Lev Natan Talks Sacred Business – How to Walk Your Unique Spiritual Path and Pay Your Bills On Time

Lev_Headshot_Feb2013My colleague Lev Natan is one of the most ‘real deal’ conscious entrepreneur coaches you could meet. He has a deep history in community and spiritual work and it’s been wonderful to see his work blossom. He’s got a new project coming up that I am excited to share with you all and so I thought I’d sit down with him for a bit of an extended interview about it.

His program is called: The Sacred Business Intensive – How to Walk Your Unique Spiritual Path and Pay Your Bills On Time: 5 Free Webinars to Integrate Your Relationship with Money, Life Purpose, and Meaningful Work – From March 27th thru April 4th.  

You’ve spoken about how you have noticed that conscious entrepreneurs often feel “overwhelmed, hopeless, unappreciated, hurt, and as if no one sees who [they] truly are or what [they] are here to give.” What’s underneath that? Why do you think they feel that way? Is this them playing victim or something else? Why do we get stuck here?

To understand why we get stuck, we need to see clearly how life really is, and, for a moment, let go of how we would like it be.  What are the values that mainstream western culture supports and respects?  Economic and career success, material wealth, social status, and the power to control resources.  

The dominant culture is not organized around values of appreciating each individual’s talents and gifts.  We have the Gross National Product, while Bhutan, for example, has the Gross National Happiness Index.  It doesn’t foster healthy community relationships that empower us to feel safe being ourselves (as opposed to wearing social masks).  

Our culture has stripped away the sense that we have what we need and can enjoy a simple sense of contentment.  Contentment grows out of a strong connection to self, resilient family and community ties, and an engaged relationship with spirituality (our sense of meaning and purpose).  Instead, our culture stimulates our sense of neediness (which is what drives our economy), and tells us we will be satiated by unhealthy foods, material goods, money, and the image of success.  This life pattern conditions us towards dependency and addition.

The truth is, we are needy.  But, at the root of our neediness is a longing for authentic relationship – relationship with self, community, nature, and spirit.

The root word for culture is the same as cultivate, so our culture is the soil in which we grow, and the soil is quite depleted of nourishment.  We can go back 10,000 years to see the overall pattern of human civilization as being engaged in power struggles for control of resources.  Generation after generation of this life experience engenders our psychological, emotional and neurological systems with a pattern of dependency.  

So, on a cultural level, we have been conditioned to feel the feelings that I’ve mentioned – “overwhelmed, hopeless, unappreciated, hurt, and as if no one sees who [they] truly are or what [they] are here to give.”

A lot of coaches, healers, and teachers talk about “transforming limiting beliefs,” but an essential element that is usually left out is the awareness that our beliefs are like roots of a tree – they go deep into the soil of our being. 

We get stuck because our bodies “remember” these traumas, and are expressed as subconscious beliefs, which show up when we want to express ourselves in our businesses.  To access the self-respect, love, joy, and empowerment necessary to stand up as leaders in our businesses, we need to transform our conditioned value and belief systems by going on a journey to heal our ancestral wounds.  

I went through a years-long process of healing the fear of being persecuted for my spiritual beliefs because my ancestors were persecuted – villages destroyed, families torn apart.  I had memories of being burned at the stake that I had to heal.

These kinds of traumas are passed down through our ancestral memories and our bodies.  I didn’t think that I was literally in danger of physical harm, but it showed up as fear of being rejected or people not taking me seriously in my business if I really spoke my truth.  So, I needed to heal the roots of those beliefs in order to stand powerfully in my entrepreneurial purpose and mission.

You speak about how, “we don’t just want to “be successful,” we want to sing our own unique song.” Can you spell out the difference you see between the two? And why do you think more of the people we work with haven’t found this yet? Is it fear? Is it them trying to fit into a box? What prevents us from finding that song?

Have you ever heard of Chiron?  He was a figure in Greek mythology who exemplifies the archetype of the wounded healer.  

The path towards true service requires you to go on your own healing journey.  And, on this path of healing, there aren’t any shortcuts, you have to confront the wounds and do the work.  

This is is not something that we’re used to in our culture.  We’re used to shortcuts and getting the results that we think we want as quickly and effortlessly as possible.  The problem with this, as our current economic and environmental crisis demonstrates, is that taking shortcuts actually brings us further away from what would truly nourish us.

So, “being successful” is about looking the part – getting the clients, making the money, being the respected expert in your field.  From here, people who are feeling needy for those things are attracted to the image of power and success that you have built.

Singing our song is about freedom.  Freedom can not be faked.   Freedom is a qualitative expression of spiritual growth and development.  Freedom requires self-awareness, trust, faith, courage, compassion, intelligence, and an open-hearted love that is willing to give itself fully for what it believes.  It takes practice to develop these qualities – that’s why we call it spiritual practice.

Martin Luther King Jr. was free.  Gandhi was free.  Malcolm X was free.  And, Nelson Mandela was free, even though he spent 27 years in prison.  They found freedom through their connection to their life purpose, mission, and relationship with self, other, and spirituality.

You don’t need to be a political or social change leader in order to have the courage to be free.  Start with your own healing journey.  Start by being honest with yourself.  

The most powerful act of courage is to give yourself permission to articulate what you really want, what would really make you come alive and feel joyful, as opposed to the image of what “being successful” tells you what you want.  Movement towards your authentic vision gives you many opportunities to heal and move closer to freedom.

The main thing that can prevents you from singing your song is that you create a culturally acceptable version of your vision – basically a compromise – and then pretend to be excited about it.  External results of “success” can give us a rush for a few years, but its like a sugar rush, it isn’t a solid foundation on which to build a life or business. 

You speak about:

“why am I here on this planet at this time?  What am I here to do and be?  Who am I, underneath my social conditioning in a culture that has a habit of only looking at the surface of things.  And, who am I an in an era that is coming to an end, and in a new one that is emerging as we speak?  What is my role?  What is my responsibility?  How can I  imagine a vision for myself that feels free and joyful when there is so much suffering going on around me?”

Why do these questions matter to a conscious entrepreneur? What do you see as the connection between the kind of deep personal growth you’re talking about and right livelihood? I can imagine a lot of people might say, ‘That’s nice and important, but I have to pay the bills. I don’t have time for this.’

Going back to where I left off in the last question, its about integrity.  I’m not only talking about being aligned with your truth.  I’m talking about structural integrity.   

When you build a house without pouring the concrete foundation its just not going to last.  You could look at these questions as the foundation for a solid business and life.

These questions are the roots of a powerful vision, and therefore, a solid foundation for a conscious business.  When you ask yourself “why am I here at this time?” it cuts to the core of your sense of purpose.  Your connection to purpose gives you access to a quality of inner resources that are otherwise completely unavailable.

To make it simple, these questions can be distilled into one simple question: what motivates you to get up in the morning?  

Your motivation dictates the manner in which you engage your goals.  If you are motivated by the socially approved of treasures – wealth, status, power – than you may just get that.  But, these treasures do not guarantee fulfillment, joy, healthy relationships, and experience a sense of deep meaning in the work that you do.  In fact, the statistics show the exact opposite.  America, the richest country in the world, is also the most depressed.  Americans consume more anti-depressants than any other people in the world.

If you are motivated by a desire to grow into a person who embodies the attributes taught about by world spiritual traditions, then joy, meaning, fulfillment are assured to you.  Why?  Because you are focused on cultivating internal qualities, which you do have control over, as opposed to external results, which you, ultimately, don’t have control over.

Results in business are essential.  But, your perspective and motivation changes your relationship which getting results, which is at the core of what I am talking about.

By integrating your deepest sense of meaning and purpose into your business, you begin to emphasize action that genuinely cultivates your mission, as opposed to looking for the best way to get recognized, find clients, and just “get yourself out there.”  

Its an issue of focus and perspective that may seem subtle, but over the course of the development of a business, and your life as a whole, that foundation builds a whole different house, so to speak.

A major (often valid) criticism of people engaged in a spiritual, healing or holistic business is that they’re flakey. Lofty visions, big concepts etc. but little application and little ability to ‘pay the bills on time.’ What do you think that’s about and what do these people most need? What’s missing for them here? When you work with them how do you help with that? 

Its true.  People engaged in spiritual, healing or holistic businesses do have lofty visions.  I would also add people in the creative arts, like film-making, writing, musicians, and visual artists.  I should know, I’m one of them.

Most of the time, your greatest gift is also your greatest weakness, and this is definitely the case here.  All human beings have the same basic structure – 2 arms, 2 legs, 2 eyes, a nose, mouth, etc. – and that hasn’t changed for thousands of years.  But, your individual nature is very unique.  The nature of people who create, heal, and connect naturally to a sense of spirituality is that we literally have one foot in two worlds.  Now, taken at face value, in this materialistic culture, it can be a setback to be “in the world, but not of it.”  But, in other cultural systems, this is highly revered and respected human quality.  One of the meanings for the word “shaman”is literally “the one who dreams it into being” – “it” meaning their vision.  

So, the first mistake that most people make is to hide their natural gift, which is their most precious asset in a business.  They need to honor themselves and their gift.  

From here there is a “reality check” that probably needs to happen.  You need to get real with what it is that you’re ignoring – in terms of practical business and professional skills.  Go out and get the training you need.  I had to do that, and through our work together, my clients learn to engage practically with the vision that they care most about.  I’m talking about skills like presenting yourself respectfully, clear communication, time management, time lines, goal setting and follow through – in general, being a professional and taking yourself seriously.

So, the second mistake is that intuitive/creative professionals think that their intuition and visionary nature will carry them through life without having to do any heavy lifting.  

But, once you move through those two issues, you have the ability to channel the power of your creativity into a clear structure or form that strikes a nerve with people, and is much more powerful, attractive, and magnetic than “successful” business-owners who have perfected the skill of looking the part, but don’t have the root and life force flowing through their copy, programs and services.


I’ll give you an example to demonstrate these two points. Dean Adams, who will be speaking with me in the 5th Webinar in the Sacred Business Intensive, was a free-lance news film-maker/journalist in Thailand, struggling to catch the next story, when I met him.  He was behind on his bills and stress was mounting in his relationship with his wife.  

Where to start in such a challenging situation?  We began with the inspiring vision that makes Dean come alive.  For many years Dean has felt a yearning to use story-telling through film as a vehicle for inspiration, empowerment, healing, and growing the new, life-affirming culture.  This is what we tapped into.  

My intention was to get Dean to feel how important that vision was  in his life.  It was a struggle.  

When you can’t see a pathway to your vision, your tendency is to stop looking, because it hurts too much.

But, Dean and I built a relationship rooted in trust, safety, and acceptance where it was not only ok to feel the pain, but I actually supported him to do so.  As we created more space for the pain to be felt, there was more space for other emotions as well – excitement, inspiration, and the desire to make his vision a reality. 

But, we didn’t float off into “vision-land” and “get high.”   Instead, we used the vision as a container within which to engage the practical realities of his life.  His sense of empowerment awakened.  He went out and got a job teaching film-making at a school.  No, that wasn’t the ultimate goal, but that was the necessary stepping-stone, in that moment.  And, now that his ultimate vision was strong, he was able to give himself fully to the practical task at hand.

From here, he continued to look for new work opportunities, and through skillful networking (a crucial business skill), was offered a job as Deputy Editor in Chief for Documentaries at Qatar TV, a news television station, where he is currently earning a healthy income while building the professional skills and relationships that are making his vision for his own film-production company truly realistic.  He is currently in the process of putting together a team of staff and investors to support his film-production company called 10 Hope Films.

You can get more info here.  

mqdefaultLev Natan helps entrepreneurs & creative professionals weave their unique spiritual path into meaningful work through Life Purpose / Business Coaching & Sound Healing.  He is the founder of The Medicine Tree Center, and is committed to a path of practical spirituality that is rooted in purposeful work, meaningful relationships, and vibrant, joyful health.

Lev’s work is rooted in the principles and practical wisdom of ancient mystical and shamanic traditions.  A musician his whole life, Lev awakened to the healing power of sound through spiritual and musical traditions from cultures around the world, including the Chasidic Tradition of Judaism, Indigenous Healing Traditions of Brazil and Peru, Tuvan Throat Singing, and Native American spiritual traditions.  

Lev is Certified as an Empowerment Life Coach, and has been serving clients since 2008.  He has a background in addiction treatment counseling and rites of passage work. He graduated from Boston University Cum Laude with a degree in Human Ecology, is Certified as Agent of Conscious Evolution through Barbara Marx Hubbard’s training with the Shift Network, apprenticed with Native American Shaman and Elder, Hawksbrother, for six years, has been studying Tai Chi & Qi Gong for 8 years, and is currently enrolled in the Sound and Music Institute’s Practitioner Certification Training.

If you’d like more info or to sign up for Lev’s free offer, just click here.

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