Dharma Topic: Can Work Be Play?

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Dear Still Water Friends,

This Thursday evening, August 4, our eveninggathering will begin at 6:30 with an Orientation to Still Water. It’s anopportunity for those new to the practice to ask questions about basicmindfulness practices and the Still Water community, and for experiencedpractitioners to share their experiences. Please join us if you can.

After our meditation period, we’ll explore how we canbring the practice of mindfulness to our work lives, and how we can create amore joyful experience for ourselves and — perhaps — for our coworkers.

Over the years, I’ve fallen into a peculiar mental andemotional rhythm. When I leave for work in the morning, I tend to tune intogoals, outcomes, and achievements, and to focus on strategies for achievingthem. When I get home, I go through a transition, detaching myself from myworkday, unwinding, and (hopefully) being more present with my family. I’veoften felt that this separation helps me focus more on work when I’m at work andon the "rest of my life" when I’m not.

But in recent times I’ve realized that work brings newopportunities for mindfulness practice. All the rich human elements that arepresent in the rest of our lives are, of course, all around us in the workplace.We’re in the midst of people who are also looking for connection and joy. Thesocial constructs in organizational settings offer different kinds of challengesand opportunities for engagement. And, we work more effectively and with lessfriction when we enjoy what we do.

In Awake at Work, Michael Carroll writes:

If we take a moment to slow down and open up to our work circumstances, we will discover that work is continually inviting us to help, not hide; to listen openly, not close up; to connect, not detach; to perfect our skillfulness, not put it in question. But in our impatience to succeed and become better, faster, and more profitable, we overlook the fact that work, with all its pressures and problems, is encouraging us to be engaged, resourceful, and alive–right here, right now.

So, here are two questions to think about.

  • Has mindfulness practice helped you to feel more engaged, more joyful, or more playful at work?

  • What new things would you like to try in order to be more engaged, more joyful, or more playful at work?

You are invited to join us this Thursday evening for oursitting and our discussion.

The best times to join us are just before the first sittingat 7 pm; at 7:25, at the beginning of walking meditation; and, at 7:35, at thebeginning of the second sitting. (To allow others to maintain concentration andcontinuity, we ask that practitioners not enter during the walking meditation.)

Warm wishes,