No one else can know what work will make our hearts sing, but we ourselves in our own inner being. Two mystic poets can, however, help us with the essence of what our Work can aspire to be: Gibran – "Work is love made visible" and Rumi – "Let the beauty we love be what we do." Work as an offering of our Selves in love, with all our strengths and limitations, to the wider community becomes a mutual blessing that honors our very being. To know Work as a sacred vocation no matter how lofty or how humble it may seem becomes equal in the eyes of Love. For all good work contributes to the Whole ... nothing we do with love and kindness is too little.
In the silence we can ponder the ways we work in love, create or honor beauty, and bring blessing to others. What makes your heart sing?
I didn't know exactly how to go about helping others. But if I could remember that great acts are the small, quiet ones that no one hears about, that would be a start. I could look for ways myself to help people in need of a boost, to align myself with underdogs. I need to remember Ella's way with her leprosy ... her intent. Perhaps it didn't matter what I did to earn a living, as long as the motive was to help others and not just gain attention.
God, give me work
Till my life shall end
Till my work is done.
When love and skill work together,
expect a masterpiece.
Contrary to what many think, contemplatives are the great doers. In their return from silence they take up the work of giving form to the liberating truths that have been given to them in flashes of insight and vision. Because they have been present to themselves, they are able to be present to others in a way that awakens, enlivens, gives courage. In them we see more clearly a way of existence that combines both being and doing.
I am learning as I go about my daily life of work, play, or prayers that it is right and good to be here doing whatever it is I am to be doing. In a word, attentiveness and being in the present. Learning to be. A growing sense of vocation with the liberty to be at One ... to be harmonious.
Work helps prevent one from getting old. My work is my life. I cannot think of one without the other. The one who works and is never bored is never old. A person is not old until regrets take the place of hopes and plans. Work and interest in worthwhile things are the best remedy for aging. ... With age your facility of expression and perception diminishes. I have almost nothing left but time. But if I can be of service, I would like to go on living.
O Thou, cut down in me this hour and every
hour the swift growing tree of self-regard
which screens me from the needs of others.
Fill me with the realization that for these
few swift years I am put here on earth,
I am lent to be spent in the service of others.
In planetary service, all work and workers
are equal. ... All service leads to the good
of the whole.
The way to do is to be!
Without going outside,
you may know the whole world.
Without looking through the window,
you may see the ways of heaven.
The farther you go, the less you know.
Thus the sage knows without traveling ...
sees without looking ...
works without doing.
Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.
I found that the Ladakhis had an abundance of time. They worked at a gentle pace and had a surprising amount of leisure. Even during harvest season, when the work lasts long hours, it is done at a relaxed pace that allows an eighty-year-old as well as a young child to join in and help. People work hard, but at their own rate, accompanied by laughter and song. The distinction between work and play is not rigidly defined.
The more I withdraw into God and with God into silence, the closer I feel to everyone and the more I find everyone. The more I make my little efforts to help others by practicing my calling, the more fruit I bear, albeit without seeing a single fruit. I must live my life with naked and pure faith, giving everything without seeing anything. What holy peace and joy this gives to my soul! Even if all I give is worth no more than a penny, how pleasing it is to God, because what counts is the slightest effort to give one's all, and how great is the reward: God's all.
To be in service to God is to realize that there is a loving force in the universe, and I must pull away the veil and allow the force to come through.
You feel your longing and desires and they do the Work. My whole life has been following my intuition and strange beckonings.
To turn all we possess into the channel of universal love becomes the Work of our lives.
I'm learning that what's important is not so much what I do to make a living as who I become in the process. Simple labor is smoothing my edges, teaching me to crave work not because it might make me special or wealthy but because the job pleases my spirit, makes me a more pleasant person, and meets my immediate financial needs.
... Forcing things works against instinct and the elements. Working within the tides and the rules of the universe is fast becoming my preference.