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Your Dharma Is What Is in Front of You

by Patrick Huff­man

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I think that this small story may res­onate with a few peo­ple who find them­selves in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion to mine, where we strug­gle to find a bal­ance between liv­ing a “nor­mal” life, and liv­ing a dharma. There is nor­mal life with a job and/​or duties that do not, at least on the sur­face seem like dharma, and there is a spir­i­tual life.

I used to think that some peo­ple were for­tu­nate to have an occu­pa­tion that is directly help­ing peo­ple in some way, and they have found a way to apply the knowl­edge directly or indi­rectly to help peo­ple. That is, they can use the chan­nels and the knowl­edge that Swami blessed us with in their occu­pa­tion. Of course we can all use them at one time or another dur­ing any day, but some jobs are just more con­ducive to using them directly, such as the med­ical field, or hos­pice work for exam­ple. I think that is a great stroke of luck or great karma that some peo­ple were inspired towards such occu­pa­tions. I was never so inclined.

Since leav­ing Penukonda, after Swami’s samadhi, I have found myself liv­ing and work­ing in Alaska for approx­i­mately half of the year. Ini­tially I was ecsta­tic to return to Alaska where I had worked years before, in what seems like another life. I was back in Alaska and it’s amaz­ing nature, pure nature, where I felt I would have the oppor­tu­nity to digest some por­tion of the real­ity I had wit­nessed and lived in Penukonda. It felt right, and of course, it was.

I was quite happy at first, just to be there, to be mak­ing some money again, pay­ing some bills, or maybe plan­ning a trip or buy­ing some­thing friv­o­lous just because I could. Liv­ing a nor­mal life. The nov­elty of being back in Alaska even­tu­ally wore off, and I was just work­ing. I was rec­og­niz­ing that one part, I was just liv­ing a “mechan­i­cal” life again, and it began to wear on me. Soon I was caught in the inescapable nag­ging feel­ing that I was com­pletely wast­ing my time. At first I tried to med­i­tate more. Then I tried focus­ing more on the knowl­edge that Swami released. Then I tried doing both, and was becom­ing less happy with my situation.

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I think that many times peo­ple can cre­ate a false sep­a­ra­tion between our “nor­mal” life and our “spir­i­tual” life. At least that is what I was doing. I would go to work, and then after work, try to prac­tice my spir­i­tu­al­ity. As I put more pres­sure on myself to live this dou­ble life, I real­ized that I was not doing a good job at either. My frus­tra­tion grew and every­thing suf­fered, my work, my sad­hana, my rela­tion­ships, my inspi­ra­tion, everything.

I believe that one of the most asked ques­tions of Swami was, “What is my dharma?” We wanted it spelled out clearly, what to do, where to go, with whom will I do it, etc. One night as I was rumi­nat­ing on my men­tal state, I found my thoughts return­ing to some­thing that Swami had said years before after a sim­i­lar ques­tion. He answered, “Your dharma is what is in front of you.”

I thought, OK, my dharma is here, in this moment. You put me here,’ (I love to blame them). ‘What­ever I have to do today is my dharma.”

So, how did I make it feel like dharma? I started ded­i­cat­ing every day to Baba. That was the trick. That was the one step I made towards him that allowed him to make 99 towards me. It did not mat­ter how far the tasks of the day seemed to be from what my mind said was dharma. I did it all as if it was seva to Baba. I would pour the first cup of cof­fee in the morn­ing for the Boss. I would do the dishes as if they were Baba’s. I thought of my job as seva.

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The results were pro­found. First, it made my job much more pleas­ant, and I became much more pro­duc­tive at work. It was not just mechan­i­cal work any­more, and a means to an end, it was seva, and it felt good to do. I devel­oped a new sense of dili­gence in doing what were once mun­dane tasks. Then I noticed some­thing really amaz­ing. It was con­ta­gious, and every­one around me started to be more atten­tive to the jobs at hand, and we all were enjoy­ing our work and our work­ing together. It became a joy. We had the wind at our backs, and prob­lems just evap­o­rated in front of us.

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Since that time I have found that seva has again become a joy to me, wher­ever I am. If I am help­ing my Mom in her yard, or what­ever, I do it as a seva and I ded­i­cate the results to him. When I do that, every­thing is a dharma. Now I am in Lay­tonville and work­ing on the new Baba tem­ple here, and I feel blessed to be able to do it. It is a bliss to be in this Datta energy again, and engag­ing in a more direct way, bring­ing his energy to the west. By focus­ing on other work as seva, it has become just that. “Your dharma is what is in front of you.” I just needed to acknowl­edge that. It fills me beyond words to walk into this beau­ti­ful lit­tle tem­ple now.

That is his grace.

with love,

Patrick Huff­man

Patrick-Headshotv2 Patrick began his stud­ies with Sri Kalesh­war in 2000 and worked closely with Swami in Penukonda, India until his mahasamadhi in 2012. He is a cer­ti­fied teacher, healer and Vaastu con­sul­tant He cur­rently spends his time between the Divine Lin­eage Heal­ing Cen­ter in Lay­tonville CA, Bend OR, and Alaska.

“I will be with you, the moment you think of me, at any place.” –Shirdi Baba

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