Getting Real

What is Spirituality?

How are we to understand the soul?

What is the purpose of Spirituality?

What do we need to live Spiritually?

What does Spirituality Involve?

Why is it we fail?

What is going on in my life?

What kind of work should I be doing?

What I am supposed to be doing?

Will I ever be happy?

Will I ever meet someone?

Where are we all heading?

             The DK Foundation

                             Getting Real 8

            What kind of work should I be doing?  


New Age thinking has encouraged the view that there are specific occupations which are spiritual, meritous and that they are the only fitting occupations for a spiritually aware person. In return for doing certain kinds of work, rewards will follow in the form of membership of a mysterious club comprising those with spiritual stature. The question ‘What kind of work should I be doing?’ is often put with this expectation to the fore, and it usually indicates that a person is out of touch with his or her own creative capacity and authenticity and is trying to walk in borrowed shoes and not always with appropriate motives.

It is widely recognised that suitable work for a spiritually aware person involves helping others in some capacity. How could it be any other way when humanity is one? Service, however, is an approach to life, not a specific profession. It is this misunderstanding which in the past fifteen years has produced a ‘spiritually correct’ occupational sector, containing countless under-employed, hard-up, disillusioned, and in many cases unsuitable, councillors and alternative therapists.

What is at issue here is not the alternative therapies, which are doing a certain amount of good, but recent assumptions, which make the alternative therapies synonymous with spirituality and service, and disregard motivation.

The spiritually correct sector includes the therapists of various hue: the psychologists and councillors, the healers and the complementary medical practitioners, astrologers, tarot readers and mediums. Our work is considered spiritually beneficial because it involves helping others and having an awareness of the importance of the inner person. Significantly, membership of this category is not extended to nurses, doctors, vets, carers, and members of the emergency services who have been working on behalf of others for generations. Presumably, this is because they deal primarily, not with the inner person, but with the physical vehicle and the material plane (that aspect of manifestation which seems to cause certain spiritually minded people so much embarrassment), and they may not have consciously exposed a spiritual path.

In the past fifteen years, to be able to describe oneself as a therapist or alternative practitioner has been viewed all too often, a measure of spiritual achievement. The attraction of doing this prestigious spiritually correct work has seen large numbers of people turn their lives upside down, giving up existing professions, to say nothing of financial independence in order to retrain in some oversubscribed therapy. Of course there have been people with a genuine vocational sense in the stampede. Indeed, the situation is depressing precisely because so many of the people involved in crowding into the alternative therapies sector do have such a strong vocational sense and a genuine contribution to make but feel, as the result of thinking in recent years, that this can be expressed only in certain, prescribed ways, ways which have become service clichés, and which stand to compromise authenticity and reduce the effectiveness of that contribution.

D.K. has defined service as the ability to recognise a need and to know how to go about meeting it. Ultimately, all spiritually active people have to be of service. But service is in the recognising and meeting of a need as it arises, when it arises, wherever it arises, and not pre-empting this by taking on the work which for reasons of fashion has become prestigious, especially if this occupation is then required to meet a host of personality needs. If this is any kind of service, it is self-service.

And what are the needs to which spiritually aware people need to respond? Why are some needs more worthy than others? Our consumer societies, in which we are all participants, have generated a host of needs: the need to create products and get them distributed; the need to make available money and the means to buy these products and services; the need to keep people in work. The Buddhists have always emphasised the importance of right action i.e., engaging only in those occupations, which are not pernicious in their effects upon others or upon the environment. The wisdom of this is beyond question but it is not at all easy to make these distinctions in our complex consumer societies.

Most people, including the spiritually active, use supermarkets and drive cars. There are, however, few spiritually minded people who would view working in a supermarket or car factory as being fitting work. Because, in the main, supermarkets and car factories belong to large corporations which are considered inherently unethical? Perhaps, but more likely because little recognition attaches to such commonplace jobs; they tend to offer little scope for creativity and are, frankly, boring. But does this invalidate them when it comes to being of service to other people? Unfortunately, some kind of spiritual snobbery, bordering on inversion, makes us withhold from the people who do commonplace jobs the respect they merit for making life easier for vast number of us, but give it to practitioners offering some recondite alternative therapy at a fee that makes it accessible to only a very few people The service industries are full of people working without any recognition whatsoever but who, every day of their lives, help others in some practical and essential way.

The fact is that it is probably impossible to maintain a consistent and logical position in the matter of what is right work from a spiritual point of view in an industrialized society and that may be why enthusiasms and aversions, which usually will not stand up to much close analysis, build up around certain kinds of work. In an industrialized society the emphasis is probably more usefully placed upon our own conduct in the work place and in the execution of our function, whatever form that may take, rather than trying to establish cause and effect at the level of superstructure.

When it comes to spirituality, most things - the things that matter - come back to personal motivation and personal values. 

A spirituality orientated person cannot afford to disregard the well-being of his fellow man, but how he goes about making his contribution is a matter for his own judgment, if he can free that from conditioning and fashionable ideas.

The secret of optimum contribution is to be found in individuality, which determines the nature of the creative quota and gives substance to the view that it is spiritually desirable to work in a creative way.

Being of service involves making this creative capacity available for the benefit of others, and it is an act of true service to offer it because one knows that it is of value, not because it earns recognition. It is not the nature of the gift but the intention behind the willingness to share it with others, which makes this into an act of service.

In the final analysis, there is no one kind of work, which a spiritually aware person should do. To make our optimum contribution we need first to find out what we can do well and then do it consciously and to the best of our ability.

To be of service does not require a specific place and profession; it requires a willingness to offer what one has to help others in some way, unconditionally but not indiscriminately. Unavoidably, because we live in world shaped by likes and dislikes, fads and fashion, political correctness and snobberies some people will find themselves doing work which others admire and value and others will not. To a person responding to a genuine desire to be of service, this should be a matter of complete indifference. Having seen the need, he or she simply sets about meeting it.

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