Our Guiding Questions:
Calling & Creative Love
How can more people feel called to their work as a form of creative love?
Kahlil Gibran wrote that “Work is love made visible.” It is clearly a joy when work is experienced in this way, and greater creativity is likely to follow. Can we learn more about how people come to find such love-based meaning in their work? Can workplace environments foster and nurture the sense of calling by allowing spiritual practices such as meditation, mindfulness, and prayer? Expressed in a civil and mutually respectful way, does such spiritual expression in the workplace allow us to appreciate one another more deeply as whole persons?
Imagine if our educational systems could focus on meaning and the student’s sense of work calling as discerned at deeper levels of spirit and consistent with his or her talents. Imagine if we could link education to service and volunteerism in ways that students find especially meaningful? Imagine if spiritual practices were common in the public schools, allowing people of every spiritual tradition to meditate on such things as the universal Golden Rule? Would not most of the behavioral problems in our grade schools and high schools diminish? In fact, they do. Would college kids perhaps be better able to avoid the pitfalls of binge drinking and self-destructive behaviors? Given the sad state of American schools with regard to learning basic skills and preparing students for meaningful careers, creating schools that nurture work as an active spiritual calling is among the most significant challenges of our times.
There is now a peer-reviewed journal, The Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion, with which Dr. Post serves on the international advisory board. It turns out that those who feel spiritually called to their work are in general more productive and creative in their thinking, better at team-building, and contribute to an atmosphere of compassion, trust, and loyalty in the workplace.
Dr. Post’s studies have shown that those who volunteer out of the workplace for a mere two hours a week to help in their communities as they feel called will gain benefits: 68% feel physically healthier, 96% feel happier, 76% feel less stressed, and 76% are better able to deal with loss and disappointments, and almost all feel that their workplace is more worthy of their loyalty and commitment.
As Institute Advisor Jo-Ann Triner notes,
“Work at the highest level is possible only when the inner person of heart and soul arrives in tandem with the outer person. Without it, we can be present, yet bring only half ourselves to our tasks. We can be dutiful and diligent but not whole-hearted and human, working more like machines than men and women of substance. We can be exceptionally accomplished by not caring. We can act like professionals without the empathy and compassion of a true professional. Detached from this spiritual center, we may feel a deep sense of disillusionment and loss of meaning, immersed in the emptiness of it all. To compensate for the lack, we may need many levels of management to do the heavy lifting that our hearts can do quite effortlessly and at no added expense.”
The power of spiritual calling to our work lives is generally going to make the difference between breathtaking success and dry mediocrity.
Dr. Post has worked in medical centers teaching medical humanism, compassionate care, and ethics for over 30 years and has never for a single day felt emptiness or loss of meaning. Meditation and prayer have been central. Coming to work primed spiritually with a desire to help others out of love has made all the difference. He has never in his work life taken a single day for sick leave nor has he experienced any serious illness, in part because meaning in life can be quite protective from stress and susceptibility to routine illness.
So how can we really make work love made visible for every human being?
Further Writings on Love & Spirituality in the Workplace
Jo-Ann Triner on Our Highest Calling: Love Suffused Work