I was originally going to call this post Selling your Soul to the Highest Bidder. Inspired by a passage I have been studying from Aman Cara, I felt that this Labor Day holiday weekend is a great time to sit back, relax and reflect on the mindfulness of our contribution to the world through our work.
It is very difficult, at first consideration, to bring the world of work and the world of soul together. Most of us work in order to survive. – John O’Donoghue, Aman Cara
We need to make money; we have no choice.
On the other hand, those who are unemployed feel frustrated and demeaned and suffer a great loss of dignity.
Yet those of us who work are often caught within a grid of predictability and repetition. It is the same every day. Work should not be like that at all; it should be an arena of possibility and real expression.
Working for Security
Respectability and security are subtle traps on life’s journey. Those who are drawn to extremes are often nearer to renewal and self-discovery. Those trapped in the bland middle region of respectability are lost without ever realizing it. This can be a trip for those addicted to the business world.
Your Work Identity
Many people in business operate only with one side of their mind: the strategic, tactical mechanical side day in and day out. This becomes a mental habit that they apply to everything, including their inner life. Even though they may be powerful people in the theater of work, outside the workplace they look forlorn and lost. You cannot repress the presence of your soul and not pay the price. If you sin against your soul, it is always at a great cost. Work can be an attractive way of sinning deeply against the wildness and creativity of your own soul. Work comes to dominate your identity.
Read more Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
As Gregor Samsa, in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, when we are working just to survive, we are sacrificing a part of ourselves, perhaps the best part, either for others’ happiness or just to survive on a personal level.
“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.” quote from The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. “Calm —indeed the calmest— reflection might be better than the most confused decisions” Recommended Reading “The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka: The Complete Stories
Your Unique Contribution and Training Your Mind
Try to establish whether the work you do and where you work is actually expressive of your identity, dignity and gifted-ness. If not, difficult choices may need to be made.
If you sell your soul, you ultimately buy a life of misery.
You need great patience and self-trust to sense the invisible harvest in the territory of the mind. You need to train the inner eye for the invisible realms where thoughts can grow and where feelings put down their roots. Mindfulness at work starts with synchronizing with our experience. Being mindful at work is not simply a matter of being alert to the present moment, as if we were intently sightseeing or inspecting our experience. Rather, mindfulness introduces us to the reality that we are fully immersed – utterly harmonized 360 degrees – in the circumstances we find ourselves in.
Mindfulness reveals that for us to accomplish goals, conduct ourselves ethically, and contribute to our world we must first see clearly.
Read The Mindful Leader: Awakening Your Natural Management Skills Through Mindfulness Meditation
I’m curious, is your being finding expression in your doing?