In 1995, after the corporation I was working for was sold and I opted to refuse the employment offer from the new owners, I spent a great deal of time working through the exercises in the book Zen and the Art of Making a Living. This effort culminated in the following mission statement:
I am here to live simply, enjoy life, and encourage (inspire) others to do the same.
Now Zen and the Art of Making a Living suggested that after I had figured out my mission, work or career ideas would naturally follow. Well, I sat there and wondered what type of employment would lead to the fulfillment of my mission. How was my mission related to work at all? Geez, all that effort and I came up with nothing.
There began my search for meaningful employment. I started with Network marketing, graduated to supplement clerk at a natural foods market, then moved onto “Chief Medicine Maker” for a local doctor. The job list goes on and on. My jobs were many and varied and lacked continuity. Crafting my resume certainly was a creative endeavor.
In 2009, I discovered something called enlightenment. This term is thrown around a bit, so I’ll define it for you. Enlightenment is the permanent cessation of mental afflictions. A mental affliction is something that disturbs the peace of mind of the person that has it. A mental affliction includes things like anxiety, anger, jealously, and sadness. Needless to say after dealing with chronic anxiety and depression this sounded like a real good solution.
Since 2009 I have been on a mission to become enlightened and to let people know that such a state is possible and doable. Between 2009 and 2014 I was on “retreat”. I was living on savings, although I did manage to do some work here and there – including an intense nine months teaching high school. None of the work I did paid my bills and most of the time I wasn’t working for money at all.
I took advantage of the time to study the path to enlightenment and deepen my meditative practice. In January of 2014 I ran out of money and suddenly found work that would cover my living expenses. This has freed my up to follow my bliss.
I revisited my mission statement and realized that I was living it. I lived simply – I grew a lot of my own food, used a composting toilet, cooked everything from scratch, and had a vibrant spiritual practice. I was truly enjoying my life. I woke up with the sun and went to bed early. I gardened, did art and other creative activities. I even got paid to give people massages and help them become free of limiting beliefs.
I also realized that my mission statement needed to include my vision of enlightenment. The revised form might read:
I am here to live simply, enjoy life, become enlightened, and encourage (inspire) others to do the same.
With this in mind TESLI came to be. The Enlightenment & Simple Living Institute is the platform from which I will “encourage others” to live simply, enjoy life and become enlightened (or reach their highest potential). This is the official first blog post of TESLI.
Welcome and blessings to you. Would you like more joy and love? Just say yes and its yours!