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Thread: Zen of Work

  1. #1

    Zen of Work

    I have come to experience great benefits of regular zazen on a number of things, but in particular my ability to problem-solve at work.

    Through sitting, I have come to find that many supposedly problematic situations are just "in your head." If you can see past that, or clear your head, and just "be" in the situation (e.g., just purely "experience" a particular problem..."embrace" the problem so to speak, without immediately judging it) suddently the problem isn't nearly as big as it seems and the solution easily presents itself.

  2. #2

    Re: Zen of Work

    Hiya
    I agree!
    Well my problems do not get solved any easier just my approach to them changed. Also my interactions with co-workers and clients have definitely changed since sitting. Many may say for the better many may say for worse. For better is I am kind, careful and direct. For worse Im Direct, careful and kind. More often now then ever, I help by saying No, and point them in a direction. Before i would just bristle and do it for them (in 1/10 of the time and with far less questions). This showed me how i was being Contrary to them as well as me. (even though i did exactly what they asked).

    Anywho, Thanks you Mushin for bringing it up! (interesting as I'm working in tight quarters all this past week with "The boss!" - also a human being )

    Gassho, Shohei

  3. #3

    Re: Zen of Work

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk
    For better is I am kind, careful and direct. For worse Im Direct, careful and kind. More often now then ever, I help by saying No, and point them in a direction. Before i would just bristle and do it for them (in 1/10 of the time and with far less questions). This showed me how i was being Contrary to them as well as me. (even though i did exactly what they asked).
    Bingo! Similar experience here too.

    Peace,

    Bill

  4. #4

    Re: Zen of Work

    Hi.

    The problem is always as big as it is, not just as our conception of it might be.

    It's like we always find what we we're looking for in the last place we looked...

    Mtfbwy
    Tb

  5. #5

    Re: Zen of Work

    I too have found some changes in my work that I attibute to my meditation practice. I'm a college professor in a professional medical program. Essentially, we're trying to move undergraduates to be health care professionals. And, as you all can imagine with those you work with, your kids, etc. sometimes they just don't want to help themselves get there. But, I find that I'm a lot more relaxed now in my interactions w/ them. Less of I think they should..., I believe that action... and more of "lets do this together."

    And, just yesterday I was ready to fire off a blistering email to a colleague when I paused and thought 'is this really right speech, is this how I want to handle this." And, I just deleted my email and waited it out. Less immediate reaction, more mindful of how I was thinking the issue through, and, what I believe, a better outcome.

    Scary stuff!

    Jeff

  6. #6

    Re: Zen of Work

    I like this topic. My experiences at work have less to do with how I relate to people, because I've always been a "people person." I work second shift (bordering on third sometimes) at a high school, doing mostly cleaning and light maintenance, but sometimes security as well. Being an employee in a small school in a small town that doesn't have much in the way of a tax base puts a big burden on higher-ups to save money. I'm a salary employee, so regardless of how many hours I put in, I rarely get any extra pay.

    The biggest lesson I've learned since taking up zazen is the impermanence of my work. Many people do a job, then have the chance to experience some lasting satisfaction from the results. Cleaning up after hundreds of people day in and day out doesn't offer that. The work I do is gone in a matter of hours...sometimes minutes.
    There is little pride and few thanks.

    Zazen has allowed me to step back and just let it all be, no matter how much mud, dust, cinders, puke or pee I have to clean up. Practice has also allowed me to drop my expectations of myself that I can't reach right now. From the standpoint of someone looking at my resume, I'm way overqualified to be a custodian. Some school staff have suggested I return to college and take up teaching, but the money just isn't there. Up until recently, I was often plagued by desires to return to the music scene or to start teaching martial arts, but again...the money just isn't there. I also have many family obligations that don't allow for advancing opportunities.

    And yet, I've realized that it's not about me anymore. Meditation lets me step outside myself and see that at least I have a stable job, and I provide insurance for the whole family. It allows me to understand that this is it...this is as good as it gets. And even if I had a better job, I wouldn't necessarily be satisfied.

    Joining this sangha and sitting regularly has saved my life, because I was headed for some kind of blow up.

    Deep gassho,
    Dave

  7. #7

    Re: Zen of Work

    As a working fellow myself, with an often tedious and time consuming job (translation is not all the Hollywood Glamour you would imagine it to be :wink: ), I want to thank everyone for their teachings.

    Dave, for those lovely words that Master Dogen himself might have written (I am now re-reading Dogen's Eihei Shingi on the responsibilities and diligence of the temple officers; Dogen's words are quoted below), I hereby appoint you Treeleaf's official Shissui. Yes, it is all practice. Without the Shissui, there is no monastery.

    ?*, Shissui (Work Leader)

    (?)?*の職????そ?*に?????? ????べて????'主ど????な???の? ??の修?*?寮????????壁??? ??????'??て修????飾?? ???び碾磨???'????油??? ??馬??????'?*種?'提??? ????'巡*??????'?*??人工 ?'差遣???客?'輪'????と?? て??く??に?て????????'? ????き?'?つべ???大な??修?*?大 な??????????ときは??べて住? 人に??て???????び??と?? *?て????己??'?????と?'?? ????
    [Chan] The job of work leader is generally to take charge of arranging all the works in the temple. They must conduct all repairs in the temple including dormitories, gates and windows, fences and walls, and all the dailywork tools and equipment, and as the time requires, take care of repairs and replacements of decorations and ornaments. [The work leader] must take care of the grain mill, the fields and gard3ens, the workrooms and shops, the oil refining shop, the latrine tanks, the hourse stables, boats and carts, general cleaning, and the sowing of seeds. Circulating throughout the temple, [the work leader] must protect it by keeping out burglars, and must assign and supervise the various workers, All this must be managed with an attitude of serving everyone with strong effort, understanding when and knowing how [each task must be carried out]. If there are major repairs or significant projects, they should be conducted after consultation and getting the approval of the abbot, then conferring with the other temple administrators about the [work leader's] plan. They should not be done only according to [the work leader's] own viewpoint. (p.179)

    (?)?*と諸??とは???く庫?に? ????????ど??常に?*司に?って? 人工*?の???の?否?'?顧?べ??? ??*????*は?山???'巡*?? ??????謹?み?????????て?? ??*?べ?????????'修????ち ?に?ち飾???????の???火客の ?????'??って?とな??私?'?? て?と???な?????
    [Chiji] The work leader stays in the kuin [the kitchen and administrators' offices building], the same as the other temple administrators. However, [the work leader] must always be attending the work leader's shop and thoroughly review whether or not the workers have accomplished their tasks. ?? The work leader cares for and maintains the whole temple with increasing prudence and humility, without neglecting anything. They repair and replace temple property and equipment to keep it neat and shiny. Towards the common laborers and even attendant workers, [the work leader] has an attitude of helping everyone, without any personal interests. (p.179-180)
    http://homepage1.nifty.com/seijun/Talk/ ... chor331405

  8. #8

    Re: Zen of Work

    Thank you, Jundo Sensei. I honestly don't know what to say, other than that I am very honored to serve in this capacity. If you have any tasks for me to perform, please let me know.

    Deepest and most sincere bows,
    Shissui Dave

  9. #9

    Re: Zen of Work

    Quote Originally Posted by humblepie
    Thank you, Jundo Sensei. I honestly don't know what to say, other than that I am very honored to serve in this capacity. If you have any tasks for me to perform, please let me know.

    Deepest and most sincere bows,
    Shissui Dave
    Yes. You can start by taking care of those school kids. And on weekends ....

    Quote Originally Posted by humblepie
    Weekends are good family time, so I'll get the chance to crawl on the floor, play with cars and trucks, chase after the munchkins and tickle them until they almost pee, and our favorite Sunday night ritual, hide and seek.

  10. #10

    Re: Zen of Work

    Thanks, Jundo. My Pennsylvania-German ancestors would be pleased to know that even in a virtual monastery, I'm called "the worker."

    The kids are long gone into sleepy land. I'm headed there myself shortly. Our daughter may stay home from school tomorrow, though, so I could have extra munchkin duty on my hands. I hope she feels better soon.
    We're gearing up for spring with planting flower and vegetable seeds indoors, and she was really looking forward to doing that. I'm looking forward to it, too.

    Some people go to college to get away from the down-to-earth life. I went to college to get dirty, studying horticulture while working as the grower's assistant at a wholesale greenhouse operation. Botany has been an interest shared by other members of my family as well, so we REALLY look forward to springtime!

    Until warmer weather comes, though, I have plenty of other dirty deeds to do, dirt cheap.

    Gassho,
    Dirty white boy Dave

  11. #11

    Re: Zen of Work

    Hi Dave,

    Quote Originally Posted by humblepie
    Until warmer weather comes, though, I have plenty of other dirty deeds to do, dirt cheap.
    Please start by telling me how to get that song out of my head.

    It's great to have you here with us, Dave.

    Gassho
    Bansho

  12. #12

    Re: Zen of Work

    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho
    Hi Dave,

    Quote Originally Posted by humblepie
    Until warmer weather comes, though, I have plenty of other dirty deeds to do, dirt cheap.
    Please start by telling me how to get that song out of my head.

    It's great to have you here with us, Dave.

    Gassho
    Bansho

    Thanks, Bansho. As soon as a typed that line, I thought, "Oh no. It'll be in my head for hours." Damn good song, though! :twisted:

    Gassho,
    Dave

  13. #13

    Re: Zen of Work

    Quote Originally Posted by humblepie
    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho
    Hi Dave,

    Quote Originally Posted by humblepie
    Until warmer weather comes, though, I have plenty of other dirty deeds to do, dirt cheap.
    Please start by telling me how to get that song out of my head.

    It's great to have you here with us, Dave.

    Gassho
    Bansho

    Thanks, Bansho. As soon as a typed that line, I thought, "Oh no. It'll be in my head for hours." Damn good song, though! :twisted:

    Gassho,
    Dave

    :lol: :lol: :twisted:

    I also big second what Bansho said. Its wonderful to have you here Dave and same applies to you all!

    Deep Bows (and an Angus Young-power-cord-strummin-kick-walk across the stage) to you all!
    Shohei

  14. #14

    Re: Zen of Work

    For those about to sit...(or work!)...

    WE SALUTE YOU!!!

    (Now look what you've done...) :lol: :lol:

    Gassho,
    Dave

    P.S.-We've got the biggest bells of them all!
    (Man, I gotta stop this...)

  15. #15

    Re: Zen of Work

    Quote Originally Posted by humblepie
    For those about to sit...(or work!)...

    WE SALUTE YOU!!!

    (Now look what you've done...) :lol: :lol:

    Gassho,
    Dave

    P.S.-We've got the biggest bells of them all!
    (Man, I gotta stop this...)
    HJAHAHAHAH Agreed.

    RIGHT AFTER THIS!

    Cause I'm T.N.H
    I'm dynamite
    T.N.H
    And I will not fight
    T.N.H
    I'm a power load (of Dharma)
    T.N.T
    Watch me expound!!!
    oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi,

    (TNH - Thich Nhat Hanh... hehe see what i did - k im done i promise!)

    Gassho Shohei

  16. #16

    Re: Zen of Work

    Alright, alright! Back (in black?) to work, boyz.

    The work I'm working on now is a working plan to do work. (Umm...what?)

    Seriously, though. I'm drawing up a plan for a pantry, so I'm off to take measurements. Shissui stop playing around for now.

    Gassho,
    Dave

  17. #17

    Re: Zen of Work

    Dave, i second what everyone else has said. its good to have to here... and it goes to everyone else too since i cherish the each and everone's friendship.

    as for work i agree. zen practice has let me just accept my work and to keep going without any resistance to it.
    and as a nurse it is sometimes a vital ability to have.


    Gassho, Dojin.

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