Work is Worship is an idea that can be very dangerous.


Work is what you do to earn money to live. Work is not life. Please see stress, mental illness, dead beat fathers, abandoned children, and neglect for more information.



Also, remember these words (written by Timotheus):(copyright 1999, used without permission)


It is who you are not what you do

Follow your heart and your dreams will come true

I also saw this as I arrived this morning. As I understand, "Work is Worship" is a common misreading of the motto of the Benedictines, a Catholic monastic order that adheres to the Rule of St. Benedict, and has thus come into common (well, I guess relatively uncommon) parlance. The Latin "Labora et Ora" actually means "Work and Worship," and reflects both the Benedictines' piety and belief in the spiritual value of labor.

I would personally prefer to translate Ora as "prayer," as I still remember some of the Latin Order of Mass, where the priest commonly calls upon the congregation to "oremus;" that is, "Let us pray." Of course, there are far more esteemed Latin scholars in E2 than I.

On a side note, I am a firm believer in the value of a good, honest day's work. Today I write for a living, but it does not seem so long ago that I unloaded trucks to help put myself through college. It can get very hot in the back of a truck as the sun beats down mercilessly upon its metal roof, a fact which makes immense rolls of fabric seem much, much heavier. It was not pleasant, but I did it willingly; and if fate calls me to stoop and lift again for the sake of my family, I would do it in a heartbeat.

It probably needs to be pointed out that this philosophy is frighteningly close to "Arbeit Macht Frei", or "work will make you free," a phrase above the gates of Auschwitz, and other scary Nazi places.

But context is everything.

For the sake of argument, let's pretend that someone says this in a non-fascist context. (I mean, you always need to consider the source: let's pretend that the source of this phrase is someone we know and like, and not some boot-stompin' Schnell-sayin' Nazi.)

Perhaps, in this context, worship is considered to be, like food, something necessary, but not something to get completely obsesso over. In that case, we're not beating our kids, neglecting 'em, or losing our minds over it. Worship is sometimes anathema to a technocentric culture (such as is found on the Internet in general, and Everthing in particular).

We forget sometimes that worship, for some folks, is possibly a healthy, sane thing to do.

Just a thought.

On the other hand, "work is worship"might be said completely sarcastically, contrasting something totally pragmatic (work) with something dogmatic (worship.)

How many angels can fit on the head of a pin?

Baha'i's believe that work performed in the spirit of service is worship:
"If a man engages with all his power in the acquisition of a science or in the perfection of an art, it is as if he has been worshipping God in the churches and temples." -Abdu'l-Bahá, quoted in Compilation, Baha'i World Faith

"`Should Prayer take the form of action?'"
`Abdu'l-Bahá.--`Yes: In the Bahá'í Cause arts, sciences and all crafts are (counted as) worship. The man who makes a piece of notepaper to the best of his ability, conscientiously, concentrating all his forces on perfecting it, is giving praise to God. Briefly, all effort and exertion put forth by man from the fullness of his heart is worship, if it is prompted by the highest motives and the will to do service to humanity. This is worship: to serve mankind and to minister to the needs of the people. Service is prayer. A physician ministering to the sick, gently, tenderly, free from prejudice and believing in the solidarity of the human race, he is giving praise'." -- Abdu'l-Bahá, quoted in Paris Talks.

Work may not be all there is to life, but life most certainly is work. Everything we do is work. The moment we stop working is the moment we die.

Think about it. From the moment we get up in the morning we have to expend effort in everything we do. We get out of bed. We wash. We get dressed. We eat. We go to work, in the paid employment sense. We go home. We log on to E2, we read and write. We cook food, and eat some more. Even while we sleep our bodies are still working, repairing themselves, our brains are buzzing as we dream, our heart is beating every second of our lives. Work is inherent to the process of experience. Life is work.

We worship life. We worship whatever we feel gives us life.

Life is worship. Work is worship.

"Work is Worship" ("Karam Hi Dharam" in Hindi, literally "Religious duty through action") is used frequently in India as well as other Hindu communities. It is the motto of the Bihar Regiment of the Indian Army and of many schools in India. There's even been a movie made with this title.

It represents the philosophical and religious belief of "Karam Hi Dharam" or "Karma Yoga" which is one of the avenues to attaining Moksha, the Hindu belief of becoming one with the Universal Consciousness. The other two being Devotion (Bhakti Yoga) and Knowledge (Jnana Yoga).

At the core of Karma Yoga is the understanding that all needful work done well is a reflection of the God and there is no such thing as "menial" work as long as it is done to the best of your abilities. Work is a means of realizing the God and is a form of praise, service, repentance and atonement though which one can eliminate their karma and be liberated from the wheel of reincarnation.

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