Thanks to a recent workshop I attended, I’ve been reading and savoring Rod Stryker’sThe Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom. It is a book so dense with chewy bits of information that I find myself constantly having to push the plate away in order to digest and scribble notes in between mouthfuls. The deeper I wade into each chapter, the more I understand and assimilate its ideas, the more I see their truth alive around me.
Take for instance, The Dharma Code.
According to Rod (and actually, the Vedics centuries before him,) the Dharma Code is your life’s unique intention, the path you – and only you – are meant to take. It is not a set of goals to achieve, but rather an overarching statement of purpose that is hard-wired into your being. It is in many ways your raison d’être, and the book contains exercises, meditations and contemplations to help you uncover it. “(…) The Four Desires and the process it leads you through are designed to enable you to uncover your life’s purpose and, by helping you to cut through life’s inevitable distractions, enliven your capacity to fulfill it.”
The Dharma Code is your mission statement, articulated and refined. As a graphic designer, nothing makes me happier than distilling complex ideas into tidy expressions of trust (that’s what a logo is, by the way.) The process of arriving at my Dharma Code was so similar to the design process itself, that the two have fused into my own set of personal brand guidelines. For example, over the weekend I saw a very cute pair of shoes and instead of torturing myself with “Should try them on? Do they even carry my size? Would I have to buy ten other things to make them work? Can I even afford them?” I thought to myself, “Wait a minute. What is my sartorial Dharma Code?” Within a minute, I had ascertained that the shoes neither aligned with, nor exemplified, the umbrella declaration of who I am. They were off-brand!
The idea of the Dharma Code has reminded me of something the artist Chuck Close said, “Never let anyone define what you are capable of by using parameters that don’t apply to you.” (Chuck Close obviously knows his Dharma Code!) It’s about putting into words what’s valuable to you, and figuring out how to align everything in your life so that everything serves your unique purpose. I’m finding it beneficial in my design and art practice, and am looking forward to seeing how it unfolds on the mat.