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Labor and Mysticism

A personal message from founder, Brad Carrier, regarding labor:

I’ve built dry-stack rock retaining walls for ten years and owned the business for eight. On one level, it’s just work for pay. I can work by the hour, or by the bid. But I’d rather work on creative projects that serve the general betterment of persons or society, taking whatever compensation it brings me. Like any job, it is work for money, but such labor is not my main calling – ministry (Unitarian Universalist and my own) is. Rock wall work serves my higher callings. It centers me, strengthens my body (it’s not back-breaking work; it’s back-making work.) and clears my mind.

Rock walls leave something visible from my labors, which is far different than sermons given on Sunday and gone on Monday. I like the challenge of taking a pile of jumbled boulders and rocks and skillfully stacking them into a wall that 1) stays standing while retaining soil on the high side, and 2) look attractive. Form follows function.

But the essential activity I’m doing comes from my meeting with the Blind Saint of Vrindivan, India in 1973. Swami answered my question about how to effect change in my society (I was distressed about the Vietnam War at the time). He said any action I might take would be caught in the reciprocal realm of cause and effect. I might protest, but it might result in even more war. He advised I devote myself in hard physical labor for the general betterment of people or society and take whatever reward came from it. If I did this, I would feel rested at night and sleep deep. By giving this way I would emit “an invisible perfume of unlimited effect.” That would create unlimited, unreactive peace.

Indeed, when I shower after a day of hard physical labor, I watch the dirt go down the drain, gone. It is refreshing. My meditations are deeper. Plus, my body and mind feel better for having worked. Perhaps there is the perfume.

In any case, I like the hard labor as a work-out, and I like to leave behind something that looks good, something that could last hundreds of years. I also like working in service, though it is also good for me to earn decent money for having done it.

So, while I welcome straight forward work for pay, I prefer doing hard physical work as service. Labor serves a higher calling.

-Brad Carrier owner and founder of Walkways and Walls

Byron has been using his writing and public speaking to engage, challenge and inspire audiences for over 40 years. Reverend Carrier's mission is to rescue and revive our earthly Eden, including our human worth and potential. If you enjoy his work, consider supporting him with Patreon.

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