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Zen & Social Workers

Compassion for fellow human beings and sense of duty for improving the human condition are the main incentive for many people to choose occupations that enable them to actively participate in improving the situation. Although each profession was originally developed to help and support individuals and society at various levels, still, educational, medical, psychological, spiritual, and social work are the most demanding considering human wellbeing.

While such work is rewarding and fulfilling, it is often emotionally and physically draining. The same feelings of empathy and commitment that initially drive people to these jobs, make them as well more vulnerable to “world-pain” and stress related to it. Witnessing of the suffering in the world can often lead into overuse of own energy and offering beyond personal capacity. In addition, situations of great suffering also triggers unsolved issues that supporter may still have.

As a consequence, health may deteriorate, teamwork efficiency may decline and overall performance may become sub-optimal. All of this can lead to a loss of greater meaning, connection, and awareness, which in turn limits the focus to routine daily activities, loosing the view of the larger picture of human rights, social justice and general well being.

The world-view gets distorted, and the sense of personal security is threatened what often foster paranoia, disrupt sense of spiritual connectedness, and causes physical and emotional collapse.

Once people lose their own equilibrium, stress related conditions prevent them to preform optimally, causing small or large problems for themselves and others. Unlike other professionals, problems caused by stressed physicians, physiologists, or social workers will directly affect sick, injured, and traumatized people in their care. This increases the importance of creating and maintaining the balance of everyone who conducts emotionally demanding occupations.

Anyone who works in one of these profession bears responsibility for self-care, which must be carried out at all levels: mind, body, emotions, spirit, work, and relationships. Such maintenance paves the way toward fully aware and mindful living and serves as a strong foundation that remains stable even in the most stressful and traumatic situations.

Through regular practice, the capacity for compassion increases and acts as a shield and source of strength. One remains centred what shifts altruism into another dimension that allows recognition when to act and when not. One does what is needed.

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