Oh! To have the wisdom and the ability to pen as Rumi did!
In his book, "Meditations from the Mat", Rolf Gates talks about dharma in a very practical way. He explains that dharma is the recognition that each of us is born with unique gifts, and that it is our path to discover these gifts and share them with others. He says that in sharing our gifts we live most fully, perform maximal service to those around us, and empower them to live out their dharma.
How does one begin to discover what these gifts are that are unique to us? And, if you do happen to figure that part out, how do you begin to share it with others? Is there a moral obligation?
Perhaps you've never heard the word dharma before. Or, heard it but did not understand what it meant. There are several meanings to this word (trust me, I am really oversimplifying here) depending on the context. It is probably known by most as the teachings of Buddha. My reference is within the context of yoga; dharma is one of the four aims of life. Yoga is not just about stretching into pretzel like positions. It is a philosophical and spiritual path. A path to enlightenment (a journey, really).
Literally translated, it means that which upholds or supports. Now, hang onto that thought as I delve a little further.
Let's go back to our unique gifts and figuring out what that is. If you didn't have to worry about your kids, your job, money, a place to live (not insignificant things, but material ones nonetheless), what is it that makes you happy? What is it that you can totally loose yourself in? I would contend that if you are a visual artist, you've already been there many a time when creating art. So, you know what your unique gift is. It is that which defines you, not your job title at work.
There are many ways to share your gifts. Sharing your experience and process with others is one way, as Bridgette often does with her work. Many of us learn from her generous sharing. Debi's writing and imagery is another unique example of what I think dharma is. You can share by teaching. Trust me, local libraries are reaching out to their community to provide more services. I'm sure they would love to have you come in and do a two hour program for them in regards to your art. It can be as simple as a demonstration. More and more people are home schooling their children and providing an art curriculum can be a challenge. Even within the public school system, many parents recognize their child's passion for art but can't afford to enroll them in art classes. They are at the mercy of what the school district deems important. You can become a resource within your community. By sharing your gift, you empower others, and then they too can live out their dharma.
The gifts we are given is that which upholds and supports us. To deny that within ourselves is a form of self destruction.
Quoting again from Rolf Gates, he says that dharma is a gift from God inscribed upon the heart. Once we begin to recognize it, we realize that it has been with us all our lives. Dharma is what makes you you.
Thanks Rolf, for sharing your dharma!
Image posted is of the dune shadows at White Sands Desert. Want to see more shadows from others? Click here.