Labor of Love

In the US, we celebrate Labor Day today, which gets me thinking about how we define work and labor.

The five principles of Reiki contain a line that says “I will devote myself to my work.”

Just for today, I will not anger

Just for today, I will not worry

Just for today, I will be grateful for my blessings

Just for today, I will devote myself to my work

Just for today, I will be kind to others

Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism all teach of dharma, which can be loosely defined (without getting too dogmatic, as each religion alters the definition slightly) as following the cosmic order or fulfilling your life’s destiny.

I like to approach my work in this way, as a reminder that I am a spark of the divine acting as part of a larger plan that I cannot fully comprehend.

For me, my dharma often is cooking for those I love, cleaning, or doing laundry.  My goal is to approach that work with as much reverence as I do the work of giving Reiki energy to others or the work of being present while I teach yoga.

The work of researching, writing, and filling out paperwork needs to be done with just as much integrity as I bring to my own expression of trikonasana when I come to my yoga mat.

In each moment we perform actions to serve others, and that is our labor of love.  To be in alignment with the divine, we perform that service from a place of honesty and integrity.

When we’re able to see beyond the drudgery of the present moment and understand the higher order, the role that we’re privileged to play, I think it makes it easier to settle into the tasks that are less fun.

One way to invite devotion into your labor is to use a mantra while you work.  This can be done while preparing food, sweeping the floor, or driving down the street.  It is a way to infuse love and blessings into your work.

The mantra you choose is personal, and can be in English, Sanskrit, or any language.  One of my personal favorites is

Om Mani Padme Hum.

According to The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition “this six-syllable mantra that is the essence of all Dharma—that’s the purest Dharma.” It calls on the Bodhisattvas, beings who have attained enlightenment, for their wisdom, compassion, and assistance as we struggle along the path and work our way back to our pure and sacred selves.