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The true meaning of work and the role of the Sage

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Spiritual joy and peace are the aim of all activity in the world and are not just what people get if they start meditating, chanting, doing Qi Gong.


Our everyday pleasures - a cold beer on a summer's day - are intrinsically spiritual in nature and the only difference between this activity and say, meditation, is in the technique. The goal is the same. And of course, some techniques lead to deep and long-lasting spiritual joy, and others - like perhaps the beer - are shallow and short-lasting.


The provision of spiritual peace and joy is called WORK. if our work does not in some capacity produce some measure of spiritual fruit then all the world call it unproductive.


The street-cleaner is therefore a species of poet and healer. His work cleanses the world and makes it beautiful to behold. These are spiritual virtues - entire in themselves, and like deep prayer - good for its own sake.


Why then does the street cleaner find himself at the bottom of the social scale? It is because the spiritual fruits of his work are so fleeting - it is negated in a flash by the mindless brute with his McDonalds wrappers tossed from the car.


All the work done in the world is in some measure productive - and gives to some degree something that another person values. if it din't give value, it wouldn't be done. And we value things for the spiritual benefit they give us.


The worker himself is compensated for the spiritual fruits he grants to others in the form of WAGES. With our wages we attend to our own personal spiritual welfare. Thanks to our wages, our peace is no longer disturbed by hunger, and we can enhance our peace through the pursuit of pleasure, or of relaxation. Even our pursuit of Love is helped by our wages, as is our need to transcend our selves through the raising of children.


However, so many of our attempts to work are unsatisfactory. So much of the world's work can seem banal and unnecessary. This is because:


a) the benefits are so fleetingly felt, as with the street cleaner.

B) other people's work undermines our own work and vitiates the good effect

c) the pleasures we procure through our work come at the expense of others - one man's profit is another man's loss.


The desire to be more and more spiritually fruitful is AMBITION. The most ambitious will recognise the limitation of even the most demanding corporate enterprises and will wish to devote themselves to those activities that create the deepest and most long-lasting sense of joy. They will start to apply themselves, therefore, to what the world now recognises as spiritual action. But of course traditional spiritual techniques differ only quantitatively and not qualitatively from the world's work.


The most ambitious will find it difficult to devote themselves to the kind of work offered to them in the everyday world It does not yield enough fruit for them and therefore seems futile. They therefore withdraw from the market place and pursue their own vaunting ambitions alone.


Although they cease to outwardly attend to other's pace and pleasure, they are at least not undoing nor detracting from the work other's day as per points (B) and © above.


The consequences of their withdrawal is therefore 'zero-sum' in nature, but privately they are attempting to discover levels of productivity undreamed of in the everyday world. They seek nothing less than total bliss.


The person who achieves this is the saint, the self-realised sage. They have attained the goal towards which all the world's activity is unconsciously striving.


Despite their seeming physical, social and economic inactivity, they have actually been more productive than the whole sum of global economic activity.


But of course the realised sage doesn't remain hidden for long. They get discovered, and quickly become a beacon of hope for all the other ambitious workers in the world. They demonstrate and confirm what the devotee are dimly starting to feel.


To be in the presence of the sage, to hear his words and to read his thoughts becomes itself the most productive work that the devotee can imagine for himself. He becomes single-minded in his ability to apply himself.


The sage is therefore the apogee of productivity and the inspiration for all the most productive people in the world.


But only these ambitious productive ones will themselves realise the fundamentally spiritual nature of all the world's everyday work. Sadly, these people will be dismissed as 'useless' by those who are actually less productive than they - those who only understand outer activity and are not troubles by the thought that what they do is banal.


Thank you for reading this far...I have many thoughts on this but it's getting a bit long for now.



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