The wise folks on work

A lot of wise men and women have realised some phenomenal aspects of work, what do they have to say?

Meditating Saint
Thanks to the folks at for this beautiful rendition of a meditating saint

“When the work is done, and one’s name is becoming distinguished, to withdraw into obscurity is the way of Heaven.”

Lao Tzu (source)

The ordinary life consists in work for personal aim and satisfaction of desire under some mental or moral control, touched sometimes by a mental ideal. The Gita’s yoga consists in the offering of one’s work as a sacrifice to the Divine, the conquest of desire, egoless and desireless action, bhakti for the Divine, an entering into the cosmic consciousness, the sense of unity with all creatures, oneness with the Divine.

Sri Aurobindo (source)

Perhaps one of the reasons we don’t enjoy all these activities as much as we could is because we think activities need to be exciting for us to enjoy them. Many people confuse joy and happiness with excitement. But excitement is not the same as happiness. With joy and happiness we have a sense of satisfaction. There’s a feeling of satisfaction in being in the here and now, when you recognize you have so many conditions for happiness in the present moment, whether you’re sitting, walking, standing, or working.

Thích Nhất Hạnh, Work: How to Find Joy and Meaning in Each Hour of the Day

The feeling, ‘I Work’ is the hindrance. Enquire, ‘Who works?” Remember, “Who am I?”The work will not bind you. It will go on automatically.

Make no effort to either work or renounce work. Your effort is the bondage. What is bound to happen will happen.

If you are destined to cease working, work cannot be had even if you hunt for it. If you are destined for work, you cannot leave it; you will be forced to engage in it. So leave it to the Higher Power. You cannot renounce or hold as you choose.

Sri Ramana Maharshi, from Talks with Ramana Maharshi

Love cannot remain by itself — it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service.

Mother Teresa

The desire for fulfilling work — a job that provides a deep sense of purpose, and reflects our values, passions and personality — is a modern invention. … For centuries, most inhabitants of the Western world were too busy struggling to meet their subsistence needs to worry about whether they had an exciting career that used their talents and nurtured their wellbeing. But today, the spread of material prosperity has freed our minds to expect much more from the adventure of life.

We have entered a new age of fulfillment, in which the great dream is to trade up from money to meaning.

Roman Krznaric (excerpts from his book: How to find fulfilling work)

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