Why, oh why?
Why do I challenge the status quo?
And not just that but take aim at the very thing that should enable all of us to become the truest version of who we were born to be.
Plain, simple work.
Perhaps it’s a generational thing, but I was told that it was the thing to do. In the beginning it was about simply finding a place to fit in but having done a few years and committed myself hook, line and sinker to the message — work hard and EVERYTHING will be fine – I found myself utterly dispirited that no one seemed to care whether I, qua Julian (the truest version of me), was coming alive, or if I was dying from the inside out. In fact, I felt like a robot: show up, enter my time (6 minute units to be precise) and bill like a madman. Beyond that no one was interested. That’s not true. They were interested but only when things were going South either with my performance (which never happened) or when I opened my mouth in the wrong direction (which did happen…a few times).
What a waste.
And I don’t just mean what a waste of time. I mean what a waste of spiritual essence; and I’m not alone. In fact, the more I look, and look, the more I realise that there are hundreds and hundreds of people who’ve lost hope in work providing anything more than…money. Actually, it’s not even that anymore. They’re simply working to pay the bills and if they can fit in some ‘me time’ all well and good; but it’s scant (if any) reward for killing themselves day after day.
But there’s a solution?
Are you ready?
You heard me.
I don’t mean to lie down and have a hissy fit. No, I mean to tell those who keep you chained to your desk enough’s enough. Let’s face it, it’s the least you can do given you’ve worked yourself ragged to make it and in the process you’ve not only lost your mojo, you’ve forgotten who you the hell you are. Actually, you’re probably (emotionally) dead without realising it.
How hard can it be to stand up for yourself and all those around you?
But of course I’m living in Cloud Cuckoo Land if I believe that any of you are going to rebel or make a claim for a better world. Instead, you’re going to continue to stuff it down in the hope that sometime soon you might be able to quit the rat race and follow your true calling. The trouble is you won’t. You’re way too scared. Instead you’ll job hop, continue to moan and rage against the system.
You could of course go set up your own business but then again you’re too easily seduced to believe that the system is a better substitute than living on the edge but following your North Star. (Hats off to all those people who, each day, give it a go in running their own show, no matter how hopeless the enterprise or unlikely it is they’ll ever make great gobs of money.)
You might think all these slightly over the top words are said for affect. They’re not. I say them because I care. I care deeply about everyone living true to who they are, not in the hope that the human race will rise even further above itself but in the hope that the existential angst that gives rise to all our earth-bound problems might be ameliorated or even extinguished.
At this stage, you might think I’ve seriously lost the plot but whether it’s work or self-employment or just living, my fundamental belief is that if we discover true self then we come alive to reality. In short, we’ll come alive to the fact that we’re part of something much bigger than our current egoic tendencies.
My call to action: seek the truth. Not the truth that says you have to become something to be something. But the truth that exists in living with love, kindness, compassion and an understanding that we are one with each other and not separate and apart. (Imagine a world where we lived out of true self — see the Thomas Merton quote below. How would your world look and feel?)
I’ll leave you with a quote from New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton:
“Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self. This is the man that I want to be but who cannot exist, because God does not know anything about him. And to be unknown of God is altogether too much privacy. My false and private self is the one who wants to exist outside the reach of God’s will and God’s love — outside of reality and outside of life. And such a self cannot help but be an illusion. We are not very good at recognizing illusions, least of all the ones we cherish about ourselves — the ones we are born with and which feed the roots of sin. For most of the people in the world, there is no greater subjective reality than this false self of theirs, which cannot exist. A life devoted to the cult of this shadow is what is called a life of sin.”
[You may want to substitute the word reality–true reality–with God.)