What’s the first thought or feeling that comes to you when you think of “work”?
For me, it was first dread and then excitement.
For most of my life, I dreaded work. I mostly hated school (except for gym class). I have disliked most of my jobs which were boring and uninspiring.
But I also have had great passion and success when I worked on my own projects. When I worked in creative pursuits, when I was building something, I could pour hours and hours of immeasurable energy into projects. It was as if everything I could give would be given, and even more than I knew I had to give.
In these circumstances, I felt alive. I felt a tangible meaning in my life. I was not a random mutation. I was not a misfit anymore.
The New Message recognizes this ambivalence of hating and loving work:
What is this work that we speak of? Is it your current employment, which you resist and have difficulty with? … Review how you have responded to work in the past—your desire to work, your ambivalence concerning work and your resistance to work. Recognize how all desire to escape work has really been a desire to discover Knowledge. – Steps to Knowledge
This revealed to me why I resisted school and resisted work. I had to know what my life was FOR before I could begin my true work!
It was not that I didn’t want to work or that I was lazy. I always knew I could work very hard on something when I was motivated.
That was the key for me: motivation! Why would I be motivated sometimes and not others?
Work with Knowledge is True Work
In the past, I didn’t see the point of studying something in school if I didn’t know how I would use it. Yes, some things just need to be learned in order to function in society and be an educated person.
Beyond these essentials of education, I really wanted to know what I was supposed to do with my life. What was the meaning, purpose and direction that I should follow?
If I knew these things, then I could focus like a laser on getting there by learning what I needed to learn and then accomplishing the things I knew I had to do in life. The New Message calls knowing the meaning, purpose and direction of life our “Knowledge.”
Your true work in the world is to discover your Knowledge and allow it to express itself through you. – Steps to Knowledge
In my jobs, I worked hard, but it was never because of money. Yes, money is a very useful thing and sometimes I didn’t have enough which really motivated me to work! But beyond having enough money to live on, very few jobs motivated me if I didn’t feel a meaning and purpose for me to do the job. I needed the money, but I didn’t need the job.
I see this with everyone when I look at the world. If you have enough money to live on, then you need something more to motivate you. You need inspiration; you need Knowledge to guide you to your life’s meaning, purpose and direction:
It is through your work and meaningful activity that you will experience your value—the value of your individual life and the assurance of your true destiny. Your true work guarantees you all things of value and provides you escape from all things that conceal you and render you helpless and miserable. – Steps to Knowledge