Why Dharma Brat?
Firstly I need to confess my obsession with Waylon Lewis the founding Ganesha at Elephant Journal, the shortcut to an enlightened life online! You will have probably read an article or two from Elephant Journal over the years, knowingly or otherwise. So, Waylon often uses the term ‘dharma brat’ when describing a specific demographic and whilst I’m not a Buddhist or an American (at least not in my current life incarnation guise/disguise) I’m on a big dharma ‘solving’ mission at the moment. The irony of that last sentence is not lost on me, by the way. I’ve got to the point where I feel bratty about it all. I’m treating life like a complex Sudoku that I don’t have the patience to solve. I just want the answer delivered to me, preferably in a palatable format, on e-mail. So I am owning my own label “dharma brat”. I’m getting frustrated with all of my inner yearnings and ‘what’s my path’ questioning. Like an impatient toddler waiting for a cheese toastie to cool down, I can’t wait to understand the direction of my life. I’m constantly trying to make everything mean something. Seeking answers to questions that will always be a mystery and pissed off with the miracle of the unknown and the yet to be revealed! I explore writing, books, tarot, art, Buddhist meditation, Vedic astrology, reiki, shamanism, creative expression, poetry, mantra, affirmations, The Artists Way, Gong Baths, The Four Desires, a bucket load of yoga and still I feel ‘stuck’. Don’t fret, I’m ok – not ready to run naked into the woods for good, just yet.
Not Fixating on the Outcome
Wise folks reassure me, (those sage few, that truly understand the Power of Now) that it’s not about the result, it’s more about the process – that I should not become attached to the outcome, just enjoy the journey. Hmmm, damn you wise folks and your sage, grey-haired, chin-stroking. I know in my heart that’s the way to go about things but then there’s my omnipresent head interfering again. To adopt this way of thinking requires painstakingly unpicking thirty-four years of conditioning – that who you are as a human is determined by the outcome of your actions. In a results-driven ‘doing’ society, it’s never acceptable to sit still, tread water, or just ‘be’. We are programmed to achieve. If we don’t, we’re lazy, lack direction, we’re not going anywhere. To be fair I came spinning off the hamster wheel when I left my last ‘corporate job’ five years ago but it’s still difficult to not try to stitch together cobwebs that look like a career path.
Seek and Ye Shall Find
What am I here to do? Is a question that haunts and taunts me most days. I feel like I’ve been in my waiting, transitioning phase for long enough, I’m bored of being a caterpillar, I’m ready to spread my wings and be the butterfly I feel like inside. I just don’t know what form my blossoming will take! (Buries head in hands) I have plenty of ideas but nothing sticks. When you feel stuck, trapped or like the ‘Hanged Man’ in tarot, waiting around of your own doing, unable to act it’s helpful to look back to see how far you’ve come. We often forget that all that has been prepared us for the moment we’re living right now. The other gem of advice my heart knows but my head chooses to forget is that sometimes we have to go in deep to discover what is really holding us back. Vrittis and vikalpa (Vedic words for negative mind clutter) need to be controlled in a kind way, much like a cute but troublesome toddler who needs a sleep to feel better about the world. According to Yogapedia:
“Classical yoga and the original yogic texts suggest letting all vrittis, including the vikalpa, go. Yogis are advised not to fall for fantasies and the trappings of one’s imagination. Instead, one should try to dissolve these ideas, recognizing their emptiness through yoga and meditation.
Although controlled imagination and visualization may be beneficial for yoga practice and daily life, vikalpa is uncontrolled and random, the kind of disturbance of the mind that should be avoided. There is also a term for useful, controlled imagination – kalpana – and this is used for visualization and opening the mind and body, as well as for the removal of obstacles and perceived limitations”.
I’ll pop it on my ongoing to do list! This is easier said than done, especially for creative folks who live in a world of creative imagination and visualization, my type of fantasy doesn’t like to be ‘controlled’. Wish me luck in controlling my inner toddler, maybe I need the mind equivalent of some Gruffalo reigns to keep things running smoothly.