For quite sometime I really grappled with the fact that my daytime job wasn’t “my life purpose.”
There was this niggling feeling that I should be doing something more meaningful with my life and that I am “wasting” time.
I would ask myself, couldn’t I be doing more to save the planet ? Yet there was this internal conflict as I still had to feed, clothe and shelter my family. How do I combine the two?
I feel this sentiment is shared throughout a lot of society today. There seems to be a growing level of discontent with people and their careers in the world as they search for that income stream that is sourced from their mission or “calling”.
100 years ago men and women, well mainly men, would rise out of bed, pull on their boots and head off to labour through the day for the purpose of making sure their was food on the table and shelter overhead.
This was their number one priority. It was the driving incentive for heading off to work each day.
Digging coal from the coal face, shoeing horses, tilling soil, working the printing presses, carving stone all day, laying slate tiles on roofs and so on. Once they had decided that this was their mode of raising revenue to fund the family, very rarely did they change it as there just wasn’t the choice and their wasn’t the expectation.
Now though there is a strong yearning to be fulfilling our goals through our careers or revenue sources. If we are not, then there is a big question over our head and a growing level of discontentment.
Writing a book, teaching yoga, recording music, painting artworks, building schools in Africa, working with street kids or setting up a large philanthropic fund… many of us are searching for this life purpose with a belief that it will also be our career.
This brings me to the word dharma. Dharma is a Sanskrit word that means life purpose or path.
Like many of these sanskrit words that seep into our dialogue they often get distorted and misinterpreted.
Usually when we hear the word dharma we think of career, AND life purpose together. I’m not sure how the career part snuck in there but it has.
Our career or revenue making is usually totally separate.
There are a very small minority who are capable of merging the two. Successful writers, movie makers, musicians, sport stars, spiritual advisors. So if we can come to terms with the idea that our dharma and income stream are two separate things altogether, then we might feel a little bit better about pulling on our boots and heading off to the coal face each morning.
This doesn’t mean we have to surrender the idea altogether of not following our dharma. Our income stream can become a fund-raising mechanism for our life purpose.
In more cases than not, our income stream is a source of funding FOR our dharma, not FROM our dharma.
By surrendering one night a week out drinking with your friends or sitting in front of the TV watching a reality show, throw in a lunch break here and there, or a small portion of your weekend, and you will find that there is a way to merge the two.
The other option is to follow the path of Bill Gates. Now one of the world’s leading philanthropists, he took his time patiently. He built up a stockpile of funds from his career (a substantial one at that!) and then proceeded full time into his dharma.
So if we change our perspective of our work life and see it as a stepping stone to enable us to one day take a similar step like Bill Gates, then it should help us realise a sense of relevance to pulling on those work boots everyday.
Plant that seed, set an intention, and you will find inspiration in crawling out of bed each morning.
Just remember, even Superman had a day job !
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