Dhamma at Work

By Maria D’Souza

I’m navigating some challenging circumstances at work, which I’ve been viewing very negatively. As a result of these circumstances, I’ve strengthened my meditation resolve and have returned to regular daily sitting recently. Such a difference it makes!

An example:

I noticed that I was experiencing every little email or comment from various work colleagues as intentional digs meant to heckle and harass me. These emails would throw me into a heated tailspin, and I would react with mushrooming agitation, allowing myself to become fully consumed in the subsequent crafting of an indignant response to shoot back to the sender. Fortunately, because of my meditation practice and increased self-awareness, I started to recognize my own reactivity at some point before sending the response (an improvement), but not before rolling in significant agitation for some time. And I was still defensive and filled with negativity and dread related to work, overall.

Then it dawned on me the other day—now several days into sitting for at least 1 hour daily—that I have in front of me such a great opportunity to grow in the wonderful path of dhamma! (let yourself hear that last part in Goenka’s voice :). I realized that these perceived insults may or may not be intentional abuses, and even if they are, it is because the poor individuals abusing me must be utterly miserable themselves…just doing the best they can while dealing with their own stressors and reactivity. So, I must have great compassion for them, and show them love rather than anger. Throw water rather than petrol at fires (and keep a water pump ready).

Next, I remembered and felt that the self is an illusion, that my ego must be dissolved. ”No I, no me, no mine…” We are all in this together.

And suddenly, I can see things as they really are.* I am ready to face my work challenges with a new perspective.

*sometimes 😉

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About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

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