As you look over the 14 teachings below:
(a) Circle the 2 or 3 points that are the key ones for you.
(b) Give yourself a school-type grade (A+ to F) on the extent
you are now living by your inner truth, your dharma. (see items
9-14). My personal overall dharma grade is: ____
(c) Dialogue with yourself: How might I raise this grade over
the next year or so?
“It would not be easier to abandon your present responsibilities…
___ 1) All living creatures, even wise sages, act in accordance with their own nature.
___ 2) Everyone’s behavior is rooted in the thoughts and tendencies (vasanas) that predominate in them. This is the meaning of one’s ‘nature.’ One’s nature is extremely powerful.
___ 3) As your nature is so powerful and demanding, you might ask: ‘Why, if we are but pawns of our nature, should we even try to restrain it?’
___4) The answer: do not try to restrain your nature, but progressively try to improve your nature!
___ 5) Examine this thing ‘nature:’
a. Your own senses (which are a component of nature) are major stumbling blocks to your spiritual attainment.
b. Senses derive their power from the many likes and dislikes imprinted in your mind.
c. These strong impressions were planted in your mind by family, culture, and your own actions in this and previous lives.
d. This deeply imbedded system of mostly unconscious ‘likes and dislikes’ called raga-dvesha (attractions-aversions) is what gives rise to your thoughts, desires and tendencies.
This intensely habituated mental pattern is in large part what is meant by one‘s ‘nature.’
___ 6) The best thing to do with these demanding thoughts and desires is to transmute them into a devotional attitude, a desire for the Divine.
___ 7) When a new, more godly attitude takes hold, your old system of likes and dislikes melts, causing the fierce power of your senses to gradually dry up.
___ 8) Your desires are enemies when directed outward toward worldly attractions, but are allies, friends, when pointed inward toward your Divinity.
___ 9) Life in the body and senses is not an end in itself, but only a passing phase. Your senses should not be instruments that plunge you into muck, they should serve your interests, help you control your appetites, and help you dwell in Divinity.
___10) One’s duty in life is one’s dharma. You must live by your inner truth (your dharma) rather than your selfish desires.
___11) You have to do your duty, no matter how devoid of merit it may seem. Your own commitments are preferable to the responsibilities of another, no matter how well you may be able to do them.
___12) To avoid your duty merely because you have to do some things that you imagine are painful, is to violate your dharma—your inner truth, which is the root basis of your ‘nature’ and of your life!
___13) It would even be better to die doing one’s own duty than attempt to do the duty of another.
___14) Offer up all your actions to Me, Divinity, and then, with a perfectly clear mind and heart, go forth, fight this battle of life.”
Copyright 2006 Jack Hawley, All Rights Reserved (Enhanced Web Version 2017)