What Is the Use of Performing Mundane Tasks on the Path Toward Enlightenment?


Is there any usefulness to performing life’s mundane tasks, like due dates, college, jobs, etc. in terms of spiritual enlightenment? Right now, my immediate future of college and career building seems mundane and fruitless under the enormous shadow of enlightenment. None of these human-made things can compare! What’s the point of it all?! Is there any spiritual reason to stress about paperwork and due dates and homework and emails and sucking up to people just to keep up “social connections”?

—Carolyn, America


Dear Carolyn,

You are right: performing our duties and responsibilities and tasks “just to keep up social connections” doesn’t make any sense from a spiritual point of view.

It only makes sense if you give it a spiritual purpose: these tasks can teach you invaluable lessons for your inner evolution and can help you to unearth your hidden soul qualities. Swami Kriyananda, for example, recounts how the necessity of making money for building Ananda proved to be a great and useful spiritual lesson, helping him enormously.

The question is: do you want to build your career for ego reasons, or for money or for social correctness, or because you think it’s your calling, your duty on earth, your dharma, the will of God for you?

In other words, we are not called to just pull out from everything, like hermits — at least not on this path. But we are called to intuit our dharma, meaning our correct job and activity in life. Are college and career your path? Maybe. You must find out for yourself by asking inwardly at the end of meditation, “What do you want me to do?” Your inner voice will guide you.

If it is your dharma, still you are right: nothing compares to the inner experiences of enlightenment. The point however is, when you follow your dharma, and when you offer yourself as a channel for the divine Presence here on Earth, your path to enlightenment will speed up. The whole of the Bhagavad Gita, India’s greatest scripture, is a call to follow our dharma. Dharma is not always easy — rather it is often quite tough to follow.

Another important thing: in the midst of all your due dates, emails, homework, make 100% sure to leave time daily for your spiritual practices and your meditations. Otherwise, from a spiritual standpoint, it is indeed not healthy and useful. But “sadhana + dharmic activity” is the winning formula.

All the best on your inner and outer paths,