Meditation and Meaning in Work

By Susheelkumar

Stories From Meditators

Susheelkumar in Bangalore, India, describes how he established a daily passage meditation practice, and the results he's seen in his personal and work life.

My name is Susheelkumar. I am 32 years old. I work for a major telecommunication company in Bangalore, India. I write this article to tell you how Eknath Easwaran’s 8 point program (or, “8PP”) is helping me to have a more meaningful work life in the midst of a high tech, fast paced work environment. But before that, let me tell you three things about myself. First, my current challenges at my workplace. Second, some of my personal challenges. And third, how I was trying to fix my issues earlier.

My Current Work Environment

I am working as a client engagement manager for my company. All my clients are from different parts of the world. Each of them works in a different time zone. Typically this means I have one or the other task round the clock.

Working in the telecommunications industry is another challenge. Technology is changing at a very fast pace. Yesterday we had 2G. Today we have 3G. Tomorrow we have 4G. 5G is getting developed even as we speak. And our knowledge has to be up to date at all times.

Since we are working from a cost optimized country, clients have unreasonable demands. We have to be digitally reachable 24/7. There is always a perceived threat that if we do not meet expectations there will always be someone who is ready to do our work at a lesser price and better quality.

My Personal Challenges

I have always been a people pleaser. It is very difficult for me to say No when someone has unreasonable demands. This has made me a workaholic. Work has become a central part of my life. Even though I don’t consider myself ambitious, I always found myself under pressure and stress. I now realize that my friends and family tried to put sense into me, but I never listened to them.

How I Tried to Fix These Issues

It did take me quite some time to realize that things were not quite right for me. The first step I took was to talk to some of my seniors and see if they had suggestions to improve my situation. Nobody had any. In fact, many had problems similar to me.

The next thing I did was to read self-help books. These books seemed to convey that the way to fix all the issues was to become more productive. Do more in less time. The tips that they gave seemed to work initially but could not give me lasting solutions. I was still stressed and under pressure.

Passage Meditation: My First Experiment and Learning

I then ended up reading Eknath Easwaran’s Passage Meditation by pure luck. The moment I finished reading the book, I knew I had laid my hands on something great!

Being an overenthusiastic person used to quick fix solutions, I immediately jumped into implementing something which I ‘thought’ was an answer to all my problems – slowing down. I did this without sincerely practicing the other seven principles in general and meditation in particular. I cannot explain to you in words how miserably I failed. I was surprised at this since somehow I felt this book made so much sense! 

I then re-read the entire book – slowly. I understood that the eight point program was not about quick fix solutions. It was rather about a way of living. It was not only a program to handle your daily issues but a means of reaching the highest ideal a human being is capable of.

But, the success of this entire program depended on one key thing – meditation. The success or failure of the other seven points depended on how sincerely we meditated.

How I am now Living Easwaran’s 8 PP and New Discoveries

The first thing I started to do was meditate sincerely. Meditating helped me to get closer to my real feelings.

For me one of the deepest needs has always been to find an answer to the question – Who am I? To get my sense of Identity, I worked hard. I strived hard to get appreciation from everyone. This made me feel worthy and complete.

So, I decided to start meditating on passages that answer my question – Who am I? I picked passages that spoke about my true self, passages that spoke about Brahman within us, and passages that spoke about how complete we already are.

I have now been meditating for nearly six months daily for 30 minutes.  Meditating early in the morning is giving me a deep sense of security and peace. It acts like a generator that generates a lot of positive energy. As of now, this energy stays with me for the better part of the day. This is helping me to stay calm and composed.

The other great thing that I am discovering each day is the immense power of the Mantram. I am consciously trying to repeat the Mantram whenever possible. I have experienced firsthand that whenever I repeat the Mantram to myself, it seems to conserve the energy that is already generated during meditation. It is very strange and tough to put it in words here, but I have experimented on this and found it to be true.

I am now discovering that the beauty of the 8PP seems to be in its simplicity. One point logically leads to the other. You meditate to generate a lot of positive energy. You then repeat the Mantram to conserve this positive energy, so that you can use it only when needed. And when you tap into this energy to do some work, you cannot help but do this with a lot of one pointed attention and so on.

Earlier, even as I was doing some task, I was worried about what would be the result of the task I had finished earlier. I used to be over anxious about what my next task would be like. This simply sapped out a lot of my energy. But, with the combination of meditation and Mantram, this is improving a lot. Not only am I doing the work at hand much better but I also feel less tired after doing the same amount of work. This strangely but surely is giving me a sense of things moving slowly and me being in better control. The overall quality of work life seems to be improving.

This sense of control also seems to be spilling into my personal life. To put my family first, I tried an experiment.

Mobile phone has always been like an extension to me. Even when I am home, I used to always keep checking emails, talking on phone, planning for meetings and so on. My wife always complained about this, but I never listened. Then I decided - why don’t I simply go home one day and handover my mobile phone to my wife. By doing so, I tell her that she is more important to me than my mobile phone. No emails, no phone calls unless she wants it. This small thing not only made my wife feel good but also made me feel much happier and lighter. I also discovered that my company does not go bankrupt due to this. I now am doing it as a daily practice. This is something I would never even have done before starting to live Easwaran’s 8PP.

Finishing Thoughts

The first six months have been very exciting. I look forward to experiment and imbibe all of Easwaran’s 8PP into my life as I move along. I intend to expand it into other spheres of my life. But, just like you – I too am human. I may fail sometimes. So, I request you to pray for me and keep me in your Mantrams. I hope that will give me the faith and will to walk on this path.