Whilst it has been said there are as many paths to God as there are sentient beings, one pattern that appears to be emerging in the current age is that life for many involves learning how to balance the mundane and the spiritual. And an experience shared by many concerns balancing work with the journey of spiritual awakening.
Many spiritual legends run along the lines of a yogi or guru entering a cave or forest, or finding enlightenment under a tree. In medieval times one could apply to the local bishop for a permit to become a hermit. In modern times, the spiritual path for some has included embracing the ascetic lifestyle.
The release of worldly responsibilities comes with a powerful set of life lessons. Learning how to give away the Ferrari and become a monk will unfold wisdom related to attachment and the impermanence of the phenomenal world we live in. However, the path of the ascetic is an extreme one and many of us have a deep preference to stay engaged in the world.
I was recently conversing with a friend of mine who had just returned from over six years of living an ascetic lifestyle. After years of literally living in forests and caves they had found themselves drawn by Spirit back to the world. In the cave they had been alone, learned to live off the land, and had spent countless hours in meditation and contemplation.
Upon their return they were realizing that the yoga of balancing the mundane with the spiritual was stirring up work for them. The challenge they shared with me related to their getting a job. After having had a couple of interviews to work within a relaxed technology culture – that embraced working virtually and meeting through Skype – they had found themselves caught in fear. Everything they felt they wanted in life ran contrary to this opportunity. Their weekend was spent swinging back and forth between the emotion of withdrawing from the job competition and the acceptance of this step toward their re-integration.
God never wants us to lose our vision in order to pay the bills. At the same time, the idea of working life away to ensure there is enough to retire on is hardly the epitome of consciousness if life is filled with what ifs and purchases for the sake of stuff.
Ernest Holmes once said there is a power for good in the universe that we can use. Simply put this means we have unlimited creative potential. The creative process can result in an instantaneous arrival of full heart’s desire, or manifest at a snail’s pace. Regardless of what shows up, and how it manifests, there appears to be a spiritual truth amidst the experience of discovering our power – we get exactly what is required for our awakening.
Getting clear about soul’s purpose can flow from allowing inspiration to surface in meditation and contemplation, and be focused through tools such as Michael Beckwith’s approach to visioning for soul’s purpose. Any vision that surfaces and feels right is perfect, whether that includes building community, exploring the mind-body connection through Yoga, writing a book, becoming a Minister, or hatching a plan for world peace.
With a sense of purpose everything changes. Once we get clear about what we want to do, the forms we experience don’t carry the same weight that they once did. A job is a form of creative-expression. Identifying with a job invites us to forget the Truth of who we are as much as identifying with a relationship, money, or our health will. Any explanation of how a job may or may not line up with our vision is actually story. It doesn’t matter what job you have – it’s all about your awareness. How conscious are you in any given situation?
Our feelings are messengers. I suspect that there are licensed spiritual coaches (practitioners that operate through a code of ethics) within the Centers for Spiritual Living that wonder at the juxtaposition between their paid employment and being licensed as a spiritual coach. Our current experience is a product of a past mindset. If a Practitioner doesn’t feel a fit between their licence and their current job then they have an opportunity for growth – although Spirit has a way of dissolving such dissonance. And the deeper and more moving the feelings, the more profound the indicator that soul’s purpose isn’t in alignment with the current experience. This is true whether you are a hermit returning from the forest, a single parent juggling responsibilities, or a business leader managing an enormous budget.
We sometimes get to experience creative expression that doesn’t line up with our utopian spiritual vision. And that’s perfect. Although we can ultimately have whatever job we want, what we experience is for the purpose of our awakening to our spiritual magnificence. The Intelligence through life is staggeringly amazing.
We may find ourselves in a job that is less than we had hoped for. And as with any experience we always have a choice. We might choose to see it as a way to kill time, or we may see the experience as a perfect unfolding toward awakening. If we are applying for a job that we feel is a stepping stone – something along the way to deeper purpose – and the job is a part of our awakening we will get the job. If we are not offered the job we will have more information and guidance for our journey of awakening. God only knows how profound awakened awareness applied to a challenging and unconscious environment is. Maybe we will spend a few weeks at such a job before we quit. Months, weeks or days of aspiring to shine our light has an unquantifiable impact. Throughout history there are countless stories of how the subtlest of actions in love, peace and purpose have cast deep ripples of influence upon the world.
This same friend had reflected a very moving truth to me a few weeks ago. I’d spent so long focusing on becoming a Minister after two and a half years of Ministerial studies that I had begun to fixate on the how of stepping back from my existing role as a management consultant. Within a week of my surrendering the how Spirit had inspired me with a paradigm shifting business idea to empower small to emerging businesses in how they collaborate and automate their business processes. And in the very same moment my friend and former hermit had reached out to share their experience about their job search, I was sitting down with one of the most spiritual business professionals I know because I had had the inspiration to invite them to partner with me. Through an experience of our uncovering a deeply shared set of values via an unanticipated business partnership, Spirit was reminding me yet again that the clearer we get about our purpose the more effortless manifestation around our creative expression will be.
Regardless of the role or responsibility we wear we will be presented with choices. The form that our expression takes on is insignificant next to the awareness with which we walk our path. The spiritual perspective will tell us all is perfect. Our human opinions may be filled with limitation and doubt. And in between the spiritual and mundane is a beautiful truth – our human fears and missed aspirations really are perfect for the purpose of our awakening. Perhaps it’s time to transcend the concept of work-life balance and explore Spirit-life balance.
Carmien's purpose is to inspire people to awaken to their spiritual magnificence. His primary passion is the pursuit of spirituality, and he does that through extensive practice, study, song writing, and developing the spiritual vehicle at www.knowtheflow.ca. You can follow @KnowTheFlow on Twitter. His first book, Know the Flow: 180 Blogs to Spiritual Awakening is available now through your local bookseller or preferred on-line retailer.