Finding The Real Work, Hacking The Matrix

Posted by Zilong Wang on Feb 17, 2015
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Last night, a circle of friends came together, thanks to Audrey’s kind invitation and space-holding, to share food for the belly and for the heart. Of the rich insights that bubbled up after a few rounds of mystery-recipe lentils, roasted veggies, and green smoothies, two ideas in particular struck me as timely reminders in life.

1. Your job might not be your real work.

Audrey shared how she shifted her definition of what her “real job” was, after she saw the lack of meaning in “the things that she needed to get done at work.” As a “coping mechanism,” she redefined her job as bringing kindness and smiles to the office and to her colleagues, doing small acts of service and gifts.

I recalled that once in a conversation with Birju, he said that even at as straight of a place as McKinsey, he still could make the inner-shift, and do the “real work” by tagging every email he sent with inspirational contents that plant seeds in others.

Bela and I lamented how we can easily lose sight of the “mission statement” of our jobs – however noble they are, when we are deep in the weeds of the daily grind, answering endless emails and hopping on conference calls… Also, too often, I feel that the material impact of my day job – corporate environmental sustainability – is too little, too late, and too surface-level, in face of the growing destruction.

Last night’s conversation reminded me of being clear on what the real work actually is. The real work is not measured by tons of CO2 reduced, but by the inner-poisons removed, and the selfless services offered.

2. Many of us are “in the system,” but the Matrix can be hacked.

Anne-Marie shared her ongoing experiments to create healing in a medical-industrial complex that’s often traumatic for both the patients and the doctors/nurses. For example, she found out that the wholesome and healthy raisins and prunes have the same (if not better) effects on certain ailment as manufactured drugs. So, she administered raisins – whenever possible -- instead of what was available on the doctor’s chart.

Or it can be a hug to the parents of a suffering child, a blanket for someone who’s cold.

I am reminded of the Shambhala Warrior prophecy, where the Warriors “go into the very heart of the barbarian power and dismantle the weapons”, with compassion and insight. “The Shambhala warriors know they can do this because the weapons are manomaya, mind-made. These weapons are made by the human mind. So they can be unmade by the human mind!”

Most of us are not cut loose from the tentacles of the Matrix, the dominant Story and socio-economic system. Nor do we yet have the inner-clarity and strength to confront or rise above it. But, we can hack the Matrix, breeding a new world bit by bit. We can use our roles – as nurses, consultants, teachers – to practice inner change, to strengthen the root systems of the gift ecology, and to do the “real work.”

Deeply grateful for it all.

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Comments (6)

  • Kozo wrote ...

    Great reflections, Zilong. It was an honor sharing space with you last night. You forgot to mention how you are hacking the matrix with your $10 monthly electricity bill and your micro-conscious eating (non-eating) practices. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  • Bradley Stoll wrote ...

    Thank you for sharing, Zilong. I will remember this when I feel the pull of the Matrix.

  • Birju Pandya wrote ...

    thanks for sharing Zilong! :) and Kozo, thanks for bringing Zilong's shares to light also :)

  • Radha Ivaturi wrote ...

    Thank you Zilong. Very helpful ideas as I am attempting in my own small way at work

  • Jyoti wrote ...

    Thanks for sharing Zilong. Anne-Marie's comment resonates with my experience. In years of raising a chronically ill child, the one doctor who helped the most did it simply by offering kind words of support, that sustained me in the challenging path forward, for years. Instead of feeling helpless in the face of illness, I would hear his words ring in my ears to remind me that I was doing all I could to manage it the best I could. I bless him to this day for that throw away line he offered me as we left his clinic almost 15 years ago now.

  • James wrote ...

    Interesting thought: "These weapons are made by the human mind. So they can be unmade by the human mind!" There are some sayings which sort of oppose that, like "The kind of thinking that got us here won't get us there". Perhaps we can say the "human mind" must operate differently in the unmaking?