For more than 25 years, Nancy Mramor has used a mind-body-spirit approach to health psychology and psychotherapy in her private practice and training. Voted one of western Pennsylvania’s most successful women in 1997, she has developed programs to teach relaxation, meditation and yoga to help people open up spiritually.
Mramor’s upcoming book about spiritually fit businesses examines the health of business owners, employees, vendors, customers and clients. She recently spoke with Science & Theology News‘ Frederica Saylor to explain how all aspects of a business work together to create a spiritually fit workplace.
Q: How do you define spirituality?
A: I define spirituality as an energy that we all have within us. The spirit is the energy of the person, it’s the inspiration, the vitality. If you look at the meaning of words like chi and prana, they translate to “life,” “breath,” “vitality” and “energy.” That’s the way I look at it.
Q: What do you mean by “the spiritually fit business?”
A: The spiritually fit business is sort of a reflection of the owner. We look at the business as a mirror of the person to see what’s going on with them spiritually, and we look at ways to open up the energy of the space in the same way that we look at the spiritual health of the person. We look at things, for example, like the doorways and where they’re located, and is that inviting to do business? So we look at a building in very much the same way that we look at a person.
Q: Who might have a more difficult time integrating spiritual techniques?
A: When you get people whose lives and ways of being and businesses are extremely structured and finite. Sometimes people whose jobs require extreme precision, like attorneys and accountants, don’t always take the spiritual/emotional side of things into account.
Q: Why is integrating spirituality important on a cultural level?
A: Every living being has a spirit, and at all times we are either moving with or against the energy of our spirit. If you’re totally unaware of how that energy moves, you’re just not going to be as effective in your life and in your work. You’re not going to be tuned into your inspiration. Business becomes more productive by tuning in, being aware.
Q: Has there ever been a point where religion prevented a business from being successful?
A: Religions are associated, at times, with guilt. I think when people go against their own religious belief system or religious culture and try to fit into Western culture there can be a sense of guilt that interferes with their belief in themselves. When that shuts down, when you don’t believe that you’re worthy of success, then certainly you’re going to have problems. This can come from buying into the values of the business and selling out on the values of your spiritual belief system.
Q: What fields could these concepts most affect?
A: It has an impact very easily in education. I just completed teaching a graduate course at Point Park University, and the students really appreciated learning how to do stress management, deep breathing and yoga. They could see what a huge difference it made even in them as they took the course.
The next one is medicine. In my work in the hospitals, I’ve found that people who, for example, have heart problems were not being educated about the effects of breathing and opening up your spiritual energy and the benefit that has in healing the body and healing the heart condition. I think bringing it into the whole area of medicine is critical.
I think the last holdout is the corporate world because they’ve not been directed in this sort of a way as much as educational institutions. Stephen Covey published a book called The 8th Habit, which is really a book about the spirit of a business and of a person, so I think it’s starting.
Frederica Saylor is health editor at Science & Theology News.