Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of December 23, 2013

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Being Your Job

(Being Yourself: Part 6)

There is great dignity in working, in being useful. The act of doing something that benefits others confers one of the profound satisfactions of life and gives us meaning. The reason it is so essentially gratifying to be productive in service lies deep within us, in our spiritual nature.

We can describe the Divine as a mountain of purpose, one that far transcends our understanding. All work, by definition, has a purpose. Our small scale purposes may not seem to relate to the Divine Purpose, but they do. Purpose is purpose. And it requires acts of will to fulfill any purpose. Will and purpose are closely intertwined: every conscious act of will has a purpose. Any purpose in tune with our conscience, such as wholesome and beneficial work, aligns our actions with the Divine purpose, aligns us with the sacred. So to perform our necessary and our chosen duties to our body, our family, our society, and our planet defines us and connects us with the purpose of our life. We may not know that purpose explicitly, but clearly such duties form a part of our lifeís purpose. Our work, our job, and in some cases our avocations, be they paid or unpaid, in our home or outside it, give us the essence satisfaction of fulfilling, at least in part, our true purpose.

Of course, the closer our work aligns with and draws upon our natural gifts, our skills, and our interests, the more satisfying it may be and the more it helps us develop our individuality. But we become ourselves, in part, through our work and through choosing to do what we are doing, whether or not it aligns with our nature or our desires. Work, for most, is a necessity, a way of earning our living, paying for our life. Yet thereís also an element of choice, not only in the kind of work we do, but in our moment-to-moment choosing to be here doing what we are doing.

This is part of presence in action and transforms even the most mundane tasks. That choice is an act of will, an act of our will. We choose to do what are doing here and now. Even if it is a humdrum and necessary chore or one that is imposed on us, we can still get behind it and choose it. We need not let our inner world in such moments be dominated by our dislike of a situation. Even if we are doing something we do not want to be doing, as long as we actually are doing it, we can choose to do it with both feet, with the whole of ourselves, fully engaged in this moment. In this way, we turn our ordinary work and our daily chores into actions that simultaneously feed both our outer world and our soul.

Inwardly we are free, free to choose to do whatever we are doing. In that freedom comes relief from resentment, boredom, grumbling, escapism, daydreaming, and being lost in thought and out of touch. Nevertheless, choosing to do what we are doing does not mean we must meekly give up hope of improving our lot in life or following our interests. We can, if we wish, work to change our circumstances, all the while choosing in each moment to do what we are doing at that moment. In so choosing, we bring presence to our work. We are here working. We become our work. We fill this moment with life.

Another aspect of doing our work is to do it well, with quality. We give each task the full and appropriate measure of effort and attention. We continually seek to improve what we do, to always get better at it, to be intelligent and heartful about it. Quality in the material world is a reflection of quality in the spiritual worlds. To the extent that we can be the vehicle for quality to enter this world, we serve as a bridge between the two, between the spiritual and the material. This is our intended role in the great harmony of the world. Any task performed with excellence feeds our soul, develops our individuality, and redounds with benefits that ripple well beyond our personal interests and satisfaction. True excellence reaches toward perfection, and perfection in a small task joins the perfecting of the spiritual nature of our world. Thus the dignity of work is unbounded in its very source.

For this week, be your job, be your work. Choose to do whatever you are doing, so you can fully be here doing it.


     

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