A poor man, Depa, once found an enormously valuable jewel.

Being a person of little desire, and content with his small income,
Depa pondered to whom he should give the jewel.
He tried to think who was most in need and suddenly was inspired
to give the jewel to King Prasenajit. The king was astounded as
there were many poor and needy people, but Depa said, ‘O King,
it is you who is the poorest, because you lack contentment!’

~Nagarjuna’s Letter to a Friend~


Over the past several days, a few friends have asked ‘Why? Why did you choose to leave a solid job? In today’s unseemly bipolar job market, why did a solid job for a ‘Contract’ position? Why leave all that solid income and benefits?”

When reflecting upon the story above, my answer’s pretty simple: I was ‘poor.’ Yes it’s true one can find the above story at the beginning of Buddhism for Busy People by David Michie, a book that takes you on an autobiographical journey into Tibetan Buddhism and its philosophies on the path to true fulfillment. But taking my readers on a path to true enlightenment has never been my targeted goal.

In truth, I will paraphrase the character Leo McGarry of The West Wing, adding a smidge of ‘Artistic Liberty:’

Because I’m tired of it year after year after year after year having to choose between the lesser of who cares? Of trying to get myself excited about a hospital IT Director who can speak in complete sentences. Of setting the bar so low, I can hardly look at it.” 

For the most part, healthcare provides solid income, but rarely does one run across someone truly genuine. Most executive management watches dollars and cents like stockbrokers watching the DOW. Rare is that someone talks about the quality of patient care.

Over the years, there have been many buzz words: ‘innovative care,’ ‘patient empowerment’ and ‘leveraging wholeness.’  In truth, I have seen hospital management order employees to shred compromising patient records prior to audit, purposely falsify financial records and determine employee pay based upon city residence versus skill. I’ve seen a hospital with no morgue that stuffs the deceased into janitorial closets, compromised Information Technology Systems that any three year-old with a crayon could hack and doctors who couldn’t find an open wound with two hands and a flashlight.

After learning of my company’s acquisition several months ago, I stumbled upon the audiobook ‘Cutting through Fear,’ by Tsultrim Allione. The audiobook focuses upon the ‘Chöd’ meditation. Also known as “Cutting Through the Ego”this meditation releases what ancient Tibetans called “demons:” i.e., the fears, obsessions, illnesses, and hopes; the demons of addiction, compulsion, anger, and other difficult emotions. These can be faced and dissolved with this powerful meditation technique.

It is through meditation that I can release fear, my fear of being rich. Yes, some days are difficult, as any job change is. But now I live alive! And all of us need to live alive.