The workforce is an especially powerful environment for Chan practice because we can feel the need to be validated, to be approved of, more so than other situations in life. When we stop and reflect, “Who is this so-called "self" that that needs validation, promotion, and recognition?” we are doing Chan. When we stop and reflect, “Who is this ‘self,’ this ‘me,’ that is treated unfairly and not getting what it feels it's worth?” we are doing Chan. What is the nature of this “self” that is constantly changing? Can it be described intellectually by word or thought?
A great way to approach the often brutal reality of working in a corporate environment is through the Chan technique of self-inquiry, the hua-tou, which points us inward to our True Nature. We don’t affirm or deny anyone’s beliefs or actions, we simply intensely investigate our Selves through them.
We ask the targeted questions with intensity, looking within with all our being, inquiring into the very nature of our lives. Some more examples of questions we may investigate in our corporate work environment if they apply to us:
* Who is working?
* Who has something to gain?
* Who has something to lose?
* Who is being treated unfairly?
* Who is being treated fairly?
* Who is popular?
* Who is an outcast?
We can ask any of these questions as they may pertain to our specific situation and we can create our own. Remember to ask these "Who...?" questions during good or bad, praise or shame, fortune or misfortune, because our True Nature is beyond these pairs, beyond any sense of a self (which doesn't really exist).
Above all, remember to ask them with utmost dedication. It won't work otherwise.
Such questions are a tool, a device, an aid, to point to our True Nature. Pointing into our True Nature is the objective: going past the point where the mind, the Monkey Mind, is trying to figure things out by logic. When we understand that, the questions themselves become unnecessary, but using them can greatly help to begin the journey.
So just dive, dive, dive, deep into your True Nature, that which transcends all.
You may encounter resistance, and even Doubt, during the journey. And I won't lie to you, resistance and Doubt may take a while to resolve. The time it takes depends on you. Persist! Persist!
If you begin doubting, ask "Who is doubting?" or "Who is feeling this resistance/doubt, or loss?"
Remember that resistance/doubt, or "blockage," no matter how strong, is not real. It's impermanent like bubbles on water. It's just a thing of the mind. The mind loves to play tricks on us, toying with us through that vicious cycle of fulfilling, then shattering expectation, over and over again.
This isn't about expectation - so don't believe the mind. This isn't about the mind. It's about going into the Truth Within, which is much beyond what the mind does or doesn't do.
So keep diving. Be like a pearl diver going into an ocean of stormy waters, stopping at nothing to get to the treasure.
Which brings us to the next point: the same intensity you put into your journey, put into your work. Turning "inward" and "outward" are just pointers. They are really One. We have the right to work but we don't have the right to the results of our work. We just do our best in what we do; that is all we can do.
Enjoy the Journey. Keep at it. Persist. Always.