The merchant

Image: Emma Frances Logan Barker

As up-in-my-head and spiritually-leaning as I am on this blog, I’ve always been drawn toward the merchant.

To me, a merchant is one who takes on great risk to live a life on their terms and birth something new and useful to the world. This can be anyone from a freelancer to a founder to a boutique clothing store owner.

I’m not talking about the one who comes up with a heartless business that only exists for the ‘exit’. As impressive as this person is, I don’t see them as a merchant. Maybe an entrepreneur, but not a merchant.

The merchant sees no separation between who they are at their core and the business they create. They’re in this for the long-haul. They see humans, not users. They seek no venture capital because they know they’re fit to turn a fair profit through the value they create, not from the charades they perform.

I digress…

When I talk to a merchant who’s passionate about what she’s doing, I feel I’m in the presence of Spirit, more so, I’d say, than when I talk to a religious devotee who sits, prays, and reads all day (I’m stereotyping, but you know what I mean).

My current day job is in branding and storytelling for businesses. I don’t write about it here much. For one, because it’s my j-o-b (which I love very much, btw). Secondly, because this is Medium and you have plenty of marketing type stuff clogging up your feed. Finally, I’m not a freelancer anymore and have no need to hawk my services. I work with a couple of insanely talented friends who own a digital studio (yes, they’re the people I speak of here). This means I get to meet a ton of incredible merchants and hear/tell their stories.

What I love about reading classical New Thought (the tradition I’m currently steeped in) texts are their case studies. Many people versed in New Thought work as spiritual healers (some of their stuff is a liiiittle out there, I will say, but that’s for another post — hang with me here). When they speak of a ‘demonstration’ (the healing of someone through alignment of mind and Spirit), they often speak of this person going off and starting a widely successful business that not only brings them wealth, but great value to the world around them. New Thought practitioners are like exorcists of commerce, it seems.

Seeing the merchant shown in such a spiritual light is refreshing because, in a lot of ‘spiritual’ texts, the businessperson is ridiculed as greedy and harmful.

When I sit with a merchant who’s authentic, genuine, passionate, and truly in the mindset of service, I see pure Spirit in all its glory.

I see the integration of mind and heart and I notice the alignment of Soul and ego.

Here’s a quote from New Thought author, Ernest Holmes:

The Law of Activity we must use in our business. So many business places that we go into have such an atmosphere of inactivity, produce such a drowsy feeling, that we at once lose all interest in what is going on. We don’t feel like buying. We leave that place without any apparent reason and go into another. Here we feel that all is life, all is motion, all is activity. We feel confident that this is the place we are looking for. We will buy here; we find just what we want; we are satisfied with our purchase and go away cheerful.

How awesome is this? Spirituality and commerce, as one. What a beautiful marriage in the true merchant.

This is who inspires the work I do. Not necessarily the one who wants to leave the world of the physical and go meditate in a cave for the rest of their lives. But the person who sees the world of form and matter as her playground. The one who knows, at even a subconscious level, that Spirit lives among and through us in the hustle and bustle of commerce and daily life. I’m far more impressed by someone who opens up a successful coffee shop (because how the hell do you do that?) than one who just got back from a silent retreat (although that’s pretty awesome too).

If you’re a merchant, kudos to you. And if you’re still reading this, may you know you’re likely more spiritual (in the real sense) than you think you are. Please realize that’s not a bad thing. Please know that your customers are inherently attracted to the merchant who cares. Who has faith in the unknown and works toward the alchemy of realizing her vision. Who is unabashedly fearless in her message and the value she brings to the world.

A part of you knows this all comes from something greater than you and your fears and doubts and stresses and hesitancies because this is what you’re banking on.

May your cash register ring and your mailing list expand. May the trolls find other arenas to slog their hate and jealousy. And may you find solace in the personal relationships and goodwill you garner with your customers. May you call as many as you can by their first names. May you accept their invites to dinner when you’ve been working 60–70 hour weeks with only a frozen burrito in your freezer.

We need you and we stand in awe of what you do.

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Jonas writes short daily stories and preachments on the daily here in Higher Thoughts. Get one to enjoy with your coffee every morning by subscribing below.