Spirituality is embedded in every human being. Spirit is free from bias or dogmas of societies.
This article reflects upon three of the many innovators who pursued their entrepreneurial journey in a spiritual way, free from worldly mind-sets. I have used the examples of Steve Jobs, Mark Rothco and Mikhail Kalashnikov of AK 47 fame. They come from various professions and are innovators in their own fields.
Who is an innovator?
An innovator finds his/her own way to the destination and doesn’t necessarily follow the set route. One who explores, invents and creates is the real innovator and entrepreneur. Spirituality doesn’t necessarily mean nirvana. The enlightenment achieved on the spiritual path can be extremely worldly and common.
So, attainment of state of bliss and grace is not limited to priests and monks. It is within everyone’s grasp.
We take it or leave it is on us to decide.
Willingness to learn and experiment is what brings a monk and an entrepreneur on the same plane.
Both have an uncanny knack of experimenting with themselves without bothering about the views of others. Another common trait is that they have endless hope and courage to find opportunities even in the most despairing situations.
Now let’s take example of an innovator, an artist and an inventor who took to spiritual ways in their own strides.
Steve Jobs- An entrepreneur and innovator
Steve Jobs was an entrepreneur, a practicing Buddhist, and an innovator. Was he on a spiritual path or not is a matter of debate.
According to details given by Joshua Guilar and Karen Neudorf, Jobs dedicated his life to soto zen Buddhist meditation practise. He also had a spiritual advisor appointed to guide him to spiritual path and simple living practices.
Jobs believed that he could infuse human traits in machine and spiritual practices helped him a lot. He had a troubled health in later stages of life but was he successful in doing something special? Will leave this on reader’s judgment!!
Related article- Steve Jobs- Spiritual innovator
Mark Rothco- An artist and innovator
Mark Rothko was a famous Russian/American artist of Surrealism and spirituality. He preached to travel on the spiritual path through observing both finite and infinite. ”Art to me is an anecdote of the spirit,” Rothko said.
Through his abstract images, he urged his audience to project their own internal ideas to seek clarity and spirituality. The Rothko Chapel in Houston is one of the artist’s greatest masterpieces. He preached a clarity of ideas through his paintings. He later slipped into depression and illness due to which he committed suicide. Did he get swayed on the spiritual path?
Mikhail Kalashnikov- An inventor and innovator
According to the reports in the Mirror (UK), “Mikhail Kalashnikov, who designed the AK-47, wrote a letter to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church shortly before his death in December. He ‘feared he was to blame’ for the untold millions it had been used against.” He never took any money for his invention and in his letter mentioned about the spiritual pain.
He composed his letter from the deathbed which was named “My spiritual pain is unbearable”. His invention has been termed as one of the most iconic one as over 100 million AK-47 have been sold. What does Kalashnikov mean by the spiritual pain and why did he keep getting this pain from within?
Innovation and spirituality- The connection
Do these examples have anything in common?
Yes; they were on spiritual path in some way or the other, were rich and famous, were innovators, artists and creators. We might argue that none of them was completely satisfied and all of them had to undergo spiritual, mental and physical pain during their lives.
Were they on the wrong path? It is again a matter of debate but even more prominent question is whether being on spiritual path mean that one should be devoid of any pain or suffering?
If that is the case, we all are aware of the fate of Jesus Christ, Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, Lord Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and the list continues endlessly.
All these great human beings had to undergo a lot of suffering to attain nirvana.
What I believe is that even during the pain they were in a state of bliss and once you are an innovator on a spiritual path; fame, pleasure, materialism and suffering become irrelevant (not meaning non-existent) as there is only one sensation and that is of mental peace and spiritual bliss.
The delight supersedes the pain and suffering. It’s the entrepreneur in all of us who would decide the way it takes to achieve the state of bliss while on the spiritual path.
We just need to set that entrepreneur free to start the real journey of nirvana without being a monk and then the real story unfolds which has only one reader and one viewer- our own psyche!!
Related article- God, Buddha, Steve Jobs and Lessons of Spiritual Leadership