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Thread: Our Practice at the workplace

  1. #1

    Our Practice at the workplace

    Hi!!

    Just wanted to start a thread (sorry if there was already one like it) about practice and work...

    What types of thing come up...and how does the practice of Zen help you deal with those moments of difficulties....

    Would love to hear from you all

    _/_

    Seiryu

  2. #2
    Senior Member murasaki's Avatar
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    Re: Our Practice at the workplace

    This is a good question, and as I'm just starting a part-time job as a language teacher, you've given me a reminder to apply my practice in that setting.

    I'm going to need patience because I'm teaching children -- but at the same time ,I know there will be astonishing flashes of wisdom here and there coming from their honest beginner's-mind mouths.

    I'm teaching in an immigrant setting where there is a lot of consciousness of the different religious groups that are distinctly represented (Buddhism isn't one of them, unfortunately). They are groups that don't necessarily gel together smoothly in their home regions. It will be interesting to see the issues that come up, and a great deal of tolerance and forbearance will be needed from everyone. We'll all probably feel a bit over-challenged by things at one time or another in that arena.

    I haven't shared my practice there; I prefer to keep it private. It might be good to share it at some point in some context, but I will wait until the appropriate one comes along. My bigger concern with what I do with my practice, not what they do about it 8) But I know that in an atmosphere where people are mindful of others' religious "classification" (and where Buddhism isn't something these groups understand well or are accustomed to dealing with) it will be a little awkward at points.

    Anyway, with ango coming up, I'm sure to be "caught" chanting over my lunch :lol:

    I think this job is an opportunity (read: challenge) to really apply my simple-minded understanding of precepts and doing/non-doing, being/non-being in ways I haven't applied it before. I think everyone's workplace can do this for them, which is why I like this kind of discussion and I look forward to seeing others' experiences posted here. I"m sorry I have no wisdom as of yet to talk about as I'm just starting the job.

    gassho
    Julia

  3. #3
    Senior Member KellyRok's Avatar
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    Re: Our Practice at the workplace

    Hello all,

    I am getting ready to go back to work - school starts in two weeks. I work with 5th and 6th grade students as a Teacher's Aide. Many of our children have special needs. We have many students who are diagnosed ADD/ADHD, some who are autistic, some who are ODD (oppositional defiance disorder) and others who just have really rough home lives. Since last year was my first year, everything was new and I felt lost some days. So I would often spend my lunch break in the classroom (while the students were out for recess) in a form of zazen. It would help me get a handle on my stress, emotions, and concerns to continue through the afternoon.

    The class we have coming this year has many of the issues that I mentioned above. I'm thinking now might be a good time to buy a small notebook and copy down the heart sutra and some other things so that I can carry it with me as a reminder as needed. Someone already mentioned this on the boards and I thought it sounded like such a wonderful idea! Thank you for the inspiration!

    Although very nervous after accepting this job last year, I now feel very lucky and grateful to be a teacher's aid. Granted, it pays very little, but what I get from helping and being around these wonderful children and staff makes up for it. I need reminders of this on those tough days. So I carry my practice to work with me, in a quiet sort of way. The teacher I work with knows that I am Buddhist and is very accepting of it...I don't know how most of the others feel, and that is okay with me.

    thank you for this thread and for your practice.

    Kelly/Jinmei

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: Our Practice at the workplace

    Great topic!

    I am a graphic/web freelance designer so I can pretty much create my whole way of working.

    While at work I don't have to deal with pressure or bosses, but at times I have to face difficult clients, so I just let it all slide, listen to the needs and work with that.

    Sometimes I have to work on weekends, but I am at this point where it really doesn't matter as long as clients keep on coming.

    With all this in mind, you can imagine there are not a lot of dark issues with my job. Sure, there are times where I have to make pretty hard efforts to get new projects, but other than that, I manage to survive despite the huge amount of competition.

    What I find hard to do is to keep focused on work. Being here with no boss makes you a little too free at times so procrastinating on the web reading stuff is very easy. So that's when Buddhism comes into practice. Focus, be mindful and work.

    This gives me all the peace I have always wanted to be creative and work. Right Livelihood, the Man would say.

    Yup. Happy times.

  5. #5

    Re: Our Practice at the workplace

    I actually do most of my zazen during working hours! Since I am a sales rep, I have a lot of down time between offices. Sometimes it is rapid fire for a few hours then an hour of down time, which sometimes I get in 30 min of zazen to re-focus and charge the batteries. It can be a real drain. We all need a little quiet time in our lives.

    Gassho,

    Matt

  6. #6

    Re: Our Practice at the workplace


  7. #7

    Re: Our Practice at the workplace

    Hi yas!

    I sometimes take time at lunch to sit. I often do a lot of insta-Zazen right then and there. I work in a print shop for a university as the manager so I have deadlines, deadlines, faux-lines, deadlines, dead equipment, PO'd employees, bosses and sometimes customers and *shock* even moi! It does not make me any... more ...um calmer but thrown "not quite as far" when these here seas are rough.

    I sit either in my chair (arms on the chair down out of the way, back rest gone, seat tilted forward feet planted) or on my old home built zafu.

    I chant silently what needs to be chanted as to not disturb. My work place is very open and accepting of all religious practices and so im good here to practice on my breaks or as needed (of course so long as its safe too!). i do not talk much about it but let my conduct speak about this practice..some times I am a good example of what not to do, other days are not like that

    Work is practice, so I do not make it a big thing. I do have a few people interested in Buddhism here as well as other religions and its been eye opening for me to have people share with me their views and practices. In this respect I try to remember I am very lucky to work here, to have a job, to be able to work, to be alive and so forth!

    Gassho
    Shohei

  8. #8

    Re: Our Practice at the workplace

    I work as a Security Guard, so I spend a lot of time "doing nothing" in as much as waiting for something bad to happen so that I can either stop it or find out about it. I've come to nick name it "The Monastery." The place that I work is one of the quietest around, which is what I imagine a Monastery to be like.

    When ever I train someone new I give them the same poem about "The Monastery." It's not original, but a splicing of two saying that make sense:

    The Devil finds use with idle minds
    To make mountains out of mole hills.

    Because of my zen practice I don't suffer the currents of boredom as my co-workers do. I suffer them, don't get me wrong. But I can ride it out better than them. They've pointed it out to me; like a pre-emptive "don't lecture me about what you do to handle this. I'm not interested."

    Which is frustrating, but adds to my practice: Some people don't want out of "samsara." I have to accept this truth to escape the cycle myself.

    Thank you for the question.
    Hope this finds you all well.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Our Practice at the workplace

    In the first few years of working as a graphic designer, I used to take it personally when an initial draft I created was rejected by a client. The self-judging and criticism really kicked in. With continued Buddhist practice, it doesn't bother me anymore. I try to view it from the client's perspective and understand where they are coming from. By doing the best I can, I am ok with whatever comes my way.

    Going with the flow is key in the design biz. Things change easily and often, deadlines are looming, clients always want changes and I need to be creative at a moments notice. All of these are handled easier by just going with it. Actually, it is a good way to integrate and practice Zen into daily life, and I feel grateful to have that opportunity. Creativity and ideas come naturally when I let go of any fears or apprehension. Being involved in a career that allows me to be creative is a great experience and very enjoyable.

    Thanks,
    Jodi

  10. #10

    Re: Our Practice at the workplace

    My manager is an extremely difficult woman. Very rude to everyone (including customers and her own managers), very demanding, often taking on too many projects at one time and making a mess of all of them and demanding everyone finish or clean them up, is always stressed and spreads it around, treats people badly, is constantly watching and pouncing on any tiny mistake. She yells loudly, interrupts when she has no idea what's being discussed, makes demeaning statements about others... I'm not over-blowing this one bit, in fact, I'm keeping it short.

    No one likes her. Even people that do not have to work with her directly do not like her.

    I do though. People ask me all of the time "How do you like working with 'Jane' (we'll call her)?" expecting a negative answer. I say it's just fine. "Oh, I could never STAND to deal with her!" I shrug. I tell them that I understand her, and I do. I can see myself in everything that she does in this weird sort of way, like me in another costume. Since I know I do my own fair share of the above-mentioned things, having to work closely with her is like looking in a mirror. I just don't notice it when I'm behaving that way, I just do it. She's doing the same thing, just doing it, not noticing the effects or the causes.

    Today for instance, she was rushing around like crazy as she does and she dropped a huge bag of frozen appetizers, scattering them everywhere. She started yelling and saying "Just LOOK what I did!" Angry at herself, angry at the appetizers, angry at the floor, just getting angrier and angrier. That I can understand and relate to, and I felt it and remembered times when I've gone through it. I said "Jane. Life is just like that." pointing at the mess. "You didn't want that to happen but it did anyway. Mistakes happen." She fussed, "Not to ME!" I said, "Yes, to you and everyone else. Crap happens. Shit falls on the floor. That's how it is." Seeing what happened, telling her that, and listening myself to what I was saying, I realized that I DO that! "Not to ME!" Expecting the world to work according to different rules to suit me. ops:

    So, I learn a great deal from her and genuinely like her because she is exactly who she is. I'm not saying she never gets on my nerves, and there are times when I want to snap back, but those are opportunities to practice. Don't snap back, but don't bottle it up and dwell on it either, just let those thoughts pass.

    She also doesn't realize that she's paying me to practice mindfulness when she orders me to scrub this or that thing down. 8)

  11. #11
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: Our Practice at the workplace

    Quote Originally Posted by jodi_h
    Going with the flow is key in the design biz. Things change easily and often, deadlines are looming, clients always want changes and I need to be creative at a moments notice. All of these are handled easier by just going with it. Actually, it is a good way to integrate and practice Zen into daily life, and I feel grateful to have that opportunity. Creativity and ideas come naturally when I let go of any fears or apprehension. Being involved in a career that allows me to be creative is a great experience and very enjoyable.
    Jodi, these words of yours should be taught at design schools all over the planet. It's very common for the graphic designer to get hooked up in the client's urgency and thus, we rise the error/mistakes rates and most often than not creativity gets stuck while under pressure.

    When I worked at offices, newspapers and other companies it was very difficult to just let go and be creative, while I had 3 bosses demanding stuff at the same time. I managed quite fine since I was 10 years on my last office job. But now as a freelancer, things are pretty smooth and I can take the right time to be creative and deliver good products.

    Yes, being zen is perfect for the graphic artist.

    Thank you for your words.

  12. #12

    Re: Our Practice at the workplace

    Quote Originally Posted by Shohei
    Work is practice, so I do not make it a big thing. I do have a few people interested in Buddhism here as well as other religions and its been eye opening for me to have people share with me their views and practices. In this respect I try to remember I am very lucky to work here, to have a job, to be able to work, to be alive and so forth!
    Beautiful words Shohei Bodhisattva! Thank you for this.

    gassho
    Greg

  13. #13
    Friend of Treeleaf Daido's Avatar
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    Re: Our Practice at the workplace

    Perceptions are real whether or they are true. They are true enough to the person who believes they are true. Working with coming back to center has helped me to better understand perspective and grasp an entire situation as a whole instead of just a small piece. Maybe I can bring understanding to a situation. A valuable asset in law enforcement.

    Shohei wrote, "Work is practice, so I do not make it a big thing."

    Love this. When I am at work, I focus on my work. When doing Zazen I try to focus on Zazen.

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