Sunday Feb 08, 2009
The Snooze Button
Before launching into a career, it is astute to find your dharma first, and then go on from there.
This approach is contrary to what most of us have grown up with, where you decide your occupation based on various factors, such as status, security, aptitude tests, and society’s demands—none having to do with dharma.
When I was in high school and college, I remember a slogan that was hyped on TV and billboards: ‘If you want a good job, get a good education.’ Although this self-fulfilling prophecy seemed well advised and harmless at worst, it was, in retrospect, insidious propaganda, and especially misleading for the artist who must educate herself.
This promise of a well-paying position bolstered by the security of a pension was rampant among the baby boomer generation that grew up believing in a dream focused entirely on material acquisition that was bogus. If you define yourself solely based upon your temporal possessions instead of your art, then don’t be shocked when you become fodder for being soul-wrecked on that crowded and naked beach of despair.
There are far easier ways than art to pay the rent and make your fortune. Who would willingly choose a life of hardship, rejection, and swimming against the current values of the mainstream? Note also that those who choose a life in the arts for the wrong reason may be as unsatisfied as an accountant who knew in his soul that he should have been a jazz pianist.
During my school years, I had never heard or read that finding your purpose in life came first.
My intuition, however, had provided me with an empty feeling to get my attention. You have to wake up to realize you have been asleep.
Don’t hit the snooze button when you do get that wake-up call.
I find most students are still uncertain as to what fields they wish to specialise in even when they are at college or art school. I think it’s important to think ahead of time as to what one plans on doing with their career.
When you’re very young, the future seems that it will go on forever. Finding your purpose is a test, if won, that will last for a lifetime. Most of my buddies in college were clueless about their dharma—and I must add me to that list.
Like you often write: if you want depth, you must dig deep.
Feeling your way toward purpose and meaning takes courage. This awakening can happen at any time.
There is a difference between being a required (and even well payed) cog in the ship of state and inventing your own mode of transportation.