"Rugby". This was the response I got to the beginning of term question: "so what extra curricular activity would you like to do this year?"
Nothing inherently wrong with rugby. It's just that My Eldest daughter happens to be 12, she's one of those elf like creatures, Japanese feet, (size 34) and fine beautiful features (the later of which I'd like to stay that way). She's about the same height as My Youngest daughter who is three years her junior. My Eldest is tiny.
My other daughter hearing the conversation joins in "and I want to do drawing classes". This may seem far more reasonable than rugby. But one has to consider that if you approach My Youngest with a request which borders on the creative, imaginative or artistic, she freezes - like a deer in the dark halted by the headlights of a car.
"Draw a tree!" is greeted with horror and slight trembling. She is an emotive type - ask "how are you?" and she'll present you with a thesis on her feelings of the day off the top of her hat. Just don't ask her to draw or invent anything.
Ok, each to their own Dharma - I wouldn't want to bludgeon a blossoming carrier in ball games or anything. However....
The reason My Eldest went for Rugby is because it's "different" (therefore cool) and the reason why My Youngest chose drawing is because her sister does it (and therefore it's cool too), the latter failing to realize that her request to spend free-time painting is fueled by wishing to live another person's Dharma: her sister's. A recipe for disaster.
Neither of them were recognizing (nor respecting) their true nature (in buddhist terms this would be: MOHA - which means delusion - or "ignorance" not as in stupidity but a kind of blindness or blind-spot keeping us from following our path).
All this made me remember my own devastating dose of Moha - when, after my secondary school education, I decided to study Business and Finance. Why? to get out of the poverty hole my mother had fallen into. I wanted to get away and I wanted to make money. I was deluded. I was not facing reality nor the nature of my self.
Stephen Cope in the very cool interview he gave on The Yoga Hour, gives some great suggestions on how to find our Dharma and how to follow it. As "yogis" this is our main task in life (it's not given much importance these days - finding and living ones vocation is thought of as being unusual and unnecessary, a little eccentric and indulgent and plainly a path towards poverty) but in order to live our life to its full potential, in order for our lives to be deeply satisfying and happy we need to start digging inward for that gold. As "yogis", following our Dharma should be pretty high up on our list of priorities.
There are three things that Stephen Cope says about Dharma which were eye-openers for me:
1. Often we have an inflated and therefore unreasonable idea of what our Dharma is (which makes it seem totally out of reach) - he says: "we don't have to give up our job selling insurance to go off and paint in Paris." Our path is probably far less "blingy".
and even better he states:
2. Our Dharma is very probably already in our lives somewhere, it's CLOSE. It's just a case of identifying it and directing our energy there to enable it to grow.
3. The universe has an uncanny way of directing us towards our Dharma - certain doors will start to open when we are heading in the right direction, whereas we may find that other doors shut when we're about to take up rugby.
If you are like me you are probably not very good at judging your own talents and gifts, ask someone who is preferably emotionally in sync to do that job for us: husband/wife/best friend/neighbor/father/teacher etc. Someone we esteem and who knows us well. What does he/she think our gifts and talents are? Then marvel and reflect.
In doing so you've taken an important step towards (identifying) your Dharma.