I think in a response to a comment to my last post, I suggested that the next post here would have something to do with the death of Drona in the Mahabharata. Well this is the next one and it’s got nothing to do with Drona. Call it an unintentional untruth. It’s been so long since my last post that I’d forgotten all about that particular stream of thought and probably so has anyone reading this, so I don’t know why I bring it up. Alas.
I just opened a “New Post” in my WordPress account, and went to create a title for it, and when I saw the world “Title” already there in the text box I thought that to be fitting to what I want to say, so why not leave it?
Last Thursday I started a new job. A second part-time job to put my income back to a reasonable facsimile of what it was back in December when the department I was working in closed unceremoniously. But this is not going to be about the Blessed Preservation from Lord Narayana, nor is it in praise of Maa Lakshmi for having reinstated me to a place of a reasonable amount of “wealth”, or at least a living wage. Though both of those sentiments are valid depending on where one is at in this life.
This post is about self-image. My new job is as an appointment setter for the agents at an insurance company. And it is spiritually creamy enough that the company that hired me happens to be the one formerly owned by a very good friend of my mother when that friend was still living. For that reason, I do feel driven to do right by this old friend of my mom’s. But there is more.
My title is “Marketing Manager.” It’s all a blur because I found out on Tuesday that I’d been selected to take this position, and by Thursday at 7:30am I was at my new desk. So I’m the “Marketing Manager.” This is interesting. I have been a supervisor off and on at my other job for years, and at one point for about 2-3 months I was sort of the “manager” of the entire call center there. But I am coming off a 6 month stretch wherein my whole life has been devoted to finding a job to help recover the income I’d lost along with my old job. There were some VERY low times. Some very confusing and frustrating and depressing times. To be honest, I don’t know how much of a “spiritual life” I have after all that focus was spent and wasted in self-pity, disillusionment, and misdirection. I don’t know how to salvage what I’d built previously but I am going to try. Surely writing here will help.
But all of a sudden I am a manager. It is not a stressful job, per se, though I do see hints of how it may become so. But that directly relates to why I find it so interesting. The job itself is interesting, but what I mean is, simply, me having the job in the first place.
Why I find this so interesting is that as a Hindu I try to be mindful not to attach any undue meaning to names and titles or any other conceptual device one might employ to put oneself in a box. American, man, husband, son, paraplegic, manager. They don’t mean much when it comes down to Eternity, and the Eternal Self. And yet there are moments in which they genuinely do mean something to that moment in time in which one finds oneself. The title “Manager” has got me seeing my life in a new way. I have spent most of my adult life feeling a lot younger than I am and not in a good way necessarily. Not that I really felt belittled by the world, though that does happen too as a man with a disability. But there have certainly been times when a job like this working in a professional environment of this caliber seemed beyond my reach. Being “the” marketing “manager” rather than just a faceless member of a team or a call center, has put me in a position of responsibility that is sure to test me – sure to show me more about my current self than I now know.
So, the title “manager” can be of service to me while not ballooning my ego. Its importance really doesn’t have a lot to do with no longer being “faceless” or with “standing out”. And I won’t attach a “sense of purpose to the job.” That is far too maudlin. But it has served to re-motivate me and give me a drive. Without that, one can easily miss the much larger implications of this particular incarnation he finds himself in. So the job is not a sense of purpose unto itself. But possibly a conduit toward self discovery. I have got myself thinking of about many different projects now. I have not had even close to enough time to think about all of them. But I have probably noted here before that one of my swadharmas is to write. I am now thinking of:
– writing a memoir of a disabled man running the rat race in America
-I am considering a book about the various faces of God with my wife and a friend.
-another friend is going to write and produce a one-man play/soliloquy about his experience as a disabled man in the pursuit of romance
– I am even researching starting a business with a friend, a new bus service for the disabled in my community which fills in some considerable gaps in the existing system.
All in all I’d say that is motivation. Purpose is larger though. Something I must regain sight of, through meditation.
I sincerely believe that even inflating the ego a bit wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, in this very particular instance. My self-worth as a husband and income-earner, etcetera, was so entirely deflated for a while there, that it needed inflation just to function, stably. And hey, you need enough ego to get by. Getting out of bed in the morning requires some degree of ego. It’s like I recently told a long-time friend of mine from California, attachment is not always that bad of a thing when you consider that it can be a matter of comfort OR it can be a matter of compulsion. Comfort is the “lesser of two evils” if you want to get serious about it. Certainly this “I need a job” thing teetered on the edge of compulsion. And even as I write this it occurs to me that compulsion really IS “attachment to comfort.” So you’re just going to have to sort that one out.
Toward being able to provide comfort for my wife, the job is important to me. But talks with her and other friends have helped me to recognize how that husband-dharma goes far beyond earning a paycheck. So I am grateful for the opportunity to be reminded of that, as much of a downward spiral the last six months have felt like.
In the end it comes down to recognizing going forward that the Self is not affected by any of the above factors, and the part of me that found it necessary for certain demands to be met, is not in fact that Self. I must reconnect with That.
Hari Aum Tat Sat
Jai Hara Sadashivaya
Jai Hari Narayanaya
Aum Namo Narayanaya Namaha