Chapter 1 The Nature of Good Work

 

Our use of the phrase Good Work needs explanation because we are using it in an unusual way; we are not referring to any particular kind of job, or the sincere intention to create something of moral worth, so much as an experience of work that pleasurably engages the whole of you: your mind, your emotions, your physical capacities and your unique spirit with its special talents and passions. This engagement includes the heart's desire to do that work, and therefore it is an expression of your unique form of soul love.

Do you remember a time when you were doing something that demanded your full attention and you were in the zone? There was pleasure in the task because you had a natural aptitude for or interest in it. Maybe you were cooking a special meal for friends, designing an amazing kite for your kids, coaching a team or solving a knotty technical problem. That is a moment of Good Work, and love is at the centre of it.

Despite the effort involved, the challenge of solving problems is part of the fun or fascination of Good Work. Whatever the ups and downs of the job you sense it is worthwhile because you are learning as you go. There is also a balance between your energy levels and the job’s demands on you so that stress is minimal.

Work that holds these characteristics is a form of self-expression valued by others for its unique contribution as well as bringing you contentment and pride in the moment. It is personally satisfying in this holistic, multidimensional way because it shares the love you have for your talents in a comfortable way.

While it is certainly true that Good Work is much easier to experience when you are not harried by workplace constraints or expectations, much paid work can bring the same satisfaction and freedom when you craft it to suit your own needs. [1] However, despite the quiet pleasure that is characteristic of it, I am not suggesting that Good Work is a walk in the park. It cannot always feel like play because Good Work challenges you to strengthen your powers, and to learn to grow beyond your limits.

And, of course, no job is without its dark moments; satisfaction in one's work comes and goes like every other rhythm in life. But even when it is not so easy, even when a job is frustrating and dispiriting, it will revert to Good Work as soon as you find a way to restore some form of ease to it. Good Work is dependent on the ability to relieve discomfort within the processes of achieving your goals.

Reflection

 Close your eyes for a moment and take a few slow breaths. Let yourself relax and then bring to mind a Good Work moment. It does not matter whether this happened a long time ago or did not occur in paid work. Take a moment to remember how you thought, felt and acted during that activity.

Recall your confidence and pleasure. Now imagine the energy of these sensations is in the air around you. Breathe in this energy and absorb it into your body. Your body may begin to feel lighter, more openhearted or stronger.

Good Work As An Expression Of Your True Self

 Good Work is an expression, a spiritual flowering, of your true self. Learning to know your true self’s nature is essential for aligning your job with it.

The true self is the person you are when four parts of your consciousness are operating authentically and calmly in a state of love for self as well as others. The true self is unique because of the amazing range of variations, preferences and purposes that can be found within these four aspects. These are:

The problem solving, knowledgeable, and imaginative mental self

The body with its particular capacities and limitations

The emotional self with its likes, dislikes and its loves

The intuitive or higher self, which is the source of creative insight, inner wisdom, psychic experiences and bigger purposes.

When there is a cooperative, balanced interplay of these aspects infused with the energies of love, Good Work naturally unfolds; it is enlightened love in action. If a person has no interest cultivating the true self, her or his job may provide an adequate income and have social influence, but it can never be Good in the fullest sense...

 

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