INSPIRATION INTO OUR DAILY WORK
Our lives can often seem mundane and tediously the same, day after
day. Why, when we have the whole of creation around us to ignite our
sense of wonder, do we feel like this? What is it that drags us down
to this level of experience and, more importantly, what is it that
will reverse this process? These are questions that will assist us
to come to a new understanding of what it means to serve. It is not
enough to pay lip service to the concept of service, stating “Yes,
I am serving people all the time”, yet going through the tasks
mechanically, without any sense of exploration as to what we are really
doing. It is not enough to be in the so-called “helping professions”,
and yet be stressed and grumpy all the time. Yet so many of us are.
So many of us go through the daily routine as if it were merely passing
time, anxious to get home to pass more time there! So the pattern
is established and there seems little that we can do once it becomes
set. How wrong we are.
See Always Inside
key to understanding how this state of affairs comes about is to look
inside. If we are always looking outside ourselves for the meaning
of what we are doing, our experience will always be governed by the
external circumstances. The answer lies inside, not outside. The answer
is always there, we just haven’t asked the right question. The
answer is not to be found in any other place than the Self.
How does this
relate to our work? Simply put, if our work is an extension of our
exploration of the answer, then it opens up a whole realm of possibilities,
which are ever exciting, fresh and new. When work becomes a part of
our journey, then it no longer has the ability to drag us down, or
to turn us into automatons. Work becomes endlessly fascinating because
it throws up new possibilities all the time. Work becomes an integral
part of our spiritual journey because it has the potential to reveal
the workings of the higher Self, within a context of interaction with
the creative flow.
says “Work is Worship”. This simple statement contains
so much wisdom. Let us examine it to begin to understand what He means.
We consider worship as a sacred activity. It is an activity we set
often aside time for, special time. This time we focus on God. This
time we dedicate to God. But, in doing that, have we not made a separation
between this time and all other times? Yet, how much are we really
focused on God during this time if we examine ourselves honestly?
We may sit with the intention to ‘meditate’, but thoughts
immediately creep in. What occurs to me is that, if we can make the
total focus of our lives God, then there will be no problem to keep
that focus when we come to silent sitting. In Sai’s most recent
Christmas discourse He states, “Japa (chanting), Tapa (penance),
Dhyana (meditation), Yoga (communion with God), etc., do not constitute
true Sadhana. Whatever you consider to be real is in fact unreal.
Whatever is unreal has to be given up. This truth has to be understood
in the first instance.” He mentions this in terms of bodily
attachment, and this has to be understood in the light of the work
that we undertake.
we undertake work for reward, we are attached to that reward. This
is a bodily attachment. If we undertake the work as a worship, an
offering to God (whether it be in a dualistic sense, offering to the
Lord of Creation, or whether it be in a non-dualistic sense, offering
to the Divinity that we truly are), then the work no longer accrues
attachment. So often this attachment comes to us in the form of identification
with the roles that we play. I say that I am a ‘boss’.
This engenders a form of egoism that is identified with being ‘the
boss’. I become, not only identified, but I become proud in
my role. I am the boss, therefore I take a greater salary, I have
a nicer house, a flash car, a boat, holidays overseas, etc., etc.
We say that I am a ‘mere worker’. We become identified
with being a mere worker. This is also a form of egoism, for we make
a distinction between us and other kinds of workers. We do not have
a nice house, a fine car, a boat, or take expensive holidays, but
we would like to! The desires are still there. The boss believes that
it is his or her own abilities, qualifications, etc. that have enabled
them to become the boss. The worker believes that it is the lack of
those things that have kept them as a humble worker. The truth is
that both are deluded. What is the nature of this delusion?
we are given, that is given from God. In fact, that role is God. To
see this, to understand it and then to experience it, is the goal
of all life, all spiritual practice. Whether we be the ‘Boss’
or the ‘Worker’ is, in the end, irrelevant, it is the
Divinity in the situation that is the true relevance, for it is in
experiencing that, where we will be set free from the binding ropes
of egoism and desire.
by the Divine
we begin to follow this path of work as worship, we begin to find
that we are becoming the instrument for something greater than the
little “i”. That something moves us more and more and
this is the beginning of inspiration. Inspiration comes from the Divinity
within. Work inspired by ideas and ideals that are the product of
the mind, will change with the mind. What is a great idea on one day,
will quickly become yesterday’s news. However, those works that
are lasting have always been inspired by something beyond the petty
desires of the moment. We think of the works that have inspired people
down through the ages. In general they have a basis in religion or
spirituality. Examples are: the Pyramids of Egypt, the great Temples
of India and South-East Asia, the Mosques of the middle east, the
Gothic cathedrals of Europe, the standing stones and mounds found
throughout the world, the scriptural works of all religions, the stories
of the lives of Saints and sages. The list goes on. Why is this? It
is because our ultimate inspiration derives from that which is unchanging
and permanent. This can only be the expression of Divinity through
Let us draw more
and more from that inspiration to enable the work we do to become
a true expression of Divinity. That is the path of Karma Yoga, the
path of selfless, pure work.
Now let's hear
Swami directly on who we really are:
as body, mind or soul are a dream, but what you really are, is Existence
- Knowledge - Bliss. You are the God of the Universe. You are creating
the whole Universe and drawing it in. To gain the Infinite Universal
identity, the miserable little prison of individuality must go. Bhakthi
(devotion) is no crying nor any other negative condition. It is recognizing
the One in all that we see.
It is the heart
that takes you to the goal. So, follow your heart. A pure heart seeks
beyond the intellect and gets inspired. Whatever we do will react
upon us. If we do good, we shall have happiness and if evil, unhappiness.
Within you is the mighty ocean of nectar divine. Seek it within you,
feel it, free it. It is the Self; not the body, no mind or intellect.
It is neither the desire, nor the desiring, and not even the object
You are above
all these, which are just manifestations. You must appear as a smiling
flower or twinkling star. What is there in the world which makes you
Sri Sathya Sai Baba
steps to convert our work into worship.
be able to experience the work as God, first we have be able to let
go of the work. This process takes a number of steps:
Step 1. Begin
the work by dedicating the work to the Divine.
Step 2.. End the
work by dedicating the work to the Divine
Step 3. If the
results do not turn out as expected, reflect on what may have caused
this, look to changing the manner in which the work was done so that
the results will improve and recognise what has happened without attaching
blame or guilt (but take responsibility for mending the situation).
Step 4. If the
results do turn out as expected and the work is done well, recognise
for whom you did the work. You did the work for God. Therefore, the
results belong to God, not you. How can we do this consciously. This
can often be accomplished when people begin to praise us. We can simply,
and often silently, hand the praise over to God. We do not have to
accept the praise for the ego, much as the ego would like to. This
can be a conscious act.
So often we accept
the praise for a good job and place the blame for a bad job on to
other people. By consciously choosing to operate differently, we can
begin to open our eyes to the true reality of the situation –
all work is simply the Divine expressing itself through us.
Step 5. Begin
to see that one-pointed focus on the job in hand is a form of meditation.
Step 6. Begin
to see not only our work, but also the work of others as Divine.
Step 7. Pause
often, through the day, even for just a few moments and examine how
much we are experiencing the Divine in our work.
Step 8. At the
end of the day, take a few more moments to reflect on how we have
done. We can pray using words like, “Oh God, please show me
how you have manifested through me this day. Please allow me to learn
the lessons that need to be learned, seeing clearly how I may experience
you more and more through this work, this role.”
Step 9. Sai gives
a few guidelines for relationships that are worth noting:
the Truth. Speak it with Love. If you cannot speak the Truth
with Love, then it is best to remain silent.
b. Say what
you mean and do what you say.
you know the truth, you cannot blame others for the misfortunes
of the moment; those misfortunes are of your own creation.
d. It is
your thoughts and acts of the moment that create your future.
The outline of your future path already exists, for you created
its pattern by your past. But even that outline can change,
and will change, depending on your own thoughts and actions
as each new day dawns and then dies away again.
My words: “Start the day with love, fill the day with
love, end the day with love. That is the way to God.”
Those words do really mean something!
and be happy. Do not associate yourself with any of the troubles
that may be going on around you, for they are not part of you.
one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply
by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing
sweetly and softly and spread joy and peace around you.
you speak, THINK
- Is it
- Is it
- Is it
- Will it
- Will it
improve on the silence?
j. If you
wish to change the world, these two principles are the recipe.
Truth purifies the heart. Sacrifice transforms the physical
environment. By this double transformation the entire world
Sadhana is - Love all, Serve all
Phillip Cottingham – Satyavan, Karekare , New Zealand