Wednesday Feb 26, 2003

No Dharma Bum

I had come out of successful meeting with a producer in Los Angeles.

At one point in our meeting, he turned to me and uttered those immortal words: “Hey, y’know, I’m a big Hollywood producer.”

He did produce quite a few large grossing films and had worked with some fine directors as well. Although he was a big time producer, his proclamation of that fact seemed to me absurd.

I made my way to a favorite Brazilian cafe in Santa Monica to relax and draw while waiting for the late afternoon rush hour to pass before my trek to the Hollywood Hills where my two Yorkies—Larry and Beau—were guarding the homestead.

After a bit of time, a statuesque dark-haired woman came over to my table.

“May I see what you are drawing?” she said in perfect English in a Brazilian accent.

“How about seeing a finished piece?” I said.

“Most certainly,” she said.

I pointed for her to join me. As she nuzzled into the high back wooden chair, I took out my portfolio—I always carried some finished artwork with me.

I showed several pieces. She nodded and cooed with approvement and in a rich tone.

“You sing,” I said.

“I do. I am the lead vocal with a Brazilian band working now in Los Angeles.”

We talked about her singing and the evocative sound of Brazilian music. Eventually, she asked me about myself.

I answered her in this fashion.

In this society the overriding question among those who want more from life is this: “Why are we here?”

That’s collective thinking and the wrong question: The question they need to ask is this: “Why am I here?”

When a person can herself this question,  all outside clutter falls away and the possibility for clarity comes into the picture.  And this clarity is called dharma, or purpose in life, in Hinduism. Dharma is not about a job that you’ve been trained for or accepted as part of social conditioning; it’s about why you are here in this material realm. If you’ve come here to sing, then isn’t that beautiful because no one can sing what you sing better than you do?

She smiled as if we were making contact.

Each person must discover his own dharma. No one can do it for you.

“And how do you go about finding your purpose in life?” the dark-haired singer broke in with a harmony in her voice.

This is the big test. You must first be brave and willing to see your self as you really are before you can begin the journey to find your own true self. I know. It sounds, maybe, paradoxical. How can you be other than your self? And that is something each person must discover in the process for themselves.

“So, your dharma is an artist?” she said.

“I have been on a long journey and have miraculously discovered this to be so.”

“Your work seems abstract. Do you do figurative work, too?”

“Would you like to see for your self?”

She tilted her head and threw her hair to the side.

As we drove up Sunset Boulevard toward Hollywood, I said: “I have two little boys waiting who will be happy to meet you.”

“And a wife, too?” she asked in hushed tone.

“No. Two little boy doggies.”

Note: For more about dharma, read Divine Fire inside the main site gallery.

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