I used to work full-time in a corporate environment while I was a long-term caregiver at home. Although I complained sometimes about my situation, I learned a great deal.
In general, work was exciting. We had a great team and performed well together. It was a really good job and my parents were proud of me. We served Fortune 1000 clients and were growing quickly. But we had significant deadlines to meet and if we did not meet them, the whole company from top to bottom would pay the price.
A factory might shut down if we did not deliver our products on time. And if we didn't make our customer's job easy, you can bet we'd have a harder time getting the next contract.
This sort of daily pressure to get sales, ensure quality and delivery and keep all departments running smoothly—from production to R&D in order to meet short and long-range goals—well, this pressure can get to you if you don't have a way to release it. And as far as I know, there is no release valve on the side of our heads!
No matter at what level you are working in an organization, if you are called upon to make wise decisions, not get flustered in the middle of negotiations and come up with creative solutions day after day, you need mental and emotional stability.
Working with people and for people, experiencing the constant ebbs and flows of the work environment, and continuing to be productive requires such mental/emotional fortitude and ability to connect.
If I had not meditated daily (or mostly daily), I am sure my performance would have been much worse, along with my emotional and physical health. There was something about the daily practice of meditation that gave me an even keel, and kept my mind clear and attentive. Meditation helped me be in touch with some basic sense of sanity that would otherwise have been hard to access.
Meditation also helped me understand when career changes were necessary in my life. Through meditation practice, I was able to face my fears about making changes much more easily and be caring and careful about next steps. It helped me see the whole, not be impulsive, and flow with things as they arose.
Meditation was also extremely helpful for my home life. For many years, I was a long-term caregiver for a family member and so I needed mental/emotional stability at home too. Meditation practice was particularly helpful for me to be calm and clear headed, and not get stuck in preconceived notions about my family member's situation. This helped him grow and recover.
And through meditation I learned to see him as just like me, slowly but surely. I saw that as much as he needed me, I needed him too in order to grow in understanding and compassion. The helper and the helped are really saving each other. Without meditation, I would not have understood that basic reality that we are all deeply connected.
Since being married and becoming a parent, my life has continued to benefit immensely from meditation. During my work as a meditation instructor and at home with family, I find that daily meditation practice helps me be attuned to the needs of the moment, and that negative states of mind disappear quickly.
I don't even want to imagine the troubles I would have had without meditation all these years!