Business as a spiritual practice — Regenerative future
8 min readJan 25, 2023


Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash

Shifiting from degenerative habits

It seems evident that large portion of businesses in modern times have been focusing almost solely on material world — material results. Often regardless of the method and sometimes even without defined purpose, other than to extract more material resources for shareholders profit — extraction upon extraction.

Now after decades and even centuries of such business practices all around the globe, we can see patterns emerging from it — a pattern of degeneration. Now leaning towards decline of the very quality of life on earth — through loss of biodiversity, air and water quality and countless other life sustaining resources. That is not anyone´s fault, yet it is logical and natural consequence of everyone is in it for themselves kind of approach — the widespread extraction and competition mode we have learned to call normal.

The me over others worldview has colored even many well meaning businesses. Simply because its where the momentum of a paradigm tends to lean in to by defualt. But this is nevertheless a paradigm of lack and depreciation of what actually sustains is. Paradigm of self centered destruction if we continue moving into that direction at scale.

Where does this path lead? Well, as scientific evidence suggests if this continues to be the common practice of doing business and looking at the world, many of the resources we have taken for granted and have maintained many proiftable businesses, might simply not be there to generate such outcomes anymore— that harsh reality. Simply because without regeneration, resources turn out to be finite. In other words lack of responsibility to earth resources leads to lack of those resources. Which seems to be the fundamental wake up call of our times. The responsibility of humans as stewards that work with, not just exploit, the fragile life of the planet. It puts all our tasks at hand into new perspective — where others sustainable and regenerative successes becomes all our successes.

Now due to that wake up call, that has sounded more and more loudly ever since the pandemic. Reaching to global governments and financial forces all around. There is now enough data and emerging new trends, that we can allow ourselves to say that there is a new worldview on the horizon. Where people with passion to serve their greater whole and businesses from all sectors are gravitating to. It is just as much a worldview of common sense as it is a common vision of a more collaborative and regenerative future for human life on the planet.

Life sustaining businesses — the business of sustaining life

The challenging and beautiful opportunity to practically cultivate everything we have learned towards life sustaining outcomes. Outcomes that come from implementing whole systems thinking in long lasting processes. Wherein we may find not only our chance of survival in the long term — but possibly and probably even our chance to thrive as species.

This is a worldview where excel spreadsheets lean into taking guidance from agile, integrative and creative visionary solutions and also the other way around. Times where matter and human spirit align in mutually beneficial way. Where we understand that intangible resources are relational resources that lay the very foundation of tangible resources — the inter connecting mycellium in the ground — enabling large tree trunks to arise within the ecosystems— that could be a metaphor for manifestations of wholesome businesses.

The idea here is that physical matter can also be a vehicle for what matters to us. What drives us is what matters to us — what lights our actions up with meaning and purpose. What gives us reason or pleasure to collaborate with others despite of differences. The perseverance to preserve what we love and value against the odds. The fortitude to enjoy even the most challenging processes and times.

Is it possible that we are seeing the transitioning from business movements that exist solely to extract material and sums? To a paradigm where we see businesses that exist just as well to extract rich meaning from their actions — fulfilling much larger spectrum of human and planetary needs and values then we did in the passing industrial age.

Businesses can indeed be forces of great good for humans as well as the life on planet. The question is how do we then move away from degenerative momentum to start building new and more regenerative habits?

From the same question — we can derive these sub questions:

How do we actively cultivate more meaning in our endeavours?

How do we lay foundations for healthy work culture?

How do we let go of toxic competition and polarity extremes?

How do we honour uniqueness and diversity more?

How do we reinvest our resources in life sustaining processes?

How can we shift from seeing money as the main goal to seeing money as a sustenance to reach our goals?

Power of intangibles — spiritual approach — 5 esseential procesesses towards regenerative dynamism from within

Here below are 5 main suggestions — life essential processes of being and living in a perpetual process of learning, growing, sustaining and building.

1. Ignite the ongoing aliveness of presence

To truly align our actions, it is just as vital to also practice being. Being present with whatever is going on. That underlines the constant aim of being in integrity with our values. To consciously define and live what we value requires presence and self awareness. To practice the infinite art of responding(conscious) rather than reacting (unconscious) lies in presence. That is also how we can slowly transcend past habits (what is no longer life supporting) and connect us relatively to the emerging future — the seeds of what can become through us — in the now moments lived.

2. Ignite the ongoing process of appreciation and gratitude

Appreciation prevents us from falling all into the lack space that seems to drive much of degenerative habits and toxicity in our culture. Not that appreciation and gratitude alone can meet all our needs and values — but it makes us more aware of what needs and values are already being met — being aware of the sustenance that lays the foundation for our aliveness so that we can maintain it wisely. Reminding the mind of the gifts and resources that are available, so that we simply don’t dismiss them and loose them. Appreciation seems to be as essential to a conscious growing mind, as water is to growing plants. It allows us be more conscious of what we do have and lays the foundation of clarity, where we can see both the positive and the negative side of the coin and even the silver linings between — the rim of the two sided coin.

Appreciation also leads to more empowered actions and to what actually and relatively needs to happen.

3. Ignite the ongoing process of listening and communicating.

Communication here is not just becoming good at putting thoughts into words. It’s a constant process of being attuned to reality, via listening and checking into reality with sometimes radical honesty. That includes listening to our own self in the present moment — finding out what truly matters to us and what we actually want to contribute to. But also listening to the feedback loops from both our actions and non-actions relatively. Communication is the single most important relational builder and fertilizer for healthy culture wherever we are relatively. The process seems universal. So by making room to meet the relative reality of others can go a long way in many life sustaining practices — including work cultures. Embracing diversity and unique contribution to the whole seems essential and highly regenerative. We now know that diversity leads to dynamism that would not be there otherwise. Allowing diversity and listening to it goes under our communication skills. That makes listening a root quality for regenerative business — probably even a super skill business wise. For business is all about fulfilling needs of customers.

Practically, listening also leads to informed decisions, informed decisions then become the quality of the actions that sustain both relationships and businesses.

4. Igniting the ongoing process of serving a purposeful vision

It is not enough to set goals. If those goals don’t come from the seeds of what we truly want to manifest. Or what needs to manifest based on the feedback loops, which is where we anchor our deeds into our relative reality.

If goals are made merely to fill in a superficial lack — they are likely to wear out of drive at some point and merely contribute to the habits of consumerism and degeneration. Hence why it may serve both ourselves and our goals better to connect them to a deeper “why” — a seed purpose.

We can then also not only use our “why” to set goals, but to connect more deeply to our relative environment in such a way that we find more enjoyable meaning within it. But this is also a way to go for businesses and is proven approach that leads to more substantial outcomes.

It can be vital and healthy to regularly reconnect to and inquire into our own why. Why are we doing this? What does it serve in the long run? A needed inquiry — especially if we feel we lost out sense of purpose in what we are doing. Life coaches are specialized in helping with this very process of reconnecting us to the realm of possibilities and then anchor it into our relative reality. Hire one for your team!

Goals then become part of the specific action plan that sets our visions in motion relatively and specifically. Pins on the map towards a greater destination — the vision.

5. Igniting the ongoing process of effective action.

When it comes to physical reality, we are dealing with relativity and specificity. We need to stay grounded to that soil. It is not enough to only bask in the idealism of our beautiful visions and the infinite possibilities of our imagination. Although our vision and idealism are of high value and important relationally to the process as a whole. But then we need to find relevant ways to convert our visions and goals into specific and relative actions. For if we are too general about what needs to be done — nothing gets done! This is of course also the process of all entrepreneurs and changemakers — bridging the gap between visions and actions — what fun!

Every action is a physical confirmation of inherent choice. The homework lies in all the former processes mentioned above. All of them are perpetual and constant. Everyday we make new choices and have the chance to make new choices. Our goals and vision inform choices, that is what they are for. Some of our choices are habits that are degenerative and unhealthy for ourselves and others. It is not easy to pluck the weed, but it needs to be done by real action. Every such action we take, is an action towards a regenerative future — an action of value to us all.

That is how it happens slowly and progressively, whatever specific aspect of the whole one feels inspired to contribute to.

One action at a time, one day at a time, builds the momentum that eventually sculpts our experience of reality.

Happy ongoing processes!

written by Olafur Aron Sveinsson — Regnerative Entrepreneur


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