The Twelve Virtues of the Merchant Priests
I recently reviewed, Sacred Commerce, A Blueprint for a New Humanity, by authors Ayman Sawaf and Rowan Gabrielle. In their brilliant book, Sawaf and Gabrielle talk about the emotional alchemy practiced by the merchant priests of ancient Egypt. As the name sacred commerce suggests, transacting can be an enlightening experience, not the greedy, capitalistic one that we seem to feel is necessary today in the 21st century, but one that assures all parties are equally respected, get the benefit of the deal, and that in every transaction, be it for an ounce of spices or a ton of brick, the parties are gratified, a win-win. For the merchant priests, emotional alchemy was their stock-in-trade and to practice it, they followed the path of Beauty, Goodness and Truth, no easy feat given that the people of ancient Egypt were so invested in “root” chakra thinking. Their main concern was survival and a bad business deal could mean no food on the table during a period in history where you couldn’t just put the week’s groceries on your credit card. By focusing on Beauty, Goodness and Truth, the merchant priest was able to elevate an entire marketplace with his resonance, expanding the field farther and farther beyond his person like a supercharged bubble of light and positivity. Just being inside the bubble changed you into a calmer, fairer, more gracious version of yourself.
It’s hard to think of a modern-day equivalent. Traders on Wall Street want the best deal for their clients and all the yelling and screaming is designed to elicit that singular deal for their clients alone. Our current leadership with its message of “America First” has not sparked the community problem-solving/brain-storming sessions that we will need to avoid the environmental Armageddon that seems destined to take us out if we don’t change course soon. Of all the Peoples of earth, perhaps the closest equivalent to the merchant priests are the Buddhist monks who spend hours chanting for the health and well-being of people they will never meet. But one small group in a world of over 7.5 billion people is not enough to elevate us all.
In the routine business dealings of the last century, the only thing that mattered was the “bottom line,” i.e., how much profit a business made. However, in 1994, John Elkington, an author, advisor, and entrepreneur who is known as a global authority on sustainability and corporate responsibility thought differently, coining the term, “triple bottom line.” In addition to profits, businesses should strive for and be guided by social and environmental/ecological goals. This assures a win-win for everyone and the planet and sounds a lot like merchant priest-speak. Similarly, by introducing spirituality into every exchange, you elevate that transaction above the 3-D world by including the “4th bottom line,” a/k/a, “spirituality.”
As an exercise to understanding the mindset of the merchant priest, Sawaf and Gabrielle recommended focusing on the 12 virtues of the merchant priest — honor, loyalty, nobility, virtue, grace, trust, courage, courtesy, gallantry, authority, service, and humility — to “automatically lift us to a higher octave of being.”
As a personal exercise for 2018, I’m going to take their advice and focus on one virtue a month until the year’s end. For the month of January, it will be “honor.” I like this idea of concentrating on one thing for an entire month. It’s so un-2017 where I focused on 14 different things every three seconds 24/7. It’s exhausting, frankly, and not all that good for your brain. So I’m taking the time to settle in, think it through, breathe a little, and when I’m ready, I’ll report out. Perhaps I can increase my own resonance in this manner, and in a small way, uplift my little part of the world.
A most happy and healthy New Year to you and yours. May this year be the one where we wrangle less over trivial matters, look within rather than without for answers to what really matters, and lift our heads to the sun, and each other, more frequently. May we each find nothing but love reflected back to us from every face we see — for that is the real gift of resonance.