Friday, November 19, 2010

Work and Practice

We often think of a contemplative practice and a work life as two separate things. But I have not been able to find a separation.

If I am meditating, thoughts often arise that are related to work. And when I am at work, more and more, I find that I can enter into, and reside in, a calm open space rather than automatic, fear-based reactions.

At work, as in the rest of our lives, we can be taken over by scripts, reactions that happen without our conscious knowledge and put us on autopilot. Often these scripts are related to things that happened to us in childhood. Because work so often involves relationships with authority figures, it can trigger scripts that we have about our parents or siblings without our being aware of it. We can react around issues of respect, or control, or getting our way. And sometimes, as we raise our automatic defenses, we can hurt people before we even realize it.

Work presents some rich opportunities for becoming more conscious of these automatic responses. Much of our practice comes down to noticing what is happening in any given moment. Whether that is clarity or confusion or resistance, we can just notice, without feeling the need to change anything.

And yet that noticing can change everything.


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