When we talk about the spirituality of a person, we are talking about intangibles – that there is a world beyond the see-able, touchable and material. Spirituality is about the recognition, inclusion and valuing of intangibles into the frameworks we construct, the connections we make, to make sense of our lives. It is closely related to a seeking for wholeness, but a paradoxical wholeness that is open and ever expanding. The spirituality of a person is not dependent on a belief about God or not. What matters is an openness to the possibility that there is more, beyond our present knowledge and experience.
According to the film, ‘The Theory of Everything’, when pressed by his Anglican wife to state his belief about God, Stephen Hawking grins his characteristic grin and replies, ‘the universe is expanding!’
Hawking is reflecting a shift toward the primacy of spirituality over religion, of faith over belief, of life experience and imagination over dogma.
This shift is unpacked in the latest book by social researcher Hugh Mackay, Beyond Belief.
I think most of us still live in the age of the Enlightenment, within a Newtonian view of the world and the mechanical, rationalistic organizational frames of the Industrial Age that seem to have brought us so many benefits. But we are in transition to a Quantum Age – an Einsteinian view of space time, general relativity and uncertainty, expansively surplanting the mechanistic organisational culture of time and motion studies and risk aversion.
Perhaps spirituality is to religion as Einstein is to Newton?
Perhaps the exit from religious institutions, and institutions in general, by younger people, reflects a move toward intrinsic spirituality rather than the externally driven discipline of religious orthodoxy.
We know that a majority of younger people in work feel devalued, unable to contribute their skills and passions to a level they would like. The move toward ‘start-ups’ and entrepreneurship may well be a move away from the institutional, hierarchical, commodified nature of many businesses and public and government institutions, a move motivated by a strong desire to protect one’s spirituality, particularly the joy of imagination and creativity – move away from reductionism, instrumentalisation and mind-numbing coertion.
If so, then we do well to pay attention to emerging understandings of business management that enhance spiritual life.
This short video gives a good introduction to where I’m up to in my reflections on coordinating an Oasis community of practice intent on supporting spiritual life:
Agile and Lean Adoption
I hope you find it as stimulating as I do.