What’s Your Dharma?

I remember standing at the top of my yoga mat, hands in prayer. Edward Clark told us to close our eyes. He led us to feel the energy, the consciousness within and around us.

Then he said, “Now ask, ‘What’s my dharma?’ “

I heard immediately, “To guide.”

We had talked about dharma earlier that day –  meaning our purpose or role, that which defines our path in this life. Edward said that his dharma is to inspire. Watching him practice yoga is awesome, in the real sense of the word. Grace, breath, possibility, energy. Knowing him is authenticity, love, mischievousness. I was inspired any time I’ve been around him, am inspired any time I see him.

My dharma is to guide. I have known that for at least 10 years… perhaps all of my life. I was at Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota 10 years or so ago, before I ever heard of Edward Clark. A park ranger led our tour, down into the cave, winding underground with twists and turns and branches off in many directions. He passionately spoke about the land, the rock formations, his own explorations of the caves. I was interested, fascinated – and I had been ambivalent about visiting the park at all! There are lots of attractions, National Parks, monuments and wonders to see out West and we were only there for two weeks. A big cave was not on the top of my Go-to list.

Then, deep in the cave, he had us turn off our flashlights. Darkness.

Complete darkness.

Like I have never known. Like we can not experience out here on top of the land- what with the sun, the moon, the stars, lights. Not even like closing your eyes – much, much darker.

As we left the park I realized that I wanted to be like him. A ranger, a guide – taking people, even those unsure of their desire to go, to the depths. Their own depths. Dark places. Places unlike what they have known. And light places. Glorious, blazing brilliance. Possibility. I want to show ways this everyday life can be fulfilling, sacred, joyful, fun, meaningful, graceful, achingly beautiful, and still perfectly imperfect and ordinary.

I’ll light a path. I’ll point to signs. I’ll offer a way.

I’ll keep exploring the landscape of my own soul, the intricacies of this life, and the power of love.

I’ll tell what I have seen, and heard, and felt, what I know to be true.

It’s my dharma.

What’s yours?

Close your eyes. Get still. Ask.


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6 Responses to What’s Your Dharma?

  1. Love this- thanks for sharing! I have an almost identical cave photo from our travels to Costa Rica last year. One of my “things” is to teach- I’ve been teaching, showing, tutoring, leading in some for or fashion since I was in elementary school.

  2. Liv Lane says:

    Amazing post, Lisa. Your dharma resonates, feels right on. Mine, like yours in many ways, is attracted to light….to shine, to illuminate, to point out all that glitters. Here’s to well-lit paths!

  3. Lindsey says:

    The image of you in the complete darkness of the cave is so powerful. Light and dark, the interplay between them, and the way they require each other, is a central theme of my life. xox

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