Our Dharma is the work that we were put here to do, the work that when we do it gives us more life, as opposed to a job that sucks the life from us. It can be hard to identify, but once we 'get it' then it won't go away. When you look back you see that all the moments of your life led you to this place to this understanding. All the people and places, they all lead us back to where we are meant to be.
Knowing our Dharma is one thing, but getting up every single day and walking down the path is quite another. Last Sunday my friend Kate and I had the most beautiful walk at Hatfield House. There we were talking about our life purpose (her's is quite different to mine) and how we get so easily distracted from the path. It was quite ironic when we looked up for a second and saw that we were looking down the very view in this photograph. Kate turned and said to me, it's like the little trees on the sides of this parth are like the lovely little distractions. We go off and see one, then wonder over to another and it takes a long time to get to the point. Distractions could be watching the TV, eating poor food, or just plain procrastination. But then the bigger picture is right at the end of the path. It's a long way and requires conscious effort to get there without being distracted, but far quicker if we take a straight line. To fulfil our higher purpose we need to leave behind the distractions and head straight down the path, not being diverted by other plans. To do this we have to be brave. We have to say "no" to a myriad of opportunities. Otherwise it will take rather a long time to get to that destination we call our Dharma.
The Dharma is a SELF PROJECT - we come here to work on the self and to figure out who we are. To find our value.
Walking the Dharma path is a daily journey, one which is at times lonely and then at times others will join us and open our eyes as to the next thing to do. Our interactions with others help us to work out who that self is and in turn achieve the oneness that we crave. As we become ready to explore the self helpful people appear with whom we get to travel a while, sometimes short, sometimes longer. And they get to join us in the journey to that understanding of who we are. Sometimes they appear in real life, but also in books and media.
When we meet these people we instantly recognise them and feel a compelling need to connect. But we need to be quite clear that it is the path that is important, our reason for being here. Relationships with other people can be enormously helpful in finding this path in the first place perhaps with that question that sparks you alight again. And it can be easy to mistake one for the other, to think that it is the person that is the spark, when really it is the Dharma itself shining as brightly in that other person's soul as it does in ours.
When we come across helpful people, what we have done is recognise our Dharma in another person's eyes. They are the mirror that shouts back at us what we need to tell ourselves or asking us the question that triggers a change. If their path is the same as ours they may stay there for a lifetime, or they may just tarry a while. What we must do is continue down the path.
When we love another on our path we are really loving ourselves. When we understand another, we understand ourselves and when someone gets us, we in turn 'get it'. This is why it is so important to listen, to love, to understand - both ourselves and others. In the process we all become whole. In the end all that there is, all that really ever existed or endures, is love. And whether the people who you love stay on the path or go, they will always be part of the path that led you to where you are now. Be happy when they keep you company, for however long they choose to stay, but always let them choose their own path.