How important it is to know ones vocation? Lately I’ve been strugling with this question and with trying to find a job which I would enjoy doing. Years ago I’ve been told what I will do in life – a job which I find very meaningful and which could potentially help me develop more the spark within. To get to that is not easy, and besides I’m not really sure if that truly is my vocation.
To have a job is important because it provides us with temporary security (such as food, shelter, and other conveniences). Unfortunately the economical system is structured in a way that a person must work eight hours a day(or four hours, although this is often not enough for decent living). This results in very little free time. Now, if the job is not something you enjoy doing, eight hours a day can turn to time of misery, during which the thing that’s most often on the mind is how to escape it and find something better. But this nagging thoughts and emotions can be suppressed by the instinctual part of our subconscious mind which is very much concerned with surviving. This puts us into a messy situation.
A society of a higher quality does not work eight hours per day by default. Such things happen so to perpetuate the greed-thirsty capitalistic economy. A better structured society would work for common progress, and its citizens would not have to work for more than just a few hours a day. But things are as they are for now, and for those interested in spiritual development would do good to adjust to circumstances and do the best they can so to progress spiritually.
During my reflections on the job which would be the most suited for me, I came across a chapter from Samael Aun Weor’s book called The Fundamental Education. The chapter deals with vocations. I will post some quotes from it here:
“Except for those who are totally disabled, every human being has a purpose to serve in life; the difficult thing is to know what that purpose is.”
“The one who knows his vocation, that is, the one that manages to discover it by himself, passes through a tremendous change. That one no longer seeks for success; little is his interest in money, fame, and gratitude. He finds bliss in the enjoyment granted by the fact of having responded to an intimate, profound, and unknowable call of his own internal Essence.”
“The sense of vocation is something that belongs to our own inner Essence; it is something very internal, very profound, very intimate.”
“To find our true vocation is indubitably the most serious social problem; this indeed is the problem at the very foundation of all the problems of our society.”
“When with complete certainty and without the slightest doubt a citizen finds his true and legitimate occupation, he becomes – because of this sole fact – irreplaceable.
“When our vocation corresponds totally and in an absolute way to the position that we occupy in life, we then perform our job as a true apostleship, without any covetousness and without a desire for power. Then the job instead of causing in us covetousness, boredom or a desire to change jobs, brings us true, profound, intimate joy even when we have to patiently endure painful burdens.
“In practice we have been able to verify that when the position does not correspond to the individual’s vocation, then he only thinks in terms of more. The mechanism of the Ego is more. More money, more fame, more projects, etc., and as is natural, the subject often becomes hypocritical, exploitative, cruel, merciless, intransigent, etc.”
“The chaotic state of humanity in these times of world crisis is horrifying. Nobody is happy with their work because the position does not correspond to the vocation. Job applications pour in because no one has a desire to die of hunger, but the applications do not correspond to the vocation of those who apply. Many drivers should have been doctors or engineers. Many lawyers should have been ministers and many ministers should have been tailors. Many shoe-shiners should have been ministers and many ministers should have been shiners, etc.
“People are in places that do not correspond to them, that have nothing to do with their true, individual vocation. Due to this, the social machinery functions terribly. This is similar to an engine that is manufactured with parts that do not correspond to it and the result inevitably has to be disaster, failure, and the absurd.”
“It is obvious that when a position does not correspond to individual vocation, the result is exploitation. In these terribly materialistic times in which we live, a teacher’s position is being arbitrarily occupied by many merchants who do not even remotely have a vocation for the teaching profession. The result of such infamy is exploitation, cruelty and a lack of true love.
“Many people practice the teaching profession with the exclusive purpose of getting money to pay their studies in the Faculty of Medicine, Law or Engineering or simply because they cannot find anything else to do. The victims of such intellectual fraud are the students.”
“Many individuals have discovered their vocation in a specific, critical moment of their life, when faced with a serious situation that demanded an immediate remedy. Gandhi was ordinary lawyer when, because of an attempt against the rights of the Hindus in South Africa, he cancelled his return trip to India and stayed to defend the cause of his compatriots. A momentary need led him towards the vocation of his life.”
So, a job is something that provides us with basic surviving needs, which is in my view its highest importance. It’s good to have a job which we enjoy doing, but this carries its risks, if your primarily goal in life is awakening. That’s because in that scenario it’s very easy to identify with a job and gradually have it as priority, in which case the spiritual work takes the backseat. Yet, the spiritual work can end up on the backseat even when doing a job which we do not like, because of the endless daydreams, thoughts of resentment, etc. Therefore, in my opinion, it would be ideal to find something where one can maintain the focus on the spiritual throughout the day.
What is your experience with spirituality and daily job?