I’m always intrigued by Guy Kawasaki. While I know he’s controversial – and outright disliked by some, I still find amazing value in what he says.

Guy’s perspective the core of a successful businesses is to make meaning. He says, “…those companies that are fundamentally founded to change the world, to make the world a better place, to make meaning are the companies that make a difference. They are the companies to succeed. My naive and romantic belief is that if you make meaning you will probably make money. But if you set out to make money you probably won’t make meaning and you won’t make money.

I happen to agree with Guy on this point. It’s something my good friend Adam Kayce and I were just talking about this morning.

Take a look at this short (two and a half minutes) video of Guy talking about the three ways to make meaning with your business.

He cites the three ways as to make meaning as:

  1. Increase the quality of life
  2. Right a wrong
  3. Prevent the end of something good

I’ve been thinking about this all morning in relation to where my business is now AND where my business is heading. Now I’m looking at my business from the stand point of all three points.

How about you? Does you business make meaning? How? Could it do more?

Reader Interactions


  1. Dave Schoof: Engaging the Disquiet says

    I am trying to hit all three with The Disquiet in Men.

    1. Quality of Life: To ease the tremendous suffering for men and their families resulting from ignoring their Disquiet – where they feel disconnected from who they are as men, their professional and personal success, and from their gifts. When someone lives form their core – their is a flow and ease to life. And that person is able to go out and make a difference in the world.

    2. Right a wrong: This one is working on several fronts. First to lend credibility to the idea that a midlife crisis is a profound rite of passage, not a TV sitcom joke. I also want to help men see the impact of not engaging their Disquiet on themselves, their families and on society. I also want to surface the deep longing in men who want to make a meaningful difference in their legacy.

    3. Preventing the end of something good: There is a need for balanced energy in the world. There is a need for the healthy masculine energy. There is a call for the warrior-like stand – not a soldier but as protectors and advocates – for people, the environment and right action.

    This would make a good meme Dawud!

  2. Adam Kayce : Monk At Work says

    Hmm… great question.

    I’ve definitely approached my business from the standpoint of #1. Quality of your time spent at work, and the spillover into the rest of life, is paramount at Monk At Work.

    Numbers 2 and 3, though, I hadn’t considered. They’re definitely in there, I just haven’t been looking at them from that angle before.

    “Right a Wrong”: The ‘wrong’ is on two fronts; first, the “run yourself into the ground” mindset that so many people carry, as if that’s the only way to be successful. I want to help people challenge the myths that their business has to live on a hamster wheel.

    And second, the wrongful separation of heart and mind, of spirit and secular, of work and faith, if you will. Who says you can’t be fully you in your work?

    “Prevent the end of something good”: You don’t need me to remind you of the edge our world is balanced precariously upon; Al Gore has done a great job of that.

    I truly believe that business, namely small business, has the potential to change the world β€” but only if the amazing gifts that so many people have been given are able to be shared. If people can’t mobilize their dreams, or get enough done to actually share those dreams with the world, then we all suffer.

    Great point; glad I could be a part of the discussion.

  3. Dawud Miracle says


    Dave, this is the clearest and most concise I’ve ever heard you talk about why ‘The Disquiet.’ You have to write a post, or posts about this. Perhaps a ‘Why the Disquiet’ series???


    Yeah. When I found this I was sort of where you are. I have these qualities in my business – definitely. But I hadn’t defined them in a concrete way. Hence, I could talk about them or use them to communicate what I do.

    Guy is controversial, but he sure has some great ideas.

  4. Stuart Baker says

    Dawud, I think that Guy is right and very perceptive. What he says here is in total keeping with what you and Mark Silver and others teach, namely to identify pain in clients who you can help and then take a deep look at what it is you can offer. And Adam’s work fits right in.

    There is an underlying truth here of being committed to providing some kind of service that is meant to contribute to the good of the world, done from your heart, and with no calculating. I love this.

    Dave’s wonderful description of TheDisquiet and Adam’s reflection on his inner workings are expansive comments.

    My has-to-be-answered urge to help harmonize relationships around the world of construction is yielding some fantastic connections and growing response as I embrace more and more deeply a stance of “I simply have to do this thing, with all of my heart!” And Adam’s nudge to focus on the positive and turn away from the negative is so true.

    I want to share with all, too, something I believe I shared with you the other day, Dawud. I have been “doing” a 40 day program based on the book “The Abundance Book” by John Randolph Price. It is very simply based on the knowledge that the Divine is the supplier of Everything.

    Settling into this knowledge, in a generous spirit of truly having endless sufficiency does wondrous things. Just since I agreed to follow this program with a friend my life has changed, and I feel expanded in all things. My relationships are growing, my Conscious Cooperation business is shooting all kinds of new sprouts, my finances are shifting, etc. I am happy to share this, and it feels totally connected to the messages of your post here, Dawud.

    Thanks for everything!

    Stuart Baker

  5. Karin Karin H. says

    My personal favourite must be number 3:
    prevent the end of something good

    Yesterday evening (Friday evening = local pub evening) I mentioned to my partner that I thought I had the bet job in the world. Last week has been hectic on many fronts (even emotional turmoil). With reflective reading some of these week’s blogs I suddenly realised we were doing a great job, and in fact I was enjoying myself tremendously (does that sound egotistical?)

    Every day I meet very nice people in me showroom and am able to, together with them, find the most suitable floor for them and we have fun in the process; I get phone calls from all over the UK (even Scotland this week!) from our website visitors asking advice and most times I can help them out, point them in the right direction for a solution; on my own blogs and on others I find conversations that make my smile, laugh, think, ponder, learn, react, respond and grow (both as a person as well as a business)

    And all the while I’m getting paid for it! (we just increased our monthly wages again, finally getting some savings together).

    No, I don’t want this to end, I want this to continue and as mentioned over at Stuart’s: helping our prospects and customers works better if we are comfortable in our own skin and knowledge. It really pays to be good, it builds trust and long term relationships.
    And that is what pays our wages in the end.

  6. Stuart Baker says

    Karin H., good for you! What a winning combination for all. Your customers are fortunate people.

    Stuart Baker

  7. Sean D'Souza says

    The truth is that meaning is man-made. Purpose is man-made. In a way it’s the most fake thing, because it’s manufactured so that our lives have some destination.

    Otherwise, we’d be lost.

    And therefore, yes it’s important to create happiness and peace in our lives first, and then help others achieve the same.

    Purpose is what makes us.
    It binds us. It gives us the chance to make others happy. It’s our invention, but hey, I’m smiling now, because someone somewhere had a purpose to make my life simpler and richer.


  8. Sean D'Souza says

    You can make meaning, but without structure you won’t make money.

    Structure enables you to make money. And even ‘money’ is a common denominator we all use.

    I’ve known lots of people with enormous ability to make meaning–and yet without the right infrastructure, that meaning is lost like a tree falling down in a forest that no one enters.

    Your duty (yes, duty) is to make meaning with structure. Both must exist. Once cannot exist without the other.

    The dangerous notion that people get, is that meaning alone is good enough. It’s not.

  9. Stuart Baker says

    Sean, well said, all around. The ideals fed into the practical.

    God, I’m blog-commenting my butt off here.


  10. Dawud Miracle says


    I agree with you – there is an underlying truth. I’ve certainly found Guy’s point to be true. Every time I focus on money, things get sticky. But when I focus on service and about caring for my clients – my business erupts. Amazing, really.

    Karin H.,

    My experience as well. With the great majority of my clients, I build personal relationships with. I think this happens organically simply because I care about them and their business.


    It is our invention – at least to the point that we set up the parameters. Yet, we all live on this earth and agree to some pretty fundamental parameters – such as good and evil. While the lines may blur in some instances, as human being we can vastly agree about what is good and what is evil. The question is, then, what do you serve?

    And structure…absolutely. Businesses begin with a vision, then move to a plan. A good plan creates structure – which the vital next step to success. So great point. Thanks.

  11. Karin Karin H. says

    Hi all

    Sean, good points. We do need structures in order to create meaning. I feel we have structured our business aim: finding the best suited floor for our customers. If that means the cheapest one we have, that’s fine with us, as long as the customer gets the best suited for his circumstances, interior design and budget.
    As Stuart knows, circumstances in buildings vary very much.

    Of course we want to make money, but our ‘profit’ structure is based on the same principle, otherwise our aim looses ‘meaning’ (now I’m getting all muddled up with meaning, aim and structures ;-))

    Safe to say: we get our message across to our customers – ’cause they keep coming back or send friends over to us – , which makes us happy and aware that we are succeeding in our aim. (Also the main reason why our first ‘double Dutch’ venture in the UK failed: other partners were in for the short term money, not for the long term meaning. We’re much happier and funnily enough much more successful now)

  12. Mark Silver says

    I love what you wrote, Dawud, and the resulting discussion. Despite my own reservations about some of what Guy Kawasaki says- I think he’s right on.

    These three reasons are why Heart of Business exists-
    #1- People need to feed their families, and we all have a deep need to contribute to others- both increase the quality of life.

    #2 – The way that business has been done over the last few centuries has mostly been in ignorance of its impact on the larger society and environment- many selfish motivations. HoB is contributing to the tide that is changing the -why- about business- and weaving it back into larger tapestry of life.

    #3- Many people have dreams of contributing- and because there is no organization that will hire and pay them for what they want to do- they have to go into business to do it. And if they aren’t successful, their jewel, their uniqueness may well end up buried under the pain of a deadened life.

    Those three reasons are why I get up in the morning, and go to work. Because I love it. And, not so incidentally, those three reasons all apply to me personally as well.

    As far as meaning is man-made, Sean, I just don’t agree. I believe that we discover meaning, but we don’t create it.

    My heart has had experiences which tell me that Spirit, God, the Divine is a Real, and that all meaning derives from Source. I don’t have a hand in creating that.

    However, as I engage with what my heart discovers, the prism of my own viewpoint may present, discuss, engage with it in a way that brings a sense of aliveness to myself and others.

    The attempt to ‘create’ meaning is where hype and falseness can sneak into our businesses and our marketing.

    On another note, Sean, you know I agree with you 100% about structure. You helped save my butt on that one. πŸ™‚

  13. Sean D'Souza says

    I love purpose.
    I love the fact that purpose is instilled in us. I love to believe all of that–and live each day with purpose.

    But here’s the irony. Does a rose have purpose? Probably in our brains it does. It brings joy. To a bee, maybe nectar. And so on. But does a rose wake up with purpose?

    That’s the part that’s so darned controversial. Because 99.9% of the planet (me included) will tell you that purpose is important. And it is.

    But over the years, I believe we invented purpose like we invented jet planes; and cars. We say cars serve a purpose. But there were no cars 100 years ago.

    This irony brings up strange and unsettling questions–and especially for those deeply religious. Because how could it be possible that everything we do is for nothing? How could it be that somehow all that drive and energy just dies. Or does it?

    We don’t actually know the answers, and so purpose fills our day–or so I say πŸ™‚

    Even as I type this, I know that we’re now on two sides of the fence. One who firmly believes in purpose. One who has doubts.

    And this post isn’t to put you on one side of the fence or the other. It’s just a factor of questioning. The question: Is it possible to live live with extreme purpose, when you may suspect that in in fact there is none? Or is it possible to live life with extreme purpose, because you know there is something more–something that you were ‘god-given?’

    These are difficult questions to answer. And may not need an answer.

    I’m just throwing my thoughts into this discussion. Fully knowing that (again, ironically) they’re serving a ‘purpose.’

  14. Sean D'Souza says

    Dawud: The problem with good and evil is again defined by society. It’s not actually defined by our instinct. Or something hard-wired in our brains.

    Look at all the things we could do just 100 years ago. We could kill whales, tigers at random. And it was ok. It was sport. Now it’s evil.

    In societies, it was okay to be a cannibal. Now it’s not ok.

    Our concept of good and evil seems to be built on our concept of society and ‘so-called civilisation.’ But if society says it’s ok to take over your neighbour’s land, if you’re stronger…then invariably in 50 years or so, that will be the case.

    Destroy our books.
    Our history.
    Our background.

    And give us new rules for good and evil. And these rules become our rules.

    There is your way.
    There is my way.
    There is no ‘the way.’

  15. Stuart Baker says

    Mark, I like what you said and identify with it quite deeply.

    As far as your comment about not agreeing with Sean regarding meaning, something I did not say before is that I think we all have an innate connection, which is connected to the Divine, and so our core connections are not of our own making. In this way the meaning is also not of our own making- another way of saying what I think you are saying, Mark.

    But how we translate our urge for meaning, how we take the steps- that I think we have some choice with. Maybe there is a worthwhile distinction there.

    Great discussion.

    Stuart Baker

  16. Dawud Miracle says


    I think you’re right on about ‘discovering meaning.’ What’s most important in all aspects of our lives – business included – is that we live from the deepest truth we can access in ourselves. That’s where the meaning comes from. And for me, any part of business that isn’t from that meaning is likely to cause difficulty for me.


    Just because every single thing is interpreted by man doesn’t mean that man’s interpretation is correct. We have seen massive changes in cultural acceptance over time. But I’m not really speaking about meaning on the societal level. I’m speaking of meaning on the individual level.

    We have a compass inside ourselves that shows us what’s right from what’s wrong. Yet, that MAY vary from person to person. So how can we judge that within a society – especially one that’s always changing?

    What I find important is to know, for myself, where that compass points. Whether I follow a religious or spiritual teaching is irrelevant, ultimately. I know I’ve been given a mind – a powerful mind – to think, reason, explore, learn and relearn. It seems counter productive then to not use my mind to contemplate myself, my existence and the direction of where my life points.

    This is a massive topic. And it certainly crosses into religion and spirituality – topics I’m quite comfortable with, myself.

    I don’t feel one has to ‘be spiritual’ (whatever that means) to find meaning. I think one only has to ask the question inside themselves and trust themselves for the answer. So does the being that questions purpose ask itself about its purpose?


    For me, it’s trust. I have to trust something. And first, even before my relationship with a Creator, I have to trust myself. Without trusting myself, how can I trust what I sense, feel and know about my Creator?

    These are deep questions – truthfully. I’m willing to keep going, if you all are.

  17. Stuart Baker says

    Dawud, I wonder if it is a bit of the chicken and the egg thing, or perhaps simulateneous, inseparable truth; trust of one’s self right along with trust of the Divine. I have read that faith in oneself and faith in the Master/God are “indispensible” for walking the spiritual path and for being of some service in the world. Also the confidence that one will follow the “dictates of one’s heart”, and these “dictates of the heart” come from the original Source.

    Then there are related practical dealings that Sean (and you and Mark and others) so skillfully address.

    Thanks, all.

    Stuart Baker

  18. Dawud Miracle says


    It certainly is an interesting point…one that can be looked at from many directions.

    The way I’m seeing it at this moment is that first we have to trust ourselves. We experience the Divine through our own selves – our bodies, our life, our way of seeing the world. So without first having trust in ourselves, how can we trust our experiences and knowledge of something greater than us?

    Now trust and faith may be different. I think someone can have faith without having trust. So we can have ‘belief in God’ or ‘faith in God’ but not really ‘trust in God.’

    Then this questions gets even more confusing for the mystic who spends his or her life contemplating and tasting the deepest Reality of things. In that case, the mystic finds that they have nothing for themselves without it being given.

    Did I confuse you? I think the answer lies in perspective.

  19. Karin Karin H. says

    Been following the other comments with great and admiring interest.

    I think Adam Kayce sums it up pretty much:

    And second, the wrongful separation of heart and mind, of spirit and secular, of work and faith, if you will. Who says you can’t be fully you in your work?

    That’s what I aim to do, find, learn and in the end teach.

  20. Mark Silver says

    Very interesting. And yes, Sean, I think we’ve ended up on opposite sides of an illusory fence. πŸ™‚

    Yes, it’s true that we interpret, as Dawud wrote. Our minds interpret, mess with, explain, justify, describe, define, etc, etc, etc.

    But -what- is it that our minds are describing? I believe the mind is a limited organ- limited in that it can’t really take in the unknown- when it encounters the unknown, it simply tries to categorize and label it into something that is already known.

    In my experience, the heart is what takes in the unknown, the uncategorizable, the larger Source, if you will. Meaning, for me, comes from that larger Source.

    Your example of cars not existing 100 years ago doesn’t work for me- a ‘car’ is made up of elements, and the energy that is the car has always existed, as long as physical things have existed. The outer shell may change, but the inner reality of where it comes from is constant.

    It’s easy to get lost in spiritual discussions- the mind just likes to chase squirrels around and around.

    For me the meaning isn’t found in the chasing, it’s found deeper in the heart, where I experience peace, love, and contentment.

  21. Adam Kayce : Monk At Work says

    [quote comment=”3289″]I think Adam Kayce sums it up pretty much:

    And second, the wrongful separation of heart and mind, of spirit and secular, of work and faith, if you will. Who says you can’t be fully you in your work?

    That’s what I aim to do, find, learn and in the end teach.[/quote]

    Thanks, Karin H. β€” and if I may, I’d say to move “teach” a bit closer in… teaching is going to help the doing, finding, and learning immensely. πŸ™‚

    As far as the rest of the topic goes, it’s a good discussion, and I’m getting a bit spun by all the different viewpoints.

    It’s too simplistic to say, “Meaning is either invented, or it’s not,” which is what I feel is happening, a bit.

    What intrigues me about this whole piece is how bent we can get on disproving others’ opinions, rather than finding the common ground, and definitions that lift and empower us all, instead of divide us between the two sides of the “fence.”

    It also intrigues me that at the core of both Mark and Sean’s thoughts, I hear the same call: the call to ‘be’, plainly and without tacking on assumptions. (Look at the posts on the 8th, straddling midday…)

    And to me, in that ‘be’ing, is where one’s meaning and purpose gets revealed.

  22. Dawud Miracle says

    Karin H.,

    I think we all could take a page from Adam’s book.


    It’s interesting to me that the heart, as an organ, is 55-65% neuro tissue. Meaning, almost two-thirds of the heart is made from the same tissues as the brain. Just thought I’d throw that factoid in the mix.


    I think you’re right on with your assessment. A good friend once told me that you shouldn’t use spiritual language to describe material things just as you shouldn’t use material language to describe spiritual things. He called this, “mixing your drinks.” Sounds like we’ve got a little drink mixing going on.

    The important thing that I was trying to get across in this post is my own, personal thoughts and feelings that working for money alone leads to emptiness and often to only temporary success. But working for what is a deeper place from inside leads to a life and business of caring and meaning. I’d still like to talk about that point – instead of which side of the fence people are on.

    Any takers?

  23. Karin Karin H. says

    I’ll have to make some time (today or tomorrow) to relay Lee Fowler’s weekly newsletter again (which covers and extends on this topic), but I’ll ‘take it’ on with the following quote Lee sent with his letter today:

    “A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.”

    (Henry Ford)

  24. Adam Kayce : Monk At Work says

    That is a great quote… here’s hoping that it holds true! πŸ™‚

    And, yes Dawud, I agree with your thoughts:

    [quote comment=”3328″]… that working for money alone leads to emptiness and often to only temporary success. But working for what is a deeper place from inside leads to a life and business of caring and meaning.[/quote]

    Since starting my own business years ago, even in my poorest moments, I’ve had a sense of deep and abiding contentment that I never, never experienced in any other job I’ve had.

  25. Bashar says

    I very much liked the three ways. It is something I think about when I think of a business plan. Is it something useful, that will make people’s life easy, or is it just an easy way for me to make money, and perhaps useless to all other others. Or worse, there life would be better without it.

    This is why I have affiliate business, but I try to make it in a way that might be helpful to people, not just clone of what exist already.

  26. Dawud Miracle says


    Exactly. What I know in my heart is that every human being is chasing something pure inside themselves. If we stay on the course of that chase we’ll end up making meaning in our lives, our families, our businesses. When we skew away from that chase, things get cloudy, confusing and even in success will often lead us to suffering.

  27. Dr. Karen says

    Oh my! I’m so late to the party….

    I had so many thoughts and reactions reading all the discussion, but a couple of things jumped out at me…

    Sean said: “The truth is that meaning is man-made.”

    Actually, our brains are hard-wired to create meaning. That’s what all the brain activity is about — it’s not *just* categorizing and sorting and labeling, it’s also trying to make sense out of events and relationships and experiences — i.e., to make meaning.

    And Dawud – it’s not just that the heart is made of similar tissues as the brain. It IS a brain, all in itself, and uses the same neurochemical messengers as the head brain and the gut brain. AND the head and heart exchange information regularly — most of that exchange going from heart to head, rather than the reverse as many people would guess.

    Sean also said: “And therefore, yes it’s important to create happiness and peace in our lives first, and then help others achieve the same.”

    There are an increasing whack of studies to suggest that the opposite order is the more powerful one — that by helping to create happiness (insert any other positive feeling or meaning-making here)in others, we create happiness in ourselves.

    Then onto my own sense of meaning. As some of you know, I am currently working to expand my neurofeedback practice to include working with women wanting to be involved in the political system. (self-plug here: http://PositivePolitics.wordpress.com if you’d like to visit πŸ˜‰

    In working with this group, I think, like many of you, I am somehow interested in addressing all 3 of Guy’s areas of meaning.

    1. Quality of Life: I believe by supporting women (hey, and men too ;-)to thrive in politics I am working to address the quality of life of the individual politicians themselves as well as the constituents they are working for. Politics is traditionally a stressful, competitive, and personally alienating place to be – and politicians, especially women, often describe ending up feeling disconnected from themselves, their families, their energy, motivations, and gifts. By trying to help them connect to their own courage and live from their sense of inner integrity, they can create and maintain honest and authentic connections with themselves and others. This creates greater and greater meaning in their own lives and *that* leads to the emergence of more meaningful and adpative ways of being together in the world.

    2. Right a wrong: There seem to be lots of “wrongs” in politics: the disempowerment of minorities (e.g., women, the disabled, the poor, etc.,etc.); the fractionating of people into “parties” (e.g., political parties, lobby groups, advocacy groups, liberals, conservatives, red/blue states in the U.S., etc. etc.). I want my work to contribute to the (re-)discovering of working together in a more collaborative and connective way in order to bring us together to create the kind of world we want.

    3. Preventing the end of something good:
    I sincerely believe that many, if not most politicians go into politics to make a positive difference. I want to be able to support them to keep their vision and energy alive — and maybe even to re-energize the political process into something that can again be respected and valued and honoured.

    Thanks for giving me the space to join in so late — and to get my thoughts clarified around some of this. Great post!


  28. Dawud Miracle says

    Dr. Karen

    So you’re late. You’re contribution is incredible. I may write a post about it.

    I understand what you’re saying about the heart actually being a brain itself. I had thought that’s how I read it some time ago, but couldn’t remember where so I chose to err on the side of caution. Since you’re a brain specialist, I can proceed to make countless references to our heart’s thinking.

    I would love to see Positive Politics take off. The bit of time you and I have spent talking about it, the concept sounds amazing. And, oh, the work you could do for humanity. Obviously something that has great meaning.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

  29. Sean D'Souza says

    The points we make are all valid. And all invalid in themselves.

    Purpose is built around belief. Our own belief. e.g. Our belief that we have to make life better for others, before ourselves. Or for ourselves, before others.

    But nothing works in isolation.

    If you were to keep doing stuff for others and got zero-feedback, your sense of purpose would dissipate. What if we went further and you actually got abused for doing good stuff. Then you’d come to associate your purpose with something that’s negative. Our sense of purpose is largely driven by feedback.

    Positive feedback, mostly.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve done the numbers. I know that purpose makes me happy. I know that it makes others happy. I know that it also works extremely well from a business perspective. In fact (without boasting), you’d be hard-pressed to find another ‘marketer’ giving away as much free and comprehensive information as we do at Psychotactics.

    But that doesn’t prove or disprove anything. It only proves that there is ‘your way, and my way.’ There is no ‘the way. The way, the purpose, the feedback is all changeable.

    And that’s because it’s probably harder for people to live without purpose than with purpose. Try going through the next thirty minutes with no purpose and you’ll know what I mean.

    As humans, we have to intellectualise everything. Or it drives us crazy.

    Does purpose exist? OR do we make it up? That’s like asking which came first–the chicken or the egg.

  30. Dr. Karen says

    Thanks Dawud.

    And you feel free to talk as much as you like about the heart’s brain — there is also some interesting research about the heart-brain and intuition and how that gets shared with the head-brain.

    For a quick version, feel free to take a peek at The Heart of Neurofeedback on my blog – it gives a quick taste of the really cool research on the heart and intuition.

    For more — head over to the HeartMath Institute at http://www.HeartMath.org

    And thanks so much for your encouragement and support for Positive Politics — I really do appreciate it – from my heart. πŸ˜‰



  31. Stuart Baker, conscious cooperation says

    Dr. Karen, it is great you are out there doing what you are doing, and it is wonderful to know what deep links the heart has at the core of our functioning.

    Sean, I agree that feedback does help define our relationship with purpose. And doing for others can sometimes really be its own reward. I think that the motto “If it feels good, do it” can apply here. Giving and doing for others can FEEL very good even if we don’t think about it at all, and that feeling can lead us to want to repeat the experience again and again.

    Stuart Baker

  32. Dawud Miracle says

    Dr. Karen,

    Yeah, I know about HeartMath. Great research. I’ve given consideration to taking some of their training. Some of their finding fit right in with my own spiritual beliefs.


    You’re covering a lot of ground. Thanks for keeping the conversation going.

    Firt thing…there is no such thing as an objective reality – so we agree on that point. Objectivity is reserved for beings without preferences – an no human is without preferences.

    I think the bottom line statement for me is that every human being is searching for meaning in their lives – whether they’re conscious of it or not. It’s somehow stitched into the fabric of our beings. I don’t know you too well, but it would be hard for me to believe you’re not motivated by a search for meaning in your life, your marriage, your work, your own inner reality. I’ve yet to meet someone who isn’t – even that search leads them down some pretty dark places.

    So for me, the debate isn’t in whether we search for meaning or not – I’m clear we all are. But how do we search and for what meaning – that’s the individualized piece in the debate. That’s where subjectivity takes over. And any one with a half their consciousness awake knows that there is no one way – no right and wrong. There is only every way.

    Sure, we make purpose in our lives. But why? My position is because it’s part of our life. In Sufism we speak of fitrah. Fitrah is like a primordial, uncorrupted nature that exists in all people, regardless of what they express externally. Fitrah is that ‘force’ that makes us feel uneasy inside when we’re not living to our highest spiritual potential. It’s there as a reminder of the meaning we search for and a compass pointing the way.

    Sure, I look at this through the eyes of ten years of study and twenty years of searching inside myself for meaning. I’m bias – no doubt. But only in the cosmology I use to view creation. And in my cosmology, I make no other cosmology wrong. In fact, often there are similarities between Sufism and other, deeply rooted, spiritual paths.

    So no way is one way – all ways are one way leading from multiplicity to oneness.


    The question, in my opinion, is ‘why are you here?’

  33. Dr. Karen says


    Thanks so much for your kind words!

    I happened to see this summary of an interesting study that seemed to have some bearing on this conversation. Note especially the researcher;s summary comments at the end…

    Giving found to activate pleasure centers in brain

    “Philanthropists, take note: the warm glow that often accompanies giving may have a physiological basis, according to recent research. Scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, in Bethesda, Maryland, have identified two separate areas of the brain that are activated when individuals choose to contribute money to a worthy cause. The findings were based on magnetic resonance imaging of subjects who made the decision to give away money to charity. Giving was found to stimulate the mesolimbic area of the brain, stimulating the release of dopamine, which causes pleasurable or euphoric sensations. Also affected was the subgenual region of the brain, associated with the release of the hormone oxytocin, which plays a key role in increasing trust and cooperation in humans.

    “Something in our brains shaped by evolution allows us to feel joy when we do good things,” observed Dr. Jorge Moll, the neurologist leading the research. “It is a biological force and we should not ignore it in promoting social welfare.” (Economist, October 12 2006)


  34. Dawud Miracle says

    Dr. Karen,

    Very interesting study. I’ve seen different things over the years that show we get a measurable, often high level, of positive biofeedback from giving. And here’s another study. This is great. Thanks.

    What’s you’re feeling about what this means in relation to giving as a whole? (sorry so wordy)

  35. Aloha Nema says

    1. Increase the quality of life
    2. Right a wrong
    3. Prevent the end of something good

    I love these thoughts.


  1. […] My youngest daughter turned two in November, and I think she’s starting to hit her stride.Every other word she utters is, “Why?” Every answer to her, “Why?” is followed up with another, “Why?” […]

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