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"When you look at the situation and realize that no matter where you are there will be people and circustances that you don't find pleasant, you wonder if maybe it would be best to just buckle down, do your job, and let work be a contribution to practice... a place where you can wake up."

That is helpful reminder. I have taken steps to reduce some of the harmful levels of stress frpm previous jobs but even now in much better work envoronment I get bored, angry, fed up with low wage, but yes, it is now my practice to try to do my job thorougjly and be kind etc. I have done what I found I could and needed too. the rest is to work with as it is.


Hello Deborah. Thanks for visiting.

Your comment reminds me of something I once heard:

"Wherever you go, there you are."

You can certainly leave that relationship, that job, that organization, that institution, that city, that state, that country. Maybe you will leave the "old" problems/challenges/stressors behind. It is likely that you will be met with "new" perhaps bigger problems, challenges or stressors wherever you end up. How will you deal with them? Using the same strategies you used before?

This is why practice is important. I can remove my job from my life... I can't remove my own mind. In the end, which has the most potential to wreak havoc? Speaking for myself, it is always my mind.


I'm certainly no authority on this matter, but I was in this same space myself earlier this year. It can be so frustrating when you're working with the Buddhist ideals of letting go and just being, but yet the rest of the world just seems to be dragging you down and stealing your peace of mind. I came to a deeper understanding of this when in February I completely withdrew and practiced solitude, contemplation and being present with myself for the whole month. My main discovery at that time was that even though it can be very uncomfortable, facing adversity with the paramitas as a guide is, for me at least, the best way to transform negativity in my daily life. Once I started to look at my work as a way to practice Dana things really started to transform (even though nothing changed).

It's funny though, as Buddhist we seem to focus on ignorance and attachment as the main causes of suffering (I know I did), but there is that third cause, aversion, that also goes along with this list. Our aversion to the adversity in daily life can be a huge barrier to inner peace. My current belief is that adversity is my greatest teacher.

Just thought I would share my thoughts for whatever they are worth =).


Wow, Jason... thanks for sharing!

"Our aversion to the adversity in daily life can be a huge barrier to inner peace."

Oh, so true. And...

"My current belief is that adversity is my greatest teacher."

Well, that is certainly more pleasant and wise than "Adversity sucks." That's what I've been falling into lately. My past few weeks have looked something like this:

Week 1: I have the flu... I can't sit because my head feels like a brick. This blows.

Week 2: I'm stressed... I'm tired. I wish I had the energy for yoga. It would make me feel better. I'm going to bed.

Week 3: I'm tired of thinking so much. Time to practice. Get me to the nearest mantra. And I sit.

Maybe I should be easy on myself. I am a beginner. But there is a part of me that wishes I could level out the rollercoaster that is my practice. Is that me having an aversion to adversity? Why yes, I think it is. :)


Of course you should go easy on yourself =). Let some of that compassion and loving-kindness flow inwards to yourself (you not only deserve it, but probably need it). It's my opinion that there is no such thing as perfection (enlightenment is not perfection either). Perfection is just a concept that causes us suffering. Our faults, on a deeper level, define our own humanity, and in accepting them (and, yes, even loving them), we begin to connect with others (and ourself) in a more positive way.

After 6 years my practive is a rollercoaster ride also. I regularly fall of the cusion, fall back into walking sleep and struggle with life. However, it's the struggle that builds experience, and Zen is really about transcending the conceptual and experiencing life directly as it is. So, remember, when you fall back into walking sleep (lack of awareness) or fall off the cusion, there's an oportunity to re-experience the joy of sitting or awakening to daily life all over again (and again, and again, and again =). So, my perspective is that these things are just good ways to add depth to our practice. If zazen was easy we'd all be fully enlightened right now (though depending on your tradition, we probably are already enlightened =), so, yes, take it easy on yourself and enjoy the rollercoaster ride (it can be fun too =).


Jason, this is SO what I need to be reminded of... I will probably come back and read this often when I'm kicking myself for something or thinking that I'm not being diligent or perfect enough in my practice. Thank you very much... with deep bows of gratitude.


I appreciate the post.

Right now I'm scrapping to get out of my current job and into a new one, and I often try to remind myself that as frustrating as the this position might be, the next will NOT be problem-free. As the previous comments mention, no situation is ever a utopia ... It's often about trading old frustrations for new frustrations.

However, when I get tempted to say "i'll just stay here and bang it out," I also remind myself that its sometimes a matter of breathing some fresh air into your routine -- those new problems and frustrations dont seem so bad because they're just so new. Sometimes you can get back that energy enthusiasum you lose when dealing with one job situation for so long ... that energy that allows you to go to work every day and feel like you'll make the best of what comes.

But maybe that's just me. :)


J. Welcome.

Somewhere between asceticism and hedonism lies the Middle Path... the zen way. This Middle Path can be found everywhere... in our practice, in our relationships, on the job.

If your job feels akin to the biblical trials of Job, or if your job affords you a level of indulgence that would make Hugh Hefner proud, maybe your job is not the best vehicle for your practice... but then, maybe it is. From a zen perspective, it is all practice. Still, there's always prajna. Your own inner wisdom will point the way. If it's time to leave a job, leave. Just don't expect perfection anywhere.

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