05 Nov Is Work Devouring Your Spiritual Practice?
Is work devouring your spiritual practice?
Lucky the lion the human eats; the lion becomes human.
Unlucky the human the lion eats; the human becomes lion.
–Gospel of Thomas
I return to these two lines* from the Gospel of Thomas over and over.
I think they are asking us which we want to be more powerful: our work or spiritual practice?
Things I do when work is devouring my spiritual practice
These two lines guide me to allow my work to be “devoured” by my spiritual practice.
How do I do that?
One way is by spending more time in spiritual practice.
And I do that by scheduling it, as you might know if you read posts in this category.
A spiritually even sneakier and more “devouring” thing
A third way is by making everything I experience in my work part of my spiritual practice.
How do I do that?
First, I decide that it is.
And then I act on my decision by taking every issue that arises for me in work as seriously as the rest of what I consider my spiritual practice.
I devour my work in this way. Work, predictably, disappears. It becomes spiritual practice.**
What is doing the devouring is nourished by the devoured
Notice: the devoured nourishes the devourer.
That’s why it’s”lucky,” in the Gospel of Thomas quotation above.
It gets to become part of something more important.
So I decide, over and over, as a working spiritual person:
What’s the bigger fish?
Clearly, it’s my spiritual life, into which is placed the nourishment of my work, my vocation–my calling.
*These two lines are my version from translations of the Gospel of Thomas you can find here.
**See also Brother Lawrence’s Practicing the Presence of God. The letters of a 17th-century monastery cook who unwittingly provides what amounts to spiritual direction we can easily relate to.
I wrote this post inspired by my soul-colleague S., who has a deeply developed spiritual practice and leads a demanding healing organization.