Jo-Ann Triner on Our Highest Calling: Love Suffused Work
Infinite Love calls upon finite individuals to do the work of loving. This calling becomes clear when each of us discover our inclinations to certain kinds of work, discern career paths, and pursue avenues of learning that we find innately fascinating. Given that we are endowed from birth with very unique gifts and vocational dispositions, we can conclude that we do not really chose the work, but are pre-ordained for it. In a very real way, we are the chosen, not the choosers. Our duty and delight is simply to align with the right work, go forth into the world and prosper, but not so fast. First we must wrestle with post-industrial age views that leave no room for love-imbued pursuits.
Facing this challenge, today’s young graduates cross the threshold of employment with every desire to make a difference. Their sincerity is beautiful to behold, but inevitably, the work of loving and nurturing the world into wholeness dissipates into deep disappointment. Employers are generally not oriented to the ‘work of loving’ to which we aspire. The price they pay for this is a workforce that deals only with the drudgery of work through sheer discipline, leaving their hearts and souls at home.
Workplace spirituality begins with honoring this sacred calling as a first principle of success and calls for the divinely ordained inner person to emerge on the job. It encourages a progressive awakening to the inner person of limitless potential who is generally ignored, and thus stricken with disillusion. Tracking this closely, Gallup reports that only 13% of employees worldwide are fully engaged at work and only 29% in America, no surprise under the circumstances, but this could change and here’s why:
Selfless love for our fellowman generates a self-sustaining energy that no management team can artificially create. It draws energy from our center that is the very wellspring of vitality, passion and purpose. Such world-class work requires no prompting, no cajoling and no incentives. It operates from a place so sacred that even the most menial work is transformed with meaning, subtlety and nuance. Examples abound.
When world-renowned tenor, Andrea Bocelli, takes the stage to perform, a hush descends upon him and the theater becomes his cathedral. He brings to that moment more than a highly skilled human voice box, projecting mechanically correct sound into the room. He brings the whole of himself, showing up with the inner person of extraordinary potential who raises his work to an art form, elevating the secular to the sublime. Commenting on this very sacred dimension of work, he says:
Stealthily and fearfully I make my way across the stage
Crowded with waiting musicians and extraordinary instruments.
A religious silence descends upon me.
The theatre has become my church.
—Andrea Bocelli Tour Book 2008
By bringing the inner person to the job in similar ways, we can also manifest love in the world while making a living. Doubly rewarding, these labors of love constitute the workplace paradigm we all dream about. Our challenge is to bring this into being so that we may all benefit.