From Dave Smith
Author of The Seven Seeds of Meaningful Work (2005)
I wonder if you’ve ever lost hope? I once was not able to get out of bed much for several weeks; I just could not get up. I feigned ill health, but it was a deep emptiness and vague fear that left me weak, helpless, hopeless, useless. I was working in computer systems at a distribution center for a foreign car company. They were planning a move to another location a couple of hours away, and there wasn’t much for our department to do until the move was made. We spent our time doing little projects to keep busy, and we would take long lunches playing hearts and joking around. As boring as the time was, it was a secure, well-paid job with lots of benefits. When it came time to make the move and I was faced with relocating, I knew that if I stayed with the company, this would be my life from then on. Safe, secure, well paid, unfulfilling, boring. I quit and went to bed.
Several weeks of intense spiritual searching and reading in philosophy and religion ensued. I was bogged down with what a mess the world was in and what a mess I was in. Malcolm X had been assassinated, Watts had exploded in riots, antiwar protests were escalating, and the My Lai massacre in Vietnam had just been exposed. So much was wrong, yet I felt I was not contributing meaningfully. I remember reading an Eastern guru and finding him to be profoundly intelligent, creatively engaging, and completely unintelligible. Everything I had ever believed in was being brought into question, but for the life of me I could not understand what the man was saying. It left me with nothing, and I sank deeper into depression.