Following Dharma

I find myself in the messy middle of a life transition. Normally, I like to wait until this period has passed before I proclaim any newfound wisdom. It takes time to process life lessons into something useful for yourself and others. And yet, it is in the chaos of change where life happens in the most profound ways.

Today, you find me in a period of intense outward search. The last 7.5 years have been a deep inner search for truth, meaning, and peace. In my daily practice of meditation, demands of parenting, and respectful partnership, I have explored much of what brings me true happiness and found it fruitful. I have proven to myself, as we all seek to do, that my joy is found when I give love unconditionally and when I cultivate the peace in my own heart.

That inner journey never ends, but having reached a certain steadiness in it, my life has turned outward to search for Dharma (right-action / service). What is it that I am to do in this world? Is my part to continue to raise money for worthy charities? Is it to continuously rise and fall from positions of responsibility with the changing tides?

There has been, for sometime, a nagging sense that I am missing something essential in my service/work. I see that I have these organizational skills, I see that I can magnetize money to support that which I believe in. But, I am missing something that has been awakened by my inner practices and by motherhood. I am missing my heart.

My experience as a product of spiritual community has shown me that there are alternative ways of living in this world, ways that are more sustainable and more joyful. But, it has also taught me that I am unhappy if I avoid human suffering and separate from others. More than anything, I have learned to live in my heart. I am here to help others, of that I am certain.

As institutions crumble around us and climate change threatens all of the humanitarian gains of the last thirty years, I yearn to explore the possible in a new paradigm. I count myself among the many well-meaning humanitarians who, being alien to the societies that I serve, has a growing concern about the efficacy of the sector. And I no longer feel satisfied merely communicating on behalf of others, I feel drawn to roll up my sleeves and do more.

As I continue through this period of curious exploration, I am reminded by the guides around me and by my own Self to approach this moment with the tools that I have been developing. Rather than leading entirely with my professional nature, I am working hard to tune into Source. And here are my practices:

  1. Ask my Gurus to guide me: Thanks to a suggestion from a dear friend, I’ve written a cover letter to Babaji asking him to help me to choose my life’s work in accordance with my soul’s highest aspirations. I keep it on my altar and review it daily.
  2. Double-down on meditation: when I sit to meditate, you are sure to find me beginning and ending with prayers to be guided to the right path forward.
  3. Knock on every door: I am knocking on all the doors. Whatever opens, I walk through for at least a few steps to feel out whether it is the right direction for me or not. Intuition is difficult to feel or hear when it is swayed by likes and dislikes. Sometimes the only way to know if something is right is to try it on.
  4. Be brave: For me, pleasing others is a strong impulse. So, this period requires me to be brave and step forward regardless of what others think is best for me or what they want me to do. Even the best intentions from others cannot lead me, for my path is my own to walk and must feel right for me to do.

I hope to share a new chapter in the near future, but who knows how this will unfold? One foot in front of the next. One day I will look back on this time of my life with insight and wisdom for what it taught me. So far I found this to be true: it is the scary unknown that brings the most growth. So, I’m banking on the continuation of that truth, I’m letting myself get uncomfortable in order to grow.

Sending love and light to all of you out there. Let’s be brave and walk our paths in friendship and love.

Published by Gita Matlock

Gita is a writer, speaker, and nonprofit professional. She earned a bachelors degree in international studies from Pepperdine University and a masters degree in nonprofit administration from the University of San Francisco. She has traveled extensively and held leadership positions with national and international nonprofit organizations. She was born, raised, and now resides with her husband and two children at Ananda Village, the first of eight cooperative Kriya Yoga communities founded by Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda.

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