Dharma & You
“It takes courage to grow up and be who you really are.”
A Deepak Chopra quote (an excerpt from his book, Seven Spiritual Laws of Success) was emailed to me a few months ago, and as happens so often I have not been able to get it out of my head. I know of Deepak but have never bothered reading any of his books. This excerpt though, punched me in the face (in a good way).
“Everyone has a purpose in life… a unique gift or special talent to give to others. And when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstacy and exaltation of our own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of goals”.
For arguments sake, let’s say what Deepak says is true. According to this stream of thought, you will only be truly happy when you find out what your special gift/skills are, cultivate and hone them, and use them to affect your world in a positive way.
This is not a new idea, but an ancient one. You may have heard of it by its other name: DHARMA.
Not to be confused with the faux hippie blonde from 90s sitcom ‘Dharma & Greg’, Dharma is essentially your “righteous” path in life: its you, using your talents and honing/expressing your skills for a “higher” purpose – for the betterment and benefit of others. Its not some elusive, esoteric concept, and you don’t have to be a yogi to either understand it or to live it.
So let’s say this dharma thing is real (and, given the confessional undercurrent of this blog so far, I might as well fess up and say that for me, it always has been). That means that everything else in life: friendships, financial success, finding love, et cetera… all these things are bonuses… happy sideline boons.
But the ultimate boon in life is doing what you came here to do – passionately and joyfully.
And not for ego inflation, but for the love of it.
And with respect for the people who benefit from it.
Until people figure this out, and remember their raison d’etre (the occupation or occupations that they are most suited to, that allow them to utilise their unique talents and develop their skills fully) they tend to feel… incomplete. They seek completion, stability, domination/submission in all the wrong places (like in relationships, an other), try endlessly to distract themselves, and disperse their energy in unproductive and, ultimately, unfulfilling ways.
That doesn’t mean wanting all those other things is bad – connecting and the sensory experience of being are what make life grand. But enduring joy, contentment, a “nourished soul”, etc… all that deep and meaningful stuff is the by-product of giving of your skills and time towards creating, entertaining, teaching, building, healing, serving (or all those things) your world in a positive way.
Nor does it mean that there is necessarily only one thing you are meant to do. Throughout life we all learn new things and discover things, gain new skills – and we all have to do tasks and often take jobs that we don’t like (in order to pay the bills and put food on the table). But the important thing, I think, is that we don’t hog the light we have – we find ways to share it with others. We share what we have, what we know, what we are good at… in the hope that it will make life for someone else a little better, a little brighter. It might be small or it might be big.
As long as we’re sharing.
Now… remembering what you came here to do… that is the hardest part.
Fortunately for me, before my 25th birthday last year, I had a mid-twenties crisis… and after a few miserable weeks of sick leave from a job I loathed (LOATHED! seriously, I loathed it), and, shall we say euphemistically, “unproductive distractions”, my recollection started coming back to me…
….AND YET, I still momentarily forgot my pin number this morning.
Go figure that one out.