A Pessimist's Guide to Manifesting 13: The Law of Dharma
What is the single most important step to being happy?
So, last week we discussed the Law of Will and how to get out of your own way by realizing that by aligning your ego-mind with Divine Will, you will receive what you wanted anyway.
That leads us to the concept of Dharma this week.
Your Dharma is your life purpose. It is what you, and you alone, are here to do on this planet in this lifetime.
Early in this series, I suggested that you should have big goals; goals that are in service to others and make the world a better place. You are a unique individual and there is something that only you can do on this Earth. That is your Dharma.
By realizing this purpose, you will be living in alignment with your innate skills and interests. You will therefore live a happier life.
Rather than grinding your life away at a job that merely provides you a paycheck every week or two, waiting for retirement, you will be able to wake up every day excited for what lies ahead of you.
In his book, Blue Zones, Dan Buettner described an interesting language phenomenon in Okinawa, Japan.
The people of Okinawa do not have a word in their language for retirement. Instead, they have the word, ikigai which roughly means “that which makes one’s life worth living,” according to National Geographic.
This is living with purpose: Waking every day to excitement about the present moment, eager to encounter the day.
Isaiah Hankel also described this idea in his life-changing book, Black Hole Focus.
How do most of us live? Sadly, we dread waking up in the morning because we know we’re just going to work or some other obligation. We’re excited for weekends, vacations and, far off in the distance, that mysterious, mythical tropical island known as “Retirement.”
Living this way, we are wasting our talents and our lives.
Waking with these negative feelings only increases our resistance to manifesting our desired, happy life.
This is why so many people think the Law of Attraction does not work for them. They wish for something better, but maintain the vibrational, emotional outlook of their present discord.
Discovering your purpose may just be the single most important step in manifesting your ideal life.
How do you discover your purpose?
Well, take some time to focus on what brings you happiness. What things interest you and fulfill you?
The question now becomes, why aren’t you doing them every day? How can you turn your purpose into the work that you do and be paid for it?
Ego-mind would have us strive for a paycheck and an illusion of security. Instead of following your dream to become an artist or historian, you instead take a job in computers or accounting because, “That’s where the money is.”
And you go to work each morning dreading the boring and tedious nature of your existence. On the weekends, once you recover from the negativity that you surround yourself with for five days, you come alive as you engage with your hobbies, fulfilling yourself and bringing joy to others.
Then Monday comes. Again. And again. And again.
This type of life is a death spiral. (Yes, technically, by default, life in general is a death spiral, but here’s a newsflash: YOU ARE ALLOWED TO ENJOY THE RIDE.)
When you have an idea of what your purpose may be, mediate on it.
Remove all of the distractions that surround you: Social media, television, radio, other people, etc. Take some time to quietly focus on YOU.
It’s natural for us to want to be part of a group, to feel included and share experiences. However, when these actions keep us from taking care of ourselves first, we lose track of who we are and what we’re supposed to be doing.
We start living to fulfill how others see us instead of living to manifest our purpose.
You are not on this earth to give up your Dharma for the approval of others. Stop trying to fit in by lowering your expectations and hanging out with under-achievers.
I can hear you saying, “But that’s selfish.”
Yes, it is. And it’s the healthiest thing you can do for yourself.
We’re told from a young age that being selfish is bad, that we should share and focus on making others happy.
How can you expect to take care of others if you 1) don’t know your purpose, and 2) don’t take care of yourself to have the strength to help others?
I like to call this the “airplane oxygen mask metaphor:” You are useless to others if you pass out first and can’t take care of yourself. Secure your mask before helping those around you, otherwise you will diminish resources there to help those who can’t help themselves.
It’s time to get focused.
In the era of social media, we’re more connected as a species than ever before in history. Yet, how do we use this amazing tool?
We post selfies, share images of our meals, shoot videos at concerts, and give away too much information on a regular basis. Oh, and we promote videos of cats…
How is this helping us discover our Dharma?
It’s not. It is a distraction created by our ego to feed our ego.
Using this technology in this way is nothing more than an advanced way of saying, “Lookit me!! Look at what I can do.”
And instead of sharing our true talents, we post a video of ourselves doing something foolish… because self-deprecation always garners a ton of likes. Seeing these “thumbs-up” triggers dopamine to be released in our brains and we become slowly addicted to repeating the process as we drunkenly feed our ego.
Social media is a drug keeping you from actualization of your higher purpose. It’s time to stop. As Nancy Reagan would say, “Just Say NO.”
(Oh, and yes, social media, just like drugs and other tools, does have a use and place for helping us improve our lives. Like tools and drugs, it must be applied with awareness for why we are using it, instead of allowing it to be a mere distraction from our boring existence.)
In this moment, it is time for you to declare a war on distraction.
To paraphrase Elmer Fudd: We’re hunting for Dharma. It’s Dharma Season.
Part 1: List the things that bring happiness to you.
What activities do you enjoy doing? What things are you really good at, better than anyone else you know?
What do others appreciate you doing for them (that you enjoy doing too)? Taking the trash out for your spouse may or may not apply…
Make a list of these activities. It does not have to be too detailed, just enough information for you to recall and reconnect with it.
Part 2: Focus on each activity separately.
As you focus on each of your noted actions, take time to sense how you feel about them.
Does your heart race with excitement when you read your entry, or does your chest feel heavy with dread? Maybe you feel butterflies in your stomach, good ones that tell you that you’re on a path of growth and challenge.
Just take time to sense the feelings that accompany your notes.
Do not rush this process. Be slow and deliberate. This is key.
Cross off those items that bring you a sense of unease.
Highlight the items that bring you a sense of happiness, joy and excitement.
Part 3: Mediate on the highlighted notes.
Find a place to sit quietly where you will not be distracted.
Turn off your phone. Turn off the radio. Place a “Do not disturb” sign on the door. Turn off the TV.
Disconnect from the world for 30 minutes. Give yourself permission to do this.
Relax. The world will still be there when you come back.
Look at your sheet of highlighted notes. Pick one item – the one that brings you the most excitement.
Commit it to memory, close your eyes and take a deep breath.
As you exhale, focus you mind on that activity and, more importantly on the good feelings associated with it.
Ask for imagery for how your life would look if you were living it with this as your purpose and focus. How would your life be different than it is now? How would you feel? Do you desire this to be your life? If the answer is yes, then what steps do you need to take to begin manifesting this as your reality?
When your mediation time is complete, add the answer to these questions to your notes. As you write, what one thing stands out to you as the first item you are excited to do?
Go do it. NOW.
After you’ve taken this action, please share your experience in a comment below.
Until next week, Make it so.