Baha'is live by Faith's rules in workplace

Baha'is live by Faith's rules in workplace

By Gail Perry-Daniels

Introducing spiritual law into the workplace may help to reverse low morale among works to create a new atmosphere of trust at corporations, Baha'i members were told Sunday.

The power of spiritual law operates in the same dimension inside business organizations as outside them, said Dorothy Marcic, a management consultant and a Baha'i.

"Love, justice, dignity and respect are more than just traditional spiritual ideas; they are also the New Management Virtues needed in the contemporary workplace," Marcic said. "Adopting New Management Virtues - trustworthiness, unity, respect and dignity, justice, service and humanity - has been proven to make organization work better."

On Sunday, Marcic addressed about 25 people attending the 7:30 p.m. meeting of the Baha'is in their temple at 2037 Sherman Ave. The temple is a simple building with shuttered windows that are opened to reveal bright colors when the group meets for worship.

Marcic is president of DM Systems Ltd., a management consulting firm in Nashville, Tenn., and is a former Fulbright scholar and teacher at the Czechoslovak Management Center and University of Economics - Prague. Her clients include AT&T Labs, the U.S. Department of State and the Czech Ministry of Finance. She was in Madison over the weekend as a special speaker to the group.

She said her message of incorporating spiritual law in one's life is a basic belief of the messenger Baha'u'llah, who started the Baha'i faith.

"I have found that people want more ethics and spirituality in their lives and over the next five years more companies will make a transition to obtain spiritual justice," Marcic said.

By following spiritual laws, the Baha'i believe people develop spiritual natures and acquire virtues such as trustworthiness, respect, patience and dignity.

"Companies that break spiritual laws, that lack love, integrity, justice and respect, will over time show negative effects in some way. The results of lovelessness, injustice and disrespect will eventually make the organization less productive than it might have been," Marcic said.

"What I am suggesting is strengthening the organization's spiritual dimension, by putting the business on a firm foundation of ethics, integrity and honor."

Moving from the old paradigm to the new involves changing to a more spiritual foundation. For many managers and management theorists, this is a new way of looking at things. "Yet when we open our minds to the perspective of spirituality, it becomes clear," she said.

Marcic said that a company can become more spiritual by adopting programs based on promoting certain moral virtues such as trustworthiness. Individuals are required to pray daily and to practice the virtues. But is an on-going process, she noted.

But, "if we acknowledge that we inhabit the same physical and spiritual space as other members and systems of this world, and are subject to the same laws and same consequences of those laws, then we begin the process of spiritual development," she said.

Baha'i member Thomas Mitchell said he could relate to many of Marcic's points. Mitchell said he joined Baha'i in 1996 while living in Washington, D.C. "I joined the group for a sense of social justice and racial unity," said Mitchell.

Ellie Jacobi said she was introduced to Baha'i in 1971 by a friend. "I started attending the meetings and joined the Baha'i a short time later."

The first Baha'i assembly in Madison was founded in 1940. The group has about 100 members. In addition to meeting at the temple, members can get together twice a week at individuals' homes for discussions. In 1991, there were 5 million Baha'i around the world.

Baha'i followers believe there is one God, the creator of the universe, and that throughout history God has been revealed to people through a series of divine messengers. The messengers have included Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad.

The Baha'i religion was started in the mid-1800s by Baha'u'llah, a Persian nobleman. In Arabic, his name means "The Glory of God."

Followers believe that heaven can be seen partly as a state of nearness to God, and that hell is a state of remoteness from God.

There is no clergy in the Baha'i religion. The centerpiece of the Baha'i community life is the 19 Day Feast. Held every 19 days, it is the local community's regular worship gathering. Local Baha'i held their 19 Day Feast on Saturday, in addition to the Sunday gathering. During the 19 Day Feast, Baha'i writings are read aloud, followed by a general discussion.


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