In the most strictly spiritual sense, when you ask yourself the question, “what am I doing this for?”, about your job, studies, or any other activity, at that moment, you are asking yourself how to live spiritually. To live spiritually is to live without desiring an outcome or reward, and yet contrary to popular belief the act itself is not the reward. Spirituality is in the way an action is done. Our normal way of thinking is, I wash the dishes to clean the dishes, and the reward is relaxing afterward. To wash the dishes spiritually is to wash the dishes peacefully and present; to completely engage and enjoy the moment.
Many of us go to work to earn a paycheck to pay the bills and hopefully to have a little extra for fun. On this level we are no different from animals fighting for survival. To be a complete human being is to involve our physical, spiritual, and intellectual natures in balance, to go to work in a state of enthusiasm. If we don’t like our particular job spirituality would help us understand the circumstances, the karma, that created the unfavorable situation which would lead us to know how to take a different path.
The idea of doing something to be a good person is results driven rather than rooted in doing the action because it is from your heart. If you were rooted in your warm heart all the time, every action you do would produce a good result. This is what the Hawaiians mean by being Pono, the Buddhist mean by being present and awake, Christians mean by being one with God, and Taoist mean by being one with the Tao. Trying to be good means that you are not simply because you are trying.
To be fully present is to have a calm clear mind and warm heart. It is difficult to be present if the heart and mind are crowded, it’s like driving in traffic. It is through calmness that we are able to have clarity, much like the smooth surface of a lake. Yet calmness is not a static or ridged state.
When is the present moment? Now? The instant you say now, now has passed. It is impossible to capture the present moment as a measure of time. Presence on the other hand is a quality of timelessness, of dynamic flow, like a surfer on a wave. Imagine that you have presence, aware and fluid. Such presence automatically produces grace and that is what we awaken to when we become enlightened. Grace is already there as a part of you.
The Dalai Lama is often addressed as Kundun or Presence; he is also known as The Ocean of Wisdom. In the Christain bible it is written, “Be still and know that I am God.” Quite your mind, like when you are trying hard to listen for a sound, feel with your whole being like when feeling your way in the dark, focus you attention calmly on a spot four fingers widths directly below your navel to know powerful balance, and you will become familiar with what I am saying. This is Pono. Mahalo.