What if we had it wrong at all? Have you wondered what is the real purpose of work? Traditional answers include “to provide for the family” or to “make dreams come true”. Fact is that the present way we organise work and contracts is relatively new to the history of human civilisation. There is already some evidence that this approach may not last forever. Some of these jobs moved to countries that had lower wages, other jobs themselves got obsolete and now there is talk of robots taking over more and more jobs. In today’s world what we do is an important part of our identity. Often on meeting a new person, our second question is about the person’s professional work. How would all this be if, in the future, the primary source of family income is from a guaranteed a Minimum Basic Income instead of wages paid for employment?
The Bagavad Gita describe Karma Yoga as one of the four ways for spiritual advancement. What if we, for the present, consider the possibility that the primary value of work is to aid in spiritual growth? At this point work will no longer be primarily valued in economic terms. When viewed from this perspective work is not just the job we are paid to do, it includes everything we do to express ourselves and to contribute to society. To achieve the goal of spiritual progress, there are some ethical imperatives about HOW we work. For the purpose of this discussion we will call this work ethic Karma Yoga.
Basic Rules of Karma Yoga includes
1. All work is important and the difference is only in our attitude towards work.
2. Our work is a GIFT we cannot put a price on it.
3. Our responsibility is to do our best. The outcome depends on many factors beyond our control.
4. Work from a sense of wonder and love (otherwise known as compassion), don’t let fear of failure be the motivating factor
5. You have a choice about what you want to believe about people around you. Believe they are good, even when evidence SEEMS to point otherwise. Learn to trust people and processes around you
6. Be outward looking. Focus on the world and on the task at hand, not on yourself.
7. Courage Don’t spend your time wondering if you can do something, you will never know unless you try..and keep trying.
8. Take each challenge as an opportunity to learn and enhance your skills.
10. A sense of “play”: What if life is a playground and if we can approach work too with a sense of playfulness.
Above all cultivate mindfulness – this is the single most important rule. It may be difficult at first but with practice one can get better at it.