I returned this weekend from a mind-opening Buddhist festival in Toronto.
It struck me as I’ve gone to Toronto for work many times. And, this was the first time I felt like I saw it. Really saw it. Before, all I could see was my work and what had to be done. Plus, it didn’t help I cheated myself of sleep and filled my mind with worry. This continuous, unhelpful cycle of looking for peace in work was a mental habit.
I had this lie I told myself. I enjoyed working like this.
What a red flag that was? It’s no surprise to learn people with workaholism have this same thought. I know better now that workaholism is a sickness. It’s not a badge of honor. It makes your world small and limits your ability to serve.
I always felt my heart crying to do more and give more and was so frustrated because I put my work above everything.
You know that feeling?
In the spirit that knowledge is power, here are three important reasons this mental confusion takes place. Thinking your work = peace. And, more importantly, what you can do about it.
I share this from the place of learning the hard way.
3 Reasons You Look to Your Work for Peace
1. Your Positive Intention
You truly desire peace in your life. You may say a lot of things to yourself before that like success, achievement, security, and so forth. And, ultimately, you’ll find that it’s simply peace. The people and messages you surround yourself with re-inforce this is as a viable path to peace. Your mind unconsciously accepts and moves in that direction.
Imagine. What if you asked yourself, what’s the best way to experience peace in your life? You stepped back and really looked at the whole picture. What’s your response? Work more?
2. Your Familiarity
Working hard, for long hours with a stressed mind becomes a strong mental habit. At some point, you hit a breaking point. You may give yourself some space and start wondering what in the world is going on. And that urge is there.
Even though you know it’s not the right answer, you continue to work your heart out and exhaust yourself….because after this project is finished everything will be ok. When you change jobs, roles, teams…it’ll all work out. This is what you’re comfortable with. And what really happens is that you don’t find the peace you’re looking for. Ever.
This is your opportunity. Make a choice now. Stand for something different. Declare to yourself and those around you how you’ll experience peace in a healthy way.
3. Your Teachers
Take a thoughtful scan of the people you surround yourself with most of the time. These are your teachers. You may not have declared them as such – yet the reality is they are. If these were people focused on peaceful living, you’d be very influenced to do the same. If you’re not feeling peaceful, please carefully look at what habits, energy, and beliefs they’re passing along to you. Ask yourself if this is ok.
Please know that these people aren’t ill-intentioned. They’ve experienced the same conditioning. You can serve them well by changing your mind. It’ll create an openness for everyone. It’s a meaningful way to practice compassion.
Just suppose you began spending time with someone that showed you how to practice being peaceful (yes – these people exist). This will naturally flow into the conversations that you have, the energy you spread, and the actions you take.
I deeply sense how this wrong thinking hurts you. Please take this as the gentlest of wake-up calls.
I ask that you listen to these messages from your heart. Your heart not your mind. Look inside and see if it’s time to break this mental habit. To go beyond. To stop investing all your time looking for peace in your work which can never give it to you. Let go of wanting and give instead. Work from a joyful place.
I’d love to know of one new action you can take to experience peace in your life. You know deep down inside. Please look in your heart. You can share in the comments to make this more real and inspire others.