I was kicking a soccer ball against a wall at the local YMCA as the boys were shooting a few hoops on a lazy Sunday morning and remembered the endless hours I played soccer as a teenager. Soccer was my life then, but some time around university, I pretty much stopped playing. Watching the intensity of coaches and professional players these days, I realize that I played soccer in my childhood just as a Jazz musician would play with his friends in a blues cafe. I was in love with the rhythm of the game, but I didn't have the "Michael-Jordan-will-to-win". So I had to move on to bigger and better things for me personally as I wouldn't have been cut out to become a professional soccer player anyway. But had I known then what I know now, maybe I would have.
I often wonder about the intensity professional players go at each other. What a strange game - mano-a-mano - completely set up by the rules of man. It is a zero sum game for pure entertainment. Compare that to the creativity and abundance offered by life and God when people work in cooperation and harmony for the greater good of things instead.
But then, what contribution do athletes have to humanity's well-being? How many people project their love and life into their sport heroes and heroines? How many heart-breaks, thrills and emotional roller-coasters do people experience because of professional sports? Try to picture how human emotions rise and fall in all the countries during a world soccer championship! How many sports analogies, stories, quotes and lessons learned do we gather because of sport! I made earlier reference to Michael Jordan's will power and this sentence will probably still be meaningful for generations to come. So how can you say that sport is a mere zero sum game?
Every job is meaningful; work is always there for a reason, whether you like your job or not. We have to work off our soul longings, and for some it is in their nature to fight. I sometimes think that the athletes of modern days are the soldiers and fighters of previous life-times. Same movie, but much happier endings; mostly, that is. All of us are on a conscious or subconscious journey to express our life's mission. For some it is physical competition, for others it is status, professional recognition or material success. And for some, the desire to be special can be very subtle indeed: super mom, wealthy philanthropist, or even being an enlightened spiritual leader.
I am certainly not different from anyone else. In my job as a financial strategist, the raison d'être is really to be a little more clever than the fellow in the firm next door; buying and selling securities ahead of everyone else. When my spiritual awakening happened, I found myself bewildered and deflated about my work mission just as Arjun was on the battle field in the Bhagavad Gita; part of a battle I didn't want to fight. Yet, this miserable situation that I perceived then was the beginning of a Conversation with God, just as Arjun experienced it with Lord Krishna. I have now made peace with my job. The ego longs for self-expression and I understand and respect that drive in me. The Self waits patiently until the competitive drive exhausts itself. More than that though, as I work on the mission impossible to be smarter than the market, I understand that only connectedness and co-operation with my colleagues can get me there. I build a team of specialists and mentor people. Isn't that a spiritual role too? And what about the fact that we grow the retirement assets of people just like you and me. Isn't that a worthwhile goal in itself?
So no question asked how exactly you spent the first half of your life to satisfy your ego drives, what matters is the Conversation with God that you have today. When Awakening hits you, the important question then becomes, how do you plan to devote your life to your spiritual function? Do you want to use your current job to perform the role of a light worker, or will you change professions and find a job that serves the greater good of humanity in a different way?The beauty of the path that lies before you is that your sub-conscience has already chosen life's events for you just perfectly to prepare you for the next step. Thus far your ego has identified with specialness and has tried whatever it can do to cement your edge over others. But now your Self takes you Home and makes God's world complete with the help of your unique talents. Says C. G. Jung:
The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego, the second half is going inward and letting go of it.
Where are you in your Home-coming story? Be proud of your accomplishments thus far! Your ego and your unique talents have gotten you far and served you well, but now is a good time to start looking out for others. Today is a great opportunity to bring your career to the next spiritual level. Start the "Journey Back to the Origin" by handing over the reign to your Self and see where this mission takes you.