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Your business is a live thing. It wants to develop and grow. It just needs support, care, and love. Your business has a heart. It has an existence that is separate from you. You are not your business, and your business is not you.

According to the Sufis, everything that exists is an expression of the Divine. Every human, every animal, every plant, every rock. Everything is an expression of the Oneness.

This includes ideas and thoughts. It includes projects, buildings, and businesses. We as humans, who are Divine expressions, may have manipulated things to put together other things. But every single element used is still an expres­sion of the Divine.

Your business, as a creation—whether it’s just a nascent idea or an actual functioning business—has an existence to it. If you can talk about it as a thing, then it has that existence.

If a thing has existence, then it has that Divine connection. The Sufis call that Divine connection the “heart.”

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This beingness and heart of your business, is so important to be aware of. It allows you to really feel the business as something that can develop to the point where it’s carry­ing you.

There are technical ways we can know this. For instance, when a business has a website, it’s having conversations with folks when you’re not present. If someone signs up through a form on your site, and they get an automatic gift by email, that’s your business doing something without you. There are dozens of examples of this, including systems, like the one above, or actual support, when an assistant does something for the business and you don’t have to yourself.

However, at a deeper level, it’s also a way to get more information. The heart of your business is another open doorway to guidance and intuition. There are several types of information one can gain from the heart of the business.

Intimacy with Your Business

It is possible to cultivate a knowingness, an intimacy, with your business. In my experience, most people only interact with their business when they are trying to be productive: to make progress on a task or project. It’s understandable from the viewpoint of our exhausting, hyped-up-on-productivity culture. But it makes no sense whatsover from a heart-based perspective.

My wife Holly and I do many things together. We work on the business, work in the garden, clean the house, cook, and run errands. You know, get stuff done. Those moments are sweet and can be very rich.

However, there are also moments, longer ones now that our kids are teenagers and we’re not in motion every second with them, when we might just be sitting together, with a hot cup of something, in each other’s company.

These moments open opportunities for us to share from our heart. We discuss things that are deeper, broader, and not so task-oriented. We dream. We talk through snags. And sometimes, we just sit in intimate silence, with the dog and the cat, and the boys doing who knows what in another part of the house or outside.

It’s fairly rare for small business owners to take that kind of time with their businesses—to just be with them when not in productive mode. However, doing so is stunningly necessary for success. In these moments you get to know the feel of your business. If you take time with it, you can become aware in your own heart what the heart of the busi­ness is like.

Our clients have had all kinds of stunning insights just sitting with their businesses. They often notice that their businesses are much farther along than they thought—like when I did a double take on our boys one day and realized how grown up they were. When changes happen bit by bit, it’s hard to notice how all the changes add up. But they do.

It’s also in these quieter moments that other kinds of in­formation and guidance can arise.

What Does Your Business Want You To Know?

At Heart of Business, I ask our clients do an exercise wherein they ask the heart of their business what it wants to tell them: what it wants them to know. And also what it needs from them as the owner.

The answers are surprising. Usually what the heart of the business is asking for is very different than what the owner thinks the business needs.

“I thought my business needed me to keep working hard­er, to get all of this done,” one client told us with tears in his eyes. “What I heard in my heart, though, was that the business needs me to rest more, to bring more lightness and fun. It really needs that.”

Over and over (and over) again, I’ve heard similar insights arise. More fun. More rest. Let go of certain projects that ar-en’t necessary. Trust. Know the business wants to succeed and doesn’t need to be pushed. It’s okay to go slowly.

Then, I encourage clients to ask the heart of their business­es this further question: If you get what you need, what is it you want to give?

These answers are equally stunning. Our clients have heard (again, on a level they can feel and really believe) that the business wants to give them freedom, or time off, or the ability to care for their families, or the ability to help a good number of people, or the space to pursue their passions.

These sorts of messages are littered around the business development industry. But in those contexts, they often just sound like pipe dreams or fantastic wishes. To hear your business asking for something surprising and very specific, then hear it wanting to give you something that you yourself cherish—this exchange roots you, the business owner, in a different reality. You truly are, then, in a relationship of mu­tual support with the beingness of your business.

What Your Business Doesn’t Have

Now, let me be clear. I am not saying your business and other inanimate objects have humanlike egos. This point arose because a client, who had been absent from the business for months while caring for a family member who had been ill, was worried she had “disappointed” her business. She was concerned that her business was upset.

My understanding and experience here, is that we as human beings have egos and personalities. We can distort the presence of the Divine within us into misunderstandings, disconnections, and drama. We can feel sad, upset, scared, and angry. This is all in the realm of personality.

This is not true for hearts of other kinds of beings, like businesses, projects, and homes. There is no ego, no person­ality. The heart of the presence in question is a portal to the Divine existence that thing has. There is no way to disap­point or otherwise upset your business in the human sense.

If you ask in the manner I’m suggesting and hear judge­ment or upset, you can be sure you’ve become entangled in your own feelings. This is understandable; it happens all the time. The remedy is to own and embrace your feelings, connect with your sincerity and humility, and listen again, more deeply.

Is It Real?

I’m sure there are folks reading this (maybe you) who have not had these kinds of experiences of communicating with the Divine heart of things. Is this all just imagination? Can these sorts of connections be trusted?

The great thirteenth-century Sufi teacher Muhyiddin ibn Arabi (more commonly called Ibn Arabi, known as al-Sheikh al Akbar, the Great Sheikh) taught that the existence of each thing (whether a person, sunflower, business, web page, or otherwise) is by and through the presence of the Divine Source. He also taught that the separateness of each thing is by and through the hiddenness (or veiling) of the Divine Source.

In other words, everything that exists comes from the Di­vine. Yet the only reason we can see anything as an individu­al thing is that the Divine presence is at least partially veiled, or concealed, within the creation of that thing. Most mystics, including Ibn Arabi, hold that if the Divine were completely revealed, everything would all melt into undifferentiated Oneness.

The reason I’m digging into this obscure mystical teach­ing is to help us touch even more deeply into the profound spiritual insight I have touched on many times in this book: namely, that each thing is a con­nection to Oneness.

You have maybe experienced moments of transcendence, of deep connection. Perhaps it was in nature. Perhaps it was when you were in love with someone. Perhaps it was just an everyday moment when everything somehow made sense or felt unspeakably good, beautiful, and right. Today and throughout history, large numbers of humans have had experiences wherein they feel and deeply know that all of reality is connected—and is somehow upheld by, in, and through love.

Due to the constraints of language and the way many of us are taught about religion, it’s hard to really “get” that the Divine is not an external being—certainly not a beard in the sky. The Divine is a reality that exists within, through, without, and around everything. Furthermore, all things are comprised of this Divine reality, even though the reality is more than all things.

Just pause here. Let that sink in, if you can. Let it marinate in your heart.

The Divine is everything, an infinite Source of Love. Theo­retically, and in practice, it is all accessible through your own heart. And it can be really helpful to access the Divine from different perspectives.

The Divine is both within you and outside you. You are of the Divine, yet the Divine is so much more than you. You have access to the Divine through your own heart.

The same is true of your business. It too is of the Divine, yet the Divine is so much more than your business. You have access to a different perspective/experience of the Divine through the heart of your business.

As humans, it can be easier to access various aspects of the Divine through these specific kinds of experiences, such as connecting with, perceiving, and communicating with both your heart and the heart of your business.

Is it real? As the Sufis say, you can talk and talk and talk about the water, and none of the words will replace the ex­perience of drinking it.

Copyright 2023. All Rights Reserved.
Adapted with permission of the publisher,
Wildhouse Publications, an imprint of Wildhouse Publishing.

Article Source:

BOOK: Heart Centered Business

Heart-Centered Business: Healing from toxic business culture so your small business can thrive
by Mark Silver

For more info and/or to order this book, click hereAlso available as a Kindle edition. 

About the Author

photo of Mark SilverMark Silver is a fourth-generation entrepreneur who has run a distribution business, turned around a struggling non-profit magazine, and worked as a paramedic in the San Francisco Bay Area. The founder of Heart of Business in 2001, Mark is the author of the book, Heart-Centered Business.

A designated Master Teacher (“muqaddam murrabi“) within the Shaddhilliyya Sufi lineage, he has received his Masters of Divinity with a speciality in Ministry and Sufi Studies. As a coach, consultant, mentor and spiritual healer, he has worked with over 4000 businesses since 1999, facilitating thousands of individual sessions with entrepreneurs and has led hundreds of classes, seminars, groups and retreats.

Visit his website at