Quite often, I have wondered what it means to “discharge one’s duty”.
Does it mean doing what is told to you?
Does it mean doing what we are responsible for?
Does it mean we have to do it even if we don’t like it?
Quite a confusion.
Do we put our heart & soul into doing something?
Or is it that we do it because we get some benefit (salary, bonus, appreciation from the boss or family member etc) by doing our duty?
Or it is that we don’t want to be penalized (losing a promotion, losing a job, upsetting the other person), so we do our duty?
Recently, I re-read Swami Vivekananda’s complete works, Volume 1 and learnt a new meaning for doing our duty.
Perhaps I should explain to you my understanding with two analogies
Do you know of anyone who has taken a vacation and when the vacation has started, (s)he would begin to think about what they need to do at work once they get back from their vacation????
The instance one starts thinking about work, during the vacation, he has lost the essence of duty. When you have taken a vacation, you have to do only that. Likewise, when you have come back to work from vacation, then you have to do work and not think about your vacation.
Have you ever driven from one place to another, without even observing the road? Have you noticed what all was happening when you are driving around? Or you are just focussed on reaching your destination?
If you are just focussed on reaching your destination, and not enjoying your driving, you probably would save some time, but surely you would be tense, cursing at everyone who “obstructs” your path and worse, risking an accident by your bad driving attitude translated into aggressive and dangerous driving!
Doing our duty means exactly this: Enjoy doing what you are supposed to do. Enjoy the “process” itself, not the outcome.
As an employee if you are supposed to work 9AM -6PM, just immerse yourself in the work you are supposed to do. Forget about everything else. Bring all your attention, focus, energies into what you are doing – without worrying if it would fetch the results or not.
I see the following benefits by approaching our duty in the above fashion:
1. We are not stressed whether our work will produce the desired results or not
2. We are focussing on what we are doing AND enjoying it.
This automatically is expected to bring in the results.
I leave a thought for you to mull over:
Wouldn’t you enjoy more a trek in the hills if you like the process of trekking?
Watching the changing landscape at every step, watching the flora and fauna, observing our body’s response to the trekking conditions – this itself is a reward, not reaching the summit.