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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Discovering Dharma by Chad Lilly

Why are we here? What is our purpose in life? This age-old question still hangs in our modern minds, unanswered as the day it was ask. And while there are a multitude of 12-step programs, self-help groups, daily affirmations, and personal growth programs committed to helping individuals find their true selves, the problem is ... none of them work.
Because only the soul can answer this question.
The Buddhists call it Dharma, or a souls path in life. A psychologists would classify it as 'Becoming Self Actualized'. Others call it Identity. In the diagram above, I call it Happiness.
Every human in the world today wants to be happy. We want to feel a sense of 'accomplishment' in our lives. As if something deep inside was driving us to 'be something' or 'do something' ... only we have never been told what it is we're here to do. And we've never been told how to discover it for ourselves.
I believe I have discovered a 'formula' for discovering dharma. An equation that shines light on our life purpose. A way for each of us to converse with our soul and have it answer that all-important question: Why am I here?
Note the diagram above. The three circles representing: Talent, Love, and Contribution. In the overlapping area in the middle you will find Happiness. Once you become aware of your talents, what you love, and a way to contribute to the world around you using them both ... you will know your purpose in life.
What are your Talents? What unique abilities have you been given in this life? Discover what you're good at and then work to refine your skills. There are reasons you've been given the talents you have. Whether you are mechanically inclined, athletic oriented, mathematically adept, scientific minded, or naturally artistic ... these gifts were given to you because they aid in acquiring your life's purpose. Your unique talents are the tools you've been given to build your destiny.
What do you Love? To dance? To create? Sports? Being a parent? What gets you out of bed in the morning? If you could spend your days doing one thing, what would that one thing be? What is your passion? Find out what you truly love to do, because 'when a man does what he loves, he never works a day in his life'. The thing you love doing the most is its own best reward. But you also need to learn what it is you really love to do ... because after the 'success' and the feelings of accomplishment and validation are acquired, love is all that's left.
How can you be of service to others by combining your 'God-given' Talents with what you Love? Some people don't know what they love and some people don't know their talents, but many who are aware of both have still not found a way to combine them into something that will contribute to the world around them. This results in frustration, apathy, and finally despair. And it's why Henry David Thorough wrote, "most men lead lives of quiet desperation."
The greater your service to those around you, the greater your 'success' will be, however, there are many among us who use their talents to make a contribution for the sake of money alone. They do not Love what they do, they do what needs to be done to pay their bills. These are trading their hours for a handful of dimes and no matter how much money they acquire ... Happiness still eludes them.
Aligning any two of the three elements in the equation may produce results in your life, but Happiness will still elude you. Two out of three might make you some money, get you a job, or bring you a new hobby to enjoy, but all three elements must be in alignment with your soul's answer before you will experience Happiness.
Each of us must ask our soul these questions and listen closely to the responses. For when we align ourselves with the answers and apply them in our lives, then each and every one of us will truly know who we are, why we are here, and exactly what we are here to do.
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