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In Step 7 of the 10 Steps to Bliss, we embraced the unknown and therefore the opportunity to truly feel ALIVE. Of course the future is always unknown, but there are other important things that fall into the category of unknown as well. Our focus in Step 8 is Dharma, which is unknown for most of us, but one of the most important aspects of our fulfillment and wholeness. People use the word Dharma differently. The most common definition is “your purpose in life”. If you are living your Dharma, then you are carrying out your destiny or living your purpose. I look at Dharma a little differently. Instead of seeing a purpose that we must fulfill in life, I consider our Dharma to be more closely linked to creativity. So, I think the definition should be “your creative purpose in life”. That takes a little pressure off the situation doesn’t it? Not only that, but creative expression can provide us with a deep sense of fulfillment, which is the real key to lasting happiness.
Step 8 of the 10 Steps to Bliss – Fulfillment and Dharma
We are all familiar with what it means to accomplish something. You won the race, graduated at the top of your class, got promoted to Vice-President of Sales, etc. However, fulfillment is not necessarily a result of accomplishment. In fact, many times people will accomplish their goals and feel quite unfulfilled. But why…? Because most of us aren’t trying to accomplish something that provides us with fulfillment. Most of the things we put our energy toward accomplishing are for other people’s fulfillment or because we assume it will make us feel fulfilled. We see this a lot with children who grow up playing a sport or going to Law School, but they are completely unfulfilled because they worked to accomplish someone else’s dream and not their own Dharma. If you feel like everything you do is to fulfill others, that’s OK. It means you’re a Giver. This is a good thing. Just don’t forget to set time aside for your own fulfillment as well.
Many of the teachers and gurus out there will tell you that everyone has “a purpose in life”…a unique skill or talent that you are the best at in the entire world and when you’re doing this one thing, you are fully present and experiencing bliss. However, in practice, when you talk to people about this, they tend to quickly get squirmy. Most of us don’t know what our unique skill is! How could that be? If we are the BEST in the world at that one thing, wouldn’t we know what it is? This is precisely why I look at Dharma a little differently than what is mostly taught in the world of spirituality. I think the spiritual journey should not be a struggle. In fact, it should be the opposite of a struggle. Ideally, we just surrender over and over and over.
Trying to look within to find your ONE purpose in life is a lot of pressure to put on yourself. Especially for someone who doesn’t feel special at all and perhaps suffers from depression or loneliness. It could have the opposite effect of enlightenment and actually upset a person even more. This is why I think we have to shift the conversation from finding this “one purpose” to finding the “one creative thing you enjoy doing the most”. For me, the things I enjoy the most are Philosophy, writing and reading books. However, the one creative thing I enjoy the most is writing. So, for me, that’s my Dharma. I can creatively write in my journal, on this blog, on another blog or to someone I love, miss or care about. It’s all the same form of creative expression. I may not be the BEST in the world at writing, but it can still be my Dharma because it generates a state of fulfillment in my Soul and that’s more important than being The Best.
Discover your Dharma: Ask the question “what is the thing I like to create the most?” – as answers come to mind, visualize each one. Which one sings the song of your Soul? It usually pops right out at this point. If you like to create lots of things, that’s great! It doesn’t have to be just one thing. You could create LOTS of things. As long as it brings you a deep sense of fulfillment, it’s something you want to be doing regularly. Of course, the key here is actually doing it, so once you discover what it is you want to create, leave yourself a little time every day to work on it. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, even 15 minutes, but make sure you get to taste that magic each and every day no matter what!
Is it possible your Dharma could be your career? It’s possible, but not necessary. It will however be your “Life’s Work”. When you find something creative that you enjoy doing and you give yourself the freedom to do it often, you will eventually amass a lot of creative stuff. Whether it’s painting, sculpting or teaching, you are creating new stuff regularly and those creations become your Legacy or Life’s Work.
I believe creative expression is the path to fulfillment. But, what happens when we feel fulfilled? When we truly experience fulfillment, it’s a very deep feeling because it’s literally satisfaction of the Soul. I don’t know if anything else could ever feel so deep. If it’s contentment you desire, you can achieve it this way. If you feel depressed or a lack of purpose, then look to your Dharma. Not only will you have fun, because you’re doing something you really enjoy, but you will get that deep sense of accomplishment we call fulfillment which tickles your Soul in a very playful way. It can spark your creative juices and get you reinvigorated for Life.
Remember that your path is YOUR path and no one else’s. We don’t need to fit our journey into boundaries and definitions created by others. By shifting the definition of Dharma in my own practice, I have created the deepest level of fulfillment I’ve ever experienced. I have accomplished a lot in life. In fact, I was addicted to accomplishing things my entire life. But I never felt true fulfillment until I incorporated creativity. For you, it could be something different, so keep an open mind and follow your Soul. Trust the direction it leads you no matter what direction that is. There are no boundaries in your spiritual journey, only infinite possibilities and a magical fulfillment which awaits.
Happy Meditating. I hope it helps. Namaste 🙂