I’m Bored And I’d Like To Change Jobs. How Can I find Out What Will Give Me Joy And A Feeling Of Meaningfulness?

by Eckhart Tolle: You always start with the present moment. You start with where you are rather than trying to get away from where you are…

I suggest, when you travel to work every morning, that you enter the state of presence rather than drifting off into thinking. Be there every moment, whether you’re driving or taking public transportation or walking to work. Absolute presence.

And when you’re at work, do one thing at a time and bring in spacious moments as much as possible. It could only be a few seconds. One spacious breath after you’ve made a phone call. And then when you go to lunch—again, present with every movement.

So you use what otherwise would be a “boring situation” as the background for presence. Ultimately, you’re not looking for some satisfaction in the work but you bring a different state of consciousness to it. In a way, your work situation becomes like an excuse for practicing presence. And you’re lucky if you have a relatively boring job. It gives you a great opportunity for practicing. If you had a very stressful job that kept you in a state of excitement all day long, it would be more difficult. So be thankful if life has given you something relatively boring.

Now as you learn how to use the situation as the background for presence, often the discontent disappears—and that is the mark of true surrender. If there’s discontent, of course, there’s still not complete surrender. For example, you’re still thinking, “I’d rather be somewhere else,” or, “How many more years till retirement?” You’re losing yourself in past and future and you’re carrying the burden in your mind of past and future, missing the opportunity of the present moment because “it’s not interesting enough!”

Practice and you may find that if you come into alignment with the present moment, you feel more alive. Even within routine activities, there is then an added dimension of aliveness that comes in and you perform the activities with a greater sense of aliveness. It is often then that change comes into your life.

When you align internally with the present moment instead of trying to get away from it, power begins to flow through. That’s why I call it The Power of Now. It’s the power of life itself. It begins to flow through you.

At first it flows into your routine activities, and the way in which you relate to your colleagues becomes more present or somewhat different. Some people may notice it. Others may not. And so, gradually the universe or life notices that you are in a different state of consciousness and often it is then that change comes into your life—either through a chance event or a chance encounter or a sudden idea or realization that comes into your head one morning.

Now in what way change comes into your life, we don’t know. It is much more likely to come in, but you no longer depend on external change for your inner state. That’s the main thing. Even if nothing else came into your life, you would continue practice until your last breath and your last breath would be a conscious breath and you would have fulfilled your purpose on this planet in this form, which is to be the vehicle for consciousness to come into this world.

So, you don’t depend on anything. Change is more likely to come, yes, but the presence practice is not a means to an end. You’re not practicing to say, “Okay, I’ll practice but if nothing happens within six weeks, I’ll stop practicing.”

To all of you who are bored at work: Make it into a spiritual practice, a consciousness practice. “Bored at work” also means you’re not particularly challenged at work. In the absence of life challenges, there’s always the danger that you will fall below thought and you might find yourself in a routine that you think is acceptance but you’re really falling below thought. Then you go to work and there’s a decrease in your sense of alertness and aliveness. That’s not surrender or presence.

Source: Eckhart Tolle

 

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A Spiritual Mystery: Does God Listen to Prayers? By Deepak Chopra, M.D.

Without taking a poll, it’s safe to say that people who believe in God also believe that he answers prayers. If he didn’t, one would be left with an indifferent, distant deity who pays no attention to human affairs. This alternative is hard to reconcile with faith, and so believers are left with a God who seems to answer prayers selectively. It’s as if there’s an invisible telephone line to Heaven, and when you call, sometimes God picks up and sometimes he doesn’t.

I’ve simplified the scheme—the theology of prayer gets very complicated—because for most believers, praying is simple. You entreat God to do something special for you, and you take your chances. For every answered prayer, millions go unanswered. God must be a selective listener, or else there’s something wrong with the person who is praying.

Despite this frustrating and irrational setup, who hasn’t turned to prayer in times of greatest need?

To get to the heart of this question, we should start with a blank slate. Set aside your image of God as a father sitting on his throne somewhere above the clouds. Such images differ from one religion to the next and are clearly projections of the human mind validated only by cultural myths and traditions. Second, lose the notion of the invisible telephone line. If God is omnipresent, there is no distance between you and the one you pray to. Finally, strip God of all human attributes, including gender. Whatever God is, the reality must be superhuman, however you define the term.

Mundane Intentions Versus Deep Desires

In the Indian spiritual tradition, these first steps were taken thousands of years go. The slate was completely clean, and therefore one could ask the most basic question: Why does any desire come true? For a prayer is essentially a desire or intention. It differs from mundane intentions like wanting a candy bar or intending to do a good job in one thing only: the desired object seems out of reach. We invoke a superhuman power when human powers fail.

This is where the Indian sages had a brilliant thought. What if mundane intentions are not different from prayers? This possibility defies the logic of prayers if you think you are telephoning God. What links all intentions, no matter how extraordinary, is that they happen in consciousness. So the mystery of prayer turns into a more fundamental investigation into how consciousness actually works. Clearly the intention to eat a candy bar or to do a good job at work brings the mind into contact with reality in such a way that intention is connected to outcome. So why isn’t this true when you pray for a friend to recover from cancer or for peace in the Middle East?

Samyama

The answer, according to the Vedic rishis, who explored consciousness more deeply than anyone else, comes down to three aspects that enter into any intention, indeed into any thought.

1.How deep into the mind is the intention coming from?
2.How steady is your focus?
3.How fluid is your intention?

In Sanskrit these three elements are known as Samadhi, Dharana, and Dhyana, and when all three are fused, the entire mechanism is called Samyama. There’s no need to dwell on these terms, only to point out that the success or failure of an intention depends on the effective use of one’s awareness, not on a request to a deity who may or may not be listening. Samyama basically means to bind or hold together, and when all three of these components are unified, that’s what makes for the strongest intentions. You have gone deep enough into your own self-awareness that you can affect what happens in the outer world; your intention is one-pointed rather than scattered; and your mind is steady while remaining fluid and flexible.

The Obstacles in Prayer

If this explanation is correct, it describes unanswered prayers as the product of a mind that is restless, shallow, conflicted, or unable to focus. All of us suffer from these obstacles.

Answered prayers, on the other hand, represent a kind of total clarity that may come at any moment, like the sudden parting of the clouds, and at such a moment the mechanism that fulfills intentions works smoothly. Although Samyama is identified in the tradition of Yoga as a high attainment, it seems reasonable to say that the same mechanism exists in everyday consciousness. After all, to live is to carry out intentions.

Once you understand how the mechanism works, you have a choice. You can meditate or pursue other spiritual techniques that bring the three elements of intentionality together. The results will not be the same on every path. Some people will experience a prayer coming true, others will be able to live in the present moment, and others still may feel that they are connected to God.

As straightforward as this description of intentions is, it gives rise to its own questions, which we’ll explore in the next post. To be continued …

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