I coach, write and teach from the understanding that the self, other people and the world we experience is a creation of perception, of limited, conditioned thought.
This means that we are essentially living in a dream. A dream in which there is no self or other or world in the way they appear. A dream in which nothing is fixed, objective or independent.
And we know this to be true. We recognise the transience and impermanence of all experience. We get that thoughts, feelings, moods, energy and beliefs shift and slide and as they do so a whole new self and world appear. We know that as our understanding of who we are changes there is an entirely different relationship to this apparent reality.
And this holds true, it seems, until it comes to the work we do, the reasons why we do that work and the pressures we experience while there.
Because none of that looks like a dream.
When I think about the mortgage I have to pay and the kids with all their clubs and things to pay for, about pensions and getting ill and getting stuff wrong – this looks absolutely real. Real stressful things to manage.
You might also see work and reasons to work as absolutely real. The pressures on you, the demanding boss, the irritating colleagues, the ridiculous rules and tiring politics, the targets to meet, the stress, the possibility of redundancy. Because all of this looks objectively real. It looks like stuff depends on it.
This is work after all. Real stuff. This is not the domain of airy fairy tra la la spiritual nonsense. We are dealing here with real people, real money, real targets, real employment laws, real customers, real responsibilities, real products.
What’s going on here then?
Well, it cannot possibly be true that work, money, business, responsibilities, clients, products and targets are objective and independent. Because nothing is objective and independent. Nothing.
When we dream at night it cannot be the case that certain people or activities in that dream are actually real. It is the same with this daydream of ours. Nothing is more real or less illusory than anything else.
Work is not different. It just seems to be.
Our experience of the company we work for, the boss, laws – all of it is governed by perception and therefore shifts and slides according to the perceiver. Is something a problem or an opportunity? Is it a massive deal or not even noticed? Is a rule there to be broken or observed? Do we have to do something or not? Are we stuck? Are we a victim of a bullying boss, resenting what he or she makes us do or do we own the choices being made?
All of this is a function of our understanding of who we are, of how we perceive the world around us. As our understanding of reality deepens, we see that the only constant truth of who we are is the awareness in which all this takes place. With this as the only truth, everything that looked true before—the old limits of conditioned thinking—weakens.
And the crazy, wonderful thing is that when we see that work abides by the same dream rules as everything else we don’t lie in a darkened room shouting ‘what’s the point anyway…?’ We don’t opt out or give up or stop caring. We simply get to live that dream with the freedom, resolve, openness, joy and peacefulness of our true nature. We show up to what we do, clean, fresh, engaged and unburdened by a load of stuff that’s not true.
Without this understanding, we embark on work and everything related to work from the belief that we are a separate independent individual that has to manage itself and an objective, independent world to be secure, happy or fulfilled.
It looks like this self of ours needs protection, to be defined and defended. And work and colleagues and bosses from this perspective are threatening. They are all things that can take away our security and happiness. And so we show up for work wary and defensive. We try to second guess and mind read. We do stuff because of how it will make this self of ours appear. It becomes a vicious circle. The more vulnerable and separate we seem the more hostile and separate the world looks. And the result of this of course as we well know is stress, exhaustion, confusion…
With this understanding, knowing deep down that all of it is transient experience appearing within awareness, in touch with the infinite nature of consciousness, we show up entirely differently.
We watch experience come and go, emotions come and go, experience come and go. There is nothing to change. And we watch this body, that sometimes seems to be ours and sometimes not, simply doing the obvious thing to do. No task too big or too small. No task too scary or too mundane. Guided within by love, freedom and joy, there are no decisions to make. There is no idea of self to restrict what is possible and what is not. There is simply being and doing.
It is the end of the work life balance because that distinction no longer makes sense. There is only awareness of life living itself. There is no such thing as work. As Richard Branson said as the one piece of advice he would give, ‘All of it is life. All of it is precious.’ There is only the next obvious thing that must be done because it cannot not be done. Resolve is unstoppable.
It is the end of stress because there is only the next obvious thing to do. It cannot not be done and it doesn’t matter even slightly whether it is done or not. It does not come from a sense of lack or should or need. As infinite consciousness there is nothing lacking or needed. Stuff falls away. There is simple doing. That commentary overlay of the restless, seeking, resisting mind that needed this moment to not be perfect is no longer believable.
It is the end of politics and one upmanship and mind reading. There are no separate people in the meeting room. There is no separate self to make visible or to claim credit. There are no others to compete with. Self promotion and self aggrandisement make no sense. And because of this, there is nothing that is not possible.
There is only freedom, love, resolve and joy and, out of this place, a body moves, words are heard, writing appears. Everything needed is right here. Nothing lacking. Perfection.
Finally, we are living in reality. It is the dream job.