I used to think that the sporty little Volkswagon car was called a Karma Ghia. I also used to think dharma was the name of the wacky woman on that TV show Dharma and Greg. I used to hate going grocery shopping, but now I love it. (Don’t give up, this will all make sense shortly.)
There are many meanings of the word dharma. I like best the definition that I learned from the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda. Dharma is quite simply what you are put here on earth to do. It is your calling.
Saxon and I have made a game out of finding people who are following their dharma. These people are pretty easy to spot. They’re always smiling. They’re happy. They enjoy their work. They make people around them happy. They’re surrounded by a bright, blinding light. Okay, I’m lying about the light part.
There’s a cashier at the grocery store where I shop that I believe is following her dharma. I don’t know her name, but I know I always choose her lane even if it’s longer than the others. She’s friendly and fun. She always smiles. She does her job and she’s good at it, but she does so much more than her job. She’s definitely following her dharma. And, no, her dharma is not to check out groceries. I think her dharma is to lighten other people’s loads. As she scans your groceries, she talks to you. She speaks with each and every person, no matter who. She has a way of picking up on what that person is all about. For instance, I’m a little shy and a lot introvert. It’s not easy to get me to share. But last time I went through her line, this cashier had me talking about my grandmother who passed away ten years ago. I told her all about my grandmother’s recipes I had gotten from my mother and how I was working through them one at a time. How the hell did she get me to open up like that? I really don’t know. All I know is that when I left the store, I felt a little bit lighter.
Every person has a dharma. Every person on this earth is meant to follow their dharma. It’s why you’re here. You don’t know what you’re dharma is? Here are a few clues to finding your very own personal dharma:
• What makes you happy?
• Is there something that makes you happy?
• When you do something, does it make you happy? If so, what is that something?
• Do you find yourself doing something that makes you happy when you are supposed to be working?
You get the idea. It has to do with what makes you happy. Deepak Chopra said that when you are following your dharma you lose track of time. You become so engrossed in what you’re doing that you aren’t aware of time. (Deepak Chopra also said, “If I married Oprah, she would be Oprah Chopra.”)
I used to think that writing made me happy so that must be my dharma. It took me about twenty years to realize that writing is not my dharma. Bringing laughter into people’s lives is my dharma. I just happen to do it through the written word.
What is your dharma?
If you don’t know, I encourage you to think about it. Find it. Nurture it. Care for it. Feed it. Offer it to others. You can make a big difference in somebody’s life. Even while you scan their groceries.
This is Dharma.
This is a Karmann Ghia.
Coming next month! My new young adult novel (ages 8 through 14) “Once Upon a Time Travel.”
Perfect reading for the child in your life. Or the child in you.