I've been meaning to write a riff on a phrase Michael sent me, "work as worship", and perhaps this is the time.
a. The reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object.
b. The ceremonies, prayers, or other religious forms by which this love is expressed.
2. Ardent devotion; adoration.
3. often Worship Chiefly British Used as a form of address for magistrates, mayors, and certain other dignitaries: Your Worship.
v. wor·shiped or wor·shipped, wor·ship·ing or wor·ship·ping, wor·ships
1. To honor and love as a deity.
2. To regard with ardent or adoring esteem or devotion. See Synonyms at revere1.
1. To participate in religious rites of worship.
2. To perform an act of worship.
[Middle English worshipe, worthiness, honor, from Old English weorthscipe : weorth, worth; see worth1 + -scipe, -ship.]
worship·er, worship·per n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Let's start with this: I'm pretty deeply agnostic. I can't summon up the hubris to transform my mystical/spiritual/numinous feelings and impulses from personal to universal absolute. There are too many conflicting voices on the subject of religion for me to feel comfortable privileging the expertise of any one group. I don't even understand enough about psychology and social construction to know how a more workable society would have to be put together, and given my little knowledge of the complex systems involved in ecology I don't much trust anyone who claims to have the answers to that, either.
So in terms of Absolute Truth, assuming there is such a thing (I'm doubtful most of the time) I have no answers.
I do have a flourishing system of top-of-the-mind beliefs, actions, and rituals though. I have a lot of numinous impulse, I am prone to mystic states, and I like to love and cherish things. It definitely improves my life to run with that, to think it through a little bit, and to introduce casual beliefs and practices into my daily life. I believe these things much like I believe the best way to get to downtown is to catch the #99 and then the Skytrain: it totally works well right now, might change at any time, it really depends on where precisely I'm going, and everything is subject to service disruption.
One of the practices that works for me is thinking of each strand in the ecological web as sacred, and by this I mean each person and thing within it. Assuming creation through any deliberate or semi-deliberate means, these things were put here by God/s' own hand and as such are sort of a holy gift, and thus the relationships between them are a form of worship. Your relationship with yourself is a form of worship. You can neglect that aspect, as you might go to church to flirt or out of duty, but then you're ignoring something potentially nourishing for your soul.
Assuming no deliberate or semi-deliberate creation, let's talk about blind evolution for a moment. Let's talk about iteration, about steps continuously taken in spite of testing and challenge and caprice. Let's talk about perseverance towards a goal, about reaching and striving, about gloriously winning out in the face of all opposition but never being able to rest on your accolades. Let's talk about the way knees wear twin dishes into a prayer rug after so many many years. Now let's talk about what worship is, about what makes something holy.
...perhaps let's not talk much more about it, though. These are both backwards justifications I can come up with for this innate sense that everything is precious. Every. Thing. A leaf, a hand, every leaf, every hand, every voice has meaning and has its own keys to God/s or transcendence or joy or whatever it is you're gunning for. I'll gloss over this because, although I could argue the point, I have no desire to do so. I understand this to be a personal belief.
It does mean that one of my religious goals, for lack of a better term, is to treat everything with worship. There's no way for this not to improve my life; suddenly I am surrounded by sacred mysteries to explore and holy things to reverence. To get back to the quote which triggered this, my own life is worthy of worship, and one of the ways I worship myself is through the sometimes onerous, repetitive, or challenging task of working. This is serious worship, not a Sunday picnic but days full of challenge and ritual in service of something holy.
To take it a little further, I often feel that things created by people, while useful perhaps as simplified metaphors, are not not as worthy of a life's service, and certainly are not worthy of notice to the exclusion of the rest of the world. Time spent in study of people, plants, social systems, ecological webs, even geological systems or physics: that's worship. Time spent engaging in movies, TV, video games, and even books without using it to tie into and reference the rest of the world, perhaps even as a way of ignoring the world around you?