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Spiritual stuff vs Material stuff


Is spiritual just fluff and is material all there is?

The dictionary defines spiritual as relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.

The antonyms are physical, material, corporeal, mundane

Personally I need both and I would suggest we all do in these times of information overload, fundamentalist terrorism, quickening change, leaders who are self obsessed, economies that seem to be serving their administrators and businesses that serve their shareholders rather than the people who serve them.

There is increasing expectation from companies for ROI so people are working longer hours. The increase in stress leave and burnout as a consequence can be no surprise to anyone. There is no doubt the systems as we know them are not working. I propose we need to find the answers within so we can begin to discern the world we want to live in. maybe, if we all did this the world world could change positively. And yes, there are more and more people who are seeing that it is not spiritual or material, but both.

The most successful people in the world (Elon Musk, Richard Branson) have learned to master their energy and that is what a spiritual practice will help you do.

There is no doubt there has been an increase in people looking for alternative ways to make a living and to have a greater say in how they spend their time, energy and money. There is a growing conversation about meaningful work and a movement towards fulfillment beyond stuff.

By spending some reflective time with yourself you come to have a greater sense of who you are and what makes you tick, then, a lot of things become much simpler. You become clearer on where you will spend your resources. Your Yes’s and No’s become clearer and cleaner. This helps everyone. Your communication is more compassionate and effective. Your actions are more focused and efficient. You tune into your cycles and rhythms and know when you need to rest. This alone would say companies and economies billions.

I began this journey myself a long, long time ago. It became an earnest journey after my world fell apart about 15 years ago (more on that another time) but I recall being 7 and thinking the church I was in was beautiful but why so many rules. At 18 I was seen as privileged to get a graduate position in a national bank. They placed me in a branch processing daily transactions. Sweet Divine Mother of God (yes, I was brought up Catholic), I was competent but so bored and so ill suited to the job. I knew on day 1 I would leave and committed that if I had to spend a significant amount of time at work I would love what I was doing. It’s been a core value since. Much later when living in New York, I borrowed my roommate’s Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi book called Flow and nothing has been the same since. I practice and teach embodied business. Imagine a business that flowed with effortless effort?

However, this post was prompted by an email I received in response to workshop I am presenting tomorrow evening at Soul Flow Yoga in Bondi Junction to introduce my online business program called Conception, Curiosity and Creation. It was such a good question I felt drawn to post it for any others who might have the same questions/doubts.

Hello Eilish, I’m interesting in your business course at Soulflow. I’d like my partner to come along however he’s not really into the “spiritual” stuff. Just wandering if the main content is based on a spiritual approach? Regards, Jacqueline

This was my reply.

Hello Jacqueline

Firstly thank you for your email and your interest.

If spiritual means will we do some yoga and meditation? For this workshop yes. For the course NO but there will be visualisations with some exercises to access the subconscious.

And to answer why do we do yoga and meditation. It’s to connect our breath with our movement to produce a specific outcome or state of being. It alters your mood, emotions and perspective. Meditation quietens our mind so we can hear beyond the constant chatter of the ‘monkey mind’. It brings us to an awareness of the noise that exists in our heads and how we have the power to change that noise if we wish to.

The intention for the course is to get really clear about what kind of business you want to start, the form it will take and to make sure you start a business you will want to be in for the long haul. Sustainable in my language is how does your business/work sustain you and your life in the way you want to live it as well as being sustainable in its greater impact on the environment and others. I won’t be prescribing what that means, you’ll decide this for yourself.

For the course there will be some visualisation exercises so if that comes under spiritual YES. But that said, I really want to teach this course because I see so many people rushing into business/work/projects with little foresight, planning, research. And doing stuff just because they can but that is not aligned with who they are or the life they want to live and the way they want to live it.

I want you to create a business that builds on what you already know (even if the business is in a different area) and takes you in a direction you want, working with people you like, doing work that engages you and vitally important (otherwise it won’t last/succeed) supports you well financially, emotionally and yes, energetically (spiritually). During the course YOU will define what that means. How much you need/desire and what you will do to get it. I decided at 18 years old we spend too much time working to not love what we do. This is one of my core values.

I have worked for myself for more than 25 years and counting, have had great success and made plenty of mistakes too. My intention is you learn from mine and save time, tears, frustration, money and energy.

The course will be immensely practical with the focus being to deliver a clear vision, values and path for your work in the world. This is not your business as usual course. It will have components of that but it is based on using business as a way of creating your vision in the world, your philosophy, your contribution, your belief about how business could be. It is an integrated approach based on what I have learned and experienced and what I believe is the way we will all have to create our work and our businesses in the future.

There’ll be a mix of left brain – logic and reason, strategy and planning and right brain – intuitive, creative, adaptive. It integrates design thinking with metaphysical work. I teach embodied business, working and living.

It’s about you finding your conviction, commitment and clarity. You’ll believe in what you are doing to the core of your being. The process may be confronting at times but in a way that is compassionate to yourself and others. You’ll emerge stronger and clearer on the other side. It’s values based so you have a clear map of what you will and won’t do. Business can be challenging but my experience attests that time spent in this conception and curiosity phase means it will be less effort when you move into the operations phase. You will be clearer before you go to market and have foundations that guide your actions and decisions. When you can make decisions with confidence you save time, energy and money. You are also clearer on your market: whom you will work with and you’ll find you’ll attract people who are drawn to work with you.

Design thinking follows this map: conceptualisation, development, iteration and realisation. This is not a one time exercise. You’ll find you return to this with each new evolution and stage of your business. This is not for your partner if he wants the usual linear business education of mission, vision, market, business plan and strategy. This model leads from the right creative brain but is supported with plenty of logic and reason (left brain). We need both. I would recommend you both come to the workshop tomorrow night. Ask him to come with an open mind. He can ask as many questions as he wishes.

Thank you for asking this question. It always takes courage to reach out and being in business or doing anything differently takes a lot of courage.

I hope to see you tomorrow.



I’ve just opened the online program. I’d love you to be part of it. I’m really excited to share this work with you to access your deepest creative self. This is the first time I have offered it in this way so it’s a great price too. And of course email me if you’d like to come to an introductory evening as I will be holding more workshops in the next few weeks (not all with yoga but there’s sure to be some grounding to get back in your body).

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