Today when I taught yoga I found it a bit of a struggle. Maybe because there weren’t too many people there, or I was tired. Sometimes when we are doing a job we love there will be a struggle. Sometimes we will be in a job we don’t love so much but have to stay for financial reasons.
The great yoga bible ‘The Bhagavad Gita’ tells the story of Arjuna a prince who was sent to lead an army of men to fight against his own relatives. He was given some advice about how to deal with his conflicts. This advice is just as relevant today.
1) Practice Skill in Action. Do whatever you do and do it to the best of your ability. Do it with your full attention and for its own sake. If you approach your work with your highest attention and presence it will help you overcome distraction. If you are not distracted you will do the best job you can and will also be less likely to indulge in complaining or office gossip.
2) Surrender the outcome. Do not set your heart on the outcome. I had this whole lesson plan today which I had to abandon. If you set your sights on just the outcome you can be let down. You never know how things are going to turn out. If you don’t worry about how it its going to turn out then you are less likely to suffer from anxiety or stress when things don’t turn out just how you planned. If you are purely goal focused you forget about number one above. Surrendering to the outcome whatever it may be doesn’t mean you become lax or don’t worry about it, it means you become less attached to the results or the final product.
3)Treat your work as service. If we see our work as contributing in some way to the greater good of our co-worker, our boss, our office or the universe it can make the mundane more meaningful. Change your attitude from ‘What am I getting out of this’ to ‘What can I give’. If you have a problem view it as ‘How can I make it better’ rather than ‘ What is wrong with this situation’. Being of service doesn’t mean you are a martyr or let yourself be exploited. You still need to take care of your own needs. Just shift your attitude about your work so it aligns with your values while at the same time helping others. If you are a manager guiding or mentoring is an act of service.
Practice for today: Do your job to the best of our ability and don’t be too attached to the end result. Look out for others as you work and remember that we are all doing the best we can in this world. Go for it!
With thanks to Sally Kempton for the ideas.