Eric Butterworth Unity Podcast #78
This is the first of an eight-talk series on how to find self-realization and fulfillment through our work and career. I have only five of the original eight talks, but these that we have will certainly get us on our way to a new sense of what Eric calls The Great Intrapreneurial Revolution.
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September for our young folks is a matter of going back to school. We’re going to invite you to go back to school with us, in a special eight lecture series titled The Great Intrapreneurial Revolution.
So as the European school master might say, school is in. It’s our hope and expectation, that this will be an important milestone in your quest for self-realization and personal growth in truth, especially as concerns your work and career, and the demonstration of personal prosperity.
We use the term revolution, that seems rather ominous. But I’m not referring to something that has already happened or making a gloomy forecast of some cataclysm to come. I’m thinking of a process of radical change in people’s attitudes toward work, and a great worldwide reconstruction of economic factors leading to world prosperity.
You may think this is a tall order. Like the story that’s told of Professor Toy of Harvard University, when they announced a new course in Bible, that he said we would revolutionize the attitudes toward the Bible by people everywhere. He was told that changing such fundamental attitudes would take over a hundred years. He introduced his opening lecture of the course by saying, “I’m told that it will take a hundred years to accomplish the changes in public awareness of the Bible that I have in mind. let the records show that we’re beginning now.” So I thought of changing the world attitudes toward work is a tall order. But as we say in our peace song, “Let it begin with me.”
And what I have to say about the trends in work attitudes may have a futurist tone. I’m going to indulge in blue sky prophecies about where the world is going. I like the dry wit of the ancient Chinese proverb that says “To prophesy is extremely difficult, especially with respect to the future.”
Now to better understand ourselves and the work attitudes that we’ve been conditioned to accept, I want to invite you to turn back with me for a moment to consider the industrial revolution, generally considered to have been touched off in the 18th and early 19th century in England. This was not an event that happened at a point in time. It was a long series of fundamental technological, economic, social, and cultural changes, with the development of the steam engine, the discovery of new sources of power, invention of a great number of new machines, and a new organization known as the factory system. The agrarian society that had prevailed for 10,000 years on earth, was transformed into a modern industrial society. Like the space age in our time, industrial revolution offered mankind wonderful possibilities of freedom and self realization.
But instead of making these changes, as they seemed important to us, something happened. Man tends to lose the perspective of his attitudes toward himself and toward his work. Man wandered in the far country, like the prodigal son, he came to knew want. Man dehumanized himself, in the worship of what the ancient Greeks called deus ex machina, the God of the machines. The industrial revolution turned man away from nature, resulting in a mass urban settling for which society was not adequately prepared, which in turn has led to the breakdown of the ecological system, so much in evidence today in the slums, smog and environmental pollution.
Man not only turned from himself or herself, but he blocked the flow of self-sustenance, which was so easy imagined and felt when he lived in an agrarian society, lived by the soil. It was almost as if he believed he could nourish life itself with fossil fuels, and even a hundred years ago that supply appeared limitless. We’ve seen a great change in that haven’t we? Lewis Mumford called the industrial revolution’s focus on iron and coal, as the twin basis of carboniferous capitalism. Mumford also said that the industrial revolution produced a new barbarism, wherein civilization shifted from an interest in human values, to measuring life and material in pecuniary terms.
This is not to infer that the industrial revolution was bad. As with the experience of the children of Israel it led us into our 40 years of wilderness, an important achievement of growth. However, we cannot fulfill our promised land en masse. Like the prodigal son, we must come to ourself and rise and go unto the father one by one.
Of course as the world turns, this revolution continues on. We may be seeing the early stages of a new socioeconomic development, the gradual independence from the enslavement to the machines, freedom from the yoke of manual labor, and the technology that we see today in which we can foresee for tomorrow. Machines will deal with the flow of materials, people with the flow of information and creativity. Machines will perform the routine tasks, people with the intellectual creative tasks. Machines and people both, instead of being concentrated in gigantic factories in factory cities, will be scattered across the globe, linked together by amazingly sensitive, near-instantaneous communication. Human work will gradually move out of the factory and the mass office into the community and the home.
There’s a word that is common in our business news, the word entrepreneur. By definition, it means a person willing to go into business for his or herself, venturing capital time and talents, and taking charge of his or her own economic life. We’re using the term, taking liberties with it, the term intrapreneur, in reference to the person who is imaginatively seeking to redesign his attitudes toward his work, effectively honoring his work without changing his job. And he might grow as a person, and as a channel through which creative energy flows unconsciously, and actually becoming a change agent for such spiritual-based attitudes in his company, or an office, or shop. The intrepreneur is one who has the vision of the new revolution that was going on in the socioeconomics of the world, and he was aligning himself with the positive forces of that revolution.
And I think about the topic that we set for ourself today. The topic is worth ethic. This word does not come easy because we’re so used to the word work ethic. The typesetters, several times in the last few weeks of obligingly correcting my spelling, admitted work ethic, but we’re talking about worth ethic, W-O-R-T-H. The work ethic involves the job you get and the retirement benefits you get through them. But worth ethic deals with your primary quest, for sense of self worth, which may be enhanced in your job, but not compromised by it. To really get a sense of worth ethic, we must carefully analyze the prevailing attitudes about work that may have strongly influenced your own, and the world in which most of us have grown up. We were told by word and example, that excitement was for playing games. Work was supposed to be dull and boring.
You may have been told to be realistic, not to expect anything more. Some parents have taught their children by example, and people work because they have to, to earn money so that their family could have a good time outside of work. You may recall that marvelous segment by Fanny Brice, in her character, Baby Snooks, and Snooks says, “Daddy, come play with me.” Daddy says, “I can’t dear.” “Why can’t you?” “Because I have to work.” “Why do you work, Daddy?” “So you can eat.” “Daddy, come play with me, I’m not hungry.”
This negative notion about work has a long history. The ancient Greeks saw work as a curse, and the enemy of the independent spirit. Their word for work ponos, also means sorrow. The early Hebrews saw work as a punishment for sin, as Adam and Eve were cast out of paradise, you remember they were condemned to work by the sweat of their brow.
So work for many persons, though quite unconsciously, is downtime. Something to get through with. Many people spend their whole lives working for a dream of retirement, when they can live. We’ll deal at length about this in the final lecture on retirement. What a sad frustration of the creative flow in us. Just think about it, you spend about one third of your waking life at work. So what you do there, and how you think about your work, are extremely important to your wellbeing. Working only so that you can enjoy your time off is perhaps the greatest threat to your health and wellbeing.
Last Monday, we were subjected to the usual Labor Day speeches, focusing on what work does for the individual. The pay and benefits and the right to work. All this is fine. But there’s another great need to consider. Not what does work do for you, but what does it do to you? What are you getting out of your work? If your response is in salary figures or benefits received as compensation, there’s something sadly lacking in your life, because there’s something more about working than this, and you’re shortchanging yourself. It could be said and determined that you’ve set your own compensation, that you’re under-compensated, you’re underpaid.
In the wild fluctuations of the economy, there’s a lot of fear and consternation, and many diverse opinions as to the cause. It’s my feeling that the greatest problem is that workers have lost the sense of the integrated home. So work is done out of the context of the whole person, and there’s a lot of talk about recessions and depressions. And I’m more concerned that the world is in a great depression of worker attitudes.
I can think of several reasons, there are probably more. First one is, it is kind of a fallout from the industrial revolution where few persons do a whole job they can feel good about. They see themselves pretty much as a cog in a machine. People have lost the experience of participating in meaningful decisions in their work. And thus a sense of inadequacy, a sense that something is wrong, something has happened to rid them from the true place of their life.
The second reason is that people have a sense of being under-compensated, because they’re not adequately compensating themselves. They’re not finding the right process of good in their lives.
Perhaps the third and most important reason, is that a person is involved in a job that he doesn’t have a sense of fulfillment in. So he tends to take jobs that he gives up the job he likes to take a better paying job, that he doesn’t like. This confusion of attitudes about work and supply, leads to all sorts and employment and financial problems, and sadly to many, physical ill. It always saddens me to see people who work for a paycheck, for which they do as little as they can get by with. Such a person is creating all kinds of hidden frustrations, for which you have to pay the price. He may think you can get by with slipshod work, fudging on his time sheet, calling in sick to get a day off.
And he may well get away with it. He may think to himself, “Look what I got away with.” But he can never get away from it. There’s a universal law involved, the problem is in his consciousness. He will have to pay the piper sometime. It’s an [inaudible 00:13:32] law. Those of us who study truth are well aware of this. Life is a process of living from within out. So fulfillment in life can only come through giving, not through receiving. Whenever does less than his very best in what he’s doing, no matter what the recognition or reward, he’s shortchanging himself storing up what some might call bad karma. I’ll be dealing with that a little more next week in our theme, The Quest for Excellence. Jesus said, “Let not thy left hand, know what thy right hand doeth.” I like to think that this means don’t get trapped in the mistake of equating what you earn with the work you do. You know, the old cliche another day, another dollar.
Certainly as a spiritual being, you should manifest prosperity, but it’s so important to work from the consciousness of supply that is out-formed from the divine flow. Have faith that the abundance will always flow forth for you because you’re in tune with divine law. Then at your work, in outworking your divine creativity, keep the channels open by working with all your heart, mind and soul.
One person may say “That’s all well and good, but it certainly doesn’t apply to my job. My job is dull, and thankless and unrewarding.” This person implies that his job prevents him from achieving his personal goals. So his work actually is an adversary, that he has to work to overcome. It’s important to get the sense of the creative flow within you, and if your job, whatever it may be, whatever it may be, is your opportunity to grow. And if someone asks you, “What is your work?” You might delight yourself in your consciousness, and shock the other person by saying, “I’m in the express business.” Doesn’t mean that you have a truck and carry furniture, you’re talking about the business of expressing your imprisoned splendor. That’s your true business, and whatever else you’re made to be doing. The work of the intrepreneur is to commit yourself to imaginatively seeking to redesign your attitudes toward work. To change your work, actually, without changing your job.
We suggest that perhaps you may want to be the first intrepreneur in your office. First one, bringing in this new consciousness, this new revolution of attitudes. Think basically in terms of what you can give, rather than what you can get. You may say, “This is too idealistic.” But let me say, it’s also the key to personal success and prosperity.
Studs Turkel and his book Working, tells of a waitress, Delores who moves among the tables with a special gracefulness, saying such things as, “How can I make your day brighter?” Instead of a customary, “What’ll you have?” This is a refreshing thing to see or hear. Olga tells me that on her train to Greenwich, there’s a conductor, when he takes the tickets, he says, “Enjoy your day, you owe it to yourself.” And he stands at the door, when people leave, “You step out into a wonderful day.” This man is an intrepreneur. He doesn’t have to do those things. He could take the tickets with a usual grunt that you hear so commonly. He could go and hide when people are leaving the train. You see, he sees himself in an entirely different light. He sees himself as an influence, as a channel for something very special. And you can just bet that he gets a much greater fulfillment from his job.
The story is told of Sir Christopher Wren, the great architect of many of Europe’s finest cathedrals. He was walking unknown among the stonecutters during the building of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. He inquired of one worker, “My good man, what are you doing?” The man replied, “I’m earning two shillings sixpence a day.” He asked another worker, “What are you doing?” He said, “I’m cutting stones to be used in this building.” Then posed the question of a third worker, and the man paused, laid down his chisel, stretching himself to his full height, he said with a swelling sense of pride, “I sir, am helping Sir Christopher Wren build the greatest cathedral in the world.” He was an intrepreneur. Each worker was performing the same task, cutting stone, and how different the attitude. To the first man, his work was a bore, but he endured for material benefit. The third worker was an intrepreneur, investing meaning and excitement in his work. It doesn’t take much of a seer to see that the third stonecutter eventually would become the foreman of the project. And with his intrapreneurial manner, eventually leading to a successful entrepreneuring venture, perhaps having his own construction company. And the first or second of the stonecutters would probably say, “Boy, he sure is lucky.” Some call it luck others call it God, or the action of divine law.
And we want to ask you to take a self-honest look at your work, and the attitude you hold about it. Very honest now with yourself. Which of the three stonecutters are you most like? I’ll pause for 30 seconds while you contemplate that. You feel good about that? Are you’re happy with the way you feel?
I like the holism of Emerson, who says, “No matter what your work, let it be your own. No matter what your occupation, let what you’re doing be organic. Let it be in your bones.” In this way you will open the door by which the affluence of heaven and earth just stream in to you. Don’t you love that? The affluence of heaven and earth streams into you!
This is also the attitude of Khalil Gabron. He says, “When you work, you fulfill a part of earth’s furthest dream, assigned to you when your dream was born. And in keeping yourself with labor, you are in truth loving life. And to love life through labor is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret.” This may seem familiar to you because life innermost secret is the divine depth, or your divine pattern which you only really know when you’re giving yourself in service. A person can work for money, and prestige and climb to the right pinnacle of success, and still not know himself. And as he may seek escape from his sense of emptiness and futility, in alcohol or some other kind of stimulant, exposing himself to the possibility of addiction, which is all too common and sad.
When you’re intimate with life’s secret, your work becomes your calling. That’s a word we don’t hear very much anymore. That’s a word out of the past, but it should be reconstituted. It’s a beautiful word. The word vocation comes from the word voco, meaning I call. The creative process is calling you, singing its song in you and as you. So when you let God sing His song through you, your work will be easy, and fulfilling and successful. There’s no pressure in climbing the ladder because the affluence of heaven and earth stream into you and through you in terms of success and supply. Gibran also says, “Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love, but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and go and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.” You might contemplate that for a few minutes too. Do you work with love?
Work that is done without love is work that is depleting. It becomes an exhausting drudgery. The hardest part of any job, whether it be mental or physical, is the resistance the worker has toward it. The hardest work you can do, the hardest work you can do is that what you do without love, with resentment. Saying, “They overwork me. They don’t pay me enough. I don’t like my job.” It’s like driving your car with the brakes on. So we’re saying this morning, we hope that you will consider seriously getting interested in the intrapreneurial revolution. Intrapreneurial revolution. Be an instrument for the revolution, in the world, in your office, with those around you. And remember it is also, the finest way to your own success.
Take stock of your worth ethic. Do you go to work with eagerness every morning, honestly? Or do some mornings you say, “Oh boy, back to the old salt mines.” Is your work a happy experience? Your place of work, a place where you enjoy working? If not, then I can prophesy that you probably are tired as today wears on, and exhausted when you return home in the evening. You may attribute the exhaustion to the amount of work you do, but it’s more likely the result of your resistance and your resentment. You may feel unappreciated, underpaid, overworked, and these may all be true, but your life is not lived on the outside, it’s lived from within out.
So no matter what the conditions that prevail in your place of work, what happens to you and in you, is a result of your own consciousness. Things may happen around you and things may happen to you. But the only things that count in your life are the things that happen in you. And that’s something to remember. Change the consciousness and your fatigue will leave. Even more things will begin to happen, to open up for you, either in better treatment at the office if that’s needed, or new opportunities for better employment elsewhere. You can alter your work without changing your job, by changing your thoughts.
And someone may say, “That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t touch me because I’m unemployed.” Okay, then let’s talk about how to find employment. Because we’re dealing with the same principle. The sad thing is that many persons who are unemployed have become unemployable, because they’ve allowed the idea of inactivity and lack to sink into their consciousness. They become unemployed because they see themselves as unemployed. Their unemployment and their self pity and bitterness associated with it have become an obsession. So again, the key is to change your thought. Why not become an intrepreneur? I don’t mean to go into business for yourself, but that’s always possible too. Alter your attraction to the work on the outside, by changing the worker on the inside. Alter your attraction to the work on the outside, by changing your worker from inside. You see the first need of the unemployed person is not to find a job. The first need is to find himself, to rediscover who he is.
So don’t identify with the word unemployed ever, but with the image ready to work. See yourself as a person going off to work every day. It’s one of the problems of the welfare system, where there’s a tendency to lean upon such things as unemployment compensation. These things are fine. They’re wonderful. They’re helpful and expedient. But there’s a danger in them, because you tend during that time to say, “I’m unemployed. I’m on the unemployment compensation.” Actually you’re creating a state of consciousness that will lead to a long term unemployment because you’re unemployable in consciousness. It is important then, don’t let your thoughts run towards simply getting on a payroll somewhere. Emphasize what you have as a person to give. Remember your worth as a person. And think of your employment need, as that of finding a way to give, to serve, to express. Look for opportunities to give yourself away.
If a person has a longterm unemployment experience, one of the ways that you can start the process is like the farmer used to do with the pump out in the backyard. To prime the pump, he would put water in the pump, rather than getting water out of the pump. You can prime the pump in your own life if you’re having difficulty getting employment by finding somewhere where you can give yourself in service, volunteer work. You say, “I can’t afford to volunteer.” The fact is you can’t afford not to be serving if you’re looking for a job, which will give you pay for service. Emphasize what you have to give as a person.
A person who is out of work actually has a job. Possibly the most challenging job you may ever have. The job is to get work. And that calls for changing the mental blocks and creating the conditions in consciousness to make the result of good employment inevitable. So it’s important to set about this job, that of finding work, as you would any other job. That means get up in the morning, get dressed and set off for work, the work of finding your job. Work at it. Whether it be in prayer and meditation, or in actual making contacts. See it as a challenge to grow through the experience, challenge to your faith.
And don’t listen to the advice of the crepe hangers. There’re always those around who would be perfectly willing to say, supposedly being helpful, “Times are hard. No jobs in your field to be had, at your age.” And so forth. Don’t accept those. And remember, as a child of the universe, you’re as worthy of the free flow of creativity and substance as the lilies of the field and the birds of the air. You’re a whole creature with a creative flow to release. There’s always something that you can do that no one else can do quite as well. And someone is seeking you, even as you’re seeking them. So know that it’s not a miracle that is needed in making a job for you, but an experience of divine order and bringing you together, with the employer that’s looking for you.
One of my favorite statements in the Bible is the word, wait on the Lord. “They that wait on the Lord shall inherit the earth.” Unfortunately, this word is often misunderstood. “I’m waiting on the Lord,” while you sit working the crossword puzzle. “I’m waiting for God to open up a job for me.” God doesn’t open up jobs. God has a full time job. And that’s being the source of your guidance and direction. But as the Quakers say, “When you pray, move your feet.” The word to wait on the Lord has an entirely different meaning.
The word wait comes from the Hebrew Qavah, Q-A-V-A-H, which literally means to bind together. It’s entirely different thought than sitting, waiting for something to happen, to bind together. So to wait on the Lord, means to integrate yourself with the power and potential of the divine flow that is forever within you. So before undertaking any project, wait on the Lord by taking a moment consciously to get yourself in tune with the flow of the creative process.
And as Emerson would say, “Get your bloated human self out of the way.” It’s an important moment when starting out on your quest for employment, or when commencing work for the day in the office or shop, in this intrapreneurial spirit, we will forget that there’s a reward dangling before us for the work we do. Our work will be, as Gibran says, “Love made visible.” We will feel the inner urge to do all that we do to the very utmost of our skill. We will work with ease and fulfillment. We will work in harmony with all our coworkers and our work will unfold in ways of success and prosperity.
As I say at the close of my book, Life is for Loving, the chapter on work, “We will go off to work in the morning with the eagerness of the lover going to meet his beloved. We will engage in our work and the kind of mutual sharing that lovers experience together. We will return from our work at the close of the day with a joyous feeling that we have given much of ourselves to our work, we received much from our work. As we commit ourselves to the worth ethic through our giving and receiving, the greatest joy will be in knowing that we’re in tune with what your Brown calls, life procession, that marches in majesty and proud submission toward the infinite.”
Remember the great intrapreneurial revolution of worker attitudes begins today. Let there be a new consciousness of giving in the marketplace of the world. And as we say in our peace song, “Let it begin with me.”
I’d like to invite you to be still for just a moment. Every person involved in the study of truth, whether he knows it or not, is a kind of revolutionary, because he’s involved in an attitude, a concept, that is inner-oriented, while the world is completely involved, even in religions, with the outside world. God is up there, God is out there. But in truth we know that God is a presence, a force, an activity within us. Ours is the privilege and the responsibility to know it, to give birth to it. So in that sense, being very sure what we mean, let’s see ourselves this day as revolutionaries, involved in bringing into the world through our work, through the influence of what we do, our relationships with people and our work in the marketplace, an attitude of intrapreneurialism, an attitude of giving, an attitude of service, where we think first of a service to render, knowing that there will be in all things added in terms of compensation and success.
Let’s strive to be the first revolutionary in our office, in our place of business, in our community. And in some way we can touch off a new consciousness, to attend to solve the great problem of the mass world recession of worker attitudes. Let’s resolve that no longer will we sadly comment on things around us by saying, “Well, people are that way these days. Nobody cares.” Let’s decide that we’ll be a new influence for caring, for sharing, for love, for service. And as Jesus says, “Let there be good in all of our ways. I have had be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.” So let’s be lifted up. Let’s get a sense of worth ethic making the general theme of our work so that we will all get a new increase in compensation from our jobs.
The compensation that comes through joyous fulfillment of knowing that we’re an out-formation of the divine flow, and work is simply a channel. Always knowing and happy in the realization that as we seek first the kingdom of the divine ideals fulfilling in the world, all these things such as success, and prosperity and fulfillment will be added unto us. In this consciousness, and knowing that it only begins here, let’s carry on through our commitment and our work. We give thanks for the truth, that makes us free. So be it.