Moving From Resistance to Acceptance
It’s not possible to be happy 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, yet we seem to believe that should be attainable and if we just tweak something in our lives, maybe if we lose enough weight, live in the right house, or get a better job we’ll increase our happiness exponentially. I’ve fallen prey to this way of thinking many times in my life, most often with my job. For the most part, I feel fulfilled in my personal life. I have many passions outside of my work which bring me great joy and a feeling of contentment, but my job is something I always struggle finding purpose and meaning in. I subscribe to Eckhart Tolle’s prescription that a person has three choices in any given moment, to find enjoyment, enthusiasm or acceptance in the task at hand. If you are doing something and are actively conscious of one of these three modalities of being, you are in a state of awakened doing. If you can’t find your way to acceptance, enjoyment or enthusiasm, then you live in resistance. For me, resistance leads to anxiety and endless questioning of my life choices.
To this end, I’m learning to view my job as a funding source for my passions in life. I can accept it as a funding source. I get moments of enjoyment out of my job as a research librarian, but for the most part I don’t have much enthusiasm for it. I’ve accepted that I choose to stay in this job because I value the financial security, flexible schedule, the mental stimulation, sense of service I get helping others and the access to benefits that it provides to me and my family. To reach acceptance, I’ve had to disengage my ego from my work. I’ve had to acknowledge that I’m paid the same whether I’m working on a groundbreaking research project as I do when I’m performing a mundane task like formulating data in a spreadsheet. If I accept that my job is the funding source for my true passions in life, then I shouldn’t put so much stock into what I’m doing with my working hours, my passions are still being funded and my overall needs are being met.
I’m actively working to disengage my ego from my job. It’s not easy, nor is it a quick process. I’m not trying to climb the corporate ladder. I don’t need to work on the best research projects to build up my ego. It’s freeing to recognize the role my ego plays in keeping me locked in a state of resistance. To be free of ego in corporate America is difficult when ego is the very thing that seems to drive it. I still struggle with my ego from time to time and I can readily see when it rears its ugly head in my work. When I want recognition or acknowledgement of my work, I know my ego is engaged, but if I remind myself that my need to have a funding source for my passions is being met, then my ego need not show itself and take me out of acceptance. If I can’t stay in acceptance and the need for work with a deeper purpose seeps into my consciousness consistently, then I know it’s time to reevaluate my work and perhaps look for different employment.
This mindset is helping relieve anxiety I’ve long felt at not finding purpose in everything I do in my life. I don’t know if that’s even possible, to assign deep meaning to every moment of every day. In trying to accept that the mundane tasks in life have a different kind of meaning and purpose, I can begin to let go of the resistance I feel at performing them and welcome the simplicity of the task as a lesson in the virtue of being present with that moment.