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, ...
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Sacred Commerce: Business as a Path of Awakening

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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 the Trade Paperback edition.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781583944806
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books
  • Publication date: 10/25/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 136
  • Sales rank: 1,042,310
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Matthew and Terces Engelhart are the owners of Café Gratitude, a popular organic vegan restaurant chain in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. Terces is also the author of I Am Grateful, a recipe and lifestyle book based on their restaurant. They live in San Francisco.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Read an Excerpt

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!...

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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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
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2008

    A reviewer

    ¿Sacred Commerce: Business as a Path of Awakening¿ offers to share tools for building a spiritual community in the workplace, developed by the authors in running their own businesses. While the book does tantalize the reader with a few interesting ideas, it falls short of the mark with poor organization, inadequate introduction to concepts, lack of detail, and non-productive distractions. The authors expect a great deal from the reader, perhaps writing to an audience of Buddhist capitalists who are already familiar with Sawaf and Gabrielle¿s ¿Sacred Commerce: The Rise of the Global Citizen,¿ various popular self-help books, and stories written on Starbucks coffee cups. New terms are frequently used without definition and without strong enough contexts for the reader to be able to do more than guess at the meanings. Combined with these undefined terms is an abuse of the English language (intended to be cute or catchy) that makes the text often confusing and difficult to read, coming off as meaningless drivel at the best of times. Some of the ideas and terms border on offensive, such as the idea of the business manager as a ¿shaman,¿ probably because the authors fail to sell the reader on the core concepts. While the book does present one or two guidelines for implementing their methods, and a few exercises that suggest ways to put their ideas into practice, mostly the ¿tools¿ are scantily presented with insufficient explanation, few illustrative examples, or sufficient detail to make the techniques and ideas particularly useful or even understandable. In general, the book is poorly organized, almost appearing to be a random collection of chapters with no clear transitions from one topic to the next, and something that appears to be a glossary (but on close inspection, is not) inserted in the middle. Hopefully, when the finalized version hits the shelves, it contains the promised ¿Appendix¿ (not found in the advanced reading copy read by this reviewer). The text is riddled with distractions that fail to lead the reader to the point and often detract from the flow. Spiritual quotes interrupt rather than inspire. The authors imply self-doubt or defensiveness in the form of negative statements, such as ¿Our Sacred Enterprise¿ is often accused of being a cult¿¿ that add nothing to the reader¿s understanding and diminish the book¿s credibility. Other seemingly random or out-of-place statements and anecdotes simply leave the reader wondering what the original point was. Priced similarly to best selling classics in the genre (for example, ¿7 Habits of Highly Effective People¿ or Lencioni¿s business fables), this very thin book does not deliver the same bang for the buck. Short on content and failing to inspire, ¿Sacred Commerce: Business as a Path of Awakening¿ comes off as a mildly interesting, sketchy outline of a book-in-progress, or worse, an advertisement for a trendy restaurant chain disguised as a professional improvement book.

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