There’s no need to philosophize your work in order to make it spiritual. It has spiritual bearing anyway. If you regard yourself as a person on the spiritual path, then whatever you do is part of the path, an expression of the path. Decentralization, the absence of ego, the lack of searching for happiness, and not avoiding pain—all of that brings us into the reality of dealing with things directly and thoroughly. Dealing with things in this decentralized, egoless manner is known in the Buddhist tradition as upaya, or skillful means. Without that, there is no means of discovering the inner guru, or inner teacher, as one might call it, which is the constant instruction that you begin to receive on the path. The daily living situation becomes the teaching; it becomes a constant learning process. There’s no way of developing that sense of inner teacher if you fail to relate with daily living situations directly, because without that, there’s no interchange with your world.
From “Meditation and Daily Life,” Chapter Two in Work, Sex, and Money: Real Life on the Path of Mindfulness, forthcoming in 2011 from Shambhala Publications. Edited by Carolyn Rose Gimian and Sherab Chodzin Kohn.