I was brought up as a fairly devout Catholic. During my late teens I became devoutly atheist, if that’s not a contradiction in terms. Lately I’ve started to feel a distinct absense of spirituality in my life. I can’t say why, but I can say that the daily drudgery had just seemed to be not enough.
Not that I begrudge anyone their beliefs, but personally I have an incredible aversion to Christianity and their One God. Though I’m happy with the concept of spirituality, I’m completely disinterested in faith, especially with a capital F. My heavily atheist period was centered around the fact that I had seen religion in general and “Faith” in particular as being the excuse of weak people too proud to say “I don’t know”.
I’ve become a lot more mellow in my old(er) age, and have no problem whatsoever with one’s personal choice of religion, or lack thereof. What I have missed is the introspection inherent in spirituality. I’ve drifted down the path of Zen, mainly because I was interested in the quiet introspection involved in meditation. The more I understand mindfulness, the more I’m able to observe, rather than get buried in, the variability of my energy and stress at work.
Today I stumbled across two quite brilliant items that riff on this theme:
In the former, Steven wonders about whether people should seek spirituality in work itself. I can see the point here. What’s the point in meditating, praying, or burying yourself in a hobby as a way to offset the negative energy at work? How about just not expending the negative energy in the first place? It certainly resonates with what I’ve been discovering with my (albeit informal) Zen practise.
Some Zen masters say that even the occasional “bad” meditation (where you are distracted) can be “good”, as long as you are mindful of the distractions. In this sense, even if you don’t particularly enjoy your work, is it possible that you can still find spirituality in the effort?
The latter link (which I’d highly recommend you set aside an hour to watch), talks about energy management versus time management. The concept being that it is better to intentionally lower you energy levels (take time out), while remaining positive, instead of dealing with highly negative energy (aka stress). The obvious problem is that low energy (aka mellowing out or relaxing) is usually frowned upon, whereas temporary stress is seen as “Ok”.
How do you deal with negative energy at work? And do you think you can find spirituality, or focus, or something else in your work?