A friend just finished college and wrote to ask:
Which kind of work or profession do you think will best support my spiritual path? I just finished studying journalism, and now I'm searching for a job. I love to write, but I some how feel moved to have a more simple job since journalism can be such a high pressure and hectic job. Do you have any suggestions?
I can only point you towards your own heart. Only you can know what is right for you now.
However, there are some suggestions that might help you in exploring the direction you want to go. First, I would invite you to find out what you really want to do right now. Our passion and our desire are good guides when it comes to this kind of decision. What inspires you? What excites you? What makes your heart sing? What do you do just because you love to do it? As always, the truth is what opens your heart and quiets the mind, so notice how the different possibilities affect you as you consider and explore them.
Another suggestion is to think outside the box, and consider lots of possibilities. Especially at this point in your life, you can still try out a lot of different ways to support yourself. Here are some examples of thinking outside the box possibilities:
- Join a commune.
- Volunteer in a third world country.
- Work half the year and travel the other half
- Take whatever job shows up just to see what it is like.
- Find a simple low-pressure job that is part time, and then spend your free time as a free-lance journalist or writer.
The last example is to suggest that if you love something, you do not necessarily have to do it for a job, or at least you do not have to do it full time. Sometimes when we make something we love into a job, we end up hating it because of the deadlines, pressure and also just from doing it too much. So if you can support yourself with a part time simple job, then you can also do what you love on your own terms. A simple part time job may allow you to write what you want to write, and if you happen to make a little money from it, that would be great also.
Finally, I would suggest that it does not really matter that much what job you take. You can always change your mind next month or next year or in five years. As far as your spiritual path, it really does not matter what you do as it is always possible to explore and discover your true nature in any job and in any situation. Even if you try a job and it does seem to interfere with your spiritual life, then either change jobs, or first use the experience to explore why that particular job is able to interfere with what really matters to you, and then change jobs.
It is funny to say, but because it ultimately does not matter what you do, then you might as well do something you love to do for its own sake. If it really does not matter, then why not find something that is enjoyable and inspiring? Or why not take a simple job so you still have time and energy to also do what you really love to do? I say it is funny, because sometimes when we hear that it does not matter, we decide that means you should just take any job. This is true, but it is also true that if it does not matter, then you might as well do what you really want to do, even if it means taking a part time job or not taking a job at all! Seeing that it ultimately does not matter can free you to make the choice that feels the most true for you in this moment.
I had a friend who had a large rock in her living room, and carved into the rock were the words: Nothing here is written in stone. All of our decisions matter, but they do not matter that much. And furthermore, since nothing is written in stone, you can always change your mind. The bigger question is "What will you do with the rest of your life?", and that question will take you the rest of your life to answer. You do not need to answer the whole question today or even this year. You can try out hundreds of answers to that question, and you will still not be done with the question. It is such a big question that it will take you the rest of your life to answer it fully. So, you might as well enjoy the question because this question will be here for the rest of your life.
There is more about living with questions in this article: