Monday, September 10, 2012

Real Lifework

"I was not happy. I hated what I was doing." Being Zen by Ezra Bayada

Many times, many of us engage ourselves and our time in occupations and jobs that while we may be successful and we may be quite competent with the tasks required, there is the nagging thought or a feeling that this just isn't for us, it isn't the right thing to be pursuing.

Ezra Bayada writes in his book, Being Zen, that "I was not happy. I hated [my work] what I was doing and anguished for more than a year over finding my "life work... A fellow practitioner suggested that every time anxiety arose over what kind of work would be right for me, I refrain from thinking about it and instead attempt to feel the physical reality of my life at that moment."

Bayada writes that as a young person and a person new to the practice, he initially didn't make a whole lot of sense out of the advice. It didn't jive with any of his previous experiences. Still he followed the direction, to stop, listen, look and feel "the moment," any moment in his daily existence and learn a new way to experience himself in his own skin. He says, "I didn't get any insights into what work to pursue, [but] I sensed something genuine about the quality of awareness that was apparent when I put thinking aside and focused on the "Whatness" of the moment... out of the blue, I realized my path..."

By continuing this way he writes that he also came to realize that by following his realization to become a carpenter, he would have to address many of his fears and self-beliefs that he knew held him back from having "a clear understanding of who we are and what our life is." He also observes that the tendency to live our lives through our minds' intellect, through ruminating, thinking, weighing and measuring, is really about the very natural desire to have solid ground beneath our feet. But isn't the ground already solid? What more do we need to add to it? Is it ground or is it me, who is the change?
Our personal feeling of "groundlessness" that often accompanies change is also natural. It can be frightening to let go and fall, trusting that the "ground" below will allow us to land on our feet. And yet it is the willingness to experience the sense of change, of temporary groundlessness that brings insight; it brings clarity.

Bayada offers a practice suggestion for those coping with the feelings of groundlessness related to change. He asks us to ask our self the question, "What do I have to offer[here]?" He asks us to ask this question often and to find what the answers are. We may be surprised. And we may realize more of our self.

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