I had a great job that satisfied me intellectually and creatively. I embraced my company's mission. I loved my co-workers. But one day, it started: I felt dissatisfied, and I couldn't understand why. I'd dealt with this feeling before, but that had been in the midst of jobs involving work that didn't inspire me, not stimulating, creative activity. What was going on?
I was tempted to delve into the reasons for my dissatisfaction. But in the past this hasn't gotten me anywhere. I felt drawn to finding a more spiritual conception of satisfaction, of its nature and its origin.
I'd given "satisfaction" some serious consideration before, during my junior year of college when my dream internship turned sour and I was left feeling disappointed, bored, and unfulfilled. At the time, I'd focused on getting a better understanding of God as Soul, the infinite source of satisfaction.
As I thought back on how I'd prayed then, I was reminded of a statement Mary Baker Eddy made in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" that had been the basis for my prayer. She wrote: "Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be more readily attained and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul. Higher enjoyments alone can satisfy the cravings of immortal man" (pgs. 60-61).
While I'd had no trouble accepting the truth of these assertions during the internship, I realized that my current circumstances - working at a good job that brought with it all the promises of fulfillment - had inadvertently led me to believe that there could be some other source than Soul for my satisfaction. And perhaps this job was it.
So I asked myself: What does "seeking happiness in Soul" require of me?
The answer was twofold: First, consider who you are and your relationship to God; and second, consider the nature of your true employment.
As I pondered the first half of this answer, I was struck by the phrase "immortal man" in Mrs. Eddy's statement. I realized I needed to choose between a limited view of myself as a mortal who could fall prey to bad circumstances or benefit from good ones, or an unlimited conception of myself as "immortal man," the very likeness of Soul. In choosing the latter, I not only asserted my inseparability from God and His goodness, but I also saw that satisfaction was not some ephemeral quality that needed to be attained. As God's reflection, I was the very expression of fulfillment.
In recognizing this, I realized I'd found the answer to my second question: What is my true employment?
I began to see that embodying purpose, enthusiasm, and fulfillment was the work that I'd been created by God to do. Reflecting Him - in all His radiance and perpetuity - was my employment, wherever I was working.
Deepening my conception of work showed me that my satisfaction - whether I was being stimulated intellectually or not - was eternal, and I had the opportunity to see this by using every moment to glorify God. This new view reminded me of another statement by Mrs. Eddy: "Success in life depends upon persistent effort, upon the improvement of moments more than upon any other one thing" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896," pg. 230).
To me, the "improvement of moments" pointed to this spiritual shift I already saw taking place in my own life. Success, satisfaction, joy - all these would become more real to me in proportion to my desire (and efforts) to express God in all that I did. Improving my moments was not so much about searching for a material means of achieving fulfillment as it was about improving my vision of each instant, seeing myself in God's image, and acknowledging the promise of His goodness moment by moment.
Endeavoring consistently to view my job and myself from a spiritual standpoint revealed a lasting satisfaction that continues to sustain me. To my surprise, it also led to the opening of several new avenues that helped develop other talents that weren't being tapped during my workday.
Because each of us is the expression of Soul, we have the capacity to discover the enduring satisfaction that is ours regardless of our work environment or job description. We can improve our moments and find the joy and purpose that are God's eternal gift to each one of us.