Monday, October 23rd 2017

Six ways to combine a job search with your spiritual path

Confessions from a job management coach on how to use surrender, service and grace to make your next career move

job-seekerGUEST COLUMN: JEFF ROBINSON — From July 2005 until approximately April 2006, I began a spiritual transformation that changed the course of my life in some amazing and often difficult ways, and which continues to this day.

After more than 20 years of seeking a spiritual path that made sense to me, a friend introduced me to one of the best selling books on spirituality ever written: Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda.

Yogananda-ji came to the U.S. in the 1920’s and stayed until the time of his death in 1952, introducing hundreds of thousands to the spiritual path of Kriya Yoga.   He is widely credited as being the driving force in bringing yoga to the west.

I couldn’t put the book down, and literally fell in love with both Yogananda and his teachings.

I asked my friend to bring me to the Assisi Institute (in honor of one of Yogananda’s heroes, St. Francis of Assisi) in Rochester, NY, where Yogananda’s followers gathered.

Almost immediately, I felt at home in a way that I never had before. Here, where the mystical teachings of the east and west are brought together, was a group of people that all experienced God the same way that I did. On December 19, 2005 I became initiated on the path of Kriya Yoga.

I spent the next nine months doing little more than meditating and spreading my love to any one who wanted it (and even some who didn’t). Eventually, I arrived at the point reached by most people with a spiritual experience, moving from the private to the social. I realized that I was supposed to take this new found peace and do some work in the world with it.

Job searching as a spiritual journey

jobs_pic1The only problem was that I really only knew how to do one thing — helping people to find jobs. So I set about the task of taking the job search process I had created and shedding the light of spirit on it, to the extent that I was capable.

I’ve been in the career management field for over 20 years, during which time I developed a method of job seeking combining what I had learned from my years as a top-performing salesperson with the time-honored principles of networking and career development. And it worked.

I’ve helped literally thousands of people, from welfare recipient to CEO, in almost every industry, ranging from not-for-profit and education to corporate America. I aided my clients to find jobs they loved by showing them how to sell themselves as a product on the marketplace of employment.

And therein laid the problem.

I didn’t want to teach people how to sell anymore

Not that selling is a bad thing. In fact, the most successful salespeople are the ones that listen and truly put their customers first. Selling seems to connote persuasion, profit, and controlling the outcome, and if there was anything I had learned from my spiritual journey it was that we don’t control anything. In fact, the more we can get out of God’s way and surrender, the better off we are.

I no longer wanted to characterize people as a product or commodity to be bartered for the sole purpose of getting something in return. My spiritual awakening had shown me that each person is an unique expression within the kaleidoscope of divinity, where God herself could have a particular experience on the physical plane.

Indeed, my mystical study and daily meditation had taught me that we are not put here to learn or experience anything for only ourselves; we are here to serve the Divine through service to others.

That was then. Now, I would no longer talk about selling products and controlling outcomes and personal glory. My new job-finding methodology would be about surrender, service, and honoring the divinity that is within each of us. This was the genesis of the six core principles I call the Service Quest job search philosophy. My sincerest wish is that they inspire you to discover and be true to the unique expression of divinity within you.  Namaste.

Philosophies for a spirit-based job search

jobsearch1. You were endowed by our creator with a certain set of innate abilities and beliefs that are yours alone. Nobody can take them away from you, but they are not yours to keep to yourself. They are given to you to share with others.

2. As you both embrace and remain true to those abilities and beliefs, the more fulfilled you will be and the more effectively you will perform your chosen personal, communal, and work duties.

3. There is an employer out there who values the abilities and beliefs that you embody and needs them to accomplish the goals of the organization. In a work setting, your abilities translate to what you can do, and your beliefs translate to how you do it.

4. The organization that values what you offer isn’t just going to show up in your life, you have to go out and find it. This is the quest — the responsibility that we each have to co-create our lives with our creator.

5. While on your quest to find the employer that values what you can do and how you do it, you are going to meet many people you won’t be able to help. This is not a rejection of you; it just means that this is not where the world needs you most at this time. Keep being yourself and keep looking.

6. The rewards we receive in this world, monetary or otherwise, are usually in direct proportion to the service we render to others. These rewards may not come at the time or place that we expect, but they will come nevertheless. This is one of God’s greatest laws.

jeffJeff Robinson is the founder of Career Quest and creator of the Service Quest approach to job seeking. For more information, visit Service Path.

Looking for work or helping someone who is?  Visit the Soul’s Code slideshow: Five Spiritual Ways to $urvive Lob Loss, for healing tips.

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7 Comments on “Six ways to combine a job search with your spiritual path”

  1. Dear Jeff; This is one of my favorite columns on Soul's Code, ever. It is a difficult and delicate balancing act to synthesize non-duality or a mystical practice with cognitive action and the external world of form.

    But that is the world we all live in, and it is a daily challenge for us to ground this site in it. What I'm trying to say is that it is easier to do, on the one hand, an advice article like the kind you see in the Careers section of CNN/Money -- or on the other, a deeply non-dualistic meditation that doesn't touch the work-a-day world like this incredibly inspiring piece by Katie Davis: "A Mystic Responds to the Recession."

    I'm not putting either down; I'm saying that it is a real challenge to sythesize those two streams of reality, and you've rendered a beautiful expression here.

    Would you be willing to extend it further in a follow-up column, or an anecdote(s) in this thread?

    Can you give us a case study of the steps and serendipities that either you, or a client in real life, plotted through a career transition?

    I can imagine the counter-point that critics of your post may bring up, even from a spiritual perspective. Here's an example: Stephen Levine, a meditation teacher associated with California's Spirit Rock Center, who gave his life to helping and healing others. Here he is, broken in body and financially in his later years, and the subject of a community fundraising appeal:

    "Stephen and Ondrea have been among our generation's most important teachers, demonstrating and encouraging others to embrace the power of love and generosity. For three years, they ran a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week free phone line for those dying or in need of support. When the phone bills got too high, they sold their house to keep the project going. For decades they regularly corresponded with thousands people who were seeking spiritual guidance, giving freely to those in need, many of whom were sick or in the final years of their life."

    As you note in your conclusion, the rewards of service may appear at a time that wasn't plotted by linear thought, and in a form that the mind didn't anticipate. Perhaps I just answered the query I posted for discussion :)

  2. This story came at the perfect time. Isn't it funny how that tends to happen.

    Thank you Jeff and Soul's Code!


  3. I've been unemployed after leaving the "boxed in" career path in high finance in September 2008 and temping here and there and have been feeling more down than ever. This article was very helpful and I too am looking for a more spiritual path - but I need to stay in the location I am in as I will help my mother when she retires.

    I often don't feel like I am in the same place - does the Assisi place do retreats? I do yoga off and on but have not been a solid practitioner. I'm thinking it would help me to maintain connection with myself through this time... and I really appreciate your article. Many thanks and much appreciated.

  4. Hi Paul,

    Thanks so much for your comments. I would be thrilled to do a follow-up column. Having just spent some time following your links to Katie Davis’ piece and doing some research on Stephen and Ondrea Levine, I am at this very moment faced with the quandary you so eloquently present; attempting to take cognitive action in the external world of form while still reeling in the silence that Katie, Stephen and Ondrea’s work has put me in.

    That’s one of the reasons that Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings are so accessible. He reaches out to each of us as householders; not monks residing in monasteries in the far-off Himalayas or in seclusion in a retreat-like setting, but in the world having relationships, raising families and doing God’s work.

    I’ve had the experience of falling in love with mystics like Ramana Maharshi whose teachings and energy send me into states of incredible bliss. What a gift for those who have the privilege of remaining in that type of ecstasy; unfortunately for me I have been blessed with three wonderful children who would like to have their college tuition paid.

    So yes, as Yogananda says we householders have been given the charge to “read a little, meditate more and think of God always” and then serve our brothers and sisters through whatever silence we find.

    Regarding Stephen and Ondrea Levine, my research bore out my hunch that whatever struggles they may have endured in the world of form, they live a life of internal peace and joy. Here is a link to their current website as well as a link to a you tube interview they did in 2008 Be prepared to experience joy!

  5. Refreshing. I too am looking for a more spiritual path in my business. I can understand you not wanting to sell anymore. I use an attaching method not hard sell.

  6. Hi Emily,

    Thanks so much for your reply; I’m so pleased that my article was helpful to you. It is very natural that you would feel down right now; you are human after all!

    I don’t have a lot of details about your situation (where things stand for you financially for example), but I do have a few thoughts from my teachers to share that have been very helpful to me:

    1) We are not in charge, and everything, I mean everything happens for a reason

    2) Good times are wonderful and we should absolutely enjoy them when they come, but it is the difficult times that cause us to learn and grow. It may not feel like it, but you are in a period of growth right now!

    3) See my philosophy #1 above. You have been endowed with some unique gifts, but they are not yours to keep for yourself; they have been given to you to share with others.

    There are two things that I do know about you from your story Emily. The first is that you had the courage to recognize and leave a career that left you feeling unfulfilled. The second thing I know is that you like to work because you have tried some temping.

    I don’t know enough to suggest what your gifts might be, but I’m pretty confident about one thing. The reason you are feeling down is because you are not using them! You have survived since Sept ’08, so I’m guessing that you have some financial flexibility. Even if it’s volunteer work, go out and find someplace that you can use some of your favorite skills to help some person or organization.

    It may sound overly simplistic, but we are meant to contribute. You’ll feel more upbeat and be in a better frame of mind to follow your path if you just get out every day and share your best with someone who needs it!

    Regarding the Assisi Institute, they offer retreats twice yearly; check the website at for more information. Also, their Thursday evening Kriya Yoga meditation services are streamed live from 7:00 – 8:30 pm. EST. Go to and search on Assisi.

    Other places that offer wonderful retreats in the mystical tradition are and

    I wish you peace and fulfillment Emily!


  7. Dear Jeff; This is the most salient, non-dual point: "We are not in charge."

    Thank you for the reminder. Thank you also for updating us on the Levines. I did not know that. Perhaps this is a pivotal case study to cite in your next column?

    In my former life I was a macro-economic magazine writer who did high-concept cover stories about the U.S. labor market:

    No one in the professional space I interviewed had entered the practice you have pioneered, or brought the insights you have shared; Thank you.

    TO EMILY WENTWORTH EVANS: Thank you for sharing what you did. Have gratitude for being in high finance!

    Emily, we don't know your location but here are spiritual sanctuaries/commercial resorts that Soul's Code founders and fellow travelers have favored:

    Also, here is our slideshow about a "spiritual solution" to job loss:

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