In the West, our ideal of a whole person is someone who is adjusted, creative, not destroyed by passion and addiction, and successful by some worldly standard. The Dhammapada suggests an alternative ideal: a person who does not cling like a magnet to collective, unconscious values. This person realizes that the satisfaction of the ego, known to us as success or self-esteem, does not offer the deep tranquility and the liberation from craving that quintessentially we yearn for. This awake person knows that being in tune with the law of one’s nature, which is not separate from the law of community and the law of the natural world, is the best definition of happiness. We can be critical of the values that parade around us as natural and unquestioned. As Thoreau recommended, we can live the examined life…….Thomas Moore
what is it that we seek? what is that we need from each other? bringing our longing to consciousness is really our life’s work……we listen to the heart……beating incessantly, it comes to us as fate, as intuition, as fear….we create boundaries for our heart….individuation…..living this authentic and creative balance…..
People actually feel happiest and most fulfilled when meeting the challenge of their dharma in the world, when bringing highly concentrated effort to some compelling activity for which they have a true calling. At the end of life, most of us will find that we have felt most filled up by the challenges and successful struggles for mastery, creativity, and full expression of our dharma in the world. Most people are living very close to their dharma. These same people, close as they are to the deepest mystery of dharma, know very little about it. They don’t name it. They don’t own it. They don’t live it intentionally. Their own sacred calling is hiding in plain sight. So, what is the problem then? Doubt is the central affliction of all men and women of action. Doubt is the invisible affliction. It is slippery. Hidden. Sneaky. Indeed, it is this very hidden quality that gives doubt its power. Is a life of certitude really possible? The key to living a life true to dharma is a complete understanding of and respect for doubt. The only way to get to certitude is to look more and more deeply into our doubt- to shine a light into the dark corners of our self-division….Stephen Cope