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Visualizing the future, several businesspersons at a Manhattan hotel are acting out what the ideal corporate board meeting will look like in 2012. "May all the decisions we make today be guided by values and by love," the board chairman says. "Let's meditate on it. Tune in to your intuition on all levels."

It's the Spirit in Business World Conference, where more than 500 businesspeople and assorted "change agents" have come to help unleash each other's inner powers. They will spend three days spurring each other on to positive thoughts at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, a sanctuary from the grit and litter outside. Then they will go to the ends of the earth as part of a fledgling movement to transform the world.

Yes, they're believers—in human potential. They believe in the power of enlightened business to imbue life with meaning. Many of them, especially their leaders, believe business will help usher in a universal shift in consciousness.

They mean many things by the term shift in consciousness, including the notion that businesspeople should rely less on rational thought and more on intuitive "inner wisdom." On a less esoteric level, the envisioned business revolution would affirm values—rather than shareholder value—as the driving force of business. Paradoxically, most of those values have biblical roots.

The spirit-minded consultants, executives, and academics are, after all, into ethics as much as energy fields. One of at least 15 such conferences taking place yearly (up from two in 1994), this event is sponsored by Greenfield, Massachusetts-Based Spirit in Business Inc. It is one of a cluster of conference organizers unifying the disciples and doctrines of a constellation of neopagan and panreligious philosophers, ...

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February 2003

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