By Gary Gach
Problems cannot be solved with the same mind set that created them.
Transform is using a map of 10distinct types of capital, and how they interact, to measure healthy impact and regenerative growth. Of the ten, counted as a series, I’d like to spotlight the tenth, known as spiritual capital. My nickname for it is The Game-Changer.
“Sustainable” solutions to the negative effects of capitalism can be, at best, like trying to fight cancer with aspirin. For example, many interventions for environmental degradation, while nice, too often only sustain the very system that creates and reinforces a thicket of intersectional problems. Hence the need to bring to the table radical re-evaluations of our fundamental values and views: our spiritual capital
For example, philanthropists, who invest in the rain forests as a charitable use of surplus capital, might think of this as stewarding a park. But rain forests are the very lungs of our precious planet. I want them to thrive so all species can breathe, myself included. This variant view, sometimes known as deep ecology, doesn’t rank humans higher than any other species in the web of life. In so doing, it restores “charity” to its Greek roots as a synonym for love. And it’s congruent with millennial-old indigenous views and traditions. To re-envision spiritual capital thus takes radical mental decolonization.
If I may, I’d like to share five spiritual “mind-turners” I practice every day, which I’ve found nourishing, healing, and transformative. Perhaps you may wish to try one or two out at a gathering, in community – or even right now, as you read this.
1 BREATHE, YOU ARE ALIVE ! – Conscious Breathing
Conscious breathing is my anchor. This doesn’t take changing breath, just being aware of it. With this focus of awareness, I realize my body’s in the present moment, even if my heart and mind might wander elsewhere.
Allowing body and mind and breath (spirit) to find each other enables me to see things as they are, rather than through frames of ideology, filters of cultural conditioning, and lenses of fantasy and personal cravings. See for yourself. Enjoy just three conscious breaths – right now ! – and stay grounded in that awareness. (As a bonus, give yourself a gift – the simple gift of a smile.)
2 PAUSE –Conscious Conduct
Enjoying just one conscious breath, I am already pausing. Pausing opens up a vital space – the space between a stimulus and a reaction. There, I can discern how best to respond to what’s at hand. I choose opportunities throughout the day to remember to pause, and check intention.
For a strong fulcrum of transformation, I add relationality to intentionality. What’s my intention for myself? – and for others. This is a way of manifesting high ideals in concrete action as a cornerstone of spiritual capital.
3 DEEP LISTENING – Awakening the Mind of Love
Grounded in my body breathing, attentive and self-aware, I can absorb more info, speak with others. Call it “deep listening”: listening without interrupting, verbally or mentally. Paying attention to whatever’s coming up within, even if it’s difficult, or surprising.
And I listen to myself this way too.
4 SLOWLY, SLOWLY, STEP BY STEP – Walking Meditation
Walking to and from a car to a front door, or from street to street, notice your breathing. Can you count how many steps is an in-breath? How many for an out-breath? Maintaining this awareness I’m no longer marching, marching into a fictional future of some abstract purpose, but instead being permeable to what is, as it is.
Arriving with each step, rather than trying to “get” anywhere (or get anything) – I’m liberated, stepping into the unknown.
5 SLOW FOOD IS SOUL FOOD – Mindful Meals
Here’s a formal spiritual meditation available three times a day. If you haven’t yet discovered it, maybe set aside the first 5–10 minutes of a meal for this. Next time you’re about to eat, try it out through these five steps.
First, pause. Food comes alive when we acknowledge its good blessings.
Second, regard each bite.
Third, as you chew, consider how this mouthful is a gift from the whole cosmos: the earth, the rain, the air, the sun, and many hands.
Fourth, put down the fork. Don’t reach for the next mouthful while you’re still chewing the present one.
Fifth, pause, from time to time, in between forks, and listen to how your body can optimally extract nutrients from your meal, being mindful.
This can awaken us from the illusion of separation. It points our creation of and investment of spiritual capital towards what Charles Eisenstein and Daniel Christian Wohl call “interbeing.” Eco-awareness –vs- ego-awareness.
Info about author and Zen mindfulness coach Gary Gach – here.
MetaIntegral furnishes this bibliography for Spiritual Capital
Adjibolosoo, Senyo B-S K. Spiritual Capital – Its Meaning & Essence. WestBow Press, 2013Rima, Samuel D. Spiritual Capital: A Moral Core for Social & Economic Justice. Routledge, 2017
Wigglesworth, Cindy. SQ21: The Twenty-One Skills of Spiritual Intelligence. Select Books Inc, 2014
Zohar, Danah. Spiritual Capital: Wealth We Can Live By. Readhowyouwant.com. 2011