Living our Dharma (Part 2 of 3)
Today is part 2 of the 3 part story I began November 1.
As I sat down to write this I had a little anxiety realizing there are so many directions to go in for this next part. Then I remembered my mantra for getting me through writing anything at all including my book last year which is, “just do your best and it’ll be ok.”
Perfectionism is such a buzz kill right?
Exploring the meaning of dharma and what my specific dharma is has been a prime directive for me in the past few years. At about the age of 56-57ish I started thinking that if I was lucky I would turn 60 in a few years, and I longed to dive deeper into who am I and what am I really here to do.
I began an earnest spiritual journey unlike anything before it which included: spending time alone in deep meditation, resting more than usual, changing my diet, walking in nature, saying no, saying yes, taking new risks, understanding healthy humility, studying art and drawing, writing, getting rid of all the junk in my closet and my house, working with expert coaches, healers, energy workers, astrologers, tarot readers, and a zen soto master. (this is the short list but I have to save some things for my next book:)
I can say now that at the age of 61 I’ve come out the other side. Note: I didn’t know I was on the other side until very recently. I’m slow and I always have a delayed reaction to my own growth.
This journey I’ve been on can be defined in many ways but because I do love Buddhas teachings, and consider myself a lifelong student of Buddhism-I’ll use the dharma as my reference point.
I’ve experienced more happiness, success and inner peace in the past years than I ever have in any other chapter of my life. There is no way to know for sure but I do believe that dedicating and spending significant time finding out what my dharma is, and what I’m going to do in my life to ensure that I’m living my own dharma has been essential to living a life that feels really good to me.
This does not mean I haven’t had emotional lows and serious down times. I’ve lost loved ones, become ill, seriously injured, had big setbacks, lost friends, and learned some big hard lessons.
To simplify I’ve identified the following categories as ways to explore our dharma.
Knowing yourself, your gifts
What makes you exceptional? What do others tell you are your gifts? What comes easily and naturally for you? Can you spend time sitting down in your life and really thinking about these questions in a direct way? Can you place your attention on your intention?
Your energy and passion
Does what you do make you feel vital, fulfilled, proud, grateful and joyful? Even part of the time? Does it make you say ‘YES!’? Are you making choices that move you closer to or further away from your passions? Do you need help defining what your passions even are?
Your highest good
Can your work be done as an offering or dedication to something, someone or even all beings, in service to the highest good? This doesn’t mean that you have to go into a new field or change careers. It could mean redefining how you look at what you’re already doing either in your work or non work life.
Equanimity and alignment
Do you feel your individual purpose is aligned with the greater purpose of the whole? Are you inspiring more awakening of consciousness and love in this world with the work that you do? Are you in the flow? Do you understand how to have more equanimity in daily life?
There is a calling within each of us that needs a voice and wants to live through us.
When we allow this energy to guide our actions, we’re living in an aligned way. Living our Dharma is our birthright.
It is each of our responsibilities to get down to it and find out what moves and inspires us, and then start consciously gravitating toward the things, people, experiences, jobs and opportunities that bring us closer to the fulfillment of our Dharma.
Our state of awareness around living our purpose is one of the most important things we can focus on. As we live the life that wants to live us we bring light to the world, cultivating a state of peace, abundance and fulfillment which emanates in all directions and serves all beings.
I believe this wholeheartedly. I also believe we can all take time in our life to explore this way of being one small step at a time. Baby steps.
Use the list slowly and start to envision a half day or weekend where you can prepare to end this decade with some clarity around what you really want out of your life. Take time to place your attention on your intention.
I’d love to help you. I love retreating with you and I equally love 1-1 work. It’s intimate and focused. If you need more structure around how to understand your dharma, send me an email and we can talk about how I can help. This is the best time of year to reflect on these matters as we prepare to celebrate the holidays, the solstice and the end of a decade.
P.S. My book “A Heart of Gold,” is a great way to study the dharma.
Get your copy here on Amazon!