We often ask this question of someone we’ve just met to get to know them. Predictably the answer people give is their occupation: “I’m a doctor,” or “a cook,” or “a machinist,” or “a mother of young children.”

But if we take their answer one step deeper, we can see that what people do also reflects their consciousness. Doctors are often concentrated, conscientious people; cooks can be creative and serviceful; machinists can have analytical minds that grasp how things work. And mothers of young children . . . well, they rank among life’s true heroes.

Once we were with Swami Kriyananda when he met someone new after one of his talks. The first thing he said to her was, “You must be an artist.”
“Yes,” she said with great surprise, “but how did you know?”

“You relate to the world visually, through your eyes,” he replied.

So, now I’m going to ask you, “What work do you do?” Don’t think in terms of the specifics of your occupation, or the need to earn money, but ask yourself, “Why do I do this work? What aspect of my consciousness led me to choose it?” Use this bit of self-analysis to help you find and fulfill your dharma.
Perhaps you’re a nurse, because you enjoy helping people who are in suffering. Try, then, to remember your inner motivation, and when you get bogged down in paperwork, for example, recall it to mind. This can help you continue to find meaning and fulfillment in whatever your occupation might be.

But let’s consider the answer to the question “What work do you do?” even more deeply. Have you ever had the experience in meditation that you try to quiet your mind, but all you can think of is everything that you have to do that day? So begins the daily battle between the soul calling you within and the restless mind pulling you outward.

Meditation on Paramhansa YoganandaAfter losing this battle too many times, I struck upon a very helpful attitude that strengthens King Soul in the fight. Replace the thought, “I must hurry through my meditation so that I can focus on my work,” with this one: “Meditation is my real job. I’ll give it my best effort and energy first, and then I’ll go about my other business.”

Honestly, this simple shift in thinking can make a huge improvement in both the quality of your meditation and the fulfillment that you derive from your work.
Paramhansa Yogananda wrote in one of his prayers: “After contacting God in meditation I will go about my work, whatever it may be, knowing that He is with me, directing me and giving me power to bring forth that for which I am striving.”

When I was a young girl, grown-ups would sometimes ask me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” With the innocence of a child, I remember replying simply, “Happy.”

Let each of us hold the thought that the real purpose of life is not to achieve some career goal, or make lots of money, but to find joy. Whatever job we do can add to this, but our true work is to make deep, regular efforts in meditation to discover the treasure trove of happiness within.

Your fellow worker,
Nayaswami Devi

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12 Comments

  1. Dear Soul, thank you for this, was perfect, meditation is my job, I thank and Guru for that 💙
    Jai Beloved Guru

  2. A beautiful blog, thank you 🙏. As a child I wanted to be an astronaut, and even now nothing has changed, except that I want to be with fellow astronauts who wish to soar inwardly into cosmic consciousness!

  3. This is a powerful and fascinating post. It reminds me of one of the things I most treasure/d about Swamiji – his ability to see deeply into, and articulate with crystal clarity about, consciousness. Thank you for this gift of a post.

  4. It’s really a very motivational thought. Everybody thinks of his/her profession only when asked what do you do? In fact one must look into its inner soul to find the answer of this question as mentioned by you in your address.
    I’m blessed to read your wonderful thoughts.
    Regards.

  5. I love this! We are a spiritual being and meditation is our job. Meditation feeds all our activities and guides our direction. I will keep thinking of this, thanks so much.

  6. “Let each of us hold the thought that the real purpose of life is not to achieve some career goal, or make lots of money, but to find joy…”
    Dearest Devi,
    Well said, and so inspiring!
    ~~~Joy, Joy, Joy, Jyo-sat

  7. VERY TRUE … BUT UNLESS WE CHANGE THE EDUCATION POLICY OF MOST COUNTRIES .. REAL PROGRESS IN THIS .. WILL B VERY SLOW.. CHILDREN ARE TAUGHT TO B COMPETTIVE WHICH ITSELF IS THE FIRST STEP IN GOING AWAY FROM THE PATH OF MEDITATION…

  8. Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,
    Thank you for this inspiring blog 🙂
    Very much required at this point in time. As Master quoted with his blessings we will follow and put more efforts towards our true work
    In Master’s Joy
    Prem

  9. That is good to consider in that actually the more important,or to the central focus in regard to our lives and true purpose for being here can be the question,’what is it that your mind,or what is it that your thoughts dwell upon most?’ Is it the ego and its temporary job or career occupation or position in the world? Is it upon the temporary interactions,dramas or positions that go on between family,friends, others,perhaps even ones adversaries,trials,or obstacles in the world? Or is maybe too much thought time being spent upon temporary sense pleasures or on the body,its diet,appearance,comforts or discomforts? Or perhaps too much thought time is upon the intellect and wanting,gaining,having or being proud of much worldly or scientific knowledge and information,or maybe too much thought time is spent on desires for position,acclaim or objects not owned or that are owned in and of the world. Master Lahiri said the only real duty, goal of man is to go within and hear,listen to the intelligent cosmic sound,vibration at the heart center..which relates to what Jesus said:’seek ye first the kingdom of God..’ Then to the question,’what do you do?’..the wisest and best answer has to be,”I am first and foremost a devotee,a lover and seeker of God.”

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