Work: A Necessary Step toward Self-Realization



                         Do you work to live or do you live to work?

Work with your hands and heart

Are you present, aware and enjoying what you do as you work? Or are you thinking of something else?

Zen quote: “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood carry water.” is explained by John Cowan  who says: “spiritual development doesn’t make you exempt from material needs.” in other words, We live in a physical body with physical needs and spend our lives fulfilling those needs. Spiritual development is loving what you do both physically and spiritually

Spirituality comes from harmonizing the physical with the spiritual, not from ignoring the physical.

Again, ask yourself the question: Are you present and aware of what you are doing as you work? Or are you thinking of something else? If you are not passionate about your work you may be thinking of something else. But if your work does not follow your passion then your passion should follow your work.

Be honest with yourself. You may need to find a different kind of job. Not easy! Then change your direction in small increments, if necessary, but put time in daily, toward developing passion for what you have to do even if you do not ‘feel’ passionate about it. Tell yourself it is lovely work and after awhile your mind will begin to believe it and the job will be much more pleasant.

My daughter tells me that when she was working at a menial job and was asked to do some undesirable task, she learned to say, “Sure, I’ll be happy to do that.” She would proceed to do the work enthusiastically with a smile. Her boss was amazed by her enthusiasm. At first she was not enthusiastic, internally, but eventually she learned to enjoy what she was doing. The action and attitude embedded itself into the task. 

Try it! You may be surprised at the results. Do this with whatever job you have until you search out the job you love. By that time you will learn to find joy in the pleasant and the unpleasant and you will have learned to truly ‘chop wood, carry water’ on your way to self-realization. 

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