Of all of our sources of resilience, spiritual resilience, it is the only one that is self replenishing. It is proven that the very act in believing adds to our resilience. Like emotional resilience, spiritual resilience grows when shared. But unlike all other canteens of resilience it is spiritual resilience that refills itself. Since we know that it does not matter in what we believe, but that we believe in some form of high order, high wisdom, or higher power a “God” or guiding force in life. It makes sense that acting on our beliefs would add to our resilience.
It was spiritual resilience that sustained me during the multiple field response deployments of 2005. Hurricane Katrina was an absolute catastrophe in both humanitarian and physical nature. What the hurricane had not directly destroyed the levee breaches soon did. Lawlessness and anarchy brought a few to the basis of human emotion and behavior. But the tragedy also brought out the best in many people. Like 9/11 before it, Hurricane Katrina’s “ground zero” was dotted with signs that seem to reproduce like mushrooms, each one declaring “God bless New Orleans” or we have faith, we will be saved.
These people not only publicized their beliefs (and their spiritual resilience), but they lived it. These individuals shared not only their stories with us as we treated their physical ailments, they told us that they would pray for us or that we were the answers to their prayers. It is not unusual to receive perfunctory thank you’s in healthcare, but to be asked to pray with a group of survivors and then be the object of their prayerful thanks is both humbling and rejuvenating.
And for these wonderful survivors it was the act of expressing their spirituality that renewed them. Remember this is New Orleans, we are not just talking Christianity, Islam, Judaism, but Santorista and Voodoo. Every form of religious expression is both familiar and exotic and yet they all served a common end: they bound people together and renewed them. They found the way to refill their own 40,000 gallon bathtub by pouring from their canteen of spiritual resilience.
It is this type of resilience that every business must have to handle catastrophic adversity. “Business Katrina’s” fill the news almost every week and those affected are often left bereft of emotional resilience and the financial impact literally bankrupts their physical resilience. It is at these times that an abiding faith is imperative.
But faith in what?
In the 1980’s the study of Sun Tzu and The Art of War introduced American executives to the concepts of balance and flow in battle and business. Sun Tzu wrote not only of strategy, but of the need to understand one’s place in one’s world. More importantly, Sun Tzu emphasized planning with respect and consideration of the environment and the greater forces that determine the fate of our efforts. At the deepest level, The Art of War was about victory through surrender.
In more modern times, masters of Indian philosophy have reintroduced the principles that build spiritual resilience to the American corporate community. Jeff Korhan (www.truenature.com) is the most respected of these new corporate philosophers. A protégé’ of Depak Chopra, Jeff Korhan has successfully made the jump from businessman to business guru in the truest sense of the work through the use of his spiritual resilience both for himself and his clients. How will your spiritual resilience serve you?
(Excerpted from my lecture series and book: The Wounded Dog: Avoiding Business Disaster – Lessons Learned from the Disaster Field Office)