Monday, January 6, 2014

To Be Authentic, Everywhere

So today I read an interesting quote by the author Jack Kornfield. " Imagine you are Buddha in disguise. No one knows but you, but you know you must bring caring and understanding no matter what. How can you accomplish this?" The quote is from his book "A Lamp In The Darkness". I think that's an amazing thing to consider. It's been tickling the back of my imagination ever since I read it.

As we go through the average day we've got plenty of opportunities to contemplate that simple mantra. Not only to contemplate the mantra, but consider how it will change our present behavior in each of the circumstances we encounter. Will we be kinder to strangers? Will we be more compassionate toward our coworkers? Will we remember the importance of our family? Will we be more gentle with ourselves? The possibilities are endless.

Today I had a couple of opportunities to put it into action. Work always brings with it its own level of stress. It's hard for me to stay centered, focused, and present in the course of the working day. There are just too many distractions, good and bad, to make things simple. So I find myself lost in complexity. I can see the simplicity but it always seems just out of grasp. As I work toward being more authentically present in the coming year I foresee a lot of that work happening at work.

In the relative serenity of my quiet living room I enjoy thinking about the challenge of being present. Here, I am present. But, it's much easier, because I can control the distractions. I can turn the television off. I can ignore the telephone. E-mail, instant messaging and text are all tools at my disposal to be engaged on my schedule

What I would like to be able to do is figure out how to carry that level of serenity into the working environment. I may not control the physical on and off button. But I can control the on and off button in my mind. I can decide what I pay attention to. I can decide where my focus is in any given moment. I think in a nutshell that sums up the challenge I face at work. I also face and in my personal life, but, I think, to a much lesser degree. I suspect that success and being authentic in either environment will carry over into the other. The separation between the working world and my personal life is mostly imaginary. I am the same person in both environments. I think that's part of the challenge is well. Because that part of us which is authentic is authentic everywhere. So at the end of the day what I am seeking is to simply be authentic. Everywhere.

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