This is taken from my forth-coming book “Staying Grounded in Shifting Sand”
On an early morning walk in the Royal Chitwan National Park in Nepal, our group came across a couple of rhinos bathing in a small pool. Our guide told us to lay low since the rhino will charge if it senses danger. Our guide also explained that rhinos have very poor eyesight, and so if it sees something move, it will charge regardless of what the animal is. Rhinos have even attacked jeeps. Our guide seemed to take delight in calling to the rhinos to get their attention and then had us back off when the rhinos looked around or moved. The rhino is a good metaphor for those who are living their lives without a fully awakened mind. Many people sense danger and attack, even if they don’t fully understand what they are attacking. And because they can’t see clearly, they feel in a state of anxiety or danger most of the time. You may know such people. They could be co-workers, neighbors, community leaders, friends or family members.
When stressed we react out of instinct or deeply learned patterns. We react without thinking through what may be happening, or as the rhino, without seeing what’s really going on. Luckily we humans can stop from instinctive, knee jerk reactions. We can reflect on the situation and see it from various viewpoints. Staying open and aware you needn’t simply react. You can choose how you respond. You can attack or flee or you can negotiate, cajole, charm, or surrender. As we move from childhood to adulthood we learn to see situations beyond what is immediately happening and to consider various options for dealing with life events.
It is too easy to get beaten down by the daily tasks in our lives, to let our small self, our ego, our fears run the show. The question is- what game do you want to play? Do you want to play the game of life that feeds that small ego-self or do you want to play the game that expands yourself. The bigger game involves seeing where your growing edge is, moving beyond your comfort zone, and be willing to stay there long enough to learn the lesson required and find more solid ground. This is a game that lets you tap into power much larger than your small self and achieve possibilities beyond your wildest dreams.
The spiritual way to move through your work day is to play the game of the awakened mind- one where you see your physical, material world unfold and also see the events metaphorically or metaphysically as the opportunities to grow, learn and experience joy. The object of the spiritual game at work is to learn to forgive more, offer compassion at every opportunity, be joyful, and find peace in any given moment.
“Be kind whenever possible. It’s always possible.” Dalai Lama
For more resources, see our Library topic Spirituality in the Workplace.