“Yesterday I was clever. I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise. I am changing myself.”
We are entering the Age of Consciousness. Where in times past the pursuit of higher consciousness was restricted to the very few, in the Age of Consciousness it is available to everyone — just as in the Age of Information everything you wanted to know was at your fingertips.
People the world over are moving toward a new spirituality. They are moving away from a narrow definition of humanity centered around religion and nationalism to one that celebrates global citizenship and stewardship. These global citizens are now coming together to co-create a new humanity: a new culture, a new economy, a new ecology, and a new mythology.
Sacred Commerce introduces the concept of the Fourth Bottom Line and explores a new Hero’s Journey that is sourced in Emotional Alchemy, Resonance Causation, Conscious Evolution, and Beauty, Goodness, and Truth — the transformational ingredients necessary to step fully into the Age of Consciousness.
Explore the history and mystery of commerce in this widely anticipated follow-up to Executive EQ, the international best-selling book that introduced and pioneered Emotional Intelligence and the Four Cornerstone Model in the business world.
WORDS OF PRAISE
“Sacred Commerce illuminates the beauty of conscious capitalism in its highest essence — as a means to uplift humanity, heal the earth, and manifest beauty through trade. The authors eloquently show us the way of the Merchant Priests of ancient Egypt, encouraging each of us to make our businesses, lives, and transactions matter. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to use their business as a force for good in the world.”
— Zhena Muzyka, founder of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea and author of Life by the Cup
“At a time in our history when corporations and commerce have gained prominent influence in our governments, it is critical we have a manual like Sacred Commerce to guide that influence towards raising consciousness. It champions the union of archetypal myth and fact, left and right brain, sacred and mundane, and heart and head, leading us to a form of commerce where our perceptions don’t limit us from using it in the most sacred way.”
— Lisa Wimberger, author of New Beliefs, New Brain and Neurosculpting
“Sacred Commerce is a thought-provoking book that reflects the uncommon vision and creative energy of Ayman Sawaf and Rowan Gabrielle. For more than a decade I have admired their rare blend of energy, goodheartedness, and a deep desire to explore new realms of human capacity and make a difference in the world. This book offers a number of bold new perspectives on work and life.”
— Robert K. Cooper, Ph.D., co-author of Executive EQ: Emotional Intelligence in Leadership and Organizations
“Sacred Commerce is a visionary approach to life and commerce. This book represents to me a quantum pulse forward in the deepening my own life's work! The potential for the Sacred Commerce movement to hyperdrive the efforts of the global business community is nearly unfathomable.”
— Immanuel Otto, MA, KTS, Managing Director, SacredCommerce.com
READ SAMPLE: Table of Contents, The Foreword, and The Introduction
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART ONE: SACRED COMMERCE
Sacred Commerce and the Fourth Bottom Line
PART TWO: THE MERCHANT PRIESTHOOD
The Merchant Priesthood of the Ancient World
Initiation and Training
Origins, Legend, and Myth
PART THREE: THE INFLUENCE OF THE MERCHANT PRIESTHOOD
The Merlin and Arthur Legacy: To Europe and the King’s Court
The Prophet Mohammad’s Part
The Knights Templar
Tulip Mania: The First Great Market Bubble
The Founding of America
Today’s Knights of Commerce: The Rise of the Global Citizen
PART FOUR: THE SACRED JOURNEY
The Magical Hero’s Journey
Creating Alliances with Your Root Emotions
Partnership with the Pulse
Gratitude: The Magic of Receiving
Reawakening the Magical Child
Beauty,Goodness,andTruth: The Eternal Verities
Epilogue: Heralding the Age of Consciousness
“Yesterday I was clever. I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise. I am changing myself.”
Jean Erdman, wife of mythologist Joseph Campbell — who is known by most for coining the term “Hero’s Journey” and for advising his students to “follow your bliss” — once said: “The way of the mystic and the way of the artist are related, except that the mystic doesn’t have a craft.”
This statement has remained with me since I first read it in the early nineties, motivating and underscoring every personal and professional choice along the way. I did not choose the path of an artist, per se, but of publishing for the artist in each of us — the one who is ultimately crafting the masterpiece of a life well lived. I used to wonder at this seeming dichotomy — being so interested in the arts, yet being pulled more in the direction of business. That was until I discovered Sacred Commerce.
When I read the first edition of this book, I immediately recognized that Rowan and Ayman were advocating for a similarly inspired approach — enlightening business leaders by helping them embody the spirit of being a mystic with a craft in the realm of commerce.
And enlighten we must! Inspired and creative contributions from the arena of commerce are needed more than ever. If we are to survive and thrive through the monumental cultural and environmental transition in which our planet is currently engaged, humanity must become aware of and act out of the deeper dimensions of interconnectedness that fuel and drive our greatest potentials — our inherent spiritual nature. The approach advocated for in these pages can activate this in our species en masse.
How does this “Sacred Commerce” thing change the world, though? And does it actually make it better?
What you’ll come to learn from this approach is that we’re not trying to improve on the old world. We’re rebooting it with an entirely new operating system! We are co-creating a new world from the level of the quantum field on up.
In this revised and expanded edition, you’ll discover a practical and easy-to-use template for personal transformation that is simultaneously specific and open source. Any individual, teacher, or organization can pick it up and modify it according to their own culture and spiritual inclinations.
In addition to unique and significant contributions to the exploration of Emotional Intelligence, one of the threads that make this book a classic is the insightful telling of the poetic and mystical tale of the Merchant Priesthood of ancient Egypt. The narrative both preserves and perpetuates wise jewels of antiquity by establishing an anchor to our world cultural heritage and mythical past that nurtures a miracle-minded space in us where the practical skills we need to develop as an emotionally intelligent global community can find relevance and purpose.
Inventor and futurist Buckminster Fuller endeavored to determine and document what one individual alone could achieve toward societal and planetary change. He used a simple metaphor to inspire and motivate himself and others: “Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little man could do. Think of the Queen Mary — the whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there’s a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trim tab. It’s a miniature rudder. Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. Takes almost no effort at all. So I said that the little individual can be a trim tab. Society thinks it’s going right by you, that it’s left you altogether. But if you’re doing dynamic things mentally, the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that and the whole big ship of state is going to turn. So I said, call me ‘Trim Tab.’”
It is my sincerest hope that this book authentically connects you with the information, experience, and techniques necessary to evoke your own Trim Tab nature, so that you may purposefully move into your position as a primary healing force on this planet.
Immanuel Otto, M.A., K.T.S.
Managing Director, SacredCommerce.com
“There is an almost sensual longing for communion with others who have a large vision.
The immense fulfillment of the friendships between those engaged in furthering
the evolution of consciousness has a quality almost impossible to describe.”
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Much of what constitutes successful and happy relationships, more than the influence of race, creed, or family, is a shared value system; a way of looking at the world almost as if you are looking through the eyes of the same soul. For us, it was a mutual love of business and spirituality that initially drew us to each other. Although we first met as competitors in the field of super foods, we soon joined forces in a collaboration that has subsequently grown to encompass everything we do.
This is our story, the evolving blueprint of how we want to live, love, and do business, which we share with you along with the hope that you will find within it your story. The storytellers in us encourage you to approach this book as you might a romantic novel, where fact and fantasy are seamlessly interwoven, allowing the concepts and images to nurture and inspire you. This is not designed to be a factual account of history or science, although the stories contained herein may give you new insight into humanity’s past and inspire you to “party-cipate,” as we like to say, in the co-creation of a brilliant future.
In this book, we have expanded and built upon the Four Cornerstone Model, defined in the international best seller, Executive EQ: Emotional Intelligence in Leadership and Organizations, which Ayman co-authored with Dr. Robert Cooper. This was a lengthy text, full of studies, statistics, and exercises. With Sacred Commerce, however, we wanted to create a short and magical read, sharing with you beautiful and enchanting stories, which we envision will change how we all do business and live our lives.
This lyrical look at the evolution of commerce began as a collaboration with our dear friend Kevin Ryerson, who not only united us in an ancient Celtic ceremony inside Stonehenge, but just a few months later guided us through Egypt for our honeymoon, exploring the sacred sites and eventually leading us to a discovery that would change the course of our lives.
It was on this tour that we were first introduced to the Merchant Priesthood of old Egypt. An expert in mythology and history, Kevin has a specific interest in Egyptian myths and mysticism, which he generously shared with us, lighting a flame that continues to burn to this day.
While in the Temple of Isis in Philae, the area known as “the Jewel of the Nile,” we briefly separated from the group. Out of nowhere, two Egyptian men walked up to us and, in broken English, asked if we wanted to have our picture taken next to a nearby square stone, upon which a figure was carved. Thinking they were after a tip, Ayman, a native speaker of Arabic, firmly replied, “Laa shukran.” However, the two men persisted, refusing to take “no” for an answer. “We don’t want your money,” one of the men said indignantly. “We just want to take your picture,” said the other. “Here, please, stand here,” he added, pointing again to the square stone. Finally, in an effort to just get rid of them, we agreed and stood beside the stone to have our photo taken. The men then handed the camera back to us and disappeared.
On the way out, we told Kevin about this odd interaction involving the two men and showed him the stone where we had posed for the picture. Knowing we were both entrepreneurs, a big smile spread across his face. “That’s not just any stone,” he said, “look again. Do you know who that is?” We spoke together, saying, “No.” “This is the Egyptian god, Bes, the god of commerce,” explained Kevin. “He is the god who oversaw the Merchant Priesthood.” We both smiled and looked at each other, filled with curiosity and wonder.
Merchant Priesthood? Neither of us had ever heard of a Merchant Priest. We’d known that there were Temple Priests, Healing Priests, and Celebration Priests, but Merchant Priests? Over time, Kevin shared many stories with us about the Merchant Priesthood and we, in turn, did a good bit of research into the subject, gathering anecdotal evidence from a variety of sources. We will review these stories in more detail in Part Two.
What fascinated us from the start was the idea that commerce could be a vehicle to raise consciousness, as well as a spiritual path towards self-realization. Could commerce — that intrinsic and basic function of exchanging information, goods, and services — actually lift a culture to a level of sacredness that might otherwise not be attained, as well as put those who practice it on an accelerated growth trajectory? This idea made perfect sense to us and rang through our minds like a clarifying bell whose echoes are as bright and clear today as when we first heard it sing.
Over the years the concept of Sacred Commerce has gone through many levels of refinement, integrating the input of many wise friends, colleagues, and readers of the previous edition.We invite you to add your voice by visiting the network — SacredCommerce.com — with the aim of developing and growing this meme together. There are many other reasons to visit the Sacred Commerce network, including trainings, articles, interactive blogs and vlogs, discussion groups, global meditations, and the connection with like-minded people.
We will continue to publish updated and enhanced editions, including the most relevant and exciting additions that you contribute. This will allow the book to remain fresh and relevant throughout our quickly changing times. The concept and practice of Sacred Commerce will be given life and breath by you, allowing it to grow faster than if we tried to “own” or “lead” it ourselves.
That said, we take deeply to heart our roles as germinal and fully invested stewards of this movement. In that spirit, we’d like to shed some light on common themes we encounter when people open this book with preconceived ideas inspired by simply reading the words “sacred commerce.” The most common are based in an expectation that Sacred Commerce be a critique of sorts, a social commentary on the current systems of commerce — many of which are widely declared among enlightened/progressive circles to be outdated, broken, corrupt, and worse. While we clearly acknowledge the many problems looming worldwide, our particular inspiration is grounded in a commitment to inner growth and spirituality. It is a call to acknowledge that the entirety of the agreements and systems we’ve created externally — including corrupt financial systems and power hierarchies — is a hyper-correlative mirror of our individual and collective inner lives and values.
A key realization in our process is that the central principle and “engine” of culture is no longer religion or politics, as has been the case in the past. Like it or not, commerce has become the primary force propelling our species and human society forward. We are currently witnessing a commerce-centric (r)evolution, a whole new form of “conscious capitalism,” whereby business transactions the world over are becoming the main conduit of social and cultural evolution.
In recent years, many new business concepts have been suggested and developed, such as sustainable business, conscious commerce, the gift economy, alternative currency (like Bitcoin), crowd-funding, and maybe soon, as advocated by Dr. Muhammad Yunis, a stock market for social entrepreneurs. People often ask us which one we support and our answer is that they are all systems or tools and, as such, are open to abuse. It is the way we, as individuals, use them that makes them constructive or destructive. Emotional Intelligence is key to the new business paradigm, whatever the system, which is why we consider it foundational to Sacred Commerce. Consequently, we feel most inclined to foster a conversation around refining the tool makers’ spirits and values and allowing the various tools we will need to emerge naturally out of the rich soil of a truly enlightened global business culture.
Some readers may search through these pages for affirmation of the idea that we must band together and root out the governing elite and hold them accountable for what one of our more notable early reviewers of this edition referred to as: “the inherent ‘legalized’ corruption of our current money and banking system — i.e. taxation, fiat money, fractional reserve, central banking, debt-based economy, bailouts, subsidies, state protected monopolies on money and force, etc.” We neither support this small majority or vilify them. We are not naive or blind to the fact that the abundance of this planet is not being equitably shared and that the institutional violence of our current system has caused unthinkable suffering throughout the world. However, our focus is to suggest that when these leaders are truly no longer needed, they’ll be gone not long after the advent of a mass scale awakening of individuals worldwide taking more responsibility upon themselves to create and adhere to new agreements for co-existing on this planet.
Ultimately, we welcome many expressions of this conversation... and will always seek to ground the many different and complementary streams in the insight that nothing outside of us will change until we change from within first. And, of course, inspired and meaningful action will follow. As the old Zen saying goes: “After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”
Returning to the subject of Emotional Intelligence, as part of Ayman’s personal healing journey years ago, he discovered that his lack of understanding about his feelings and emotions was the source of his bad health, depression, and lack of joy and happiness in his life.
Ayman also became very aware that Emotional Intelligence had played no part in his education and quickly came to the realization that our school system was dysfunctional and needed to change.
Researching different educational paradigms, Ayman became very excited to learn about Steiner, Montessori, and alternative charter schools. Along with other inspired teachers and scientists, he began developing and investing in a new school system he believed would solve the problem. Sharing this with one of his closest friends, he was shocked and hurt when the friend suggested that his idea — although well intentioned — was a bit arrogant and that he was still seeing life through the chauvinistic lens of competition: simply trying to create a new system that would compete with other systems. Acknowledging that his idea was worthwhile and of value, the friend suggested the alternative of infusing the existing systems with innovative learning tools and programs about emotions, thereby changing the system from within.
Soon after this, Ayman coined the term “Emotional Literacy” and through his company, Enchanté Entertainment — now called Kids EQ — he created the first curriculum to teach this subject both at home and in schools. His other approach would surely have failed, whereas now, Emotional Literacy has entered mainstream education systems world-wide — private, public, charter, military, and religious — and will very soon be taught in equal partnership with intellectual literacy. In the home, parents are also learning the principles of Emotional Literacy alongside their children, as a cornerstone of the new conscious parenting paradigm. In this way, a whole new generation of young adults is emerging, who are more balanced, healthier, more successful, and more at peace with themselves and the world.
Just as Ayman discovered that the missing link in our education system was Emotional Literacy, we discovered that in the world of business, Emotional Intelligence — one of the keys to spirituality and an expression of the feminine — is similarly missing. Chauvinism has stripped the sacred and the feminine from nearly all aspects of our lives where they are most needed, making the loss of them unsustainably painful.
The Merchant Priest/Priestess is reawakening in all of us. The wisdom of Sacred Commerce is being passed to renaissance men and women all over the world, in every culture and religion. Our dream is that the concept will become a lifestyle, not just a business activity — and that the growing self-identified constituency of the emergent Global Citizen movement will grab hold of this baton as one of its core organizing principles.
Sacred Commerce is all about you changing you; evolving the business world one person at a time. Using a system guided by spirituality — with the pursuit of Beauty, Goodness, and Truth at the core of all business endeavors and activities — is truly the key to unlocking the Sacred in Commerce.
Ayman and Rowan
Ayman Sawaf is an international visionary entrepreneur, published musician, and best- selling author. He is one of the original creators of the discipline now known as Emotional Literacy (EL). He is also an early pioneer in Emotional Intelligence (EI or “EQ”) as co-creator of the Four Cornerstone Model and its application in business — as illustrated in Executive EQ: Emotional Intelligence in Leadership and Organizations, which Ayman co-authored with Dr. Robert Cooper. He has spent the last twenty years building the evolutionary foundation for entirely new systems and industries that will monetize the ability of these perspectives to optimize human capital; by providing new maps to evolve our relationships with ourselves, our family, and the workplace. AymanSawaf.com and AymanMusic.com
Rowan Gabrielle is a visionary artist, entrepreneur, and philanthro- pist with 20+ years experience in the conscious marketplace. She is the founder of OrganicLeather.com, a company focused on Eco-Fashion and revolutionizing our relationship to animals and the clothes we wear. She is deeply passionate about spirituality and inter-species communication, a connector with deep relationships across many subject areas. She is also a special event producer and a photographer. RowanGabrielle.com
Kevin Ryerson is an acclaimed author, award winning consultant, expert intuitive, and futurist. He has been lecturing and teaching in the field of parapsychology and spirituality for over 30 years. He has appeared as a guest on national and international television shows including Oprah Winfrey and Good Morning America. Kevin is well known and respected for his balanced and integrated world view. He maintains a global consulting practice. KevinRyerson.com
Roger Housden gives public recitals of ecstatic poetry from the world's great literary and spiritual traditions. He is the author of 17 books and is a lifelong student of the beauty of the word, including poetry. His previous books include Sacred America: The Emerging Spirit of the People and Travels Through Sacred India. On Amazon.com
Geralyn Genreau, MS, MFT is master yoga teacher, black belt martial artist and lifestyle mentor. A psychotherapist by licensure and training, she has over 20 years experience working with clients to catalyze the innate genius of the essential self. An original thinker and astute synthesizer, Geralyn wears a number of professional hats: personal trainer, executive coach, ghostwriter & editor, and crisis intervention specialist. Geralyn has co-authored, ghost-written, and/or edited several books, some of which are award-winning. Geralyn.us