Work Decreases our Contact with God

In a paper that was presented at the annual American Sociological Association convention last month, the researchers found that people participating in their study experienced less spiritual awareness when they were at work and even less the more they work. Although the study is limited by its sampling method (participants had to use their smart phones to reply to surveys for this study), the results are intriguing.

Work in America is, to a very great extent, demoralizing and meaningless. Many of the jobs people have are focused on making money for the corporation and provide little contribution to the well-being of anyone beyond the shareholders. It is no wonder that people feel little or no spiritual awareness while at work. What this study shows us also is that likely there is also a lack of flow while at work. This means that people are not working harmoniously with themselves and their environment, and are not making the best contribution they can make. This is a terrible loss for both the worker and society in general. How much better would our lives be if people could work to their full potential? Even if this were only done some of the time, it would be a vast improvement from where we are now.

Technology use also serves to prevent spiritual awareness, according to this study. Focusing on something so artificial would, of course, prevent or reduce any sense of the numinous compared to, for example, walking in a place of natural beauty or meditating quietly in a church. Although advances in science and technology provide great benefit and convenience, excessive use is unnecessary and, it turns out, may even be detrimental to our well-being. How can we be whole and live up to our potential if our spiritual lives are blocked every time we use the smartphone or go to work?

A puzzling finding of the study was that subjects tended to experience the divine more when with other people and less when alone. This seems to conflict with their finding that people had sacred experiences more when engaged in prayerful activities such as meditation. Perhaps fewer of the subjects meditated than participated in group worship, and this skews the results. It may be also that a majority of the subjects were extraverts, who do not seek quiet time very frequently, even for meditation.

I hope that someday people will be able to make the contribution to society that each are especially able to make, and not continue to be hampered by the rigid economic system presently in place.


Copyright © 2015 Teresa Chupp.  All rights reserved.


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