An extraordinarily well-written book that challenges the reader to reflect on important topics such as the divisive role of religion in war and the nature of God. Its format, which combines quotes from some of the world's greatest thinkers with the author's own insights, is original and highly educational…it makes compelling arguments about the need for people to set aside their religious differences and think of themselves as spiritual siblings in the universe.

— The Hon. Anibal Acevedo Vila, Governor of Puerto Rico

Although raised a Methodist Minister's son, I long ago dropped my church affiliation for various reasons and had really been drifting along with my own philosophy on life until I read your book. If I could sit on the porch with God, the first thing I would do is thank him for you… I herewith place an order for one thousand copies. I intend to send one to every leader of every nation on this planet, to their deputies, and to their ambassadors to the United Nations. I am also considering making copies available in libraries in the area, and I may even dare to send some to the local churches…

— Stanley Hershey, Niland, California

I believe the words of this unique book, like the words of timeless peacemakers, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Thich Nhat Hanh and Kahlil Gibran, will prevail to the benefit of all who read it, and should occupy a place on the shelf of every caring human being.

— Tim O'Hagan, Cape Town, South Africa; former editor of the Reader's Digest; author/editor of 11 books, including Discovering the Wonders of Our World; the Reader's Digest Guide to Alternative Medicine; and Spectacular World of Southern African Wildlife.

Religions divide. Spirituality Unites.
Nila Sagadevan

Copyright © 2003

“Well, whadya know! We got a white-lookin’ nigger flyin’ this plane…” I overheard one of my passengers remark, sotto voce.  I was working as a commercial pilot on Alaska’s North Slope flying ‘roughnecks’ and supplies to oilfields strewn across this frigid, featureless hell. An aristocrat from the “deep south” (obviously only temporarily pressed into menial service as a pipeline welder) had caught a glimpse of my dark-skinned face through the cockpit door and elected to apprise his comrades of his learned assessment.

We were about to begin taxiing on this godforsaken ice strip in a near-whiteout when my copilot—a Canadian chum who also overheard the gibe—gave me one of those “let’s teach the bastards a lesson” grins and pulled the power levers back to cut-off. The outside temperature was around 40 below zero. My friend and I stepped out of the aircraft (a 20-passenger twin) and into our warm-as-toast Suburban crew transport. We kicked back, sipped hot coffee and waited for the fun to begin. Strangely, I don’t recall being angry; I actually found the whole business to be a little humorous.

At -40 deg, the temperature inside an airplane — especially one with its doors agape — plummets once the engines spool down. The dozen or so good ol’ boys inside hadn’t a warm sanctuary, as did we, to which to escape—the vehicle that had dropped them off was long gone. As expected, apologies from the partially frozen parka-clad genealogist were swift in coming, and we were all soon on our way. (The chap who actually made that sagely pronouncement and I eventually became good friends; a successful catfish farmer in his own right, he in fact invited me to a barbeque at his home in Arkansas years later.)

Looking back at over three decades in this country as an immigrant from Sri Lanka, I can recount only this one overt act of racial indecorousness directed at me. So what’s the point in regurgitating this ripple of unpleasantness buried in what is otherwise a span of rich, positive experiences?

A few kids in school have begun to taunt my 11-year-old son as an “Iraqi terrorist”.

And I am mad as hell.

Some may dismiss the slur as innocuous childish horseplay. I see it as symptomatic of a deep-rooted societal problem. These children’s behavior bespeaks an upbringing by careless—probably clueless—parents. Racial barbs like these can be brutally hurtful, not only to the child at whom it’s directed, but, obviously, to his loved ones as well. And I find my son’s anguish all the more wrenching because he’s such a kind, friendly boy who strives to be his best at all times (a straight-A Honors student, he’s the winner of thirty-some tournament chess trophies to boot, if you’ll pardon the preening.) He is understandably hurt and confused. And I, not just as a father, but also as a human being, commiserate with him and share his shredded little heart.

This bit of ugliness in the life of a kind and friendly child led me to ruminate upon my own thread of race-related experiences since arriving in the US from Britain nearly four decades ago. And it quietly began to dawn—no, rise as through a sea of molasses—that while the isolated Alaskan incident I mentioned may have been the only overt act of rudeness directed at me, countless subtle behavioral swipes have actually peppered the course of my life in this country. A series of low-level tremors that register almost subliminally, these events constitute more an incessant, annoying hum of mild discomfiture than bloody cuts of aggression.

For someone of my constitution, racial cuts are readily manageable. Duplicitous patronage and quiet conceit, on the other hand, are slimy devils that defy grasp.

These annoyances—I treat them as nothing more—assume a spectrum of hues as broad as life itself. Interestingly, they seem to vanish the moment I speak. Whether it’s the dulled British accent that does it I don’t know, but it never fails to elicit a look of bewilderment. I frequently spy expressions that vary in shade from mild surprise (“this chap appears to be educated”) to downright disbelief (“who the fuck is this Indian sonofabitch”), depending on the caliber of the individual under whose scrutiny I happen to fall.

I suppose I’m expected to bask in the glow of my thus-stoked immigrant ego and celebrate these endless moral victories over bigotry. But I’ve come to view these initial wordless introductions—my obligatory presentation of credentials, if you will—as being simply too routine to even consider, let alone gloat over. Decades of exposure to these disharmonious undertones have not so much desensitized me as made me impervious to their prejudicial tenor. At a subconscious level these episodes bear the flavor of some medieval ritual of acceptance...a bizarre rite of passage, if you will, for the sole purpose of laying claim to my status as an equal human being.

These passing bits of theater could unfold just about anywhere.

Standing in a queue at the local supermarket, for instance. The crusty old codger at the counter is effusive with his cheery greetings and courteous platitudes to the string of people (WASPs, of course) ahead of me. But when yours truly reaches the hallowed orb of this paragon of etiquette, the only sound that shatters the silence is the clanging of the cash register followed by a dour, almost militaristic demand for money.

Not even a half-swallowed “please” trails off as a limp offering of redemption.

Of a sudden there’s no smiley “Good morning”; no spirited, “How’re you today?” No courteous, “Find everything okay?” Nope; just icy silence. He does maintain eye contact, of course, but just not with me. The beneficiary of his lofty gaze could embody all the excitement of, say, a well-stocked shelf.

But I relish seizing every such occasion as a challenge!

Cheerfully handing him the money, I explode with exuberance: “Well, how’s it going, mate? Having a splendid day, are you?” I may also throw in a flank attack on the hapless bag-boy for good measure: “Paper, please; I am ecologically sensitive”.

The captain’s eyes dart about in flickers of shock, frantically searching for the source of the eloquence. It couldn’t possibly be this Indian-looking ex-goatherd standing before him; that would be absurd. But once he mentally connects the dots between brown skin and silver tongue, the poor devil comes alive with verve and vigor that surpasses even his earlier virtuoso performances to the WASP contingent.

This sort of thing happens more often than I care to recall.

But sometimes, even after such a ‘truce’ has been drawn and rapport established, there still remain some deep-seated beliefs even these fresh initiates in geo-politesse find difficult to shed. Sadly, this is true even of a great body of decent, well-meaning Americans who have limited conversance with foreign cultures.

It’s an almost innocent presumption of a certain cultural “incongruity” from which they believe all foreigners—especially dark-skinned ones—suffer.

And this usually ratchets the drama up a notch.

A semblance of parity already having been established at the basic human level, the deeper appraisal begins. “He’s probably an engineer,” they conjecture with a wary eye;  “A doctor, perhaps. No matter—he’s a foreigner.”

At this point the nice ones begin to tread gingerly in their choice of words, eyeing me with a wisp of quaint curiosity. Whatever vestige of intelligence I’ve thus far demonstrated I possess is now somehow counterweighed by the assumption that I couldn’t possibly know much outside my ethnic mise en scene.

They deduce, almost reflexively, that I’m unlikely to be as conversationally savvy as a “typical” American. Yes, polite small talk may have proven itself tenable, but the cultural divide is deemed simply too wide to bridge; it is assumed that nuance, inflection and vernacular would plunge hopelessly into the abyss.

There’s sometimes even an inordinate concern for my sensitivities (“these chaps worship cows, you know.”) Profanities are sucked back in midair, leaving my cherished Alaskan lexicon unexercised. Conversational topics face deep pre-analysis to ensure they adapt to my obvious limitations. Banter and jocular repartee are sidelined as it’s presumed they’d only fly over my head.

For instance, when I take my car in for service, the adviser glibly swipes me with his mental barcode scanner and concludes I wouldn’t know a differential from a driveshaft and drifts into tortuous diatribes. The plumber sympathetically grasps for a synonym for “gooseneck” fearing I might panic thinking there’s a bird stuck in the sink. The sommelier’s regal gaze makes a passing assessment as he ponders whether his delicate wisdom would be squandered on ill-bred ears (“besides, do these buggers tip?”)

A request for a Single Malt by name (and year!) transforms the bartender’s initial quizzical squint into a broadening smile of kinship and relief. The weekend racer at the bar who had been delivering a spirited sermon on dynamometers to a visibly dull-witted audience politely shifts gears to accommodate my ‘narrower’ conversational repertoire—and, presumably as a gesture of compassion for “my people,” deftly slides into an empathetic spiel on the Palestinian cause. Firearms, a passionate hobby, are best avoided altogether; even regulars at the firing range (battle-hardened armchair warriors all) assume this fakir wouldn’t know a Mauser from a mousetrap.

Mind you, all of this is usually handled with great fragility and care. But responding to these stereotypical assumptions can be quite frustrating if only because they never seem to be directed at WASPs—unless, I suppose, they walked around with white canes.

Constantly having to leap across this cultural divide even after all these years remains rather a tedious affair. Life sometimes seems one endless, arduous pursuit of that immigrant’s utopia: a swirling, vibrant homogeneity of peoples—a cultural invisibility, if you like. This, I’m afraid, is likely to take a few more generations to achieve.

At any rate, I became aware after a while that things could be worse.

I discovered fairly early in my immigrant life that not all “coloreds” are created equal. There was a clear distinction between being “brown” and being “black.” This was never more obvious than during the dozen years I spent virtually living in Arctic oilfield camps. While these coarse outposts may have been located in Alaska, their populations represented an extraordinarily diverse slice of mainstream Americana, albeit with very few, if any, Blacks. Memories of sitting at meals with these rugged “cat-skinners” and “blade-hands” and “grease-monkeys” in those frozen godforsaken outposts shall ever remain vivid.

Intelligent as these men were, “nigger” jokes were as common as vulgar reaches across the table for the ketchup. The darkness of my skin, strangely, no longer seemed to matter (their perception that I spoke “too good” seemed to eclipse the drawbacks of my complexion.) The objects of derision at these dizzy intellectual summits were not lowly “spicks”, “gooks” or “ragheads” (my lot), but “spooks”, the Negroes. As repugnant as I found the barbs directed at this unfortunate group, I had little choice but to reluctantly play the role of an observer of low life, and quietly ponder just how many of these bigots must go unnoticed on the streets of America.

A great melting pot this country may be, but melanin, alas, seems not to melt so easily.

CEO, Omnicom Corporate Communications Ltd

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

It’s an honor to have been invited to speak at this august forum this afternoon. Thank you.

I noted that much of the promotional material relating to this discussion referred to the topic as being about “sales.” Well, I’m afraid that could be a little misleading. I must caution those of you who’ve come here with expectations of learning new sales ‘techniques’, or ingenious new selling methodologies: You might be in for a mild disappointment!

With that being said, I think you’ll walk away with something hopefully a lot more useful. I can assure you it’s going to be an exciting afternoon as we walk together down some fascinating new avenues, exploring some novel new ideas.

You see, this discussion has little to do with ‘selling’ per se—at least not as most of us gathered here have come to understand and practice that fine art. Rather, it is meant to be an exploration into more, shall we say, ‘esoteric’ areas… Areas such as values, philosophy, shifting paradigms—and indeed, even consciousness and the mysterious workings of the human mind!

We’ll touch upon some unusual new practices, and ways of thinking, that are taking root in companies in the West… Practices such as meditation; visualization; centering, and the like. We will probe into why corporate giants such as Apple, Aetna, Lotus, Avaya, and a host of others, and major organizations such as the World Bank are actively probing these fascinating new areas and providing encouragement and assistance to help their employees learn more about these emerging new practices.

Of course, my company, Omnicom, also does offer what’s generally referred to as ‘sales training’. We also cover areas such as motivation, presentation, communications skills, and more. But, as you well know, there are any numbers of companies out there providing instruction in these fields.

As I shall explain, it’s the manner in which Omnicom approaches these areas, and the underlying philosophy that shapes our programs, that make what we do different.

In a nutshell, Omnicom specializes not so much in human resource development, as in human potential development. All our programs are geared toward one end: To help individuals reach their highest intrinsic potential, so they may lead more productive lives—in the workplace, at home, in society—in life.

Our training programs are all designed to help people align their beliefs, their skills, and their behaviors with their personal principles and spiritual values. By taking this unique approach, what we’re doing, essentially, is helping to usher in is a new business paradigm—a paradigm that lays the foundation for the paradigm shifts manifesting with ever greater frequency in our world these days.

Take sales, for instance, arguably the preeminent business skill. Sellers have historically been charged with one task: convince the buyer, by any means necessary, to part with as much of their money as possible—and often without regard for what is truly needed by those buyers. In today’s super-competitive business environment, it’s little wonder, then, that sales people too often treat buyers like sheep to be fleeced. This has been the main reason for the adversarial relationship that exists between sellers and buyers.

One has to wonder why it has been acceptable, all these years, to circumvent our values, and perpetuate a profession that bases its monetary compensation on disrespecting people.

Omnicom’s approach is markedly different—in fact, it turns the conventional sales model upside down. Our programs put the customer in charge of the purchase process based on his or her need to buy—not on the seller’s need to sell. In our view, “selling” should be all about helping customers help themselves find their own workable solutions. And this, we believe, is a major step—even a revolutionary step—toward customer comfort; toward customer delight; and toward customer retention.

Our programs are all based on fundamental human values. We could just as easily label our training methodologies, “from sabotage to success”, because sabotaging our own higher self is what we, as a species have been doing across millennia. We’ve been sabotaging our innate potential for infinite creativity and achievement by focusing almost entirely on economic and material outcomes—often at the expense of higher human values.

Well, Judging by what’s going on around us today, this narrow mode of thinking, clearly, has hit a brick wall.

Today, the shrill screams from the minarets about the “financial meltdown”, and the endless, tragic tales of financial losses and corporate collapses sweeping across the planet like a domino chain, continue to overlook the root cause of this ongoing catastrophe: the human mindset that created it.

Ladies and gentlemen, this isn’t so much a financial meltdown we’re experiencing, as a human meltdown.

How can we gain a deeper understanding of the root cause of all this? What can we do to work towards healing it—healing it from a humanistic, inter-personal perspective? This is what Omnicom’s programs aspire to address.

But a solution to this challenge requires more than some formulaic academic response. It requires a wholly new way of thinking. In fact, as a necessary first step, it calls for an entirely new way of understanding our entire existential reality.

As Albert Einstein wisely posited, “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.”

One hardly needs evidence that the consciousness that created this present day mess is utterly bankrupt. All one has to do is look around. What do we see… An alarming increase in unemployment, homelessness, drug addiction, crime, urban squalor, environmental abuse, personal insecurity, social degradation… In the West, a walk through the streets of London or New York provides plenty of evidence.

It is vital that we understand that the solution to our problems can not be found within our current framework of thinking. As Einstein observed, the solution can only come from a consciousness different from the one that spawned it.

Well, that’s easier said than done. For me, pondering Einstein’s words didn’t conjure even the slightest hint as to what such a “different consciousness” might be, let alone how it could lead to solutions to this planet’s ails.

Until one day, I had what was perhaps my first glimpse of the possibilities that a fundamentally different way of thinking could engender.

Some twenty-five years ago, at a quiet retreat up in the California high desert, I met a remarkable man. And that meeting, to me, was an epiphany… one that caused me to begin to view reality—our physical existence, our relationships with other human beings, with the material world—in a completely different light. And thus began my own, personal journey of self-discovery, and of personal development.

And no—this wasn’t some enlightened spiritual “awakening”! The unlikely “guru” who set me on my path of discovery wasn’t some bearded sage, but a notable physicist, Dr. Brian O’Leary. Dr. O’Leary awakened in me a curiosity that soon initiated a fascinating journey… a journey that led into a realm then relegated to the fringes of science—Consciousness. And as I began to explore this intriguing subject, I began to ask myself some very deep questions… about my role not just as a human being, but also as a professional functioning in a crash-and-burn business world.

Dr. O’Leary, at the time, was a professor of Physics at MIT, the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The fact that he was also the first scientist picked by NASA to serve as an astronaut aboard the Space Shuttle speaks volumes to the man’s stature as a practical scientist. I was having dinner with this brilliant gentleman, and the topic of conversation that evening was his newly released book, The Coming of the New Science. What had got him thinking along “metaphysical” lines, he revealed to me, was a profound “Near Death Experience” he had had following a motorcar accident in Boston.

Dr. O’leary’s search for answers that could hopefully explain his extraordinary experience led him down some very interesting paths. His provocative book begins by delving into the heart of a blossoming new branch of physics: Quantum Mechanics… a strange, paradoxical world where not only do Mind and Matter meet, they become indistinguishable from one another. Because I was initially educated as an engineer, I’ve always had a penchant for science. But this new fast-developing field set science—science as we had come to understand and accept it—squarely on its head.

Over the following months—actually years—I began to pore through a plethora of emerging new books on this fascinating subject. I lost myself in the writings of Richard Talbot, savoring his seminal work, The Holographic Universe… University of Berkley physics professor Fritjof Capra’s first book, The Tao of Physics… Gary Zukov’s Seat Of The Soul, a brilliant thesis that elegantly conjoined the fields of Physics and Consciousness. It seemed the floodgates had opened and human intelligence was suddenly rushing headlong into an exciting new paradigm of physicality that had more to do with the mind than it did matter!

Quantum Physics is showing us that the whole universe—including us—is nothing else but energy. In the quantum world, every human being is a tiny energy field operating, and interacting, in an infinitely large energy field. What this means is that everything is connected with everything, and thus part of the same Source energy. Our thoughts and the subsequent feelings are also energy… and we are all constantly radiating this energy, which interacts not only with the energy of other sentient beings, but also with matter—the “stuff” that forms our material world.

David Bohm, one of the preeminent physicists of our time, calls this the “Implicate Order”… A harmonious universal order in which everything in existence is fundamentally interconnected at an energy level.

By now you’re probably thinking… Look, this is all very interesting, but what do Quantum Physics and all this mind-matter mumbo jumbo have to do with sales, and Omnicom’s training programs?

Well, if the response of the Western corporate world to some of the ramifications of these new discoveries is anything to go by, it may have a lot to do with it.

You see, the overarching human implications of Quantum Physics are staggering. These new findings point to a profound interaction between conscious mental activity and the physical world itself. What these new scientific discoveries are actually beginning to show us is this: We are not observing our external reality. Rather, we are observing our influence upon it!

In other words, what is going on “out there” is totally dependent upon what is going on “in here”. Suddenly, that tired old expression “mind over matter” begins to take on new and very real meaning… And along with it, yet another common expression—one that Norman Vincent Peale introduced into our lexicon over half a century ago: “The power of positive thinking”.

To view all this from a business perspective, these discoveries are beginning to shed a fascinating new light on our understanding of “Human Resources”… They are beginning to show us new ways through which we might develop and optimize our human capital. This unfolding new model—this new consciousness, if you will—holds huge potential in terms of how we can incorporate many of these extraordinary ideas into meaningful new training programs… programs grounded in honesty, compassion, integrity, and respect… Programs designed to achieve win-win outcomes based on a completely different worldview… A worldview based not on cut-and-thrust tactics, and dog-eat-dog strategies, but rooted in higher, exalted spiritual values.

I must emphasize here that “spirituality”, in the way we use that word, has nothing to do with religion, or rituals, or blind faith. Nor, as I have shown, is spirituality antithetical to science or rationality. Spirituality, in a transcendental sense, is the fount of all other values such as humanity, honesty, truthfulness, compassion, rectitude, modesty, morality… All these areas are pivotal to the healthy practice of ethical business—and, especially, to the practice of selling with integrity.

So, physics is now moving into meta-physics in the truest sense of the word—above physics, and rising into the realm of spirituality. Or, at the very least, the line that heretofore separated the two is now becoming increasingly blurred.

Science is now beginning to make it clear that human consciousness can no longer be sidelined as belonging to the realm of the mystics. Physicists and Psychiatrists—yes, even psychiatrists—are going back into time, into ancient Vedic texts, into the Upanishads… into the Bible… the Dhammapada, the Quran…to discover new insights into the mind. And there is clearly much to learn. As the philosopher A.K. Coomaraswamy said, “For every psychological term in English, there are four in Greek—and forty in Sanskrit.

And just as in Quantum Physics, these ancient teachings also tell us that we have the ability to create the world and universe of our intentions. When we are conscious of our intentions—in other words, what’s going on “in here”—we can create a world “out there” that serves us better.

This new way of thinking begins to show us that ethical sensitivity, for instance, is a natural state of mind, and needs to be developed. And as we, in the business world, work out our intangible assumptions, our beliefs, our values, and our guiding principles, we will create better tangible business plans that will be tested by others—and each test is an opportunity to learn and grow.

And the world of business is beginning to pay serious attention to this unfolding new reality. Emerging new “spiritual” practices at companies in the West now include meditation… visualization exercises… centering exercises such as deep breathing to reduce stress… building shared values… active, deep listening… making action and intention congruent… using intuition and inner guidance in decision-making, and so forth. According to a study at Harvard Business School published in The Harvard Business Review, business owners credit 80% of their success to acting on their intuition.

Apple Computer’s offices in California have a meditation room and employees are actually given a half hour a day on company time to meditate or pray; they find it improves productivity and creativity. A former manager who is now a Buddhist monk leads regular meditations there. Aetna International, the insurance giant, and Avaya, the global communications firm, both have rooms set aside for meditation.

Medtronic, which sells medical equipment, pioneered a meditation center at its headquarters twenty years ago. Prentice-Hall, the publishing company, created a meditation room at their headquarters, which they call the “Quiet Room”. Lotus founder and CEO Mitch Kapor practices Transcendental Meditation and named his company, Lotus, after a word for enlightenment.

A University of Wisconsin research study at Pomega, a bio-technology company that had a very high-stress workplace, found that meditation training produced astonishing results in reducing stress and generating positive feelings. Apparel manufacturer Patagonia provides yoga classes for employees on their breaks.

Indeed, this idea has even caught on with the World Bank. A “Spiritual Unfoldment Society” has been meeting regularly at The World Bank for years, with lectures on topics such as meditation and reincarnation... yes, reincarnation — a subject virtually every religion and major philosophy on this planet refers to in some form… A fact that I illustrate through my own book, Warpaint of the Gods, which was published some years ago in the US.

Yes, it certainly appears Business is beginning to discover its real soul. Aaron Feurenstein, CEO of Malden Mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts, which produces popular Polartec fabrics, believes labor is the best asset a company has. He says a company has an equal responsibility to its community and to itself. Since his town has high unemployment, he kept all 3,000 employees on his payroll after a major fire destroyed three out of Polartec’s four factories. So what did his workers do? They repaid his generosity with a 25% increase in productivity and 66% drop in quality defects.

Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, with stores all over the world, purposely built a soap factory near Glasgow, Scotland because it was an area of high unemployment… of urban decay, and demoralization. She made a moral decision to employ the unemployable… and she put 25 per cent of the net profits back into the community because, she said, “This is what keeps the soul of the company alive.”

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s clear that we’re moving rapidly towards a new paradigm, a paradigm based on the supremacy of Consciousness and the essential goodness of the human soul.

The way we see it, the core of spirituality—the core of this evolving new consciousness—is service to our fellow man. It is from out of service that springs all the other requirements for making an impact in quotidian life—be it in business, in industry, in government, or in civil society. This is why service, along with respect, and authentic collaboration, form the tripodal base of Omnicom’s training programs.

Omnicom’s motivation programs, for instance, are distinct from conventional motivation training, which focuses on skills development, and honing on mechanistic approaches. On the other hand, motivation based on “inner growth” is transformative. It can potentially impact the performance of individuals and teams in any endeavor of human existence. This inner spiritual transformation is contrarian to conventional motivational theories such as Maslow’s, which is heavily dependent upon a hierarchy of needs.

We take a similar approach with our Sales and Communications programs. These programs are designed to assist people in aligning their beliefs, skills and behaviors with their personal principles and spiritual values…. To live our life in creative support of the earth and each human being we encounter…. To take responsibility to honor each person’s uniqueness… To be conscious of the fact that to harm another is to only harm oneself.

All our programs are designed to assist people communicate with honesty, integrity, compassion, and respect.

Does all this mean, then, that Omnicom’s programs steer clear of the classical teachings of legends such as Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Zig Ziglar, Stephen Covey, J.M. Perry, and other such icons? Of course not—but our programs show how we can discover new meaning in them—a more authentic meaning. For instance, our training programs strive to show the difference between influence and manipulation… The distinction between selling, and discovering a prospect’s real needs.

You see, we essentially believe that if we could begin by helping people reach their highest intrinsic potential, everything else—more authentic selling methodologies, healthier business practices, higher-quality productivity in the workplace, more robust economies, greener environments, reduced suicide rates, stronger marriages—these would all ensue organically from that developmental process. In other words, it is our belief that the path forward into a new paradigm can only begin through a process self-discovery.

As a great spiritual sage observed centuries ago:

People travel, to wonder at the height of mountains,
At the huge waves of the sea,
At the long courses of rivers,
At the vast compass of the ocean,
At the circular motion of the stars;
And they pass by themselves without wondering.

Ladies and gentlemen, the signals are all around us. It’s about time we began to wonder.

It is only then that we will learn to embrace our natural gift of compassion as we let go of the self-centeredness, and endless greed of our times. It is only then that we will aspire to gain a deeper understanding of a synergistic universe in which we are all inextricably interconnected.

Science and spirituality are fast converging. And they are both showing us that we have the ability to create the world of our intentions.

When we are conscious of our intentions, we can create a world that serves us better.

And when our intentions are based in love and awareness, we will change the world in which we live.

What a beautiful, extraordinary concept indeed. When you take this idea to heart, you understand more fully why every one of us is so important to this troubled world right now.

Ladies and gentlemen, we at Omnicom invite you to join us in moving forward, together, towards this exciting new business paradigm…a paradigm that could well signify the single greatest evolutionary step in human thinking.

Thank you.

Copyright © 1978

Wake! For the spring has scattered into flight
The vows of Lent and bids the heart be light;
Bring on the roast, and take the fish away
The season calls—and women’s eyes are bright.

Before the phantom of pale Winter died
Methought the voice of Spring within me cried,
When Hymen’s rose-decked altars glow within
Why nods the laggard bachelor outside?

And at the signal I who stood before
In idle musing shouted, “Say no more!”
You know how little time we have to love,
And love’s light hand is knocking at the door.

Now the new moon reviving old desires
The gallant youth to sentiment aspires,
And ere he saunters forth on conquest bent
Himself like unto Solomon attires.

How blithely through the smiling throng he goes
His winter garments hung where no one knows,
A symphony in radiant scarves and hose
Wrought to inspire a maiden’s ‘Ahs’ and ‘Ohs’.

Into a new flirtation why not knowing
Nor whence, his heart with madness overflowing;
Then out of it—and thence without a pause,
Into another willynilly blowing.

What if the conscience feels perchance a sting
No danger waits him save the wedding ring;
A kiss is not a sin that yesterday it was,
For that is Lent and this is Spring.

Some simple ones may sigh for wealth and fame
And some for sweet domestic life and name;
But oh! give me a supper, a cigar,
A charming woman and the old love game.

Some blue points on the half shell in a row
Some chilled Möet—a melting bird and thou
Beside me flirting in a picture hat,
Oh! single life were paradise enow.

A cosy corner tete-a-tete, what bliss
A murmured word, a sigh, a stolen kiss;
Ah, tell me, does the promised paradise
Hold anything one half so sweet as this.

And yet since I am made of common clay
One charm I’d add to this divine array;
Lord! make me careful and whate’er betide,
Without proposing let me slip away.

For sometime I’ve known the bravest and the best
Who laughed at love as but an idle jest,
Have one by one walked straight into the net
To wrest with life’s most torturous test.

Thus oft beside some damsel fount and fair
I’ve sat thrilled by the perfume of her hair,
And madly longed to murmur lip to lip,
‘Beloved, marry me’, but did not dare.

For some I’ve woo’ed when I felt blithe and gay
Have looked so different when we met next day,
That I have simply stopped to say, “So charmed”,
And shuddering, sped hurriedly away.

Look to the married men, alas their gains
Are neither here nor there—for all their pains;
For wedding bells are rung—and loudly rung,
To drown the clanking of the marriage chains.

A moment’s halt, a little word or two
And you have done what you can ne’er undo;
Promised to pay a woman’s bills for life,
Anchored yourself, and there’s an end of you.

And we now who make merry at the gloom
Of those who thus have gone to meet their doom,
May we ourselves not someday follow suit;
Ourselves that are to be jests for whom?

Indeed ’tis better to have loved and lost
Taken the kiss, and fled at any cost,
Than to have loved and married, and for ‘aye’,
Thereafter by a woman to be bossed.

I walk along that strip of broadway strewn
With lovely maids each radiant afternoon,
And think—of the hundreds that I there behold
Alas, can marry but only one fair bloom.

But if the lips I kiss, the hand I press
Upon the morrow seems to charm me less;
Ah well, am I not a bachelor still,
And thus entitled to—another guess?

Some for comforts of a club may sigh
And some a hermit’s lonely life—not I;
Give me a cosy hearth-side and a girl,
Always nestled by me when I chance by.

Her cushioned hair a spot where I may curl
My weary form and rest beyond the whirl,
Of maddening cares to rise at half-past ten
And call next night upon another girl.

Why, if a man can thus at ease abide
Each evening by a different damsel’s side,
Were it not a shame—were it not a shame for him
To any one fore’er to be tied?

And so the girls I’ve set my heart upon
I’ve flattered, woo’ed a little and anon;
Just as they thought to slip the fatal noose
About my neck—behold! The man was gone.

For this the argument that I submit
Refute it if you can with all your wit;
The trick in love, for such as you and I,
Consists in safely keeping out of it.

‘Tis morn, I’ve quaffed a quart at least or more
Of water—yet I’m thirsty as before,
And that dark thirst still lingers in my mouth
With which last night I reformation swore.

Yet when some angel with some saving drink
Of iced nepenthe comes, I shall not shrink,
But having drunk of it shall feel again
As good and noble as before, I think.

Each morn some fresh repentance brings you say
Yes, but where leaves the vows of yesterday?
For I shall make and break them all again
When time has taken this headache away.

What if my conscience seems an idle joke,
My good resolves all disappear in smoke,
This thought remains—and is it not enough,
I do not wear the matrimonial yoke.

Myself when young did eagerly frequent
The weddings of my friends, in bondage bent,
But evermore thanked fate when I escaped
Scot-free by that same door wherein I went.

Oft to some patient married man I turn
The secret of his dumb contempt to learn,
But lip to ear he mutters, “Fool beware!
This is the path whence there is no return.”

To settle down and marry oft of yore
I swore—but was I sober when I swore?
But then there came another girl, and I
Turned gaily to the old love game once more.

And much as I repented things like this
And fondly dreamt of sweet domestic bliss,
I wonder sometimes what a wife can give
One half so thrilling as a stolen kiss.

Yet if the hair should vanish from my brow,
My girth in time to great dimensions grow,
If youth’s sweet-scented buds should pass me by
In life’s inexorable withering flow.

Why, then some winged angel ere too late
Some maiden ranging on to twenty eight
Will gladly take what’s left of me I know
And leading me to wedlock, thank her fate.

Alas! for those who may today prepare
The wedding trousseau for the morrow’s wear;
A voice of warning cried, “There’s many a slip,
Betwixt the altar and the solitaire.”

Some with vivacity have sought to charm
Away my fears, and still my soul’s alarm,
To win me subtly with a smile or sigh,
Or sweet appealing touch upon the arm.

Others have tempted me with festive cheer
And chafing dish, connections quaint and queer,
With dear domestic airs have plied their arts
Yet all their wiles are neither there nor here.

But when platonic friendship they have tried
Then to the gods for mercy have I cried;
For in the husband-hunt, all other snares
Sink into nothingness this game beside.

There is a trap from which you may not flee
There is a net through which you may not see,
Some jest at love, some talk of chums and then—
Into the consommé for thee and me.

Whether to the church or to the magistrate
You follow, after that ’tis all too late,
For from your pipe dream you at last shall wake
A married man to rail in vain at fate.

Oh thou, who first the apple tree did shake
And e’en flirted with the snake;
Still as in that first moment ’neath the bough
Dos’t thou today of man a puppet make.

But this I know, whether the one true mate
Or just some fluffy thing with hook and bait;
Ere-like tempt me—one flash of common sense,
And all her sorcery shall be too late.

Then let her never look for me again
For once escaped how many moons shall wane,
And wax and wane full oft while still she looks,
Down that same street—but ah, for me in vain.

Yet much as I have played the infidel
If as the fated pitcher to the well;
Too oft to love’s empyrean font I stray
To fall at last beneath some siren’s spell.

Then in your mercy, friends, forbear to smile
And with the grape my last few hours beguile;
Or let me in some caravanserai,
My cynic soul to shackles reconcile.

And then with me some fair triumphant lass
Up to the rose-decked altar rail shall pass;
And in her joyous errand reach the spot
Where we are made one—oh, drain the silent glass.

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