Dear Francis, is it possible to keep the focus on consciousness and work as executive in a company at the same time? The same question could be extended to any profession where you have to use the mind continously, speak to a lot of people and have the pressure of getting economical results. I would not ask this question if I were enlightened, but I am afraid I may never be if I continue working like this. Please, advice. Thanks
The theoretical answer to your question is yes, it is possible to do the sadhana while being active in the world. The situations you have to face at the work place become yoga exercises you have to master. They are helpers rather than obstacles. The sage Atmananda used to say that a job in the armed forces or in law enforcement was excellent for a truth seeker, because if you can keep your equanimity there, you can keep it everywhere. I think he was only half serious.
In practice however, situations in the world will appear to facilitate your sadhana, provided you let them guide you. In my case, I have always tried to accommodate the kind of job I had with the requirements of the sadhana. I needed to spend a lot of time with my teacher, attending all of his retreats and spending on top of that 5 or 6 weeks in private with him, and this lasted for many years. But it didn’t feel like a sacrifice, because I enjoyed every single minute spent in his company over these many years. These months were the vacations I had always dreamed of becoming reality. All it required was to have my priorities straight: Truth first, anything else second. This was the desire of my heart, and I always ended up following it, because it was so strong. Along the way, I tossed away a few items other people would consider very valuable. I had been a good achiever and held fancy college degrees in Science that were the key that opened the door to top executive positions in the French system. I happily tossed that key into a roadside ditch as I started seeking jobs that were carrier dead ends, the sole purpose of which was to allow me the freedom to frequently visit with my teacher as my sadhana required. It turned out that the Universe always cooperated beautifully and serendipitously with my goal, and I never regretted my decisions.
Going back to my first theoretical answer, I would amend it as follows: master only the yoga exercises that are unavoidable. Life will supply you with the right amount of those: accidents, relationships, relatives, customers, supervisors, employees, etc… Don’t seek more (unless you love it), don’t join the armed forces, unless it is your true vocation!
Never forget the goal: unalloyed happiness.