August 25, 2017
It’s been well over a year since my last blog post. I’d like to say that life has been too busy or that I’d just been so blissed out that words were inadequate. In my heart of hearts, though, I know that I’ve been caught up … not in the busy-ness of life, but in the business of it.
Let me explain … since the run up to the presidential election, you know, the one that put a “businessman” in the White House, I’ve been noticing the prominence of the word, branding in relation to everyday topics that once were just, well, everyday topics. From politics to friendships, civil discourse once transpired without mention of the word, brand.
Lately, I’ve overheard conversations about Facebook and Twitter accounts (among others) in which the main concern seemed to be an individual’s personal brand. “She just hasn’t branded herself well,” I’ve heard, “her page is boring. No wonder she doesn’t have many friends.”
In politics, too, I’ve noticed commentators remarking on a candidate’s or a party’s brand and how actions or speeches hurt or help. These days, it seems, one of our primary public concerns should be the President’s or the White House’s brand. But, what about the content of important issues faced by the leaders at the highest levels of our government? I wonder why the focus of our collective attention is directed toward branding over delving more deeply into the problems of war, racism, climate change, poverty, education and the causes of crime?
I have been bothered by the branding of America and at a loss for how to understand it, let alone articulate my vexation in a thoughtful way. After long months of introspection, I wonder whether it isn’t simply an expression of human evolution. The theory of Spiral Dynamics, proposed by Christopher Cowen and Don Beck in the 1990’s, anticipates a social/psychological evolution in which entrepreneurism dominates the collective cultural psyche, at least until we evolve to the next level, in which the dominant concerns are expected to be community, equality, education and environmental concerns. Are we transitioning? (For more on Spiral Dynamics visit: http://www.spiraldynamics.com.)
Assuming we are fortunate enough to continue to evolve, we will benefit from sound, guiding principles that reach beyond the tenets of business success. Ancient yogis understood human nature as well as any philosophers to follow. The Yoga Sutras offered a moral and ethical code, grounded in spiritual wisdom, helpful, even today, in navigating the complex terrain of human impulses and behaviors. The yamas and niyamas documented in the Yoga Sutras can serve as a guide to successful human evolution. I highly recommend familiarizing ourselves with them, discussing and interpreting them for our 21st century reality, and practicing their wisdom daily to the best of our ability. (For an introduction to the yamas and niyamas visit https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/live-your-yoga-discover-yamas-niyamas.)
Let’s leave the business of branding ourselves and make it our business to BE ourselves, to BECOME our best selves, evolving as a human race, toward unity, our destiny as promised by the Ancient yogis. ~ Namaste ~
Inner Reaches Blog
Dee Gold M.A., ERYT-500
Dee is owner and director of Inner Reaches Yoga & Health. She has been teaching yoga and practicing healing arts for over 40 years.