Work: turning a necessary daily task into an opportunity
For me, the past months have been an especially harrowing at work.Work is continually more challenging, due to perpetual policy changes. Each year, the workload is noticeably heavier, the goals are set impossibly higher, and the budget cuts are unbelievably deeper. There are many days that I have come home physically drained from work.
Integrating into worldly life is essential, so that one can adaptively practice and apply the Teaching. It is by living within the flow of life, and integrating into daily life, that one can truly experience the merger of theoretical knowledge with actual real-life application. Experiencing life within an isolated environment and practicing the Teaching within the confine of a controlled surrounding is but an initial learning step. One must be able to effectively and successfully apply the theoretical Teaching to life’s endless challenges and opportunities, and merge seamlessly into daily life…yet be unwavered and unsullied by the life flow.
Work is an indispensable opportunity for one to become self-aware of the habitual egocentric tendencies, when actually presented with the challenges. Work is a necessary daily task for one to practice the Teaching and apply the teaching under the various changing conditions. Each daily challenge is an opportunity for one to determine if one can truly apply and merge theoretical knowledge, into the endless life circumstances. It is vital for one to be self-aware of one’s ability to remain at Inner Peace, when faced with life’s fluctuations.
It is fundamental to never lose sight of what truly matters. No matter the wealth and riches, in the end, all material things are non-essential, irrelevant, and impermanent. Ultimately, living life at a Timeless Inner Peace, while positively impacting others is what truly matters…not the fleeting worldly gains.
Work is a necessary daily task to provide me with the means to support and further my spiritual life journey. Work has provided me an indispensable environment to unify the theoretical knowledge of Zen with real life application through compassion and wisdom. After all, a Zen life path is not a passive letting-go of life, but is instead an active realization of the Karmic existence, while being at a Timeless Inner Peace.
A workday can be physically, mentally and emotionally draining, if one becomes caught in the whirlwind of outer events. I refuse to let work mentally and/or emotionally exhaust me and deviate me from Inner Peace along my life path. I find that mental and emotional exhaustions require more time and effort for recovery, compared to physical exhaustion. Mental and emotional exhaustions are truly a self-fix, once one objectively view the present situation, without the mind’s subjective narrative and emotional knee-jerk response of the outer event.
It is best to recognize the mental and emotional exhaustions and face them immediately head-on by responding to the triggers with clarity, compassion, and letting-go of emotional clinginess and attachment. The perceived fortunate and unfortunate events shall all come and go, in their own time. After all, changeability and impermanence is the nature of life.
It is all too easy to be consumed by the daily grind, and deviate from being at Inner Peace, due to the infinitely changing distractions and challenges. Time is the currency of life, over half of my 24 hours day is unavoidably spent on work and sleep. I find that my workday is more meaningful, when I make full use of each moment to practice and apply The Teaching. I view work as an opportunity for contemplation and self-reflection. Work is a hands-on opportunity for me to merge wisdom and compassion, then letting-go of egocentric emotional attachments and clinginess, to overcome challenges within myself.
The last two weeks at work has been especially arduous. I face each workday with a conscious effort to not waste the practical opportunity provided by numerous challenges. I tried to be especially more compassionate, empathic, and serene during the difficult moments, when dealing with others.
Finding kindness and acting with compassion, during the difficult times, have been beneficial in helping me let go of anger and frustrations from the event. I recognize that we all shall face the Karmic consequences of our choices. I chose to let go of my egocentric attachments to the outer circumstance, and not get on the emotional rollercoaster ride. Viewing the challenge and the other person in a compassionate light have helped to disperse my inner frustrations. Altering my own emotionally state from anger and frustrations to compassion and empathy did result in the hinderance neither handicapping me nor weighing me down mentally and emotionally. Being kind and compassionate to those who bring challenges into my life shall make-better his/her life, so that perhaps he/she may also pay it forward.
Having a clear outlook and facing the life challenges, through compassion and letting go of attachments, have empowered me to be at ease along my life journey on the Zen life path. The nature of life is changeability and impermanence, I now face life as it comes, then let go, and have karmic fate takes its course. I may come home physically tired, but emotionally and mentally, I am unswayed and unaffected by the outer events.
Reprinted from ZenMoon.org with Permission