(tariki, "Outer Work")
Positive Support from Your Circles of Intimacy
Once more with feeling: Working on yourself in isolation can be lonely and difficult.
Support from others can help overcome feelings of isolation, ease the workload, and make your efforts immensely more rewarding.
“Other-power” comes from your people:
- Your intimates
- Social Networks
- Professional networks
“Other-power” makes up half of your launch platform for building your new, more meaningful life and work.
(Some call this “networking”. I call it “relationship building” or “making community“. See “Self-Power” for the other half of the platform. [CW])
Through "other power" (the outer work) you can:
- Learn to give and receive support from those close to you or people new to you with whom you feel a deep rapport.
Identify the mentors, guides, and friends best suited to help you along this learning path.
Engage in “team learning” with fellow travelers along the path to meaningful work.
Participate in community building with those with whom you strongly share vision or values.
Through learning from and with others, you expand possibilities, gain resources not otherwise available, and create an atmosphere of mutual support and appreciation.
Mindfulness continues to be key, but you take your practice out into the world.
How it Works. What You Must Do.
Other power doesn’t work if it’s forced on you.
You must be willing — willing to learn, willing to listen, willing to receive ideas that “others” may suggest — possibilities you haven’t yet considered.
They may point out opportunities you can’t fathom with your present understanding.
It may require courage, patience, and persistence on your part to “hold the question” long enough to sense, grasp, and begin to develop those opportunities.
You must also be willing to give back — this kind of support and more — to your nurturing “others.”
So “other-power” is the power to both give to and receive from others in an open and honest manner for mutual benefit and growth.
The Top Seven Outcomes of "Other-Power" Practice
Committing to the practice of other power allows you to:
- Reduce your feelings of isolation and confusion
- Open up to encouragement from others to boost your motivation.
- Learn how to rely on friendly feedback to improve your work practices and your work attitude.
- Uncover ways to bypass the barriers of time and money.
- Identify the right people for your personal support network.
- Guide your “tribe” through the process of creating mutual technical and emotional support.
- Make better choices for your personal and work life.
The Top Six "Other-Power" Practices
The main source of energy and strength that comes from “other power” (working on our selves together with others) is in the regulation of our thoughts and behaviors in such a way that we reduce or eliminate harm to our self or others and we increase well being of our self or others.
There are six specific practices which can aid in the realization of this:
- Values clarification
- Speech control
- Sustainable living
- Impact awareness
The first-hand experience of one’s self as an integral part of a greater whole, connected and interdependent.
It’s a kind of “grokking the fullness” of not just the ecology of the planet, but of every system and subsystem of the whole, including human society, community, clan, and family behaviors.
This practice proceeds by creating reminders for oneself to watch for and notice the connections and interactions around us. It begins with basic mindfulness practice while sitting on a cushion or a chair and continues when you stand and walk “out into the world.” It’s sometimes helpful to cultivate the intermediate step of walking meditation within a protected, contemplative space. Any space will do, where you feel safe from outside disturbance or collision with physical objects.
2. Values clarification.
Clarity of values leads to clarity of purpose or intention.
Clear purpose or intention makes it much easier to live a fulfilling life.
The practice of values clarification begins with choosing words and/or images that represent what you value and then watching for the real-world manifestation of these.
It proceeds with purposeful noticing of how you spend your time and your actual behavior, as opposed to the behavior you espouse or think you value. (“Behavior” includes your thinking and self-talk.)
3. Speech control.
Some people think language differentiates humans from other animals. Whether you buy that or not, a lot of our energy goes into verbal communication and it is a significant force in the binding or separating of people into groups.
Because the words we choose can profoundly impact others, speech control becomes key to making “other power” work.
The practice of speech control focuses primarily on honesty, openness, and transparency in the words we use. It includes avoiding speech that causes harm and efforts to eliminate specifically:
- Gossip (“Have you heard about Joe’s latest mess? . . .”)
- Backbiting (“She’s such a bitch!”)
- Harsh or rude words (“F### you and the horse you rode in on!”)
- Insulting speech (“You’re such an idiot!”)
- Unnecessary speech (“Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah . . .”)
Temperance is the practice of moderation in action, thought, and feeling to avoid doing harm and to increase the well-being of ourselves and others.
When in the company of others, everything we do has an impact on those around us.
In practicing moderation in action, thought, or feeling, we commit to doing our best to avoid a whole range of unwholesome behaviors, including such things as:
- Destroying the natural world
- Killing people or other living beings
- Taking things that belong to others without agreement or permission
- Exploiting others sexually
- Sharing or selling objects or substances that can harm others
The practice of temperance includes avoidance of foods, drugs, or other substances that alter consciousness in such a way as to increase the possibility of doing harm to ourselves or others.
5. Sustainable living.
Sustainable living is about both how we live and how we “make our living”—both “simple living” and “right livelihood.”
Simple living means cultivating a minimalist aesthetic and lowering our harmful impact on the world around us by reducing our level of unnecessary consumption.
Right livelihood means doing work that maximizes our positive contributions while minimizing our negative impact on the world.
Sustainable living incorporates what we learn from doing the other five “other power” practices. It includes:
- Generosity (without demand, that is, we share proactively before anyone can ask)
- Minimizing harm
- Maximizing well-being
6. Impact Awareness
A focus on the cultivation of awareness of the impacts of our actions, thoughts, or feelings and the promotion of behaviors that are wholesome in thought and action or that eliminate or reduce those that are unwholesome, including such common unwholesomeness as:
- Harmful fantasies
This brief description of the top six “other power” practices reveals a single important view:
Our place in the world—what we do when we are alone or with others—can have a profound impact on our happiness and the happiness of others.
These practices can be a powerful aid in effectively building the “other power” half of our support platform for following the path to meaningful work.
Break Through and Build Support
You CAN Get What You Want!
If you aren’t getting what you want out of your life or work, maybe you don’t have the support you need from your self or others. But you don’t have to settle for that.
Working together, mindfully and compassionately, we can create a community in which all of our livelihoods are more meaningful.
— Commit to the work.
— Commit to the relationships.
You will reap greater harvests than you can imagine.
Want to Learn More About
Using Mindfulness to Find Meaningful Work?
For employees, managers, and executives who work for others (and prefer it that way).
For creatives, activists, and entrepreneurs who work for themselves (or want to).
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