Passion, Dharma, Purpose?
I’ve been writing and speaking for several years about finding your passion, following your dreams, listening to your heart’s whispers to find your true path — no matter your age. One point that I’ve strived to make is that true passion is not just about doing what makes you feel good. It’s not all about you. It’s about discovering what gifts you have to bring more light into the world. Passion is purpose — whether this purpose involves changing a career, following an artistic or musical talent, organizing to make changes in the community, volunteering to help neighbors in need, or making a point to commit random acts of kindness.
With a pandemic wreaking havoc on what we thought to be “normal,” many are feeling that their path of passionate living has been blocked. They’re spinning their wheels. They have to just wait until the world is back to “normal,” before proceeding.
But, here’s the thing. We are in the darkest time in the world that we have experienced for generations. No time darker has existed in my fifty-eight years. We are in a midst of a pandemic that has affected livelihoods, public health, and social interactions. Added to that are the anger and fear due to political divisions and with more obvious social injustice.
Yes, many paths toward dreams are, outright, blocked. And many of us are too distracted from our path or too busy to even think about what we feel called to do. Parents, working from home, are caring for children who are distance learning. Countless families have lost loved ones to this deadly virus.
Accepting the Struggle
Since I began speaking about the concept of passionate living, one concept has become starkly clear: our true passion is our dharma, our right, and our true path. And dharma is not always fun. Often it is hard and involves some sort of struggle. However, the payoff is much longer-lasting and deeper, more authentic. We experience joy because we know that we have contributed to bringing light into the world.
“It is better to light a candle than curse in darkness.” ~ Anonymous
Maybe this “diversion” that we’ve had from our path of passion, this “detour,” is really an opportunity for each of us to dig deeper to find our true dharma. We are challenged right now. When the world is at its darkest and needs us the most, we must ask ourselves: “What can I do to bring more light into the world?” It may not be the path you were on before 2020 began. It may not be the path you will continue on when things open up again.
Or it might be the exact path that you discover is the right one for you. Perhaps, you will discover your calling after you were kind of floundering around, trying to discover it before.
But, right here, right now, at this moment, whatever gift you have to give — your smile, your energy, your kindness, your shoulder, your donations, your ability to communicate, your problem-solving — your voting, your helping others to vote safely, your taking time to educate yourself about civics, and then help others to learn about it, your compassion, your help in preventing the spread of a pandemic — you are being called upon to use any of these or all of these gifts right now, when we need it the most to bring light into to the darkness.
Accepting the Call
This is the path of the peaceful warrior, and we are all being called upon to follow that path right now. This is passion, this is purpose, this is dharma. It’s not glamorous. But anyone who has truly done the hard work of following their passion knows living a passionate life is rarely glamorous.
Come on, my peaceful warrior friend. Let’s take this path together! Andale! Let’s go!
This is a post written by Dr. Mara Karpel, author of The Passionate Life: Creating Vitality & Joy at Any Age. To learn more about Dr. Mara, please visit her website.
Photo by Diego Jimenez on Unsplash