Spiritual Self-Care and Working a Regular Job

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In the hearts and minds of many on the spiritual path, are the concerns about how to make the entirety of your life spiritual. You may feel like you're doing all the right spiritual things, but what about work? How can you find a job that supports you on your spiritual path? How can you find others of like mind doing similar work?

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.

With that said, sometimes, life forces you to work. We all have different life lessons, and sometimes, going through those difficult inner fires while at a job are part of your particular life lessons. If this is true for your spiritual journey, I hope the following spiritual tips offer you an idea about how to maintain your inner balance, find lessons you need to learn, and continue to shift and grow.

Getting Over Your Superiority Issue

There'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 Wall

There 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., the ideal life is seen as 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 Breathwork

As 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 Meditation

We 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 Others

One of the things that 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 but have different beliefs. 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.


  1. Hi there. Thanks for the article. I found it very interesting that you recommend not to work when you first start awakening. I have been looking for a job for about 5 months and had an awakening literally last week. Until then the job search was very depressing and I believe helped to trigger the awakening. Now I feel the need to be tender with myself and not to do a job that will be too much. But at the same time, my savings are almost gone and my worry about this makes me consider applying to every job no matter how much I think ill hate it. Job hunting like this triggers the old depression and anxiety, which I believe made it much harder for me to find a job before. But with this awakening, the soul part of me wants to start trusting in the universe, give more time to myself to heal and integrate, apply to things I am drawn to, connect with more people and perhaps employment will come my way. Do you think it is wise to let go of the money pressure and trust?

    1. I think I'd have to know more about your situation to offer any wise advice for you. There are a lot of elements to consider. Feel free to message me here: https://www.spiritualawakeningprocess.com/p/contact.html

    2. I just got a new job after being jobless for a few months. Money has been tight. My new job is rough, I'm cooking in a restaurant that is very old and dirty, I saw cooks pick food up from the floor and serve it to customers... I'm also always being yelled at to work faster faster faster. I try to use work you mirror myself, but I still get a feeling I'm in the wrong place. Is it my ego or trueSelf who doesn't want to be their.

    3. Well, I'd say that it's important to report health violations. Serving contaminated food is not okay because that could make someone sick. I believe you sent me an email, so I'll respond later to more of your comments there.

  2. Thanks for the post its very interesting and You’re so talented and generous of these talents.

  3. I appreciate this article very much. I was a banker when I awakaned and I had to leave. I took 8 months off to embrace my true awakening and purpose. I have recently (1 1/2 months) started a new job, something with less money, less face to face customer interaction, and less stress than the bank was. It is still challenging and reminding myself to breathe is the only way to get through. I agree with letting those around us enjoy and learn off their own paths. I would have to ask however, for a bit of advice. Being the youngest in this company is not unusual for me, but I have a hard time talking to management. They seem very... immature. What is some simple tips and advice I can take away to know when it's okay for me to stick up for myself? I do not care for major confrontation, as I believe things will work themselves out and to live a happy worry-free day is a happy worry-free life.

    Thank you for this article <3

    1. You're welcome. I'd recommend reading more of my posts to learn more about identifying your issues and releasing them. So long as you have an ego, it will find problems with others and create desires/hopes for situations that may not be realistic.

      Here are thoughts on the path to spiritual freedom, which is what awakening ultimately points us all towards:

      How to Find Spiritual Freedom

  4. Thank you for this article Jim.
    I had a non abiding awakening experience about 5 yrs ago. It was actually a few months after i had quit my job, my first time unemployed since I was 15..

    I felt completely ok with this, and made sacrifices to support myself, sometimes i just slept in my car. Family/friends were concerned, and eventually lured me back into a job. I was tormented. Eventually quit. I did this for yrs. Never holding a job for more than a couple of months.

    Then i became ill and didnt work for a year. I felt guilt for not contributing toward society. Id always had a fear of being broke and homeless growing up, and most of that was challenged dissovled during my awakening.
    Some of it had returned, even though there is this underlying "okayness". It feels more lole conditioning.

    So i took a job as a flight attendant, i felt compelled to, and im glad i did, its been a big learning opportunity spiritually.. however, ive become very, very tired. Emotionally, physically, spiritually. I took some time off and have come to see that i that i want silence and solitude, all the time. I have been a hermit for the greater part of the past 5 yrs, with the exception of this job.. i just dont know how to live in this world, make a living and honour my need to be in nature, alone.
    I wonder if you have advice
    Sorry for the long comment
    Love your articles


    1. I'm glad that my blog posts can help, M.

      It all comes back to dissolving your issues. So long as there are a lot of unresolved unconscious issues at work, then this inner conflict that is exhausting you will not end. Having solitude is not enough. The active dissolving of the ego is important; dissolving the ego is what makes it easy to work in the world and be with others. If there is no way for the world to trigger you, then there is no place you cannot be.

  5. Hello Jim,

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I was hoping you may be able to give me some advice, although I did receive a lot from your responses on previous comments above.

    I currently am working evening shifts at a long term care facility as a dining server. I have grown to enjoy the work there, and feel like a make a difference. Yet, I do receive negativity (usually passive aggressively) from co workers that work as personal care providers. They often will act hostile or negatively towards me if they feel I am not doing something correctly or fast enough. I find myself reacting to their remarks with reciprocating anger, usually out of fear and hurt I believe. This creates even more stress as I become hard on myself for stooping to the same unconscious level. I love making the residents smile and spending time with them, but I feel that this conflict heavily impacts my emotional and mental health.

    I have been now scheduled to start a longer, more fast paced morning/afternoon shift. This brings up instant frustration and resentment because of my prior experience working this morning/afternoon shift. I don't want to take on more hours when I feel this way, but part of me thinks this is part of my soul's chance for spiritual growth. I am struggling to understand if I need this change to grow and if I resist it I miss the chance to do so, or if I establish better boundaries with my manager and let them know what I am comfortable with I can devote more time to stillness and spiritual practice in a more peaceful environment, away from the job. I truly aspire to monastic life and travelling to India, but maybe my soul is asking me to learn lessons here first. Do you have any advice on what the best path may be ?

    Thank you,


    1. Hi Kate,

      Thanks for your question.

      I would point you towards going deeper in your inner work and getting to better understand your ego goals because they filter every experience you have including your work situation. What is a "best path?" How do you evaluate that? What is your ego desiring? What are your underlying beliefs?

      Here's a blog post to help you on the topic of inner work:

      What Is Spiritual Inner Work?

    2. Thank you Jim,

      I read "What is Spiritual Inner Work". After reading, I wonder if my ego goal is to remain comfortable, and free of hurt. This attachment to comfort and fear of hurting my ego is leading me to resist taking on this new experience. A strongly rooted belief is that I am not good enough, and this brings a sensitivity to any external threat I perceive as validating this belief. This makes me wonder if I need to lean into the discomfort (surrendering to the change of work) to learn how to release this strongly held pattern of the ego.

    3. You're welcome, Kate. I'm glad you read the link.

      The deeper issue of not feeling good enough is what really needs attention. That issue will make you try all kinds of things to make it feel better. So I can only encourage you to work towards getting to the root experiences and essential emotions of it. Journaling can help here.

      If you release that issue, then how you look at work, the spiritual path, monastic life, and all of it will radically shift.

  6. Much appreciated Jim,

    I will be journaling and continuing to read your insightful articles!


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