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Sacred Commerce

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Business as a Path of Awakening

Written by Matthew EngelhartAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Matthew Engelhart and Terces EngelhartAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Terces Engelhart
Foreword by Megan Marie BrownAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Megan Marie Brown


List Price: $13.99


On Sale: October 25, 2011
Pages: 136 | ISBN: 978-1-58394-480-6
Published by : North Atlantic Books North Atlantic Books
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Synopsis|Excerpt|Table of Contents


In this timely book, authors Matthew and Terces Engelhart present the idea that love before appearances is the antidote to our spiritual, environmental, and social degradation. Exploring topics such as mission statements, manager as coach, human resources as a sacred culture, and inspirational meetings, they offer a manual for building a spiritual community at the workplace—a vital concept in an age when work consumes the bulk of most adults’ time. Business, the authors explain, is all about providing a service, product, or experience the market wants, and no business can succeed by failing to understand this point. However, integrating the concept of “Sacred Commerce” into business can provide both financial success and spiritual satisfaction. Stressing that every business is an opportunity to make a lasting impact on the lives of both clients and employees, the Engelharts share the tools they’ve learned in their own enterprises to fulfill this vision. Sacred Commerce is the ideal mix of the personal and the practical—a guidebook written by people who have felt success, not just spent it. Dissatisfaction with work is at record levels, and the Engelharts show that you don’t have to suffer personally—or give up your humanity—to pay the mortgage.


From Chapter One: Hearing the CallWe first heard the term “Sacred Commerce” from our friend Ayman Sawaf (he and his partner Rowan are the authors of a book of the same title). As entrepreneurs and seekers, we felt two of our passions—business and spirituality—kindled by Sawaf ’s words. Another of his sayings caught our attention: “merchant priests,” referring to a past and present lineage of “financial alchemists” transforming the world through dedication to intentional enterprise, “holy business” (consider the possibility). Ayman’s words gave form to a new life-purpose for us: Sacred Commerce has been our navigating star ever since.With the rise of a merchant class, the Industrial Revolution, and the accumulation of wealth separate from church and state, money and materialism have monopolized the passion of our modern times. We give obeisance in tall corporate towers and worship in mega-malls that dwarf our church spires in height and opulence. Prayer, meditation, and yoga are no longer spiritual paths but “coping mechanisms” for the tributes demanded by the high priests of advertising.The indigenous tribes of the Amazon basin call us the Termite People. We devour life with a consumptive gnawing while occupied by a world “out there” that leaves us ever hungry. Our consumerism has inflated the ego mechanism, what Buddhists call the “hungry ghost,” into some kind of all-or-nothing game-show race to oblivion. The human sacrifice of the ancient empires pales in comparison to the ignorance of turning our oxygen suppliers—our forests—into junk mail advertisements for air fresheners. What kind of culture jams the space on urinal disinfectants with pharmaceutical advertising? Where is this line of worship taking us?This book takes the view that the empty promise of materialism is now exposed and the game is up, and that the coming exorcism will require Sacred Community. Communion—and by that we mean love before appearances—is the antidote to our spiritual, environmental, and social degradation. For most of us, the pursuit of our livelihood occupies the majority of our attention. Thus Sacred Commerce is a manual for building a spiritual community at the workplace. The word “spiritual” may alienate some of you, since a material god requires that we scoff at alternatives and doubt the practicality and sense of those who propose them. When we use the word “spiritual” in this context, we’re not advocating the adoption of another belief system, only an authentic willingness to look deeply into our lives and see where we are worshiping something other than the fundamental reality of Oneness.Business is all about providing a service, product, or experience that the market wants. No business can succeed eluding this point. While ego pulls off the ultimate conjuring act—the subjective separate sense of “I”—we suggest that freedom from its aloneness is our heart’s desire. Those in search of this ultimate well-being are a growing segment of modern society, and they are projected to soon constitute a trillion-dollar market identified by the acronym LOHAS (lifestyles of health and sustainability). Our Western culture is just starting to understand that life is an inside job and that our consciousness is the real present. Our success with Caf? Gratitude entails training a community (our employees) in love as the state of well-being and turning them loose in a retail environment. Human beings, customers, and employees are ready to awaken, and we all can make it our “business.” This reality demands that we inquire into what possesses us as communities and as individuals; it asks that we be open to acquisition and occupation by Love. “That’s a platitude!” your ego might protest. We suggest, rather, that this is a foundation stone of a heart-based culture, one that is not only necessary to our human survival but all we’ve ever wanted!...

Table of Contents

Foreword by Megan Marie Brien – IX
1. Hearing the Call – 1
2. About Sacred Commerce – 5
3. Our Four Insights – 15
4. Clear on Clearing – 25
5. The Calling of Mission Statements – 33
6. Being as Source – 35
7. Abundance Is an Inside Job – 43
8. The Manager as Coach – 49
9. Manager Medicines: Distinctions – 53
10. Leading Inspiring Meetings – 61
11. The Art of Sacred Service – 65
12. There Is Nothing Wrong – 67
13. Giving Up Being Right – 69
14. The Power of Making Requests – 71
15. The Gift of Acknowledgment – 73
16. The Value of Integrity – 75
17. Looking at Upsets – 79
18. Getting Complete with Failure – 83
19. Being Complete – 87
20. The Freedom of Apologizing – 89
21. Forgiveness Is a Gift – 91
22. The Culture of Human Resources – 93
23. Leaving People in Great Shape While Letting Them Go – 95
24. Work as Play/This Is It – 99
25. Creating Games – 101
26. The Inevitability of Oneness – 113
27. Sacred Commerce Isms – 117
Recommended Resources – 119
About the Authors – 121
Terces Engelhart

About Terces Engelhart

Terces Engelhart - Sacred Commerce
Terces Engelhart has been preparing and serving flavorful food and delicious meals since her childhood. She is interested in the healing power of food to help people who suffer from diet-based diseases, as she did. Engelhart and her husband, Matthew, opened the first location of their popular Café Gratitude 2004 in San Francisco, California. They have opened a second restaurant in San Francisco as well ones in Berkeley, Marin, and Los Angeles. The cafés, which support local farmers, sustainable agriculture, and environmentally friendly products, serve living, organic food made with the freshest ingredients possible.The Engelharts published The Abounding River Logbook as well as The Abounding River board game, both of which focus on their practice of being in abundance. In addition, they lead monthly workshops on this topic and are often asked to be guests on radio and TV shows. The Engelharts live with two of their five children in San Francisco.


“We are avid fans of anyone who can truly make a difference in these challenging times. Café Gratitude is a model for a successful business, and Matthew and Terces have proven they understand the importance of bringing respect, reverence, and love into the workplace. We’re thrilled they have chosen to graciously share their wisdom and experience with this book. There’s hope for us all.”
—Woody Harrelson and Laura Louie, environmental activists and cofounders of Voice Yourself

“The Engelharts have an intriguing and preposterous notion: Companies can now serve as centers of self-realization and CEOs can nurture a business community’s spiritual transformation as well as a healthy bottom line. This is cutting-edge stuff and I’m cheering them on.”
—Chip Conley, Founder and CEO of Joie de Vivre Hospitality

“Café Gratitude is in the humankind business. The Engleharts’ commitment to a sustainable, socially just, and spiritually fulfilling business presence is hopeful in an era of cynicism and indifference. I have benefited from and am inspired by their valiant stand for making love the bottom line.”
—Michel Franti, musician and filmmaker

Sacred Commerce: Business as a Path of Awakening blends quotations from famous religious and political figures (Rumi to St. Francis of Assisi to Gandhi) with the couple’s business philosophy and anecdotes from their experience to provide either an instruction manual or a manifesto—or both—for doing business that honors people’s lives.”
Easier Being Green

“Reading [Sacred Commerce] has completely changed the way I look at business. Of course there is nothing wrong with paying the bills, but if we are not enjoying the process and offering something of value to the people who need it, what is the point of business?… Terces and Matthew Engelhart break down their thoughts on making commerce sacred, and it really struck home…”

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