Tuesday, May 4, 2010


- by Brother Piya Tan

Our work makes our life meaningful. This is of course an idealistic statement because some people might find their work meaningful, but some others do not. There are also those who do not think about it at all. The point is we cannot avoid the fact that we need a good honest job to live happily, or live at all.

Suppose we have inherited a huge sum of money so that we do not have to work for the rest of our lives. We might be happy initially, but after a while, boredom will smother us. Then we realize that we need to do something meaningful with what we have. This, too, is work, except that we are independent, working at our own pace, in the way we like.

In one of my counselling cases, a client (a business executive) asked me if he should accept a promotion, with a good raise and other perks. As a rule, a counsellor never advises his client. A counsellor is like a game referee: he makes sure the game keeps to the rule but does not play the game himself.

So I asked him to go home and carefully list the pros and cons of accepting the promotion and of rejecting it. When we met the following week, he told me he had decided to reject the promotion, as he was already earning enough money, but he valued spending more quality time with his family. I had guessed that would be his answer. But he needed to be responsible for his own decision, as he was the one living with it.

On the other hand, we need not regard quality time as something different from our work. If our work involves other people, too, we can, if we try, find quality time in it. Making quality time of our work means, firstly, that we are happy with our work.

One simple test to know if we are happy with our work is that on waking up, we are able to feel good and look forward to our work. We make this happen by using lovingkindness. On waking up, we should tell ourselves something like “I love this job!” Your mind will take it as, “Let’s look at the positive aspects of this job.” Better than wondering if the glass is half-full or half-empty, is to better fill up the glass.

Often co-workers try to make the lives of others in the office or organization miserable. And then the troublers complain that they are unhappy with the job! So, secondly, we can make our work more satisfying when the people around us happy. We begin with such gestures as being the first to greet others, wishing them happy birthday, or simply being a good listener.

Some people tend to send out bad vibrations to others. If this is the case, then the reverse should work, too. So, thirdly, just before falling asleep, as you lie on your bed, visualize your workplace, your boss and co-workers in a happy way, accepting them unconditionally with thoughts like “May you be well and happy!”

This positive habit is to build and sustain a positive aura around ourselves. Our minds have a way of sending unspoken sentiments. How we think and feel become us, and affect others in the same way. If you keep up the positive vibrations, others will respond to them in time.

If things still do not work out positively, and problems arise, then, instead of blaming others (rightly or wrongly), ask yourself: “What do I learn from all this?” or “What do I do next?” Such questions answer themselves with amazing results, that is, if we do not force the answers, but let them arise in their own time.

When a negative situation arises, simply take a slow deep breath and then slowly breathe all the negativity out. Do this a couple of times. This is better than raising our voice and blood pressure. As long as we watch our breathing, our environment, too, will breathe in a positive way.

Lastly (not the least), go to work as if it is the first time we are doing so. Be surprised at others in a self-affirming way: if you are in the habit of affirming others, you have already affirmed yourself.

Our work is best done when we are happy doing it.

Copyright by Piya Tan ©2010 rev


Sutta study from SUTTA DISCOVERY VOL 29: Elements
Salayatana Vibhanga Sutta (S 35.236 f = SD 29.7)
[The relativity of mind and body]
Sutta download from: http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/?page_id=530

Date: 5 May 2010 (Wed)
Free Guided Sitting Meditation: 7.20 -7.40 pm
Sutta study: 7.40 - 9.00 pm
Venue: The Minding Centre (how to get there: http://themindingcentre.org/wp/contact-us/

Please forward this email for the benefit of others.

With metta & mudita,

Ratna Lim


The Minding Centre
Blk 644 Bukit Batok Central, #01-68 (2nd flr),
(near Bukit Batok MRT/Interchange) Singapore 650644.
HP: 8211 0879

Dharmafarer (Sutta) website: http://dharmafarer.org
Meditation courses & therapy: http://themindingcentre.org

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