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Meditation and Career
"How does meditating every day affect one's career, and what does career have to do with the practice of meditation anyway?"


Career success begins with self-knowledge of what is it that you want to do. So, the first step in career success is to sit down with yourself and honestly evaluate what it is you would like to do now, not five years ago, not last month, but now. What career would you like to pursue? By practicing meditation you will be able to get in touch with your inner feelings, most of which we lose along the way as we grow up.

In my opinion, people who are successful in their career are entrepreneurs. That means you work for your self, even if you are employed by someone else. You have to have a sense of independence. You have to make your own decisions and cut your own way in life.

The problem is that most people divide their lives and their energy into several segments, and they become ineffective in all of them. People are working on the job today, but they are trying to get some place tomorrow. They are so busy thinking about tomorrow that they missed today. By thinking about tomorrow today, we will not enjoy what today could be. If we take all the energy and attention in our minds and place it on today, then today will be the best time of our lives. If we do that today, then we will have a very powerful life, and a very powerful and successful career. There is a metaphysical thought for you here. As long as you are separate, it's very hard to achieve success. When you become one with something, you become successful - there is a power in that. If you feel that you are separate from your job, and your career, then you don't do well with it. If you can't separate your career from you, then there is power in your career and there is power in your life.

When I was working at UCLA, the Director of the California Self-Help Center was a very successful African-American woman. She told me that the secret of her success was that she had become one with her job. There was no separation in her life between her and her job. Her job was who she was. She believed so deeply in what she was doing, that she had completely merged with her career.

In the practice of meditation, the concern for career is tremendous, because you probably spend more time in your career than on any other single activity. Naturally, if your career is not properly managed, if the energy in your career is not tight and successful, that will affect all the energy in other parts of your life. If you come home from work wasted and tired, then what are you going to do with anything else in your life? If by the end of the week it is the same thing, then, what is your weekend going to be like? On the other hand, if you career is on top, then there will be so much residual energy that it will carry you through and give you clarity and strength to work on other areas of your life.

Everything starts with the practice of meditation. Formal meditation is described as the time in which you sit down and concentrate for a certain period of time. This is a practice in which you gain the clarity of mind, one pointedness of thought, and the personal power necessary to first see and understand what it is you should be doing with your life, and then to go and do it and make it happen. To make it happen, you should practice mindfulness throughout the day. Mindfulness means keeping the mind on what you are doing, being absorbed in it fully. During the day when you are at work, you should keep your mind on the job, and not think about a different million things. When you are not at work, you shouldn't be thinking about work. You should be where you are now. That's how one's life becomes successful and powerful.

In my case, my career is divided into three parts; one is teaching people how to meditate and be successful in life. I know quite a bit about that, because I learned from the best. I know how to develop will power, how to be clear, how to succeed, how to overcome opposition, and how to be strategic. I also enjoy being a writer & photographer, and I work as a Database Analyst - that's how I pay the bills.

You are in a similar situation. You have to pay your own bills, pay the rent, and all that stuff, but you have to enjoy what you are doing. In order to know what works for you, it is necessary to do some introspection. By practicing meditation on a daily basis, you will gain that sensitivity and the insights into yourself to know. Then, you have to be willing to change. You may be 40 and you may need to go to school for a year and retrain to do something different, because you're in the wrong career. You might think, "Oh God, I'm so tired after work how can I go to night school?" But if you like what you are studying it will give you not only the energy to do it, but it will make your whole life exciting. I worked in the university environment for a while, so you might say that I'm very big on education. I think that there is nothing more exciting than going back to school at any age.

The Key to Success

Success in work is completely dependent on the state of mind that you are in. If you are in a broad, deep, sensitive and strong state of mind, then you will succeed in whatever you do. If you are not, then you won't. The secret is to enter into a state of mind that will create success. Through the practice of meditation, you can learn how to get into these states of mind and be whoever it is you like to be, and gain whatever it is you would like to gain. But first, you need to learn how to use and focus your mind, how to gain energy and apply it in both visible and invisible ways, and how to be successful both in the material world and in the mental world.

A person who is interested in career success should take some of his time and energy and devote them to the practice of meditation. You need to develop your body so it is strong, have happy past times, have good friends who raise your energy level. Stimulate your mind with good hobbies, travel, and spend a certain amount of time alone in nature. You should have lots of plants in your house. Take your vitamins and minerals on a daily basis. Listen to good relaxing music. Dedicate some time to be of service to others. Read an inspirational book once in a while. Learn to control your negative emotions. Keep a positive outlook on life. And live in place that is clean, organized, and feels good to you. These things are the parts of the balanced program which will make a person successful. How successful? It depends on how much the person applies these methods, but in reality, there are no limits. Everything that you do in life is dependent on the power of your mind. Learn to use it and you'll have a great life.



Work is fun!
It is play, it is a challenge.
It is practice, it is meditation.
Sometimes it sucks.

I have been working for many many many years. I have had a career in teaching for many many years. I have been meditating for many years.

I have found that:
1) Meditation increases my ability to focus my attention.
2) Meditation supplies me with an abundance of energy.
3) Meditation expands my awareness, and I find creative solutions to problems.
4) Meditation centers me and I can produce more.
5) Meditation increases my sensitivity to people.
6) Meditation increase my perception and communication skills.
7) Meditation enhances my ability to think and learn.
8) Meditation allows me to see both sides of issues.
9) Meditation makes work an impeccable journey.

Inversely, I have found that:
1) Work provides me a place to practice impeccability.
2) Work provides me all the ingredients to practice living in the moment.
3) Work can move me into the "zone" of perfection, of oneness.
4) Work can pull me out of a funk when nothing else can.
5) Work provides me with a place to use all of my stored energy.
6) Work is filled with people, and some of them come to touch the light.

They go together so well - work and meditation, meditation and mindfulness.
Samsara is Nirvana.





As Buddhists, we are winners. We are not losers. We like to succeed in everything we do. Yes, we are not attached to the results of anything that we do--if something doesn't work out, we are quickly capable of moving on. And yet we definitely would, given the choice, always prefer to succeed rather than fail. It is simply more fun to succeed.

Now we have to earn a living somehow, obviously. And how we earn our living represents a significant part of how we spend our time. So if we can succeed at our careers, then we will feel a lot better about ourselves than otherwise.

Also, if we succeed at our careers then we will have more money to be able to live on power spots, and where we live definitely has a significant effect on how well we are able to meditate and what experiences that we have in life. The only thing a bit revolutionary about this is that as Buddhists we don't accept the notion that just because we might practice a slightly different form of religion, faith, whatever you want to call it from the majority of our society, that somehow we should accept second-class status. That just doesn't make sense to us--we definitely want to win.

One final note of caution: never sacrifice time spent meditating to spend on career, no matter how tempting it may be. Yes you may have a deadline to reach and you make think by skipping the meditation, you can reach it easier, but your productivity will drop so much from not meditating that you will lose that half hour or hour or whatever just on lost productivity.





Meditation increases your access to power, and over time, meditation will energize you. It is crucial that you do something constructive with this power and energy. If you try to sit on it and do nothing in your day to day life with it, it will start to leak out in unexpected ways. You put the power gained from meditation into whatever you focus on--whether it be your career or your worries about paying the bills.

If you were living in a monastery, your day would be filled with chores that would help the monastery function, like cooking, cleaning, and maybe growing food. These chores would be your career, and while doing them, you would practice mindfulness. By using every available moment to focus on Enlightenment and spiritual practice, you can rise into higher levels of attention very quickly.

Since you probably live in the world, your career choice is not so clean cut. You have many options in terms of how you make money and how you spend your time. From my understanding, Rama often recommended computer science for two reasons: 1) it requires a deep level of concentration, which is conducive to the practice of mindfulness and 2) there's a great deal of money to be made by working in the computer field, which will allow you to create a more comfortable environment for your silent meditations, and give you the freedom to help others.

There are many ways to make money; the key is to find something that you can honestly do with your full attention. (If you hate what you're doing, you won't be inclined to give your heart to it.) The important connection between meditation and career is that you can use your job to increase your awareness, and thus improve your ability to meditate. It works in a cycle: as your practice of mindfulness improves, your ability to meditate improves and vice-versa.

So how do you use career as a way to practice mindfulness? You use every situation that comes up at work to increase your awareness. Instead of getting angry because your coworker doesn't understand the problem, you become more creative in your explanations. Instead of falling into the misery of the "work sucks" attitude, you can practice mindfulness and bounce the negative ideas out of your head and actually enjoy whatever job you find yourself doing.




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