WORK is an interesting subject to consider. On the surface, it seems that some people have to work a lot, and have little reward for it, and others seem to have to work very little, and get a lot of reward for the little they do work. But what actually is “work”?
It is impossible to live without DOING things. Even monks and nuns have to work. Even hermits that live in mountain caves have to work, to provide food, clothing and shelter, lighting and heating for themselves. And even those who inherit vast fortunes have to work, to manage their finances, to organize their properties and their staff, their travel, their children, their security, and so on. Even if you live a life mostly on the beach, you still have thing to organize, things to take with you, clothes, your bills, your family, etc. Look at the mega-wealthy minority. They may be billionaires; they may travel by private jet and employ dozens of staff to look after their every need, their appointments and so on, but do they get away without working? No, because the more you have, the more you have to do to maintain it, and generally, you will have more obligations, more events and activities that come with owning a lot of things. Look at Queen Elizabeth the 2nd. She was working, even up to the end of her life, in her 90s. Being in the public eye and holding an iconic position in life, one is obligated to a life of work. Do the world’s richest people stop working when they get to the age of 65 or 70? It doesn’t seem so. Most continue working until they can’t. Actors, singers, politicians, artists, spiritual teachers, religious leaders, world leaders .... do they ever retire and put their feet up for the rest of their lives?
It has long been observed that when people retire from a job they have done for most of their lives (usually a job they didn’t like), they have difficulties in getting used to not doing what they have always done. Suddenly stopping the habitual daily activities they have always done, leaves a big “hole” in their life, and the shock of this often results in the retired person dying not long afterwards - after a few years or so. Now, there are two possible dynamics involved in what is being considered here:
1. NOT HAVING ANYTHING TO DO ... which might be something that few can tolerate. So, even the mega-wealthy may avoid having nothing to do, because their minds would not be able to cope with not thinking, not working, not pursuing results or success.
2. WORKING IS NOT EXPERIENCED AS DO-ING ... in that it is not seen as something that one HAS to do but really doesn’t want to do. When one let’s go of resistance to the work that one does, whether or not one HAS to do it, loves it or doesn’t love it, there is no need to stop, unless for health reasons. But, key to all this is the subject of DO-ING. People may also keep working because they can’t stand NOT-DOING, which has become a habit for them. Then, when they don’t DO, they are at a loss - they may be uncomfortable mentally, psychologically, with having nothing to DO. They have not become accustomed to just BE-ING without DO-ING.
In a way, it is very sad that perhaps the majority of people never come to enjoy NON-DOING and simply BE-ING. This is our natural state, before the thinking mind sets us off on a life of unending activity. It is also a source of regeneration that could enrich our lives and allow us to continue working without resistance and replenishing ourselves into extreme old age. In BE-ING Life re-orchestrates our energies, brings balance and refreshment. So many elderly folk, and also the young, seem unable to just sit and do nothing without having a sense of anxiety and a feeling they should be doing something, or that they are impelled to escape the silence, the stillness, the fact of not-doing, even for an hour or two. When we come back to our natural state of BE-ING, we are immediately in a state of peace, balance, freedom, and our body and mind are instantly being re-charged by this state of simply BE-ING. We don’t have to do anything for this to happen. If we can learn to just sink into BE-ING, whenever there is not the necessity to be active (even if it’s only for a few minutes), we will find replenishment, even if we are not looking to find it.
IT IS HOW NATURE WORKS.
(13th February 2023)