The corporate world often gets a bad rap! Many of us – particularly those who work in grassroots social change, sustainability, climate activism, and social justice – can be inclined to view corporations as a major source of societal ills and wrong-doing. Some of the negativity surrounding corporations is undoubtedly related to their entanglement with mindsets driven by materialist (shareholder) interests, competition, and externalised (e.g., environmental) costs that are now becoming more and more visible for all to see. Corporations have also been major sites of social experimentation, some of which have led to harmful outcomes – for example, treating human beings like machines in the attempt to streamline working processes and outputs to maximise profits. Now these machine-like ways of working are recognised as causing dysfunction; and many corporations are striving to prioritise holistic values and well-doing.

And now let’s face it: We know that we can’t transition towards the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible without involving our corporations. Most of us in industrialised countries rely on the output of corporations, whether that be in form of employment for us or our family and friends, the products and services we use, the tax contributions made, or the returns provided in pension funds. We depend on corporations for much of our daily subsistence and future planning. As such, we have collectively invested corporations with significant power – a power we must now constructively engage with and evolve to address the global challenges we face.

Many corporations recognise the major role they play in moving us towards a more sustainable future, and they are endeavouring to be part of the solution, rather than the problem. As corporations make the transition, we believe that transpersonal psychology has a lot to offer them to light the way. Transpersonal psychology is a whole-person psychology (bringing together mind, body and spirit) that helps people grow beyond their ego-identifications and that works with the understanding that human nature is embedded in nature at large. This means that our very existence is relational at heart: We belong not only to human communities, but also to our planetary ecosystem; and our flourishing is completely entwined with the flourishing of non-human life on earth.

Transpersonal coaches and psychologists in the Alef Trust community are now galvanising to evolve ways in which transpersonal frameworks and practices can serve corporations, envisioning and facilitating projects and services to co-create a better future for us all.

The term ‘corporate’ comes originally from the Latin word ‘corpus’, which means ‘body’. So, to form a corporation really means to unite people in one body – an idea which is often not a lived reality. When we join with corporations, adopting transpersonal perspectives, we can together work on overcoming felt separation and fragmentation. Transpersonal frameworks enable us to better understand our interconnectedness with each other and the natural world. They also offer us practices to feel and sense that interconnectedness on an embodied level. And they help us to bring more of ourselves to work – for example, by inviting us to make sense of complexity through engaging our multiple intelligences. By engaging with transpersonal frameworks and practices we can literally expand consciousness and perceive and co-create new ways of being and doing that are rooted in greater eco-systemic awareness and driven by greater emotional and relational intelligence, combining the power of heads, hearts, and hands.

In sum, as a community of transpersonal psychologists and coaches we see that corporations face an uncertain future, struggling to make sense of the challenges and complexity we are all experiencing. Corporations can feel tensions between profit and purpose, struggling to support the wellbeing and flourishing of people and communities. However, there’s a growing recognition that a deeper sense of interconnection is part of the solution, bringing hearts and minds together. It’s when we meet in our shared humanity, and make our vision for a better world a lived experience between us, that we can begin to act from a greater place of coherence and wisdom, bringing us ever closer to the more beautiful world we all know is possible. 

And in all of this it’s worth remembering that while the term ‘corporate’ is often used to describe large businesses, it is also relevant to charity, academic, public sector and governmental organisations – in short, any larger institutional structure that now requires wholesome reformation in service of global transformation.

Keep watching this space as we share examples of what a transpersonal approach to organisational change looks and feels like!
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