Spirituality at work? Isn't that the oxymoron to end all oxymorons? Not according to Lewis Richmond, a veteran corporate executive and former Zen Buddhist priest who convincingly disputes the phrase's inherent contradictions in Work as a Spiritual Practice
. "Even people who are comfortable with the notion of spiritual practice," he concedes, "are skeptical when I say that it can be done not just at home or at a retreat center but in the workplace." Nonetheless, he maintains, "this book is based on the premise that it can be done, and the circumstances and challenges of our work life can be transformed into opportunities for inner growth." After explaining how common mental and emotional experiences can be parceled into four distinct categories (conflict, inspiration, accomplishment, and stagnation), he effectively shows how Buddhist principles might be employed to mitigate related problems and enhance associated opportunities. The bulk of this satisfying book is divided into sections that correspond to these categories, with each exploring appropriate practices followed by real-life examples that illustrate their power and applicability. Recommended. --Howard Rothman
From Publishers Weekly
According to the studies Richmond cites, the average American works 150 more hours per year than she or he did 80 years ago. As the dominant force in our lives, work brings with it stress, worry and other pressures that cause us to lose focus on our inner selves and to be controlled by the external forces of the workplace. Zen monk and business entrepreneur Richmond contends that approaching work as an expression of one's spiritual life, rather than as simply a job that one must slog through, will make a difference in the quality of our lives. (When we see our work through spiritual lenses, we might even quit our jobs and find a better one, says Richmond.) After opening chapters in which he discusses the value and practice of Buddhist meditation, Richmond shows how this spiritual practice can be applied to work. In a second section, he explores such issues of conflict as stress, worry and anger and suggests practical ways to deal with each. He then examines the ways that boredom, failure and discouragement lead to stagnation in the workplace. Two final sections discuss elements of "inspiration" and "accomplishment," including ambition, forgiveness, generosity and gratitude. Each chapter contains a set of "practices" to incorporate into our daily work. In lively prose, Richmond argues that "the details of our workday contain within them any number of gifts for our spirit, if only we would allow ourselves to receive them."
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.