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How to Find Spiritually Uplifting Work
September 11, 2015
I’ve had it with the 'job world.' Selfish and ego-environments everywhere; it is next to impossible to be openly spiritual because any personality differences against the 'norm' can be used against you. They don’t even need a good reason to fire you — you know how it is! I want to work (not retire to the forest), but I need ideas. How do spiritual people make a living independently? I know some live in communities and work together, but if I can’t do that yet, what are other ideas?
Your dilemma is a complex one because in rejecting the ego-affirming negativity that you have experienced in the workplace you reveal your own karmic potential for being drawn repeatedly to such circumstances until you no longer react or reject.
And yet, to desire a more harmonious environment and work that is spiritually rewarding and serviceful is also right for a devotee.
Thus, you are potentially caught between two worlds. Further, by also rejecting the possibility that you could work with spiritually minded people (not sure why you feel this is so, you didn’t say) you all but guarantee your spiritual tests with negativity are far from over!
[Just to say it: there are lots of non-profit organizations where you "might" find people more idealistically inclined. The dilemma need not be framed in the extremes between ruthless competition on the one hand and living in an intentional community on the other hand! By so doing, again, you guarantee that your issue will be perpetuated!]
The solution is, as often is the case, not a complex one, assuming you really do not have or see how, where, or with whom you could serve in a more spiritually uplifted service job. It goes something like this:
1. It is a spiritual test to be placed or drawn karmically to a work environment where competition and negativity appear to abound. This you must accept if you really want to change your karma. It IS your karma, make no doubt about it. So the issue is NOT "How bad these people are and why don’t they change?" but, paraphrasing Mahatma Gandhi, "How can I be the change that I seek (in others)?"
2. The spiritual challenge you face is to accept any circumstance (that you cannot otherwise improve) with equanimity and cheerfulness. There’s nothing that says you have to engage in negativity at work. Ok, so you get fired. Not the end of the world. Your test is to quietly and unobtrusively stay centered in your Self; to act, speak, and think positively, kindly, calmly, and lovingly (where appropriate to do so); to accept others as they are (this does not mean being a doormat); to love others as fellow souls and children of God.
3. There is no need or value in being "openly" spiritual. Being spiritual means, so far as behavior is concerned in environments that do not support being "openly" spiritual, being calm; kind, even-minded, fair, wise, creative, and cheerful. That’s it. Inwardly you can pray to God; inwardly, you can chant; inwardly you can bless people, even those who dislike or talk against you (see the words of Jesus re turning the other cheek).
4. When you have passed this test I promise you your environment will change, perhaps even suddenly. It all depends on how deeply and well you pass the test. Very simple, if very difficult to do it. That’s why it’s called a test!
5. Caution: when assailed by false accusations, humiliated, or made fun of, or otherwise treated badly, you are not to be a doormat. The line between not engaging in office politics and being "spiritual" is not so black and white. "Be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves," Jesus said. There may be times when you do calmly stand up for yourself. There may be times when you are criticized: mostly you can just ignore those, or say, "Maybe you are right" and leave it at that. (Then introspect as to whether the accusation is even somewhat true and do you best to reform, but otherwise don’t cave in to someone who berates or belittles you.)
I would, lastly, however, ask you to introspect whether and why you stated that you have NO opportunity to be with spiritually minded co-workers. I detect here the possibility of something not helpful to you in that statement. Is it unwillingness? Fear? Remember that it’s easier to judge others than to reform yourself.
Train your mind and heart to feel and sometimes express gratitude and appreciation to others for their innate, or even just their potential, goodness. See God in all and accept His tests with wisdom. (Wisdom means even-mindedness, gratitude, and cheerfulness.)
Go with joy into the world as a Peaceful Warrior, not fighting the world, but negativity in yourself.
Overcoming Fear Due to Past Actions
October 1, 2014
I had a bad past because of my doings in my life, irresponsible, immature, fear, ego which resulted in a great failure. I’ve been training myself how to overcome all this and attain success, and I’m pretty sure things have changed since then. My real problem is I now have an aim in my life, which is hard to achieve, but I’m confident. Still past experiences comes to haunt me, and out of fear I’m scared to do what my mind tells me. I have limited time. I'm not sure what to do.
I thought you were describing my own past at first (“irresponsible, immature, fear, ego...”), but of course it describes all of us at some time, whether in this life or past lives!
There are two specific practices which many people have found to be helpful in letting go of old patterns and attaining success now and in the future. The first one is the pithy advice of Swami Sri Yukteswar:
Forget the past. The vanished lives of all men are dark with many shames. Human conduct is ever unreliable until man is anchored in the Divine. Everything in the future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now.
We don’t always have complete control over the results, but we can control our efforts. Trust that the changes you have made in yourself are real and will inevitably produce positive results.
The other practice is nishkam karma, or action without attachment to the results of those actions. When we live in fear and tension regarding the results of our actions, it restricts our ability to act with full freedom, energy, and joy. Give the results to God, and trust that positive actions now will inevitably produce positive results at some point. In fact, the very effort to act in positive ways has already produced some positive changes in you. The rest will come naturally in time.
Finding My Inner Vocation
July 3, 2014
I am struggling to find my inner vocation that suits me. I thought studying was what I wanted to do. I moved to a new place, gave up my job and became a full-time student. Now I want to try this other path and I am unsure if it is what I really want, since my last endeavor was something I wanted to try out, I am afraid to make a new decision. I have been reading “How to Be a Success” and in my heart I am feeling a little lost on what to choose.
Sometimes a way forward will “feel” right, especially if you “offer it up” in meditation and prayer. But this method of finding clarity is not always successful. It could be because the various options you are considering for your way forward do not include the “one” that is right for you. Or perhaps your own emotional preferences about what you want to do are not allowing you to have a clear feeling about what would be best.
If you can’t find clarity that way then make a choice! This may sound counter-intuitive but sometimes making a choice and taking action on your choice with the highest energy you can muster will bring the clarity you lack. Making the choice with full energy and commitment might suddenly clarify for you that the choice you made is the wrong one! Or it could be the right one. Or, as I’ve found many times in my life, the energetic commitment to action reveals that the choice I made was only one step of many in the (ultimately) right direction.
If you can find clarity in meditation and prayer, great. If you can’t, make a choice, take action with high energy. It will get you out of the mental and emotional logjam of indecision and eventually bring you to your best path.
Puru (Joseph) Selbie
Never Give Up
March 6, 2014
Guruji, Thirteen years back for worldly riches and happiness I entered a spiritual path . Unbrokenly I am meditating leaving all worldly responsibilities. But I don’t know. I lost my career and am in extreme debt. I don’t know what to do. Please help. I am 40yrs old, unmarried. Living with mom and sister's family, from their earnings.
Dear Govinda Raj,
Never give up. Keep looking for work, for ways to have an income to support your needs and to help others as you can. Never stop meditating and seeking God. The two are not necessarily opposed or separate. It is only we who see work and meditation as opposites.
Working for God (as devotion and service) is important as meditation and meditation can be a service to humanity, too. Both are needed.
You may be in debt now, but do not lose faith. Go out and find your path to serving God in your fellow men and finding God in all. When your work is done each day, spend some time alone with God in meditation. He will show you the way but you must not give up. You must do your part and God will, as Krishna says in the Gita, “I will make good your deficiencies and render permanent your gains.”
My Employers are Behaving Unethically
September 13, 2013
Where I am employed its a trust for public and I know that they are following an unethical practice of making money in running the trust where a major portion is for the trustees own benefits and some they have to do to keep it running smoothly by managing external authorities. My question is being ananda sanghi I always feel that I should quit the job but can't due to social responsibility and recession in economy offering less opportunities. I refused to do favor to trustee so now how to face this?
Thank you writing. You are asking an important and challenging question. As times get more difficult financially many will find themselves in your predicament. I am not trying to make excuses for those choosing to be unethical. Sometimes people who are desperate take desperate measures in hopes of relieving their feelings of desperation. It may take lifetimes for them to understand they are seeking happiness in the wrong place.
That being said now is the time to pray without blame or shame for those who are being unethical. Pray they see and accept the Light.
And pray with deep sincerity for guidance as to what you should do. I don’t understand why you can’t quit your job due to “social responsibility.” I can understand the fear of leaving due to economics. If you are an Ananda Sanghi, relative to your social responsibility, I pray your goal is to socialize with those who love God with all their heart, body and mind. Socializing with those who love God (devotees/gurubais) is like having shady cool spot to rest on a hot summer day. I work away from my gurubais and I must say that I can’t wait to be with them. They bring me peace. And I trust them completely. They help me to keep my energy at the highest level.
In the Christian Bible, we find, Seek Ye first…And all these things will be added unto you. When we pray with enough sincerity, sometimes, we get better than we could imagine. Many times at first glance we might say to our selves, “I didn’t want this, Lord. You made a mistake.” But if we can get our ego out of the way, we learn that what we didn’t want is exactly what we need to grow closer to the Divine.
It makes good common sense not to quit your current job until you have a new one. So start putting out as much energy as you can towards finding a new job. But be sure to keep checking your attunement with Master. It is to say, meet God half way. And prepare your self for the perfect job or career to appear as though by magic.
Another thought to consider is reporting the wrong doings to the proper authorities. If you choose reporting the wrong doing try to do it in a way the reporting can’t be traced back to you. Hopefully the company may have way for making anonymous claims.
I pray the very best comes your way immediately.
Career vs. Dharma
July 29, 2013
How do I know if the job I have is my dharma? I cannot feel any joy in my heart when I’m at work and dread going to work in the morning. I’m planning to find another job but am scared.
Joy to you! And thank you for asking such an important question. This is what we call, “a hot topic” as it relates to so many on the spiritual path.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you…In the opinion of many on the spiritual path, this is the highest dharmic action one can do. On our path this is every sincere devotee’s, “dharma”.
That being said, the topic of work vs. dharma can be confusing. As it was explained to me, your job is what you do to earn a living. Your dharma is the way you act while, working, playing, eating, sleeping, meditating, and divinely loving. Most people associate the type of work/job/career they do as being their dharma. And it can be. Perhaps you can make more money as a painter. That would be a good career. But, if your dharma (that which will bring you closer to god) is to be a teacher and make less money, then it is more dharmic for you to be a teacher.
In Hinduism, dharma relates to doing ones highest duty, taking the high road, doing the right thing when it may not be easiest or the most popular thing to do. As per above, actively seeking God is being dharmic. When we do the right thing we are being dharmic. And, yes, there are different aspects of being dharmic. Some people think that spending time at the river enjoying nature is more dharmic than working a challenging job. Working a job that makes lots of money that you use to help others could be dharmic. But, if the work, causes harm to others, robs you of your joy, destroys the environment, or keeps you from being with your family in an uplifting way, this job might be considered adharmic (not dharmic). No matter how much money you donate to the church.
Looking for a new job is scary or frightening. A prayer I like to recite when I take on new endeavors like job seeking is, “I will think. I will will. I will act. But, guide my thoughts, will and activity to the right thing.”
Another spiritual activity you could do is a fire ceremony. I highly recommend you communicate with, Contact@Ananda.org or Ananda Sanga web site, http://www.ananda.org/about-ananda-sangha/office for more information relative to performing a fire ceremony.
I hope and pray this helps,
Difficulty with Job Interviews
August 13, 2012
Kindly suggest me how to face interview in a spiritual way? Every time I find interview awkward and spoil it. I'm unable to relate effectively. It feels something blocks the way between my mind and speech. Before facing interview I do connect with God and Guruji, however I'm lost during interview. How can I make my speech more expressive, attractive and real?
I'm sorry to hear of your difficulty. Though I don't know you, I will try to give a few suggestions.
1. You mention that there is a block between your mind and speech. You don't mention if this is something that you always face, or only during interviews. I will assume that this happens because you are nervous about the interview. When we are fearful or nervous, our energy goes to a primitive part of our brain, and we are less able to think clearly.
I think it might help you to meditate before the interview and try to bring your attention to the point between the eyebrows. This is the highest and calmest awareness in the body. Centering your attention in the point between the eyebrows might make you less nervous and might hellp you think more clearly.
2. Reflect on your past interviews. What have you been asked? I assume some questions must be fairly standard. Reflect in your mind what would be honest and interesting answers you could give to those questions. You might even say some answers aloud to practice. This would help you get into the flow of answering interview questions. Perhaps you could practice being interviewed by a friend.
3. Think of the interviewer as your friend, someone you care about, enjoy being with, and enjoy speaking with. Practice looking forward to an interview rather than dreading it. Go into an interview with enthusiasm. This will help your energy and thoughts to flow more easily.
4. Try working with one of Yogananda's affirmations, such as: I go forth in perfect faith in the power of Omnipresent Good to bring me what I need at the time I need it.
In divine friendship,
Responding to Anger
July 19, 2012
In my job I have got a new boss, against whom I developed a strong aversion right from the start, bcoz of his behaviour and character. Almost everyone dislikes/disrespects him, but I have this really strong aversion and irritation. I had this problem a few years ago with another person, and I couldn't reconcile my feelings then. So I feel now it has come again. So how can I get rid of this aversion? Behaving nicely invites bad behaviour from his end. So should I accept bad behaviour to solve it?
How to deal with a difficult person is one of life's great tests, and, great opportunities. The very fact that you find yourself in this situation a second time is a sure indication that Divine Mother has a wonderful opportunity for you to grow spiritually. Be glad, therefore!
Well, more seriously, now, this IS a test of your character and spirit. Never mind your boss: it's not reasonable to expect you are going to change him (or anyone else, for that matter). We cannot necessarily change how others behave but we are responsible for our responses to their behavior.
So, what's best? As you say, being "nice" just means you end up being a doormat and enabling his rude behavior. Fighting him just invites more abuse and possibly loss of your job.
So, the obvious answer is to be even-minded and non-reactive at all times. Your question goes beyond what a mere email can handle comprehensively, so I will have to work at opposite ends of the spectrum as well as in the middle.
Don't "accept" improper or demeaning treatment. What does this mean? As I do not know you or him or the circumstances of your interactions, it is difficult to be specific. There are cultural boundaries; gender boundaries; workplace boundaries; age difference boundaries; authority boundaries. To "accept" another's abuse is to accept that person's definition of the situation: if he's angry, then you get angry in response. Not to "accept," means that if he's angry, you are not. You simply don't see it that way. To accept abuse is to take it personally and accept it AS abuse. To not accept abuse is to not let it get inside you. Whether this means you defend yourself verbally, physically, or by leaving the job, or simply by remaining unruffled depends on you and the circumstances.
But always there is a boundary line you must find where ill-treatment is unacceptable and must be confronted.
One obvious line is physical abuse, being hit or struck. That is unacceptable. But a boss who "flies off the handle" with a verbal tirade may direct that to the project or people at large or to real mistakes that were made, or, address the abuse personally at you and your character. The response may be very different in each case.
The boss' behavior and language may be crude and offensive but not necessarily directed toward you. In this latter case, it may be easier to simply ignore his crudities so long as they aren't directed to you, or your cherished beliefs, loved ones, etc.
So, you see, there is a wide variety of situations. But, for now, and so long as you are there on the job, start by remaining neutral and poised. Once you get angry, hurt, or upset you will most likely make things worse, whether you express those feelings in the moment in reaction to your boss or at home to yourself in private.
This is because the energy and consciousness of anger is infectious. By not responding angrily to anger, you create a space that invites the other person's anger to dissipate on its own (and therefore more quickly). Whether it can have any lasting effect or only will, in time, change that person's tendency to express anger towards you is impossible to say in advance. But either way, remaining non-reactive is best.
Remaining calm also reflects back to the other person his own anger and for this reason too invites the other person to see his behavior in the mirror of your eyes.
But you, too, have obviously invited this behavior in some way. Whatever karma may be bringing this treatment to you can best be worked out by remaining even-minded and yes, even cheerful (so long as that doesn't invite more improper behavior from the boss).
I have found that daily prayer for the person and the circumstances brings to me patience and acceptance; in time, with grace, it even change or soften the other person.
In the right moment, a respectful, gentle response that expresses your disapproval, lack of consent, or sorrow for his own behavior (whichever is appropriate) can actually help him provided you are not attacking him back but speaking calmly your own peace with the intention to make the situation for both of you (and even your work) a better one.
Having a meditation and prayer practice, and the grace of a true guru can bring strength, courage, wisdom, and compassion to you in abundance as well.
My prayers are with you,
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