How do you feel about your work life? Are you living in joyful childlike innocence, or are you an overanxious, controlling adult?
One easy way to find out is to take advantage of that first slice of stillness just as you awaken. You can ask a question about something, and the truth will reveal itself with a simple “yes or no.” The magic of the morning sets the tone and intent for your mood, as Oprah Winfrey affirms. “I awaken to a morning prayer of thanks posted on my bathroom wall from Marianne Williamson’s book Illuminata. I think about all those who didn’t make it to 51 and were claimed to a different calling before they realized the beauty and wonder and majesty of life on earth.… I knew that I was connected to a power greater than myself—that I need only slow down and get still enough to let the flow that is all life carry me to the next level.”
While you’re getting ready for work each morning, what attitude do you choose? In the evening, you can ask your inmost self-questions. In the morning, monitor your level of innocence and wait for the answers. Then, invite the wonder of your heartfelt courage into your day. A Hindu mystic will tell you, “It is a good idea to keep a mental diary. Before you go to bed each night, sit for a short time and review the day. See what you are becoming. Do you like the trend of your life? If not, change it.” Are you willing to make changes now, or are you waiting for the eleventh hour? If so, it is already here!
Jon Kabat-Zinn (Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Medical School) writes in Wherever You Go, There You Are, “Too often, our lives cease working because we cease working at life, because we are unwilling to take responsibility for things as they are, and to work with our difficulties.… In other words, you must be willing to let life itself become your teacher.” If you truly want to find the joy (or eliminate the drudgery) in your work life, you must open your mind to face the truth about your unhappiness, your judgments or the suffering perpetuated by your own thought patterns.
“Teresa of Avila called the mind ‘a clacking mill that goes on grinding.’ This is the nature of the mind: to have thoughts. The purpose of silence is a directed stillness, which receives rather than acts,” writes Sister Wendy Beckett in Meditations on Silence. Review your thoughts first thing in the morning and reunite with your childhood innocence—when you were an open and receptive vessel of brightness. From The First Hours in the Morning by Edith Stein writes, “The duties and cares of the day crowd about us when we awake each day—if they have not already dispelled our night’s rest. How can everything be accommodated in one day? When will I do this, when that? How will it all be accomplished? Thus agitated, we are tempted to run and rush. And so we must take the reins in hand and remind ourselves, ‘Let go of your plans.’”
Found in The Prayer of the Saints, Tom Cowan shares a prayer to St. Teresa that affirms the importance of courage:
Give me the courage to persevere in my spiritual practices
even when others think I am foolish and wasting my time. Help me,
Teresa, to find refuge in prayer and devotions, especially when I
feel out of step with the fads and trends that others think are so important.
May I find inspiration in your life and keep my
sense of humor no matter what.
So just stop! Slow your breathing. Slow your mind. And stop.…
Sit a few moments without thinking.… In this courage-centered place without mental chatter, you gain access to the portal of your heart—the divine eternal spring from which flows joy, peace and love … the power of courage. What identifies your personality at work? A clique? A job description? A script? Regardless of the meditation practice you choose, the divine light of your courage brightens, the events in your life become easier to handle, and your reality starts to change.
In The Seat of the Soul, Gary Zukav writes, “The more Light, literally, the more en-Lightened that you are, the more you will choose different ways.” St. Teresa’s contemplative life took practice. Consider practicing some form of meditation for twenty minutes twice a day. Even once a day is a good start. Hence, your work life will take on a different meaning and purpose, moving you to complete accountability.
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