I’ve thought over this quite a bit over the past few years. From when certain norms condition you to take up the best job in terms of financial gain to a time to give up everything and go to the mountains to engaging oneself in intense physical labour. There is a certain kind of pleasure in every mode but eventually, like all questions, the answer lies in the moment alone. Is one happy- physically and mentally- when doing a particular work? There is the possibility of having the answer as yes in all cases. And this is when one is at one with everything around.
Talking more one dimensionally, there was a time I wanted to get placed in my dream company, it probably was Schlumberger since it paid the highest but it never came to our college campus. I ended getting through to Tata Technologies but was soon flushed out of the system, pure disinterest. Pursuing my ‘passion’ for writing, I flowed into YourStory which turned me into a business journalist. A deep dive into the world of internet and the perils of a quickly urbanizing Bangalore disillusioned me and I thought travel to be the answer. Going around India, some international destinations, I decided to settle down in Dharamshala, a tiny village town in the Himalayas. I earned my living off the internet but soon, there was a big disconnect between the beautiful beautiful nature around and a world inside the computer.
This brought about a major shift and I decided to disconnect from the online world to see what happens. It was marvellous, life unfolded some fascinating possibilities. The liberating freedom! A phase arrived when I thought living in isolation without hurting anyone, without participating in any market activities would bring in inner peace but that also turned out to be a fallacy. There was this itch to do things, this itch to make and create and share. Also, assuming that living with non-participation is isolation means making an assumption that you and nature are two separate entities.
Growing out from the isolation phase, I took to doing things. Physical labour became the motto, I wanted to be the mason, the labourer, the carpenter, pushing myself to the limit to find god. I pursued that religion; I became visibly thinner, lost energy but was also quickly losing myself. God wasn’t coming any closer.
I then moved towards merging a few things. There was this understanding to have an active presence in the offline world but also not reject the online world. We started an organic cotton clothes line. Diving deep into it, I realized the perils of a complete offline business as well. After the enthusiasm of creation in the early parts, it is a drudge. What one looks for is actually the spark of creation. This probably might be different for different people, but the joy of a thinking mind is in creation. And that is the problem with the mind. It seeks something exciting every moment. It’s a recursive loop.
Once this realization kicks in, life takes a spiritual route. It’s impossible to keep feeding the mind since mind will always seek things in the external world. And inner peace is where the term points to, inside. And the mind unfortunately isn’t capable of it. Only love and heart can give that, oneness. In that moment, everything drops- work, no work, mind, heart, offline, online.
Coming to the topic, why, how and where to work? All work should be progress on this path of duality. Why work? Because the body has energy that needs to be spent, catharsis! How? With love and intensity, all work has to be intense. Stop doing it the moment it becomes anything else. The universe should tell you when. The aim of work is to have those glimpses. Where? Anywhere 🙂
This thought-flow has been written as a personal log to see where my understanding of work stands currently. The understanding might evolve more since the road is still long but this seems like an important junction.
There are still questions- how to engage best in this market till the body has energy and will? Automation and mechanization is a near reality, does give one more fuel to these technological advancements? Or does one strive to be and work with the supposed disadvantaged community which hasn’t had the time to think of these questions since earning a livelihood is still an issue? These are all still mind questions. But once you have thought of it, the ‘unlearning’ cannot happen. One cannot become an ‘ignorant labourer’ after having had a ‘white collar job’. The phase after that is progress, evolution, not ‘unlearning’. People starting conscious businesses, organic farms, etc. are representatives of such. This is what we’re trying to cover in our ‘Slow Tech’ magazine. People who have thought over it, crossed a few bridges and are now on this path.
It’ll be interesting if ever we reach a point where all work happens with this understanding. But then again, how is this work different from the works happening or the ones that have happened? Well, till we have more answers, treat this post as an opening of some knot in the universe. More power to untying knots!