What was your intention in writing this book?
To give people confidence that the workplace can be a place of serious spiritual practice. I was trained in the Zen tradition to understand that dharma study happens all day long, not just during mediation retreat. And where do people spend the most time? The workplace! If awakening is to be something more than the exclusive preserve of hermits and monastics, it has to be expressed in the work that we do. The modern workplace is hardly designed with spiritual goals in mind, but I think that could change.
Today Americans are working more hours per year than ever before. Does this require new modes of practice?
In the workplace, we have to be willing to practice in short spurts, a minute here, a minute there. Practice isn’t continuous as in a mediation retreat. Instead, the intention or vow to do it provides the continuity. People express a lot of frustration about their job as the enemy of their spiritual life. When I left the monastery and entered corporate America, I saw it that way, too, until I realized I had to rethink what constituted dharma practice. I think we can be surrounded by pettiness, selfishness, stress, chaos, and confusion, yet still practice effectively. There is a lot of energy in the workplace, both positive and negative. That energy can be put to use, in a spiritual sense, and can be helpful, even transformative.
What has been the response to your techniques?
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