The Translucent Revolution
What is translucence? What's it like to live that way? And why is the founder of Men's Wearhouse translucent?
BY: Interview by Deborah Caldwell
The second bottom line is the planet. And that is where a business dedicates itself to leaving the planet a healthier environment than the one it found. So the business gives more to the planet than it takes. For example, re-planting trees would be a translucent practice. Recently bothBP
, two oil giants, underwent a huge shift toward translucence. They’ve become much more translucent at the end of the last decade. In 2000, BP changed its name officially from British Petroleum to simply BP.
Their logo is green now.
Their logo is Beyond Petroleum. And their dedication, their motivation, is to find sustainable alternatives to oil by 2032. And they’re on their way to that, they’re working a lot with solar panels, with fuel cells. They’re exploring all kinds of clean alternatives to oil. Shell is the same. Those are two businesses that have become much more translucent.
The third bottom line is profit. You can’t run a business without making money. But if a business only dedicates itself to profit, nothing else, which many corporations do, you’ve rather missed the point of being alive.
And there is a fourth bottom line, which is the workplace as a temple of spiritual practice. Where the workplace is not only about People-Planet-Profit, but it’s also about human beings having a place where they can shine. Where their true nature can shine and give its gifts most luminously. And there are some businesses like that where they recognize everybody in the company is an embodiment of spirit. The company exists to give those people the opportunity to completely manifest their divine nature.
Can you have a translucent life within organized religion?
In every religion there is a spectrum. One end is fundamentalism. At the other end of the spectrum, within every religion, there are the more translucent expressions of that religion. Which is when religion becomes what it’s intended to be.
It’s easy to find translucence in Buddhism and Hinduism, and Sikhism. There’s Kabbalah in Judaism. There’s Sufism in Islam. Where is it in Christianity?
Oh, all over the place. Christianity has a very strong tradition of mysticism.
But is it alive now?
I haven’t found a lot of evidence of that.
Start with the New Thought Churches, like Unity Churches. I teach at a lot of Unity Churches and they are primarily Christian. The only thing that’s different is that they recognize the unity of all religions. But they are primarily Christian.
Marianne Williamson talks about the teachings of Jesus. And she talks about Jesus as the great example, rather than the great exception. But let me also share with you something from much more conventional Christianity, another of the people I interviewed, the retired Bishop of Edinburgh Cathedral. You have to understand Edinburgh Cathedral in Scotland is a stronghold of the Anglican Church. This is one of the most conservative strongholds of established religion in the Anglican tradition. And Richard Holloway was the Bishop at Edinburgh Cathedral. This guy is wide awake. Absolutely knows himself to be one with God. He recognizes the living Christ is who he is and who everybody else is.
Some people call the idea the “Christ Path” to distinguish it from traditional Christianity.
He said some Christians were very offended by his view because they were committed to the idea of humanity’s being fallen, and Jesus being the son of God who is going to save us. But many other people breathed a sigh of relief and said, “Richard, thank you so much for coming out and talking in this way. Because I’ve been experiencing this for years; I just didn’t want to tell anybody.”
If you think about it, if people are very dedicated to a genuine religious path, like Christianity, and very much in love with Jesus, and they pray a lot, and they think about God a lot. Of course many of them will wake up and live a translucent life. Because look where they are focusing their attention. It’s only not going to happen if you’re completely, fanatically, and rigidly glued to the word of the Bible, because you’ve fallen in love with words that have been translated and handed down. And that’s where it becomes rigid and eventually violent.
Could you mention concrete examples of what you call “radical positive change” that the world is going through?
We’re going through a transition. Which means we’re going to see symptoms of the death of the old order. And we’re going to see symptoms of the rebirth of the new paradigm. And so if you look at things in terms of what we’re used to, you’re going to see a lot of bad news. The economic structure we have is entirely based in the idea of something missing. Advertising only works with people who feel their life is missing something. And so you can persuade them that they can feel better if they just buy your latest gizmo.
Our economic structure favors tremendous economic disparity. Can you believe that on the same planet there could be somebody manufacturing goods that are going to be sold in Wal-Mart, somebody could be manufacturing goods in a third world country earning one dollar a day? Whereas Sam Walton, the late owner of Wal-Mart, was making $220 million year. If this were a member of your family, it would be unbelievable. This kind of economic system might well collapse in the next decade. Because its support is the old kind of mind. If you’re concerned about maintaining the value of your stock market portfolio, if you’re concerned about maintaining your job under any circumstances, you can continue to buy stuff, and things might get a little rocky. But if we look at the number of people experiencing their lives as blessing, experiencing this moment as alive, as free, if you notice people dedicating their lives to tremendous service and creativity--then there is a lot of good news. I think that most important evidence is the fact that there are so many people experiencing this shift of consciousness themselves.
Why do you think that 3 to 4 million translucent people in the world is a lot, when there are six billion people globally?
When we study the way that social systems change, evolution is initiated through a small percentage of population reaching what is called a tipping point. And this has most recently been explained by Malcolm Gladwell and his book The Tipping Point. He demonstrated, for example, the shift from music being sold from tapes to being sold on CD’s, didn’t go one percent, two percent, and three percent. Like every month another percent. It went, .1 percent, .2 percent, up to .9 percent, 1 percent, 92 percent. And that seems to be how shift happens. Another fascinating parallel was what happened just before the Renaissance. A few decades before the Renaissance, Copernicus was a theoretical astronomer who suggested that rather than the planets going around the Earth, they in fact went around the Sun. Copernicus suggested that in fact, we were all going around the Sun, which would make everything make sense. He died in 1540 with his books still unpublished, so nobody knew about his theories. And it took Galileo, with the world’s first telescope,and other people, to test Copernicus’ theories. And to discover they were accurate. By 1600 we were headlong into the Renaissance. And by 1600 everybody recognized that we were all going around the Sun. That discovery precipitated an avalanche of creativity, music, architecture, literature. Because we shifted from feeling that we were in a universe governed by an eccentric deity, to a universe that makes sense.
It only took the more intelligent, educated people, probably less than one percent, to recognize what was true for the whole culture to change. We see that many times when humanity has gone through a leap. One percent of the world’s population today would be 60 million people, and many people have suggested that it’s going to be about 60 million people who need to shift in this way to see a new kind of collective consciousness on this planet.
Meanwhile, what’s important to you and me is that we wake up and live translucently. And encourage other people to do so. And then we’ll find out what the tipping point is.