How to work in Financial Services & be a Yogi too
For many people I meet on the journey that is ‘Yogibanker’, the question is ‘how’: How is it possible to work in the heart of financial services, but also follow the yogic way of life? Jesus, I am told, would not be an investment banker, let alone the other esteemed enlightened ones on this world, such as Buddha or Krishna.
By ‘Yogic way of life’, I am not referring to the person who lives a simple life, immersed in interesting and challenging postures, manipulating his or her breath in all kinds of weird and wonderful ways and sitting for hours in a cave, deep in meditation, chanting OM and getting by with little in the world. I’m also not referring to those types who live their lives in ashrams or refuges with all their central needs being met. No, I’m talking about what it means to live in the modern world as we know it today.
The Philosophy of a Yogi in Finance?
Sure, you can rebel or hate the system, but the choice is always to leave. Or you can embrace it for what it is, and thrive in a capitalist fantasy of the nth degree. The philosophy of yoga knows no boundaries when it comes to modern day living, despite many claims to the contrary. You can tell me all day long that bankers are greedy, impulsive, and materialistic, but I can also tell you from the inside that they are also very smart, personable and human.
In working in these challenging environments amongst an eco-community of often thousands, yogic values such as santosha (contentment) , satya (truthfulness) and ahimsa (non-violence), amongst others, can be embodied and demonstrated. To this extent, you can choose to change the world from the inside.
Yin, Yang & ‘homeostasis’
In this modern world, we live in a world of contrasts. To feel cold is the opposite of hot. To be wet is the reminder that one is no longer dry. When it is dark, it is no longer light. Black is the opposite of white. Do you get it? Our very world is a manifestation of the contrasts in which we live.
We all love weekends, but if every day was a weekend, then we would not appreciate it any more. Our holidays are marked as ‘holy days’, meaning the other days are quite ordinary, so the experience of taking some time off has extra meaning. That is why winning the lottery is often an illusion in the hope of alleviating the ‘pain’ and drudgery of everyday working. Boredom would quickly set in.
This paradigm of living is represented carefully in the idea of the Yin and the Yang. In practical terms, the Yang is represented by the ‘stressful’ or (‘growth’) environment and the ‘yin’ by the calming environment. Each feed each other insofar as the ability to perform optimally comes from a state of rest, and the time to relax comes from a position of stress. Being a banker is evidently more in the yang. Being a yogi is definitely very yin.
To this extent, hanging all day long in a state of stress is likely to have long term health consequences. Likewise, living a life in the ‘chill out’ zone, totally ‘relaxed’, isn’t likely to result in personal and professional growth either. In short, we need that balance if we are to thrive as human beings. Dipping in and out from stress to relaxation and finding the middle ground. In technical/scientific terms, it’s called ‘homeostasis‘.
How to be a Yogibanker
To this extent, the perceived ‘conflict’ of being a ‘Yogibanker’ is something to be cherished. Striving to achieve and earn a living in a professional environment, but also finding some down time in the ‘quiet zone’ is really a neat summation of what it means to live in the modern 21st century. Though by downtime I mean a world enriched through wellness.
We’ve actually been doing this since the beginning of mankind, when we encountered significant stress and anxiety from animals higher up the food chain, and us resting in between hunting and gathering. The discovery of fire and the agricultural revolution totally turned things upside down until humans ruled the earth and then began nation and empire building, often in a very stressful way.
It all goes to show that being a modern ‘Yogibanker‘ is totally natural. We’ve just been deluded otherwise by a society obsessed with antagonistic ways of thinking.
Be a yogi. Be a banker. At the end of the day, we are all just actors in a play that is the game of living.