Elevating Work to Worship

We like to focus on grand gestures and tend to assign the tag "better" with "bigger." Feeding 1,000,000 starving children in a war-torn country surely must be better than only feeding 100 in a more well off part of the world, so surely we should pursue bigger and better.

Without your neighborhood garbage man, there would be disease from piled up waste. You see it in slums. Your garbage man is, in effect, a doctor who saves lives. Compared to running ATC for a busy international airport, picking up the trash is a relatively simple job but that does not diminish from its critical importance.

It does not matter who you are or what you do for a living, your work can always be elevated like this to the level of worship. Working as a way to worship means you are not working, you are serving. If you are serving, then you are loving, and if you are loving, then you are easily and gleefully moving through your day.

It boils down to your outlook. Is work what you have to do to get from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible? Is it just a machine-like task to be completed as fast as possible? Is it something you do solely to get something you want?

Or, is work a medium which you flow your love and devotion through, and so grace everything and everyone it comes in contact with?

Mahatma Gandhi taught us to act locally and think globally. If you are cleaning your home, can you not zoom out and see your home as a tiny dot on the planet, and so understand that you are not just cleaning your home but also a part of the planet?

If you are making your bed, you can understand that how you do one thing is how you do everything and treat making your bed as practice for doing the ordinary, extraordinarily well.

If you are washing the dishes, can you not meditate on the nature of impermanence and understand that the dishes never end. You wash them. They get clean. Then they get dirty again. The dishes never stay in one state permanently and neither does anything else—you can see the macrocosm in the microcosm.