists. One of the cyclists apparently received a call, and while trying to answer that call dropped his phone, which caused him to lightweight panic, nearly triggering an accident.

This happened in a context where many would consider it inordinately foolish to even carry a phone, and certainly suicidal to answer it. Feel free to insert your anecdote here to further illustrate the point that technology has a vice grip on most of us.

It would be virtually impossible to eliminate television from the average home for a month, turn off mobile phones or computers for a week, or spend a few days without listening to the radio.

These devices are here to stay and only those who really understand the value of tapping that deep reservoir of intrinsic riches will be able to resist the spiritual black hole they are creating.

The irony is that technology also affords unprecedented opportunity for cultivating introspection and developing interpersonal acumen.

We enjoy easy access to readers, audio books, libraries of ancient wisdom, art, music and contemplative literature; all at the tap of a keystroke or voice command.

The internet is an extension of the human brain providing unimaginable opportunity for accessing information instantly. This power is being harnessed for so many purposes including helping us understanding who we are, how we fit in to the universe and how we can become better in every aspect of our lives.

There is no lack of information  ̶  only a lingering question of how much value we place on learning to develop our souls.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Thoreau wrote “most men lead lives of quiet desperation and die with the song still in them.”

One would assume there was plenty of time for contemplative thought in the mid-19th century before electricity, automobiles, television or telephones.

In 2014 a philosopher may well lament people living in noisy desperation, but the song remains and there is plenty of room in the choir.

Victor L. Kidd is CEO of Kidd Coffee and Wine Franchise Company, and Vice Mayor for the City of Mason.

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