The Bliss Of Dharma


 At a meditation session the other evening I was sure I heard footsteps skipping towards me and then the sense of someone whizzing by, just as I was settling in for a long meditation practice. 

 I looked up and around, expecting to see a little girl, who in her delight, often runs across the room of the meditation hall. 

 Well, I couldn’t see the little girl anywhere and so presumed that after prancing across the room, Izzie, a friend’s three year old, had now left the room. 

 Now it happened that at the moment when I glanced around for the little girl, I noticed instead a young woman laughing with joy and looking directly at me. This was Shruti, my new friend.

 I smiled back at her and with a non-verbal gesture inquired if she had just seen Izzie, doing one of her characteristic dance steps? 

 In response, Shruti continued to laugh as she raised her arms with a 'I don’t know what just happened' kind of look on her face. A little perplexed, but warmed by Shruti's smile, I plunged back into meditating, presuming that I was likely soon to hear Izzie’s footsteps again.

 That, however, was not to be the case. The frolicking little girl did not re-appear.  

 Then, after the session ended, I was shocked to hear that Izzie had not been in attendance that night, (at least not physically!)   

 So I don't know what I heard or what happened, though someone made the comment that ‘it’s the Shakti’, a reference to the power and inspiration of the Spirit to lift human beings into new, delightful and surprising dimensions of being.   

 Maybe so. Maybe not. I don’t know. But of this I am sure that, I would rather be in such an environment of joy and laughter than in many other places I can think of, where the struggle is to try to survive the tediousness and boredom of the goings-on!

 My sense is that a sense of joy and delight increases to the extent that people experience together the energy of union with the Divine. 

 An enlivening energy appears when the open hearts and minds of finite beings align themselves with the Infinite. 

 This enlivening experience has been described as the bliss that results from finding your dharma, a word that has to do with a certain energizing quality of relationship between your essential self and the Divine Self. 

 It is said that to find your dharma, which is to find your life in relation to God, is crucial. It is said that if you fully live your dharma that that, more than anything else, will 'hold you firm‘ when you're up against life's inevitable vicissitudes.  

 To be out of alignment with your dharma, is a perilous state to be in. This is called adharma. This is an inwardly disordered state. In such a condition, you might, it is said, prosper for a while as you try to fulfill your many desires, but, sooner or later, you will ‘perish at the root.’ 

 You cannot, that is, remain for long, intact and whole, if you live your life in a state of disharmony with the Divine. You're likely to come apart eventually because you have ignored the most essential relationship of your life on the planet.  

 For we are either ascending or descending. Not choosing is, of course, the choice to descend. To keep on ascending, means that one's consciousness is continually expanding into the Infinite, into the Divine consciousness.  

 The question always to ask is whether in my life there is a dedication to engage continually in activities and pursuits which elevate or not?  And I have in mind here the soul stirring or soul deadening effects of the films we watch, the books we read and the events we attend. 

 The quest is always about determining to align oneself with the Highest.  The Upanishads, for example, issue a summons to seek the Real and to reject the Unreal.  

 Rabindranath Tagore, the great Indian poet, wrote about following one's deepest feelings into the realm of joy. "Man has a feeling”, he said, "that the apparent facts of existence are not final; that his supreme welfare depends upon his being able to remain in perfect relationship with some great mystery behind the veil, at the threshold of a larger life, which is for giving him a far higher value than a mere continuation of his physical life in the material world."  

 That level of spiritual experience about which Tagore writes involves a breaking out and beyond a merely physical and material existence into the eternal dimension, into transcendence. 

 The adventure is about finding, says Tagore, a truer life than a merely transient physical life. Thus, to be only concerned with success, is an empty way of living. Instead of merely seeking success we should, he says, be aspiring to "realize ourselves in the Immortal."   

 Life is not about, Tagore continues, cleverness, power and possession. His writings are full of his joy at discovering the sublime. For instance, in The Religion of Man he testifies: "When I was 18, a sudden spring breeze of religious experience for the first time came to my life and passed away leaving in my memory a direct message of spiritual reality."

"That which was memorable", Tagore continues, "was its human message, the sudden expansion of my consciousness. Suddenly I became conscious of a stirring of soul within me. My world of experience in a moment seemed to become lighted, and facts that were detached and dim found a great unity of meaning."  

 Tagore's experience was of that incomparable sense of joy and bliss that arises from union with God. Our dharma is to find that relationship with the Divine and to feed and nourish it without holding anything back.