A Daily Job and Spiritual Endeavour: How to Combine the Two?
The question of combining a daily job with spiritual endeavour is something that comes up a lot, and for a good reason. Often time people feel that their job is taking them away from their spiritual life, and that it is very difficult to simultaneously have both a successful career and a successful inner life. It is clear that this society has developed a system in which having to work a substantial amount of time per day plays a big part in people’s lives. Regardless if you live in the East or in the West, this type of mindset that we should work hard for a living so that we can posses more and more things, has engulfed most of the world, with the difference that the rich countries work hard to posses more things, while the countries that are not as rich work hard just to meet their daily needs.
The eight hour working day is a standard for already quite some time. Preceding this, the work standard was ten to sixteen hour of work per day. Nevertheless, even with eight hour of work per day people experience exhaustion when they come home from work, and don’t feel that they have enough energy to do anything more in a proper way, except to rest. If we take into account the commuting that many people are forced to do in order to keep their job, their free hours in a day (not counting the hours for nightly rest) can easily become less than five. It makes sense then that people ponder on how can spiritual exercises fit into this type of a system, and how to choose a job that is more conducive to spiritual living.
Without a doubt, having a stable income is necessary to fulfil the responsibilities that one has towards themselves and their family. Money is an energy through which the basic needs can be met, and so it is necessary to have an income. The current technology allows for more easier ways to make money due to the advancements of marketing and the possibility of passive income, nonetheless this too requires some form of work, and most people are still inclined to look towards a more traditional and secure way of making money.
For someone who has dedicated themselves to the spiritual work and the inner self-realization, it can sometimes be challenging to find an appropriate job. The type of jobs that should be avoided for such people are those that by their nature stimulate the ego, because in the inner work the goal is to transcend the ego and to free the consciousness that is trapped within it, and so by doing something that continuously brings about the ego to surface would be too much to handle; there would simply not be enough strength to continuously die to the ego and to prevent from feeding it. This would eventually lead to stagnation in the inner work or to abandonment of it.
Another type of jobs that are also not suitable are those that are easy to get caught up in; that bring about fascination by capturing your full attention. Obviously attention is needed in whatever we do, but some types of work are too intense and not allow for the self-observation to take place. If the nature of a job is such that it continuously takes you away from self-remebrance and self-observation, then it is necessary to see where the problem lies: if the problem is in you not applying enough effort, or if the job is simply such that it’s not feasible to do any significant amount of the inner work during it.
Another thing to take into account is that one should like their job, at least to a certain extent, otherwise you could be spending 40 hours a week at a place that you don’t like, and even though it provides with decent ability for the inner work, in the long run it could create a sort of a disgust, which would likely affect the quality of the inner work. Therefore, if there is a job that you like to do, and at the same time you are determined to do the inner work, you can reflect on how this would unfold, if it would be possible, and then simply trying it out and seeing. Knowing one’s own vocation is another important factor in this topic, because it is said that those who know what their vocation is and can get a job related to it, will ultimately be happy there and possibly quite able to perform their spiritual duty. It can also happen that we may like a job a lot, but as we progress with the inner work we notice that it is taking us away from it, and we might feel that something needs to be done to correct it.
In order to reach the heights that Gnosis can bring us to, it is important not to neglect the inner work; not to neglect the voice of our soul when it is telling us that some things need to change. If we want to succeed with the inner work, it is important to do what is necessary in this regards, otherwise it is easy to fail the tests of the probationary path and later on to fail on tests of the initiations. If a job is prioritized over spiritual work, then it’s obvious that the spiritual work cannot succeed. However, this does not mean that one should take the easiest job possible as a form of a sacrifice for the inner work, if at that job they will not be happy and will not make enough income to meet the needs for themselves and their family. Thus, there is a need to make choices in this regards that are in line with one’s own circumstances.
It is impossible to make a suggestion regarding the adequate job, the one that is in line with the inner work, because we are all different and feel pull towards different types of jobs. Some people will be more content with an office work, others outdoors; some will feel it is their vocation to be in education field, others in medicine, or in construction etc. This is something that each of us aspiring to succeed with the inner work should reflect and see if we can do the job that we like while simultaneously performing the Work within oneself, from moment to moment. We can ask ourselves questions such as: is my daily job compatible with my spiritual endeavours? Am I able to remember myself and do the inner work during my job? Do I have enough time to do the spiritual exercises and all else that I feel is needed for my spiritual life, or is my job overwhelming and is taking me away from the inner work?
Our daily job is an important aspect of our life, especially because we spend a significant amount of our day doing it. When choosing a job, it is necessary to like it (at least up to a certain extent), and to be able to perform the inner work during it – to be able to be in the state of self-remembrance, self-observation and to apply the mystical death. One should eliminate the egos well during the whole day; there should be both quality and quantity when it comes to the elimination of the egos. Our daily job should not stand in the way when it comes to this. At the same time, we should not allow our circumstances to be the excuse for our poor performance with the inner work. Regardless of the circumstances or the job that we find ourselves in, it’s always a wise thing to try our best. Such approach and effort can bring about new circumstances into our life – the ones that are more favorable for our inner work.
HDP, October 2020.