Mudrashram Institute of Spiritual Studies
On Congruent Vocation
By George A. Boyd © 1992, 2004
To gain a clearer sense of a personal vocation that truly fulfills you, you must go beyond the traditional notions of creating a summary of your academic preparation and work experiences (résumé or vitae). You must also assess what interests you or what you have enjoyed in the way of job experiences thus far, identify a suitable career path based on these criteria, and perform a job search.
While these are fundamental, necessary and practical skills aimed to help you secure a job, they do not take into account the holistic context of you working as a whole person: incorporating the creative, intuitive, volitional, spiritual and Transpersonal elements of your personality into your vocational experience. Considering that employment may take up one third or more of the waking hours of your adult life, it is crucial to find an authentic vocation.
Without framing a job experience that integrates these elements, employment may seem dull, boring, meaningless, mechanical, stereotyped, emotionally unsatisfying, lacking a sense of real achievement or progress, not to mention, frustrating and stressful. In unsatisfying work, you perform required routine behavior, establish relationships within the work setting, develop mental abilities and skills to operate with efficiency and excellence on the job, and are obtaining merit pay increases or regular promotions. But you may yet feel an emptiness and vacuum of meaning because the work lacks your authentic participation—your heart and Soul is not in your work. While the job may have good benefits, or some of the other attributes you like, such as a convenient location, nice work atmosphere, etc., the job may simply not have relevancy.
For work to take on greater relevancy and meaning for you, to be truly congruent—and not merely be a robotic performance of accustomed roles and rituals—you must make a deeper personal inquiry than that required to merely find a job that fits some of your interests. This deeper inquiry I call the meta-vocational model, which is briefly summarized in the table below.
The method of the meta-vocational model is a step-by-step process designed to deepen your understanding of what you truly want to do in your work life as a vehicle for your Soul's expression. While work can help satisfy your needs for survival, security, love and belongingness, and esteem, for work to genuinely fulfill a self-actualizing function it must become an instrument of the Soul's inspiration, creativity and drive. With this aim in mind, you will be introduced to the processes by which you may get into touch with your deepest wisdom to illumine the path of your right livelihood, your authentic vocation.
Creating a résumé will help you accurately review your work history and summarize the skills you have practiced to date, and may be a useful vehicle to help you actually secure employment. I will not go into the actual preparation of a résumé here. If you are unclear about how to prepare a résumé, I would refer you to your librarian, bookstore owner, or academic career counselor for suggested reading materials and helpful hints on how to put together an effective one.
With résumé in hand, and reviewing what you have actually done, the second step is to make an extensive self-assessment by means of a series of self-examination questions. This self-assessment comprises two parts: preferences and values, and goals. The preferences and values section educates you about the emotional component of work––your likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, relationship issues, and personal values about working. The goal section summarizes your goals for work in the context of the totality of goals for your personal and spiritual life, providing you with a broader perspective about who you are and where you want to be in your life.
Answer the following questions as fully as possible.
Goals are approached in two ways: a review of where you are today based on what you have experienced in the past, and a plan for the future based on you perception of what you want to become in your life.
Determine what you have accomplished to date in each of the following categories:
Quality of your relationships with
Career/ Work Experience
Once you gain a sense of what you have achieved so far in your life in each of these categories, next you will want to list each of your goals for the future, assign them a priority, and determine when you wish to complete the goal. A goal spreadsheet like the one below can be adapted for this purpose.
Once you have gained a picture of what you want to accomplish in your life, you can see how your work and career goals fit into that larger picture. Work is not the totality of who you are and what you express in your life, nor should it be, but it will be valuable for you to develop a clear set of objectives of where you are going in your career. Once you know where you want to be and when you want to be there, you can play.
You can play, and at the same time powerfully influence your subconscious mind, by using your imagination. Continuing the thread of visualization that you have been weaving, the next step is to consider what would be the perfect job, one that you would love going to and doing.
In this next exercise, you are going to imagine what your ideal job will be like in exquisite detail. Relax your body, starting with your feet, and move through each muscle group until you reach your head. Now travel in your imagination to yourself in your ideal job. Pay attention to the things that you are doing in your job, what skills you are practicing, what equipment you are using.
Notice the sensory impressions that come to you when you visualize your ideal job.
The Sound Quality: the atmosphere of the room, the ambient sounds, the quietness of your office or if there is music in the background
The Visual Quality: the colors of your room, the quality of the lighting, the arrangement and style of furniture in your office, if there are any plants or flowers, pictures on the wall, or the view from the window.
The Olfactory Quality: the smells of your office, aromas of flowers in the office or wafting in the windows, or the fragrance of trees or sea breezes
The Tactile Quality: the textures of the rug and the chair you are sitting on, whether there is leather or plush upholstered seats.
Picture the tools, personnel and resources you will have at your disposal, and the objectives you are working on, the role you are playing in this job, whether you are an employee, a manager, or the owner or executive officer.
Now come back and examine what you are doing today. Notice the things you dislike, that stress and irritate you in your current profession; also what you like, that things you are doing now that approximate what you would want to be doing in your ideal job.
You will note it may contain things that you have come to value in you current profession, or in past jobs or activities you have done before, or it may contain much that is new and untried.
You may feel very close to stepping in to this new endeavor; or it may also feel like it is at the end of a long and perhaps arduous personal journey with many sacrifices to make and many obstacles to overcome.
Consider what it would take for you to move from where you are in your life now to doing your ideal job.
If you are truly willing to do whatever it takes to change from where you are to where you want to be, you can begin to make it happen by affirmation. Moving from imagination's vision––getting a picture of your ideal job—to manifestation, actually manifesting and making your ideal job real, is an act of Will.
It requires a sustained re-creation of your motivation and commitment to make your vocation a reality: for example, when things apparently do not go your way at first, or when you encounter rough going along the way.
In the affirmation exercise you are about to begin, you want to again summon before your mind's eye a clear picture of your fulfilling vocation. In this exercise, you will learn how to activate the creative powers of your Superconscious mind
Holding the image clearly in your mind's eye, feel that you have the power deep with you to turn this image into reality, that you can create this ideal job. From this place of power, affirm to your self in the voice of thought, "I create and manifest the conditions of my ideal vocation."
Now feel and visualize you are strongly attracting to yourself what you need to make it a reality. See your self acquiring the money and resources, the support from other people, the contacts that will open doors for you, the equipment necessary to do your vocational tasks, the essential knowledge and advice, and mastering the requisite skiclass="unnamed5"lls.
Visualize yourself doing your new vocation successfully, with happiness and enthusiasm.
Visualize yourself earning the income you desire, able to purchase and have the things that you want in your life.
Next, from this place of power, visualize that you are blessing yourself, empowering yourself, giving yourself the permission to have your dream come true.
Let your feeling self know that you are truly loved, valued, and richly deserve to have the goodness and abundance you desire to come into your life. Tell yourself that you are able and confident, and that you can achieve what you desire. Let yourself know that however you may have failed or screwed up in the past, you are forgiven, and you can begin anew.
Tell yourself you can do it, no matter how other people may doubt you or ridicule you, or despite your own doubts, fears or misgivings, and that you will support yourself when the going gets rough.
Now visualize the obstacles to achieving your dream, and see yourself confronting them, overcoming them, dissolving them. Now in your mind's eye, savor the experience of arriving at your dream, as if it has already happened, and for a few moments allow yourself to feel the exhilaration of victory, to savor the sweetness of your prize. Now release all that you have visualized into the Light of your Superconscious Mind, and command that your Superconscious Mind create and manifest this vision for you in your life.
On a regular basis, return to contemplate your ideal vocation, and write down the ideas that occur to you. You may feel directed to begin taking actions toward achieving this goal that you can incorporate into your daily activities. It may begin with an urge to read a certain book, to take a certain class, or to make sketches of your new product or a floor plan for your office. Gradually, the seeds you have planted today by the power of your intention and affirmation will begin to take shape, to grow, and your will begin to move into the realization of your dreams.
The act of empowering your volition and activating the forces of your Superconscious mind by visualization and affirmation can help turn your vision into reality. But discovering your power is not enough, you must also identify the deeper meanings and values underlying your life.
For this purpose, an ongoing dialog, a regular checking in with your spiritual heart and Transpersonal Self, will be important to develop the requisite wisdom, understanding and self-reformation to be a whole and complete human being.
The process of developing a progressive inquiry will lead you to deeper truths and a more comprehensive self-understanding. This inner quest for meaning begins with asking your deeper Self a question, and listening for the answer. The questions you ask will in turn suggest further questions, and thus deepen your quest for illumination and for direction for integral and ethical living.
To begin this process of inquiry, you may ask your Transpersonal Self, the deeper and wiser self within you, questions such as the following, and write down the answers that occur to you:
As you begin to align with Essence by this means, you will find richness in your life that heretofore you were missing. You will begin to discover an inner peace, a sense of wisdom and strength, a new Wholeness that will come to transform your whole life.
As you learn to live from this new center, you will also find that what was formerly not possible for you will become possible, and your inner resources of intuition and creativity will increasingly become available to you in your day-to-day life.
By communion with your essence, an inner change starts to take place, and as you change within, you may also find that your world without, the circumstances of your life will also change.
As an adult, you spend up to a third or more of your life working. Work should not become the whole of your life, but it also should not become a place of imprisonment, stress and torment. It should become a place where you experience a sense of contributing something, of achieving something, of obtaining some satisfaction in what you do.
If it happens that because of circumstances beyond your control, you do not realize your ideal job in its totality, it may yet be possible to begin to incorporate elements of your ideal vocation into your current work situation. Alternately, you may begin by beginning a hobby, or working a second job in your home, doing what you love at least part of the time, outside your current profession.
Having an ideal, a model toward which you can aspire, brings powerful motivation to your life. Having something toward which you aspire can make you a nobler, finer, better human being, helping you to rise above whatever hardships were imposed on you by your upbringing, the negative elements of the environment you grew up in, constitutional impediments, or lack of education or guidance.
If you have a goal image that inspires you, you can improve what you are now experiencing in any of the your life categories: it is possible for you to change and make your life better.
In your inner Self, you have the key to creation—Will, which is the power to make it happen.
When you have an understanding of your purpose, of your life direction, the confusion will lift and you will see your way clearly.
When you use this power and insight to transform your work and begin to actualize your life's vocation, you will find that the one third or more you spend working will become much more satisfying, and you will experience much greater fulfillment in what you do.