MKE, Week 23: Dharma as Destination

“I do not wish to expiate, but to live. My life is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady. I wish it to be sound and sweet, and not to need diet and bleeding.” –Emerson

We often live our lives just surviving, going through the motions and pushing through one day to the next, from weekend to weekend, from vacation to vacation…if we even take time to reward ourselves those moments. I am guilty of the same…work hard to play hard, push through then recover. But who are we doing it for? For what are we doing it? We shouldn’t need to “diet and bleed” our lives to make them tolerable. We shouldn’t have to constantly run from our daily experience to some fantasy land in our minds. Nor should we create a life that is all glitter on the outside, yet unsteady in our hearts. These are the downfalls we experience when we live our life in the expectations of society or for the approval of others. 

“The objection of conforming to usages that have become dead to you is, that it scatters your force. It loses your time and blurs the impression of your character. (…)so much force is withdrawn from your proper life. But do your work, and I shall know you. Do your work, and you shall reinforce yourself. ” –Emerson

As I emerge from this Master Key experience, coupled with deepening my relationship to a yogic life, a bird’s eye view of the last two years reveals all of these offenses at play. I see that I’ve been conforming to patterns that are dead to me; I see that time has escaped me and my understanding of my true Self has been skewed; I see the force withdrawn from my proper life. All of these feelings are actually what pushed me into joining the MKE in the first place.

I love the way I can help people through massage therapy, but the system is imbalanced in it’s effort versus compensation. I am fed up chasing jobs, working hard to make money for other people, while slowly damaging my precious body. I am tired of being at the beck and call of others to only be thrown a bone or two. What kind of life is this?! Not one I intend to live! I had forgotten my Dharma. I had forgotten what I lived for and just lived for what I was doing…to make money, to pay the bills. This is Not what Emerson means by “do your work”. He means YOUR Heart’s WORK! Do the WORK to create the life your heart craves, and you shall reinforce YOURSELF. 

As much as I work to follow my heart and lean into the callings of my intuition, I must admit, that sometimes those callings are necessary distractions, for the purpose of growth. When reading Yoga Psychology by Swami Ajaya, P.h.D. a month or so ago, I had a major epiphany. He describes: 

“If you wish to take a trip to a distant city, you may find that after going a short distance down the road, you become attracted by various sights or objects that present themselves. You may get off the road and follow one attraction after another, eventually becoming so absorbed in these distractions that you forget your original destination. Later when you remember, you return to the highway and resume your journey, only to be distracted again and again at many points along the way. Some distractions may be brief and others so prolonged that they may take years of experiencing various pleasures and pains before you once again reawaken and resume your journey to the intended destination.” 

“The way in which thoughts divert us during meditation is the same way in which various allurements and attractions of the world take us from our purpose and goal in life or from the movement toward experiencing greater joy and harmony.” 

WOW. My mind blew open seeing a completely new perspective of the detours away from my heart. Where had I been wandering these past couple years?! No wonder I felt so unsatisfied with my life. The MKE, like a road map, got me pointed in the right direction. And I remembered my destination. I see the detours I’ve taken, but I don’t regret the people I’ve met along the way, the things I’ve learned, or the ways it has helped home me into a new version of myself. 

Although I am pointed back in the right direction, I lost so much time and the traction I had gained over the years as an reputable yoga teacher in my small community. Much of that knowledge has been filed in the recesses of my mind, although the wisdom is still there. Recently, I had the privilege of witnessing a dear friend and colleague from that small town, coming into her own, launching her website and emulating the life I intended to create. I felt a bit of a burn…not jealously, but humility in realizing that I could be in the same place had I not strayed from my path. But rather than punishing myself, I saw it as a reminder and motivation to strive harder to manifest my goals going forward, even if, step by step, it feels bittersweet retracing the steps of a path I have already walked a portion of. 

MKL 23.10: The power of attention is called concentration; this power is directed by the will; for this reason we must refuse to concentrate or think of anything except the things which we desire. (…)much leads to more. 

Thanks to the practices of the MKE and it leading me back to lost portions of myself and my life, I have the concentration and will to focus on my dream life, my Dharma. I bless and admire the journey and lives of all the men and women that have blazed a trail similar to that of my own: an intention to share the Universal Laws of Nature, the Wisdom of Yoga, and the Secrets of learning to Listen to one’s Heart; the pursuance of refining the World Within.

“Few and mean as my gifts may be, I actually am, and do not need for my own assurance or the assurance of my fellows any secondary testimony.” –Emerson

And I do not need the approval of any outside source. I am enough, simply by being and walking my path. 

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