We are meditating, during this time of the dangerous plague, on the sacred work so many in the front lines are doing amidst perilous conditions.  Therefore on the holiness of work and the holiness of those who respond generously and bravely in dire times. 

Thrillist tells the story of Brooklyn Chef Greg Baxtrom, who was forced to lay off over 60 employees and close his restaurant due to COVID-19. Since then, he’s partnered with a restaurant workers relief program to turn his restaurant into a food bank for the community

But this bravery is a reminder to all of us that our work is for others and is the telling of our stories, the “telling of holiness” as indigenous people speak of myth itself.  Even when we have to cease doing our work temporarily for the greater good, that too is a telling of holy stories.

In yesterday’s DM we meditated on the oneness of work in the universe—ours and the cosmos’s work. 

Running in nature Photo by Mauro Paillex on Unsplash

Consider another example of this oneness of work: A runner runs; she is breathing deeply. Where does her energy for this work come from?

The food she has eaten comes from photosynthesis and sunlight and is processed and recycled as proteins and carbohydrates that furnish the energy for the work of running.

The food also comes from the soil, which has been worked on interdependently by the sunshine and rain and worms stirring up nutrients of the soil.

The sun and earth and the nutrients were born ultimately of supernova explosions, of the birth of galaxies, stars, elements of the universe, and even of atoms, billions of years in the past.

Confusion reigns when we lose the sense of the one work and imagine, in our anthropocentric arrogance, that we are the sole actors in the drama of the world’s work. As the Bhagavad-Gita puts it: “The victory won by the person of wisdom is also won by the person of good work. That person sees indeed the truth who sees that vision and creation are one.” 

A work crew in personal protective equipment cleans the floor of a waiting area. Photo by Tedward Quinn on Unsplash

Inner work and outer work feed each other.  The many challenges of the present moment—whether you are in the front lines as a hospital worker or a grocery worker or a banking worker or a first responder—or whether you are working at home parenting kids home from school or trying to keep your business afloat from the kitchen table or simply withdrawing to stay off the streets and protect others as well as yourself from the virus, we are all doing our work. 

And that work, in some mysterious way, links us to Source.  It demands inner work of us—whether courage; or stillness; or creative interaction; or the grieving that the losses around us provoke in us.

Rumi advises the following:

Work in the invisible world
at least as hard
as you do in the visible.

Around the world, people clap in honor of healthcare workers. Video from The Washington Post.

The Tao Te Ching says

Each separate being in the universe returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity.

Notice the teaching here—that all beings share a common source.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Reinvention of Work, pp. 61f, 83, 65.
Banner Image: Window contemplation. Photo by Ishan Gupta on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

Do you taste serenity in returning to Source?

Are you working in the invisible world as hard as in the visible world? What are you learning there?

Recommended Reading

Natural Grace: Dialogues on Creation, Darkness, and the Soul in Spirituality and Science 
by Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake

Natural Grace, a 208 page inspired dialogue between theologian Matthew Fox and scientist Rupert Sheldrake, unites wisdom and knowledge from unconventional angles. Considering themselves heretics in their own fields, Matthew and Rupert engage the conversation from postmodern and post-postmodern perspectives, deconstructing both religion and science—while setting the foundation for a new emerging worldview. Having outgrown the paradigms in which they were raised, both Fox and Sheldrake see it as part of their life missions to share the natural synthesis of spirituality and science rooted in a paradigm of evolutionary cosmology.

This wonderful event in Orvieto, Italy is postponed to summer 2021.  See our website for new information and dates.
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9 thoughts on “Work and Inner Work, Part I”

  1. Avatar

    Social distancing

    I wish we could turn to normality.
    i yearn for the return to normal
    How many times have you /we herd that
    If I asked you what is normal.normality-you would probably say
    As it was before this pandemic
    What if I said didn’t we practiced a sort of
    Social distancing ,,,before this pandemic
    Didn’t we create a lot of space between ourselves
    Them,,,,and ,,,,us,,,and them
    Who are those,,,,,,
    Those whom we thought ..disrespectful,,,homelessness,,,junkies,,,
    The “ lower classes “middle class,,,upper-class..tofs rich folk,,,
    Folk that we’re proper-or unproper marginalised wee neds
    Racism,,,gays,,,,lesbians,,,immoral people,,, didn’t we put ( distancing )between them & us
    Economic distance,,spiritual distance,,,cultural distance,,
    Oh I forgot
    What about physical distancing ,,,smelly people,,,dirty neighbours
    Mentally ill
    We have all heard of the parable of the “Good Samaritan “ in Luke’s
    Gospel Luke 10 v25: 37
    A woman fell into the hands of robbers stripped her beat her & left her for dead
    A priest passes by then hurriedly crosses the road to the other side
    Then a Levite does the same,runs to the other side
    the Good Samaritan passes by
    Anyway you know this famous parable
    Didn’t 2 out 3 social distance themselves from her
    But not the Samaritan he embraced her
    There is great outpouring of altruism ,and selfless concern for the well-being of others,just now
    well-being of others is equally, if not more, important than the well-being or survival of the self
    healthcare workers
    Millions of low-paid workers, many of which are currently on the frontline of the battle against coronavirus
    Bin men have been hailed as the new heroes of Covid-19 frontline.
    Many many more you can add your own
    People are
    responsding to the biggest threat to life in peacetime –
    all responding the the best which is within us all
    I hope & pray
    that I don’t return to the norm,back to my old ways
    Take care

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Billy,
      Thank you for this profound comment on social distancing before the Covid crisis, how it is now, especially for people once discounted, who are now appreciated as being essential. There is some sweet justice there. I hope our appreciation transfers into more respectful treatment from here forward.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Memditation Team

  2. Avatar

    This virus is forcing us to slow down and it’s in this slowing down that we are being invited to come back to our source, to return to our center the place of our origin. This is new for so many of us because we are all so used to staying busy and not allowing ourselves to slow down and deeply listen. For some it may be scary and for others it may feel like you will die. I am drawn to the image from Mark’s gospel of Jesus in a boat with his disciples. There is a storm raging and the disciples are worried the boat might sink and where is Jesus in all this, he is asleep in the stern – the back of the boat – they wake him in panic and after he calms the storm and seas he asks them why they had no faith. What strikes me about this passage and our current Covid-19 storm is this question – I pray that during this Holy Week I can live through this question.

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear John,
      Thank you for your comment. It does seem that people are finding this time of sheltering at home to be a time of reflection. Instead of being busy, ie called to act in response to external expectations and forces, we are discovering our own inner dimensions and what it means be a human. This may be a pivotal moment for our entire species. We are all in this boat together and the Christ that will calm the storm is the Cosmic Christ inside each one of us.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  3. Avatar
    Alex Suarez Ph.D.

    I love the meditations of work — ours and that of other species. In these times when we do not work outside the home, we are reminded that nevertheless we are all in this together. Thank you!

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Alex,
      Thank you for your comment. Out of this crisis is coming a sense of connection with others, and the human needs and vulnerabilities we all share. Take away the structures of commerce and institutions and we discover life.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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