The New Age effort to transform business is very real and becoming more successful all the time.—Ray Yungen
By Jen Wieczner
In 2015 the meditation and mindfulness industry raked in nearly $1 billion, according to research by IBISWorld, which breaks out the category from the alternative health care sector. But even that doesn’t count the revenue from the nearly 1000 mindfulness apps now available, according to Sensor Tower (top app Headspace recently raised $30 million and has been downloaded 6 million times), or the burgeoning category of wearable gadgets designed to help people Zen out (the popular Muse connected headband measures brain activity during meditation for $299).
This year 22% of employers will offer mindfulness training—typically priced between $500 and $10,000 for large-group sessions—a percentage that could double in 2017, according to a forthcoming survey by Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health. The non-profit Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, a mindfulness training program incubated at Google, grew revenue more than 50% last year by offering two-day workshops (up to $35,000 for 50 people) to dozens of other Fortune 500 companies, including Ford F -1.06% and American Express AXP -1.36% . Click here to continue reading.
A Related Article by Ray Yungen Showing the Implications of New Age in Business:
If there was one single group to whom the promise of creating one’s own reality would have specific appeal, it would be business people. The competition in the corporate world is so keen that anything, no matter how unusual, may be eagerly embraced if it offers results. As they say in the business world, the bottom line is success.
The way New Age thought has crept into corporations is simple to understand. Management trainers and human resource developers hold positions where they can incorporate metaphysics into business under titles such as Intuition Development, Right Brain Creativity, and Superlearning. The New Age nature of these seminars may be introduced by employers either intentionally or unwittingly. The New Age Journal states:
An unconventional new breed of consultant has surfaced on the corporate lecture circuit. They speak of meditation, energy flow and tapping into the unused potential of the mind. What’s more, they are spreading their Arcane curriculum not only among the alternative entrepreneurs who populate the capitalist fringe, but within the heart of corporate America as well. General Electric, IBM, Shell, Polaroid, and the Chase Manhattan Bank are sending their fast-trackers to crash courses in, strange as it may sound, intuition.1
Once, while attending a New Age convention, I was told by one of these new breeds that resistance to New Age concepts in business was being replaced by a new openness. “How you focus it is all important,” he began, and then added:
If you barge in with occult lingo it turns them off right away. You have to tell them how you can make their employees happier and get more productivity out of them—then they will listen. You are really teaching metaphysics, but you present it as human development.
The Quiet Revolution
This approach has tremendous appeal because companies naturally want to get the most out of their people. New Agers know this approach works to their advantage. One trainer defines her role the following way:
There is something new in the fact that businesses are taking an active interest in the potential of these techniques to bring about transformational change within large groups of people for organizational ends. You have to deal with the whole person—body, mind and spirit—if real change is to happen.2
In one interview, New Age writer Marilyn Ferguson echoes the same theme:
Business leaders have, by and large, exhausted materialistic values and are often open to spiritual values… What’s more, top-level business people are not afraid of the transformative process, and typically, after I speak to them, they say, “I didn’t know that such things were possible. I don’t understand everything you’re saying, but I’m going to find out about it.” Whereas most people who don’t understand new concepts automatically reject them, business people, who by nature are trained in risk taking, go after them.3
Dennis T. Jaffe, Ph.D., founder and director of the Learning for Health Clinic in Los Angeles, had this to say:
Many progressive companies are incorporating some of the inner-directed exercises I mentioned [in meditation and visualization] into their “manual of procedures” . . . These changes point to a quiet, inner-directed revolution that is reshaping many companies into being agents of self-realization. . . . Many social thinkers, such as Marilyn Ferguson, believe that because of its openness to change, business has the greatest potential for spiritualizing the world. (emphasis mine)4
A number of courses, books, and individuals are having a great impact on the business world. Michael Ray and Rochelle Myers have written a book titled Creativity in Business. The book is based on a Stanford University course that they claim has “revolutionized the art of success.”5 Two people who enthusiastically endorse this book are Spencer Johnson, MD., coauthor of The One Minute Manager, and Tom Peters, coauthor of In Search of Excellence. Silicon Valley Bank Chairman, N.W. Medearis, says the book is “an experience which will leave one significantly changed.”6
Ray and Myers acknowledge that the book takes much of its inspiration from “Eastern philosophies, mysticism, and meditation techniques” and that “dozens of America’s brightest and most successful business practitioners and entrepreneurs have contributed to the course and to this book.”7
It is absolutely amazing how unabashed Creativity in Business is in recommending its source of creativity. In one section we find the heading, “Getting in Touch with Your Inner Guide.” It reads:
In this exercise you meet your wisdom-keeper or spirit guide—an inner person who can be with you in life, someone to whom you can turn for guidance.8
These beings are contacted either through meditative breathing exercises or with mantra meditation. If there is any doubt the book is talking about New Age meditation, it is resolved upon reading:
As meditation master Swami Muktananda says: “We do not meditate just to relax a little and experience some peace. We meditate to unfold our inner being.”9
Tarot cards are even presented as a source of creativity. As with other New Age categories, it begins with breathing exercises (or as the book says, go into silence). The person then picks the cards, which are supposed to give “some important insights.”10
A new generation of New Age business gurus is starting to emerge on the scene. One of the more prominent is T. Harv Eker, who leads “Millionaire Mind Seminars” through his company Peak Potentials Training. This is one of the fastest growing corporate training companies in the country today, with 250,000 trainees to date. What these eager folks learn is apparent by Eker’s statement that his “Mission is to educate and inspire people to live in their Higher Self.”11
This is a typical approach. You will recall an earlier quote, “businessmen eat this stuff up, the experience sells itself.” That is why it is making such headway, it works. If these methods work for people in business today the way they worked for Madame Blavatsky in finding the woman’s lost brooch related in chapter two, then it’s easy to see the implications of metaphysics in the business world.
Quite often I will hear people from a certain age group and social outlook dismiss what I am researching with terms such as “weirdo hippie religion.” When I hear this, I think of articles appearing in such well respected magazines as U.S. News & World Report which paint a far different picture. One article in particular dealt specifically with New Age spirituality in the corporate world. It was called “Shush. The Guy in the Cubicle is Meditating.” The article disclosed that such consultants had become “the darlings of business circles”12 and not just any business circles:
[W]hen 2,000 global powerbrokers gathered for the elite World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the agenda included confabs on “spiritual anchors for the new millennium” and “the future of meditation in a networked economy.” Indeed, 30 MBA programs now offer courses on the issue. It’s also the focus of the . . . Harvard Business School Bulletin. (emphasis mine)13
What this shows is that the dismissal of New Age spirituality as hippy/dippy is very much outdated and unsound. As one corporate trainer proudly proclaimed, “What’s new is that it’s just entered the mainstream.”
Creativity is not the only New Age avenue into the corporate scene. Health and fitness programs presented in the context of corporate wellness are becoming increasingly popular. Executives give a willing ear to ways of keeping productivity up and absenteeism down.
Many of these programs have metaphysical motives within them. One such wellness expert promoting total health explained how she was able to teach mantra meditation to a group of businessmen:
Just yesterday I met with a whole room of executives for breakfast—top executives in a huge multinational company. . . . Here were these executives closing their eyes and breathing deeply into their abdomens, and quieting their mind by repeating just one word—“relax, relax.”14
Earlier in the interview this woman related how she had “studied metaphysics” and “meditated three or four times a day for direction.”15
In her joy at being able to subtly introduce meditation to those who would have rejected it as being too “far out” otherwise, she commented: “Ten years ago in an American company I would have been thrown out in the street, I’m sure.”16
Business—The Most Logical Candidate
The New Age effort to transform business is very real and becoming more successful all the time. When asked in an interview about where he thought the vanguard of transformation was in the country today, New Ager James Fadiman replied:
What’s fascinating to me is that when I met recently with some of the old-timers in the movement, I discovered that all of us had expanded from working in growth centers to working in American business. What the business community needs, wants, and appreciates at this time are insights from the human potential movement. . . . I’m finding executives who, twenty years ago, considered the human potential movement a kind of joke and who are now recruiting specialists into the most conservative industries.17
Larry Wilson, coauthor of The One Minute Sales Person, clearly stated in an interview that metaphysics is the core of what is being taught:
The heart of our new management training represents a return to the ancient spiritual wisdom about the true identity and power of the individual. In our courses, we aim to empower people so they can get in touch with their creative Source and then apply the potential to every part of their lives, including their work life. (emphasis mine)18
Wilson also revealed in the interview that it is the higher self that is at the heart of this “ancient spiritual wisdom.” He explained:
Once a sufficient number of employees get in touch with their true potential, the organization changes . . . it helps to have top management in tune with it.19
In another interview, the late futurist and New Age leader Willis Harman acknowledged that:
Some of the most creative and successful people in business are really part of this new paradigm movement. You can find this sort of talk going on in business. In fact, a group of business executives and myself got together and created something we call the World Business Academy, which is a network of business executives who have already gone through their own personal transformations to a considerable extent and are asking: “What’s the new role of business? What’s the new corporation?”20
International Management magazine revealed that many of the major European corporations are also eagerly embracing New Age spirituality. Included in the list were the Bank of England and the UK’s Ministry of Defense and Cabinet Office.21
The previously mentioned individuals, and numerous others like them, are working diligently within the corporate world to bring about a paradigm shift of potentially staggering proportions. Larry Wilson acknowledged this by saying, “This new approach is changing the corporation, and that change will affect other institutions of our Society.”22
This is not an understatement. In the 2007 Shift Report: Evidence of a World Transforming by the Institute of Noetic Sciences (a New Age think tank), it reveals:
Since 1994 more than 100,000 executives from 56 countries have taken the Self-Management and Leadership Course (SML). SML is a two-day residential retreat inspired by the principles of raja yoga, which advocates inner stillness through breathwork, movement, meditation, and self-inquiry as a path to wisdom and inner balance.23
New Agers know that if they can transform business, they will have transformed the world. The reason for this is that business and government feed into each other, so to speak. Many politicians are also business people, or lawyers with strong ties to business. Also, many politicians go back into the corporate world when they leave office. The two cultures are profoundly intertwined. If the corporate world goes New Age (as we see it doing) the world of government isn’t far behind. (For more information on how the New Age has come into our North American society, read For Many Shall Come in My Name by Ray Yungen.)
1. E. Armstrong, “Bottom-Line Intuition” (New Age Journal, December 1985), p. 32.
2. “What’s New in the New Age?” (Training Magazine, September 1987), p. 25.
3. Interview with Marilyn Ferguson (Science of Mind magazine, May 1983), pp. 11-12.
4. “From Burnout to Balance,” Interview with Dennis Jaffe, Ph.D., (Science of Mind magazine, June 1985), pp. 88-89.
5. Michael Ray and Rochelle Meyers, Creativity in Business (Garden City, New York, NY: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1986), front cover.
6. Ibid., back cover.
7. Ibid., back flap.
8. Ibid., pp. 36-37.
9. Ibid., p. 142.
10. Ibid., p. 154.
11. T. Harv Eker, author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind; quote taken from Eker’s Peak Potentials Training website, http://www.peakpotentials.com/new, accessed 11/2011.
12. Marci McDonald, “Shush. The Guy in the Cubicle is Meditating: Spirituality is the latest corporate buzzword” (U.S. News & World Report, May 3, 1999), p. 46.
14. Kathy Juline, “Wellness Works: A New Lifestyle for a New World,” Interview with Elaine Willis, Ph.D. (Science of Mind magazine, June 1990), p. 25.
15. Ibid., pp. 19-20.
17. Interview with James Fadiman (Science of Mind magazine, June 1988), p. 77.
18. “Changing the Game in Business,” Interview with Larry Wilson (Science of Mind magazine, February 1987), p. 10.
19. Ibid., p. 14.
20. Willis Harman, “The New Age of Consciousness” (Guide to New Age Living, 1989), pp. 18, 20.
21. “Disciples of the New Age,” (International Management magazine, March, 1991), p. 45.
22. Larry Wilson interview, op. cit., p. 31.
23. 2007 Shift Report: Evidence of a World Transforming Journal (Petaluma, CA: Institute of Noetic Sciences, March-May 2007, No. 14, 2007), p. 55.