However, this focus is a little backwards. Rather, the question is how do you stay centered in your inner wisdom and love in any job that you do? How do you make space for others to follow their divine paths without judging where they are going? In this way, any job becomes a spiritual job, and truth be told, I've learned more than a few lessons about myself in past jobs.
With that said, most of you are completely out of practice in this spiritual practice, and transforming your mindset is the first thing that must arise to really embrace whatever job you are doing now. Certainly, I don't advocate staying in any abusive situation--including a job. However, most of you are not in such great difficulty, and many of you will learn quite a bit about the world you have co-created around yourself by learning to use your job as a mirror for yourself. Along the way, there are definitely some simple spiritual self-care things you can do to help you stay balanced as you face some of these mirrors in your workplace.
Spiritual Awakening: A Time for Retreat
For those of you who have awakened and the abiding awakened presence in you is turning things upside-down, you really shouldn't work. You really should find a space to rest and rebirth yourself. I have worked during this time period, but it usually involved me shutting down a lot of the spiritual process in me. So I can't recommend it. I can only say that if you sincerely look for support, you will find it so that you can embrace the fullness of this beautiful transformative time. Then, when and if you return to the work world in some way, these tips about spiritual self-care will be most appropriate.
Getting Over Your Superiority IssueThere's a growing number of people who have wrapped themselves up in spiritual-speak and ideas and have grown quite a thorny superiority issue. "Oh look at those sorry unconscious souls. They totally don't get it." No. They probably don't, but that doesn't mean they're not on the perfect path for them. This is something that gets forgotten by quite a few people still at an immature phase of their spiritual development, and it most notably is a way that the ego has tried to hide itself with a new set of clothes. But while the wrapping paper may have changed, the contents of the ego really has not. Which is why we are always going inwards. By going inwards, we find out what our little games are and how we are trying to play them out.
Work tends to be one of those wonderful places that shows us our games by having other people hit our triggers and otherwise upset us. But the other people are not the problem, for the most part. We are. So if we have an issue with speaking out truth, then the loud over-bearing boss is always "making" us angry. (No one actually makes anyone angry; that's a choice even if it is chosen in a very unconscious and reactive way). So instead of acting like you are so much better than your loud boss who always has to be right, you put that superiority issue aside to look more deeply into how you do or don't speak your truth. Or perhaps you look at how you think your way is the right way--the truly spiritual way--which is in part being mirrored by this individual.
Mirror, Mirror on the WallThere are countless mirrors in our lives, and of course, we have our own projections that we put onto other people about who or what we think they are. You see? This workplace is a veritable goldmine of spiritual work, which is probably only eclipsed by parents, close friends, and children in the way hot buttons can get pushed. But we are never angry or upset by these external forces; we continue to use them to show us things about ourselves. We look at how we construct meaning. We look at the stories we try to create around ourselves. So many people try to create these "perfect" lives, which are simply stories taught to us about how a successful life should look. In the U.S., it's the idea of the happily married couple with the home with a white picket fence and 2.5 kids. That same kind of energy goes into the workplace to varying degrees, and when people at work don't act out our little fantasies, we get upset. To embrace the spiritual path here, we start to look at why we're getting upset, who wrote the script to this little drama, and then really question the assumptions in that script. (So why did I think I would just keep getting promoted and given pay raises constantly? What did I think that would really get me? Was this just an attempt to achieve happiness through money and external validation?)
The Spiritual Self-Care of BreathworkAs I regularly remind everyone, the spiritual path is simple. It is already right here. There is no where to go. There is nothing special that you need. Consequently, just about anything in your life can be a spiritual tool. I like breathwork because it is so basic. You cannot go throughout your day without breathing--although it may feel like it when you are going too fast. With that said, at any time during your day that you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, confused, or just plain foggy, I encourage you to stop and breathe. It's really very simple, and it can go like this (although there are countless ways you can do it):
- Stop what you are doing
- Close your eyes
- Breathe in
- Breathe out
- Gradually expand the breath past the usually areas where you are comfortable breathing
- Breathe deeply into your whole diaphragm and down into your low back
- Slow the breath down
- Do this for 3 minutes
It really is that simple, and in 3 minutes, you can find your way back to center or at least relatively clearer state of mind.
Finding Space for MeditationWe all have breaks in our day. I'm pretty sure that that is mandated by law for most of you, so please don't let your ego-mind run in to say that you have no time for meditation. You have all kinds of time; it just depends upon how you prioritize it. And for those of you who are wondering, yes, I have meditated at work. It's not that difficult, but it is helpful to find a quite office, room, or outdoor space where you can be relatively undisturbed. Although, if people see you, they may join you. I had a small lunchtime meditation group going at one point because people saw that I was meditating.
Once again, meditation isn't a difficult thing. Just stop, close your eyes, and breathe. Obviously there are other types of meditation, but let's keep it simple (You can also read about How to Meditate on this link). Then have your meditation practice for 10, 15, or 20 minutes. I always found it super refreshing, and it gave me better clarity on any projects that I was working on.
Not Talking About Spirituality to Convert OthersOne of the things isn't part of spiritual self-care is the idea of converting others to make the workplace a more spiritual place. Don't bother people who aren't interested in spirituality, and don't impose your views on others who are interested in spirituality. This type of attitude is still part of that ego superiority game. The ego thinks that if everyone thinks like me, then we'll live in Utopia, and we'll all be saved. It's a very arrogant and narrow perspective, and trying to get everyone to think and act like you doesn't really nourish you or them. It is a game of push-pull, and no one really wins at that.
The point of the spiritual path is to learn how to accept everyone exactly as they are, and that starts by accepting yourself exactly as you are. Job-hopping to find some perfect job will ultimately fail you because you can't run from your life lessons; they go right along with you. However, you can learn how to better engage those lessons to complete them. With more awareness as to what you are co-creating and a little breathing and meditation along the way, you can do a better job of caring for yourself and maintaining your inner balance while at work and continue to grow on your spiritual path while you do your job.
Today's water photo comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. Feel free to check out her beautiful work on this flickr link.