If our work is to be more present and of service in the world, then we need to change the way we think about the results of our work. We need to change the way we think about accomplishment and achievement for the type of work we are doing- the work of showing up, being present and attentive, striving for human dignity and kindness. The usual measures of success, recognition, promotion, and profits aren't the goals for this type of work, and what our culture sets as the targets of work well done is only going to leave us disappointed and frustrated.
During the course of a lifelong commitment to this practice, you will realize that there are no shortcuts and that this work that we are doing is hard work. It is difficult to be of service without being destroyed in the act of service. It is challenging to deal with difficult people and maintain our patience and willingness to care. Learning to show up consistently, despite failure, fatigue and conflicting emotions is hard work.
As we learn the necessary skills and attitudes needed on the path, we start to achieve a sense of being in the world and out of the world, involved in the messiness of life and yet not caught up in the unnecessary struggle.
We start to learn that we can survive our intense emotional ups and downs, that the day to day is much like the weather, some days are good and some are bad and yet each day we show up and dedicate ourselves to our practice.
We start to recognize that some things are simply out of our control, that we can strive to be present, compassionate and kind, and that sometimes that is not going to land quite the way we thought it would.
We start to understand that though we struggle with the meaning and significance of our life, we find there is purpose and benefit to holding something- holding space, holding intention, holding to a daily practice.
As you endeavor in your practice, over time, you will likely find that the tangible benefits of your practice are hard to identify or remain elusive. However, you will also likely find that the intangible benefits of your practice have led to a profound transformation of your being and identity, bringing a felt sense of joy, ease, and connection. This accomplishment as a result of your practice and hard work transform the world from a battlefield in which you are always struggling into a world in which you always feel at home.
At home in the world, dedicated to presence, openness and availability, kindness and compassion, committed to showing up for ourselves and for others with a felt sense of joy, ease, and connection, those are some of the ways in which the results of our hard work show up in our life. The accomplishment of the practice is largely a life well lived, the result is the practice itself with nothing more to achieve.