In Buddhism, essential wisdom or teachings are referred to as the dharma.
The dharma is a tricky thing to explain and truly do it justice, but in essence the dharma provides the framework for Buddhist theology and lays out clear guidelines for how one can live a life that is fully present and awake. I often like to think of the dharma as being a roadmap of sorts, a guide for consultation that helps me navigate with more clarity.
What gets tricky is how we use the dharma–some people read something inspirational and almost immediately start to beat themselves up with it, feeling they’ll never measure up. Others have a clear understanding right away and go straight into arrogance, puffing themselves up with how wonderful it is that they understand that which is so difficult for mere mortals to conceptualize. In Buddhism, you’re encouraged to stay present even to those responses, and use them as a way to get even more present.
“If you find yourself misunderstanding the teachings, the teachings will always show you where you’re off.” –Pema Chodron.
Everything that we experience in our lives can be used in this way–we don’t need to study Buddhist concepts in order to wake up to our patterns.
I started thinking about this in the first place when I saw someone post a link to an article on compassion and how it’s so great to be compassionate–alongside a little dig at the coaching profession.
My first reaction to seeing this was to roll my eyes back into my head at the irony. Before I knew it, I was off spinning my heels about how someone who was displaying such utter lack of compassionate non-judgment was…posting a link that encouraged people to be more compassionate and non-judgmental. Were they even reading the article that they were passing along?
Of course, my very reaction was just a furthering of the cycle–I was hardly feeling compassionate and non-judgmental, myself. What a teachable moment!
I began thinking about how this was an insight I’d gleaned just from seeing someone post a wee little online link–what other opportunities for noticing were presenting themselves, all of the time?
Anything can be an opportunity for more waking up.
If you decide to start a running program, and half of you is always off in the clouds thinking about how amazing people will think you are rather than being present to the experience, that’s your insight.
If you decide to run a business but then falter before you even begin because you “just know” that you’ll fail, that’s your insight.
If you see that woman walk by wearing a halter top that some snarky place inside of you notes she should not be wearing until she gives up carbs and loses fifty pounds–that’s your insight.
We’re constricting ourselves into small mind, or we’re puffing ourselves up with Ego–until we stop, and notice, and become willing to just let the running program be running, the business be business, and that woman’s halter top to be that woman’s halter top.
In essence, we don’t really need to add our own layer of complication.
And when it comes to business? We’d all do well to remember that:
- Compassion is not a tagline, it’s a practice.
- Courage is not a tagline, it’s a practice.
- Kindness is not a tagline, it’s a practice.
- Integrity is not a tagline, it’s a practice.
Let’s all of us, and especially business owners, check our taglines and our about pages and making sure we’re practicing what we’re preaching.
We don’t need the Big Awakening. The spiritual warrior inside of you already has quite the arsenal of spiritual experiences waiting for you, cleverly disguised as being “simple, ordinary life.”