Last summer I worked my way through Rod Stryker's book, The Four Desires. Recommended and praised throughout the local yoga community, this meditation and exercise book aims to teach readers how they can take control to achieve a rich and fulfilling life. Skeptical at first (I was convinced it was some kind of "don't jump!" book), I was pleasantly surprised by Stryker's approach and found myself looking forward to the various activities and meditative practices.
As summer carried along, my notebooks filled and my mind remained blissfully distracted as I let myself get wrapped up in the beauty that an Oregon summer has to offer. I finished off The Four Desires, making a new home for it on the book shelf and moved along throughout my summer reading list. Many people know my love for books and the spell that a bound book has on me. Whether it's the crisp scent and cracking sound that a hardback makes the first time you fold back its cover, or the rich character of a favorite book; Mine often polluted with bobby pins aiding as book marks, folded down corners, and pencil markings. I take pride in watching my collection grow and smile when new books find their place among the colorful spines of its new neighbors against my black shelves.
I hadn't thought about The Four Desires since I had finished it. I didn't see myself ever re-reading it like I did so often with favorites such as East of Eden and The Sun Also Rises. Yet this past week, I pulled out last summer's notebook and plopped on the couch, in search of a quote that I knew came from another book that I had read the previous summer. As I searched for the quote my eyes caught notes from the work that I had done with The Four Desires, and there right in front of me in black ink was my dharma code.
[What the hell is a dharma code? Below is an except from the book describing it:]
"When you know and choose to serve your soul's driving reason for being -- what I call your dharma code -- you are able to collect and channel extraordinary power into your life because you are then linked to the infinite field of energy and intelligence that shapes our world. Once you are rooted in your soul's defining purpose, you are able to use your dharma code to direct every action and decision from the light of your soul.
A dharma code is each person's individual expression of his/her dharma or soul's purpose. It is a statement that clarifies your soul's reason for being. When acted upon, it is a principle that will benefit not just your own dharma, but the larger or universal expression of it as well. In uncovering and articulating your dharma code, you are providing the opportunity for your soul to direct you to be more fully yourself, and in so doing, to contribute more effectively to the benefit of the world.
According to the ancient teachings, each and every one of us is born with a distinct and glorious purpose. Thus, your soul's unique purpose -- your dharma code -- is hard-wired. It is not something you consciously decide. Your soul's purpose came into this world with you, even if you are not yet aware of it. It has always been a part of you. It's up to you to uncover it -- to bring it to a conscious level -- and then make living by it your priority."
I was disappointed with myself to see my dharma code tucked away in a shelved notebook, so I have decided to resurrect it. I spent a lot of time developing this damn thing! May I remember this as I work through the summer, forced to adjust my activities. May I remember this as I look for new work, eager to blend my love of fundraising with the outdoor and arts community. May I remember this as I wake up in the morning and look at my reflection in the mirror.
I present to you, my dharma code:
"Embrace that you are always changing.
Always giving. Always discovering.
Stay purposeful, but live freely."