It is easy to grew depressed when all you do is work and sleep. The days melt into one large greasy french fry lump – bad for the heart. Sentient beings often need a sense of purpose. Let’s face it, most of the work we do is completely irrevocably pointless in the larger scheme of life. Therefore, we cannot rely upon employment to give us purpose. As sentient beings our purpose is simple: relieve the suffering of others and appreciate life. Even a grocery store clerk can find a moment of Zen in the hectic day. All it takes is a butterfly sitting on a cart in the parking lot or a smile on someone’s face. Work is just a means to an end. The end is just providing for ourselves so we can help others more effectively. It is hard to care for others when you are wanting for food and shelter.
Don’t let work distort your true purpose or discourage practice. While no one can pay what our time is really worth, our time is still our own while we are working. Spend it at work in ways that relieve suffering. Pick up litter from the parking lot to ease the suffering of Earth. Find the quiet Zen moments in your movements and in the spaces around you. Find Zen in the work itself by focusing upon how interconnected you are with everyone else.
If the grocery clerk didn’t work, people would go hungry, factories would shut down and all the people behind those factories, the machinists, engineers, miners, line workers, truckers, and farmers would all go hungry. We are all part of a larger chain. It is just sometimes hard to realize it.