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Contemplative Career Quiz

Quite a number of years ago I saw an accredited psychologist career advisor and took all the profiling tests and questionnaires. It was so disappointing! The questions were obvious; I explained to the psychologist that there wasn't a question in there that really spoke to what interested me, how I wanted to be in the world, and therefore what I could do. Of course, I now know why!

So here are statements, questions and words that I would sprinkle into a career quiz:

  1. Wanting to make a connection to something that's bigger than oneself

  2. Like reflecting and/or contemplating

  3. Like meditation

  4. Walking slowly noticing

  5. Sitting down noticing

  6. Eating and sleeping awareness

  7. Watching what is going on in your mind and/or body

  8. Quiet

  9. Interest in spiritual and/or religious philosophy of life

  10. Willing to use patience and observation through the senses

  11. Willing to live in community

  12. Appreciate silence and solitude

  13. Willing to forgo putting all hopes and wishes into the future?

  14. Interested in how one's perceptions / opinions / world views are framed?

  15. Willing to forgo ambition / notable career?

  16. Consider the possibility of being supported by another / others?

  17. Wish to focus on developing equanimity, compassion, kindness, gentleness?

  18. Appreciate the nuance of the words 'renunciation' and 'poverty'

  19. Interested in applying mindfulness to difficult emotional issues

  20. Willing to let go of old hurts and grievances

  21. Enjoy meditating

  22. Listening and calm

  23. Enjoy devotional activities

  24. Need a lot of quiet time for the ease of body and mind

  25. Interested in contemplative practices that may take years to master or become competent in

  26. Willing to do what is needed in the moment, even if it is different to what you would like to do, or think that needs doing?

  27. Ability to tolerate no-one 'getting / understanding' the scale of the work that you do

  28. Capacity to tolerate being 'unimportant' and/or 'uninteresting' in social situations

  29. Think and know that dreaming is an opportunity for adventurous exploration

  30. Delight in dreams and are therefore slow to get out of bed

  31. Be prepared to write, memorise and rehearse a brief summary of your occupation in order to explain to others

  32. Hearth and home

  33. Peace and nurture

  34. Ethics and virtue

  35. Spirit, Soul, Self

  36. Ego and not-self

  37. God and Godhead / Presence

  38. Immanent and Transcendent

  39. Listening to wisdom stories

  40. Reading

  41. Liminal and imaginal

  42. Willing to travel

If you answer in the affirmative and with interest to the above questions, please consider that you may be highly attracted and sustained by making contemplation a significant consideration in how you direct your life energy.

Congratulations! Please consider a contemplative vocation. For example, mumunk / damunk, a monastery monk / nun, a lay contemplative, a 'new monk' (Beverly Lanzetta's term) and other roles where you are able to give priority to a contemplative way of being in the world.


And, of course, there is so much more one could add! This is a light-hearted poke at the blindness of such career questionnaires to different ways of being in the world, particularly the experiences and interests of those driven by an active and life-encompassing inner world, like those who choose vocations as monks, nuns and lay contemplatives. There are many people who have taken years, even into decades, discovering and balancing the importance of their contemplative urge with their need to earn money and do what they are able in the social world. But look now at the vibrant Oblate lay contemplative Cistercian and Benedictine communities! Also, Thich Nhat Hanh's Zen lineage and many 'new monastic' communities.

The scrambled word cloud above is a compilation of some of the paid and volunteer roles I have undertaken. I started work at 11 as a receptionist in a real-estate office. My second job was as a car-detailer at age 13. Then 'check-out chick' at age 14 in a discount supermarket. It did get more interesting from there, and every role has been an amazing learning experience.

May you find your balance between the BE-ing and the doing!


"there are many different ways of knowing ...

the lame goats' kind

has branches that trace back

to the roots of


Take this beginning path, interspiritual Spiritual Styles Profile quiz by Dr Ed. Bastian on how you might build a contemplative life.


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