It is better to strive in one’s own dharma than to succeed in the dharma of another. Nothing is ever lost following one’s own dharma. But competition in another’s dharma breeds fear and insecurity. -The Bhagavad Gita
Dharma…The essential order of things, duty, law, moral principal of the Universe, the Buddha’s teachings…whichever definition you are familiar with consider this…are you living YOUR dharma? Are you even sure what YOUR dharma IS, and is it OK to be on a conscious search to find dharma? This is what I ask myself when I consider “dharma”. As I researched Buddha Dharma, I found this passage to be a refreshing and comforting approach to my quest for dharma:
Do not accept any of my words on faith, believing them just because I said them. Be like an analyst buying gold, who cuts, burns and critically examines his product for authenticity, only accepting what passes the test by proving useful and beneficial in your life” – The Buddha
After years of introspection, yogic study and meditation I have arrived at a similar conclusion- that what I tend to believe, respect and trust are things that I’ve taken the time to question, look at and marinate in for a while. I’ve read books on different religions, yogic styles and interpretations, I’ve read articles on “the best” approaches to healing this and that, I’ve paid tons of money on workshops covering a myriad of topics. I spent years judging these experiences too as, good, bad, disappointing, a waste of money etc. But I’ve come to realize how valuable all the time, work and money these things are to me. It’s all part of my living dharma. I’ve met some wonderful, like-minded people in workshops. I have also used what I learned in my readings to help connect the dots in my search for meaning. Reflecting on our life experience, whether good or bad, is how we learn to be honest with ourselves. We know when something doesn’t “sit” right or make sense, yet we question our ever valuable intuition. By taking a deep, introspective journey through our most joyous experiences, as well as, our most disappointing, challenging or painful experiences is sometimes imperative to really find what we’re looking for.
I love that I can look at my life and finally have a confidence in my meandering search for meaning and purpose knowing that all my experiences are part of my living dharma! What’s yours?