Work is Worship – Five Values of Mindful Service
Harbouring Grace of Sharing
During the giving season, we often say that it is the thought that counts. While a gift is appreciated by the recipient, it is the thought behind the gifting that is the source of joy. Similarly, rituals of worship might enchant us, but it is the ideal behind the worship that is the source of inspiration. While teamwork is often considered a core value of an organization, it is the meaningful service provided by the team that allows the organized effort to further add value. It is the quality that we count on.
Rare is the ideal of a spiritual organization that work is worship. This is facilitated best when the organization’s structure is modeled with a genuine nonprofit intent. The curriculum of such a nonprofit organization is best facilitated by creating a platform where its services inherently bring about inspired serving. Spiritual services effectively bind the fellowship of seekers with a structured curriculum of teaching and training, where the servers exemplify the core values of the organization. They become role models of spiritual aspirants to novices or newcomers who wish to serve alongside them.
Duty with Loving Feelings
Immense possibilities await when the servers holistically align with meaningful work and discharge their duties with loving feelings. The core servers in such a platform typically include staff and volunteers who implement all parameters related to compliance and organizational knowhow. In a spiritual workplace that emphasizes a quiet contemplative environment, staff elevate their outputs when they focus on the intentionality behind the service at hand rather than focusing on how the work needs to be completed.
Typical nonprofit operation work includes everything from processes to procedures—all of such workflows form the framework and markers of organizational excellence. Core servers need to be mentored to develop the understanding that achieving excellence depends on more than just completing the task at hand. Work is worship when the workplace duties that fall under the how of organizational life are discharged with grace and gratitude. This is therefore, a call to mindful service which supersedes discharging those workplace duties merely with a sense of responsibility.
Becoming a Top-rated Nonprofit
We believe that we became a top-rated nonprofit organization because we created space to focus on the values we hold dear as we discharge this service. As participants in this noble platform we have focused on creating a team-building approach. We have embraced a sincere attitude in establishing our professional teamwork—one that is informed by the spiritual values and fortified by the transparency of inclusiveness. In this framework each staff and registered volunteer has a unique opportunity to lead and to follow. The exercise of spending time thinking about and developing our staff and volunteer values have been crucial to our teamwork.
The monks who guide the spiritual curriculum of our nonprofit organization emphasize that how we participate reflects our spiritual rectitude. Each workplace value is linked to a Sanskrit wisdom teaching, drawn from a compendium of ethical texts that are rooted in morality and common decency. The values outlined below form the framework of the fellowship culture in our workspace. Four values sustain the base of a pyramid, while the fifth value is transcendent and forms the apex.
The three monks from left to right, HH Swami Vidyadhishananda, HH Swami Sharadananda and HH Swami Atmananda are flanked by Srī Indra Shankar Jha to the far left and Srī Harshad Lal Nagar to their right – they are the last two Vedācharya (ordained chanters and Vedic priests) of the now erstwhile Sāṇkyāyaṇa branch of the Veda. Two junior trainees are standing on the far right.
Beholding 4+1 Service Values
- Learning: We create an inspiring environment. We have implemented a shared learning environment where we add value to a conventional protocol to make it a higher spiritual value. Our workplace is part of a fellowship space and an ambience of meditation and higher learning pervades at all times. Furthermore in this workspace, our learning is not simply about training an individual in becoming the ideal seeker. Collaborative environment, meaningful narrative, constructive discourse, and spiritual mentorship have been the necessary ingredients of our shared learning environment.
- Integrity: We are earnest and honest. Transparency and authenticity have been the prerequisites for maintaining trust both internally among staff and externally among volunteers. It is not just about doing the right thing when no one is watching, it is about being honest to oneself all the time. We embrace and try to live by these principles even outside of the workplace. Integrity extends to our internal policies (conflict of interest), and to external requirements (non-discrimination). We are earnest when making requests, offering prayers, acknowledging gifts, and staging fellowships. We value integrity to be our saving grace.
- Fairness: We implement fairness alongside kindness. Fairness in allowing equal access to participants in our fellowship events has been a guiding principle. Overly kind allowance or exceptional privilege to anyone might make it unfair to someone else or for many others—we are aware how kindness should translate into the registration process. It is never at the cost of someone else’s full participation. Fair access therefore combines fair treatment imbued with kindness. We have been successful in using our fairness protocol for all situations of public access to our program of events.
- Efficacy: We resolve and nurture with ease. A stress-free workplace is the forerunner of all efficiency. We find that our humility and effectiveness are linked in ways that generate a positive momentum. We have experienced that our simplicity in combination with our learning growth allows us to recognize our roles better in serving with adequacy. We practice calm responsiveness so that we are never triggered in any dire situation and avoid being reactive to anyone. We remain positive knowing that our undertaking has failures and successes, and we are compelled to acknowledge the outcomes of our work for the sake of spiritual and professional growth.
- Giving Back: We are charitable without being asked. While giving is the essence of any charitable organization, this value relates to time, energy and investing back into the communities. Therefore, giving back relates to volunteering as individuals and as a team to serve alongside the broader community. It relates to acting with compassion in areas of need. Our nonprofit organization has offered special events to the public at an average of 2½ per month since its inception, which has far exceeded expectation. About 80% of these events were free, thus allowing low and moderate income families to participate. In addition, over 85% of expenses have been allocated for program services. These metrics reflect our guiding values of investing back into communities. On meaningful days relevant to our lead volunteers, our organization donates to other stand-out charities as an act of sharing. The monastic leadership makes it a point to be mindful about giving back, and staff and volunteers are trained to inculcate this value of giving back as they facilitate or raise funds to support their own parent nonprofit organization.
Gratitude is the Expression
Collectively we inspire and set aside time to practice the guiding spiritual values on an ongoing basis, and serve by being an example. Given the services we offer in communities, it’s important we articulate the values that define our spiritual identity and what we stand for. When meditation is the founding strength of our organizational community, it is natural for our service to be a mindful worship. This compassionate service without the expectation of reward is seva in Sanskrit. The beginning letters of our foundational values spell out the acronym life which is part of the official name of our organization—a reflection of our meditative and worshipful life. Thank you for standing hand-in-hand connected by loving hearts.
October 24, 2019
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