The Value of our Work

Path of Action: Day 26

The usual motivation for action is personal security or personal satisfaction. But when work has value on this level alone, when it lacks intrinsic meaning, it is easy to grow discouraged and question whether your efforts are having any real impact.

When people get the sense that their time is slipping away to no purpose or without lasting benefit, they may be deeply disappointed, and may even feel that they are wasting their lives. Sliding into despair, suffering what psychology calls “loss of self-esteem,” they may end up just trying to survive, gobbling down whatever morsels of pleasure come their way.

Our situation is very different. We practice fierce commitment to producing results, and this challenges the conventional models for how to operate in this society. We manifest the power, blessings, and merit of dynamic action, and we demonstrate its benefits. Because this way of working gives tangible results, we have an easy way to measure how we are doing and how much we have improved.

The point in doing this is not to feed the ego or feel proud, but to show ourselves and others what can be accomplished when the goals and intention are in place, contemplation is active, and knowledge has been put into play. By taking just a few small steps toward giving up the emphasis on our own benefit, we show that a path of compassionate action can still be followed in the world today.


Path of Action, by Tarthang Tulku is an unpublished work. Please do not copy, remix or republish this post or any others in this series without express permission from Mandala Training.