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Waking up Is No Solution
Martha: Dear James, I, meaning Martha and her karma, got a new job as social worker. Now it is a lot of stress and Martha is not as happy as in India. But to earn money and to be happy also as the person in the dream, you need a dream job, don’t you?
James: If you cannot be happy without money, then you need a dream job.
Martha: I am still the self – the witness of everything. But it’s not enough to know the self to be happy – the karma still goes on.
James: That’s right, Martha. The self is one thing, karma is another. But if you really are the self, then you will not be agitated by the lack of money or the type of job you do. You will be happy with whatever you have. Enlightened people do not want what they don’t have. They want what they have. This means that they are satisfied with bad jobs and no money because there is no good and bad for them, because their likes and dislikes have been neutralized by the knowledge of who they are. You know intellectually that you are the self, but it has not eliminated your likes and dislikes. They still control your mind.
Martha: So it’s not clear if that can be the right job when Martha is not really happy?
James: The happiness is not in the job, Martha. If you have the right job you will be unhappy for some other reason. The wrong job just brings out the unhappiness in you. You cannot expect the world to give you what will make you happy. It gives you what you need and you have to find the happiness in yourself.
Martha: Is it possible that the wish to have a job (desire) brought the job and I just followed the desire of God?
James: Maybe it was the wish. I don’t know. The fact is that this is the job you have been given. You can quit it if you don’t like it. Or you can do it in the karma yoga spirit and it will be a good job. You may know the self, but you don’t know karma yoga.
Martha: It’s confusing, James…
Should I just surrender and do the job without any expectations or is it better to look for another job?
James: How do I know? It is up to you. If I say look for another job and you don’t find one or you find a worse job, you will blame me. You will say I am a lousy guru. If I say stay and you are still miserable, you will blame me. I am a teacher of Vedanta, not a fortune teller.
Martha: But this is also a desire to have a job with less stress and more fun, isn’t it? Because it is very hard job, difficult to keep the mind in a sattvic state and it costs a lot of energy. So what’s wrong here, James? Can you give some advice?
James: It is hard because you don’t want it. Your likes and dislikes are confusing your mind. Spiritual life is about managing your likes and dislikes. If self-knowledge doesn’t manage them, then you have to manage them yourself.
Martha: The other point is that a job as social worker is to take care of other people’s karma and you said this is not good to do, because it creates more karma. I don’t want that. But that’s the profession Isvara gave me. So is it good to do it or shouldn’t I solve other people’s problems?
James: If you do it as karma yoga you don’t get any karma from it. Any work is good work if you do it with the karma yoga spirit. If you know you are the self, there are no other people. The other people are you. So you are serving yourself and getting no karma. In fact you are getting rid of karma by doing it.
Martha: Life still looks like the dream, but something makes it more heavy and the easy flow is not the same at the moment… Has this anything to do with dharma?…
James: I think your mind is getting dull and disturbed by the environment and the idea that you have to look after yourself. You are an adult now and you have to make your own way in life. It is not easy for a spiritual person to live in Western society. In India you had no duties or responsibilities. You did not have to work or have a role in the society… so your mind could remain sattvic and you could enjoy yourself.
Martha: Oh, dear… waking up doesn’t mean that you know what’s right to do in life! ☺
James: That’s right, Martha. I think I know what you mean by dharma now. You mean you don’t know what your true purpose here is. Waking up does not solve all problems. It is only a beginning. It makes you aware of the unreality of the world and it makes you understand that there is something more, but it does not take care of your karma here. You have to do that on your own. I think the idea of looking after yourself is depressing and confusing you.
Maybe you thought that when you woke up everything would just flow along smoothly, money would come, interesting things to do, nice people, no problems, etc. But that is not how it is. Your karma, your vasanas, do not know you are enlightened. Karma is impersonal. It does not care. So you have to face it and work it out. If you are spiritual, you remain cheerful and you do your karma with the karma yoga attitude and you become peaceful. If you resist your karma it will be much more difficult to bear. It is up to you. I wish you good luck.
~ Love, James