I worked in Silicon Valley as a software developer for a number of years. Early on I noticed that I was rewarded more for the appearance of working hard than for my actual output. Coming in on weekends was respected and valued. When I began freelancing I observed that the pattern still held. People worshipped excessive displays of commitment to one’s work.
This never quite matched my values but I had trouble articulating why. After many years studying spiritual teachings, I understood that practicing alignment, living in harmony and cultivating radiant energy through self-care, gratitude and passionate work was a much easier way to create. A focus on developing one’s well-being and expressing that well-being through work seemed to be the key.
What bothered me the most about what I’d seen in the working world was that a focus on work ethic was fundamentally a denial of well-being. In that mindset, you must struggle and fight for what you need, instead of relaxing into your own natural opulence and sharing that with others. It is a mindset of scarcity. Instead of working hard for the sheer joy of it, as a way of expressing your highest alignment, you must struggle and fight for your very survival. What should be a deep expression of your true nature turns into a profound denial of it. What should be a true expression of passion and alignment gets twisted into stress and misery.
When we participate in this culture and work long hours and weekends, it means time away from family, friends, hobbies and sleep – all primary sources of comfort, well-being and rejuvenation. This behavior fundamentally deprives us of our connection to Source and helps create the kinds of dysfunctional workplaces we’ve all experienced.
When deprived of a connection to one’s infinite source of power, people seek power through controlling and dominating others. Hence the modern hierarchical work place with its endless stresses and demands. Depending on the quality of your workplace, these elements can be acutely present or show themselves only occasionally, but they are always there in the shadows.
Lacking in a connection to an infinite sense of worth and value derived from one’s being, people seek that sense of worthiness from doing, often pursuing unnecessary projects and creating busy work for themselves and others. Or if they’re in a position of power, pursuing selfish ideas that they are enamored with but that the people “beneath” them don’t believe in and thus don’t pursue wholeheartedly, making the whole enterprise brittle, lethargic and devoid of passion and energy.
It’s tempting to think that we are the ones who must single-handedly bring these systems down. We must become badass warrior women and men, activate all of our chakras, manifest swords of light and cut down the patriarchy. But the path forward is far, far easier than that.
It starts with our choice to align regularly with our highest potential using whatever methods feel good to us and nurture our souls. Then we must choose to express that potential in the workplace in ways that feel good, easy and natural. For some that may be speaking up when they feel situations at work moving out of harmony. For others it’s creating plans and systems that others can follow so they can participate in structures that work for them and naturally create ease and peace. It can also be simply expressing more care for our coworkers, listening more and sharing empathy and love.
The only problem with participating in these systems is when we abandon our commitment to operating in alignment with our souls and fall into patterns of judgement and limited perception. A more mature approach is to accept that for the time being these systems exist and that we can find many ways to do good regardless. I believe in our ability to do tremendous good through the free exchange of our hidden treasures.