Question: When I am meditating or sitting quietly I can often feel a presence within. As soon as I start working I lose this. I try to see work as worship but my mind gets distracted and away from that peace. I see work as a chore that takes me away from the spirit. How can I integrate these two parts of my life?
Answer: Meditation is only to educate yourself to feel the presence. But you can’t be sitting and meditating all through the day. You have to be doing something. But you can do it with the mind in it, at the same time you feel that you are doing it for the sake of the people, for the sake of the cosmos, for the sake of God. That’s what’s called Ishwarapranidhana. Whatever you do, you do with full attention. But in the back of the mind you should know you are doing it not for your sake. You are doing it as a service, as an offering. That is what you are meditating on. If you forget that it becomes a regular work. If you remember the worshiping part as a work, a working part as a worship, even though you seem to be working you are meditating. It’s like a drama actor. He is acting the part but behind the act he knows what he or she is doing. She doesn’t forget herself. Sage Ramakrishna Paramahamsa gives a small analogy. That’s very appropriate here because when a babysitter comes to sit for your baby she may leave her baby at home. But even though she is attending on the baby and doing everything for the baby, in the back of her mind she’ll be constantly thinking of her baby. Like that, you think of God and do the job. In Hindi it is said as, “Manme Ram, hatme kam.” That means Ram in the mind, kam, work, in the hand. You are working for Ram. You are working for God.
So when you work you have to apply your mind to the job but a little part of the mind, the back of the mind is always dwelling on the God, in service. Sometimes you forget, but keep doing it. When it becomes a habit you can do it well. So, the meditation is a training place and working is like showing off what you learned on the stage. So, one should not simply say, “Only when I meditate I am in His presence.” You are always in His presence, in God’s presence. God is within you, watching you. You cannot avoid that. Sometimes we say, “Oh, in the bathroom I am all alone.” Are you sure you are alone there? But probably you don’t want to acknowledge that God is watching you. But you can never avoid that. So, think of that. Remember it, remember it. Practice makes perfection. Keep on doing it. In the beginning it’s natural. You sometimes forget it. But don’t get disappointed. It will come in the long run. That one day, that’s called Sahaja Samadhi. Sahaja Samadhi means naturally balanced. Whatever you do your mind is balanced. Sitting quiet and balancing the mind, maybe it’s useful to you but you are useless to everybody. God didn’t want that to happen. Remember, it’s the same God who created everything, everybody for a purpose and He has assigned a purpose for you. You are doing God’s work, whether you remember it or not. But when you forget that you think that you are doing it for your sake but in fact you are always doing it for God. So, keep forgetting and keep remembering. Slowly, slowly, slowly the forgetting part will be less, remembering part will be more. At a certain point you will always remember. Then everything becomes your Yoga.