Insight Trails™ is premised on two simple ideas. The first is that interesting, spiritual work is possible. It’s not something we need to put off until after we’ve made a certain amount of money, achieved a particular status in our careers, or paid off the bills. It’s accessible in the here-and-now.
many ways, people's stories are the best teachers.
Chances are there are people now in your circle of friends,
family, and acquaintances, doing interesting, spiritual work.
I am continually amazed by the stories in my circle. A structural engineer who grew up in a time of war, who now integrates light into his buildings – for the beauty of it but also for the spiritual quality of Light. An executive who left a business career to study for his Ph.D., writing his dissertation on religious mystics in 15th-century Spain. A home-schooling mother who started a Quaker school. An actor who draws on his decades of experience to help Parkinson’s patients learn how to move. A couple who left a comfortable life in a small college town to teach at a seminary in Africa.
Some of these people are in mainstream religions. Some are in
12-step programs. Some follow their own, idiosyncratic spiritual path. Their
work ranges from creative to healing, teaching, activism, and business, from brain work to working with one's hands.
“Interesting, spiritual work” may seem like an oxymoron in the downsized, outsourced, scandal-rife contemporary workplace. Judging from the amount of attention the concept gets in the mainstream media – not much – one might conclude it’s not relevant today. Who has the time?
And yet…the research I've seen shows that interesting, meaningful work is important to large numbers of people. And I keep finding myself in conversations in workplaces, spiritual settings, and social gatherings, about finding meaning in work.
According to my dog-eared, big-as-a-desk 1966 Random House Unabridged Dictionary, the origin of the word “interesting” lies in being between: “interesse.” Think “intersection.” “Spirit,” the first definition of which is simply the "vital," "animating" "principle of conscious life," comes from “spirare,” to breathe (the same root as “inspire”).
Interesting, spiritual work, then, is work that animates us and puts us between things. It gets us out of ourselves and connects us to something larger.
What gets us out of ourselves? What breathes life into us?
Please feel free to join the conversation by posting your thoughts, questions, ideas, and suggestions in the “comments” section at the end of stories, or forwarding them to me by e-mail.
Thanks for joining me on the journey.
- Jon Berry