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Karma Sutra: Why it’s important to love the work you do

To be doing what one is not meant to do, day after day eats into our vitality.

Workplace Wellbeing and Business Performance Concept According to Sigmund Freud, “There are two most important things in life, love and work. And if you love your work, it’s great.” (Source: Thinkstock Images)

When we are forced to take up a vocation for reasons other than the call of our heart, such as – to fulfil our parents’ wishes, to pursue a profession because it’s lucrative or to take up something because it was the only option available, we act against our ‘dharma’.

According to the variety of ways in which the word ‘dharma’ is used in Indian philosophy, its usage as an essential quality or the characteristic attribute of an entity is what defines our aptitude for a vocation. Just as the ‘dharma’ of the moon is to shine, for each one of us our dharma is to realise what we are intrinsically gifted with.

When we are engaged in fulfilling our dharma, that is, living in accordance with our characteristic attribute, we do justice to our purpose of being here. We contribute in the creation or sustenance or transformation of the manifested world. All of these aspects are important in the working of the world and coexist simultaneously, not in a hierarchical order.

What’s important is to recognise where is it that we can contribute our best because only when our latent potential gets realized are we in sync with the world and when we are in sync with the world, there’s joy in our existence. According to Sigmund Freud, “There are two most important things in life, love and work. And if you love your work, it’s great.”

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When we choose a path, or when a path is thrust upon us which is not in sync with our potential, we deviate from the path of dharma. The first casualty of which is our sense of well-being. To be doing what one is not meant to do, day after day eats into our vitality. No amount of remuneration can compensate for this dearth of adrenalin in our life. Instead of looking forward to contributing, we look for ways to avoid our work. Even when we do contribute we are far from the desired benchmark. This is purely because our heart is not really in it. And to perform an action which does not conform to our ‘essential nature’ is to perform an act of adharma.

Read all the Karma Sutra columns here.

Not only does the individual suffer through this, the family and the society does too. The family has to constantly put up with an angry, irritable and frustrated person whose mere presence eats into their joy and the society suffers because the output is compromised. When we do things that we are not designed to do, even our best efforts cannot produce the desired outcome. As a result the quality of the work is below par.

Hence, next time no matter what it takes, do not superimpose your wishes upon others. Trying to fit a circular piece into a square stencil never solves anything. As for our individual calling, no matter how much time it takes, if you have a dream to pursue go after it relentlessly. It might take time, but if you have been given that dream it’s because it’s meant to get fulfilled.

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‘When’ it gets realised is irrelevant, that it gets realised is what’s important because it conforms to our ‘dharma’. We are meant to carry it out, it is our purpose for being here to fulfill our ‘dharma’, our calling in life.

First published on: 11-04-2016 at 06:08:32 pm
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