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My own way of working on the world? What takes it further right now? And so, I want to primarily talk about two themes. The first, being right livelihood, and the second being the sense of vocation in which we touch and express our own deep, personal intentions, but also in a way, touch the universal. I think vocation has this quality of both, of something very personal and also something universal. So what do they have to worry about? But we certainly do. And I think, I would say, in our community.


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And that sense of right. So livelihood is on the script of three, and it connects with ethics. He talks about right livelihood as particularly in the text having to deal with earning a living while refraining from those kinds of work, which go against the ethical guidelines. And remember the core ethical guidelines are about non-harming. There are not harming physical, not taking which is not given, and then being very careful with the energy of speech, sexuality and intoxicants. Our work.

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This report, co-authored by SULi, highlights key lessons from experience for engaging communities in combating unsustainable use and illegal wildlife trade, and sets out eight key insights to guide action. French and Spanish versions are coming soon! Click here to read the Wild Life, Wild Livelihoods report. Follow us. Many of us are more concerned with finding work that lights our hearts, ignites our passions, and keeps our juices flowing day after day. Fed up with a deadening 9-to-5 or 8-to-7 grind, we're searching for a career that gives expression to our deepest interests, talents, and dreams—creative "soul work" that lends our life meaning and purpose.

While bowing respectfully to the Buddhist injunction not to cause harm, we may be more attuned to mantras like Joseph Campbell's "Follow your bliss," Carlos Castaneda's "Choose a path that has heart for you," and Marsha Sinetar's "Do what you love, the money will follow. Finding our true work involves following our inner voice, heeding the spiritual call, and living our passions.

Toms knows something about this—he is the founding president of New Dimensions Broadcasting Network, a nonprofit foundation that produces a weekly radio program about personal and social transformation. Sometimes a passion leads to income-producing activity, sometimes not. Often it may be necessary to subsidize your passion, as we did for years with New Dimensions. People just light up when they talk about the work that is or would be meaningful for them. Beneath the sanguine approach to right livelihood that the Toms and Frederick espouse lies a confidence that our deeper passions, interests, and urges naturally guide us to make a unique contribution that sets our own hearts singing and benefits others as well.

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Or in other words, deeply aligning with our individual creative impulses brings us into alignment with the needs of the whole. But the "follow your bliss" approach raises some thorny questions.

Isn't a real estate developer who destroys environmentally sensitive habitats to build new golf courses and expensive condo complexes following her passions? Doesn't Osama bin Laden heed the call of his inner voice when he organizes and launches terrorist attacks? How can we know, in other words, whether our deepest calling will truly benefit others?

Don't we need other guidelines, such as the yamas restraints and niyamas prescribed observances of yoga, the ethical precepts of Buddhism, or the injunctions of the Ten Commandments? You can be an awakened, conscious person in service of an unconscious system. Unless you are attuned to the consequences of what you do, you are not practicing right livelihood, no matter how much you love the work.


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Whitmyer concurs that the "follow your bliss" model of right livelihood requires careful calibration. The exploration begins in the center of your being, with a conscious effort to improve your mental, emotional, and physical health. You need to cultivate a level of awareness that allows you to notice your emotions and become less reactive, and you need to hang out with people who are similarly conscious and aware.

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But unless we do that, the ego's in charge. The third primary tributary in contemporary ideas about right livelihood is one that flows against our mainstream culture of materialism and individualism. In our country's growth-obsessed social climate, we tend to promote a view perhaps unique to the United States: that each of us has not only the capacity and the opportunity but also the obligation to do and become whatever we set our hearts on. We forget that we may have limited control over our career trajectories due to the constraints of money, resources, energy, health, familial support, and social status.

Instead, we are taught to believe that we should be the masters of our fates, and we're encouraged to feel guilty, restless, inadequate, and dissatisfied if we don't succeed in living up to our most ambitious expectations.

The Wholehearted Journey: Bringing Qualities of Soul To Everyday Life and Work

In contrast, the Indian culture that gave rise to the wisdom teachings of Buddhism and yoga generally embraced the idea that each person is destined to fulfill a particular role, or dharma, in life. From this perspective, our job is not to maximize our potential or shop around for work that's personally fulfilling, but to create right livelihood out of the work we've already been given—by dedicating ourselves to it, mindfully and wholeheartedly, for the sake of God and the greater good.

As the Buddha taught, the secret to happiness is to want what we already have instead of wanting what we don't have. In keeping with that teaching, any truly dharmic approach to right livelihood will help us find both peace and fulfillment in whatever job situation we currently face.


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Indeed, the Buddhist literature is replete with stories of people who used the power of their intentions to make sacred their work as butchers, street sweepers, prostitutes, tavern keepers, and other seemingly undesirable, and even unsavory, occupations. Perhaps the most exalted expression of this traditional approach to right livelihood comes to us from the Bhagavad Gita, one of the seminal scriptures of Hinduism and a bible for the practice of both karma yoga selfless service and bhakti yoga devotional yoga.

In the Gita, Lord Krishna, an avatar of the god Vishnu, expounds the view that only action performed as worship of the Divine, without any attachment to the results, brings lasting fulfillment.