The Grind

Part of the challenge of modern life is that we earn according to what we produce, which involves a daily grind of some kind: our work. But everything depends on our perspective. If we look at The Grind as an ordeal, a sacrifice that we make each day, than our product will reflect that attitude.

I believe it’s up to each of us to recast our attitude about our work. Instead of it being agony, what about letting it be a little bit of ecstacy too? What about letting our daily grind become a Spiritual Practice?

Spiritual Practice

By letting our work become a practice, we move from workers to practicing monks. We become purified by our work, in a way. Whether the work be chopping wood and carrying water, or whether it be building web sites, the work itself can be viewed as routine, or it can be a chance to practice mindfulness.

If we give ourselves the chance to do our work mindfully, then we notice every nuance of it. We begin to view each trip to the well as a new experience, or each time we write a Javascript function we have a chance to express logical clarity and elegance. Rather than hash a bunch of lines into a working jumble of code, we look at a function as a miniature piece of working art and craftsmanship. It becomes a tool that someone can use to improve his or her own life. Or the to improve the lives of others who are important to someone.

Writing even trivial code can become important from this perspective. It’s not that the pressure is on when doing small tasks. It’s just okay to take pride in small tasks and to enjoy the extra meaning doing them takes on in this new perspective. By extension, going to work takes on new meaning. When it’s time to pack up and go home from work, you can look back at the day’s work and some pride, and perhaps feel a little closer to God in the process.

The day’s work has made us better. And we have made the day better by doing it.