Heatwaves, snowflakes and Dharma diamonds — continued…

Marianne wanted coaching on creating a life strategy. She had heard that a Vedic chart could give her perspective on her life, which would help her make good choices. She was frustrated by the challenges facing her generation such as poor job prospects, student loan debt and climate change (see last week’s blog). I told her that every generation has its unique problems, but the task for each is always the same – to rise to the challenge; and also, that the timeless principles of the Dharma Diamond were the best way to do that.

“Where do we begin?” asked Marianne.

“Let’s start with a bit of wisdom. An idea that is well known but not often practiced.”

“I’m listening.”

“‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world.’”

“Gandhi, right?”

“Yes. That’s right, Mahatma Gandhi said it, but it’s an ancient idea. We can try to fix the outside, but our control is limited, temporary and often illusory. Wisdom tells us that we transform the world when we transform ourselves.”

“OK. Transforming ourselves changes our perspective. Is that what you mean?”

“It’s much more than that. In the book Presence, Peter Senge quotes Master Nan from China, who says that …

‘… if you want to be a leader, you have to be a real human being. You must recognise the true meaning of life before you become a great leader. You must first understand yourself.’

To change the world then, we have to change ourselves, and be the change we want to see. This means achieving self-mastery. Only then do we have the ability to create genuine change for the better.”

“What do you mean by self-mastery?” Marianne asked.

“There are symptoms, such as self-control, quietness of mind, moral and ethical development, the ability to delay self-gratification and the ability to see the long-term consequences of our actions.”

“Not much evidence of that nowadays,” she said.

“Perhaps not. The question is, ‘do we find that evidence in ourselves?’”

“How can I achieve self-mastery then?”

“You can start by acquainting yourself with the principles of the Dharma Diamond — truth, respect, purity, and effort. These are four fundamental facets of anyone’s life. Take a moment to think about how they define your life. Are they strong in your life? Or are they weak?”

“I think I need to understand their deeper meaning and what they represent,” she said.

“Yes, that is the work we are going to do together. The first step is to ask yourself what is your truth? What is your meaningful purpose? How do you define yourself and your contribution to the world?”

“And respect… what do you mean by that?”

Respect relates to the quality of your relationships and your dealings with the world around you. Your relationships are the field into which you express your life purpose. Your relationships will be better when they are guided by the principle of respect.”

“OK, so it seems to me that truth and respect mirror each other.”

“That’s right. They mirror and support each other when they are strong and diminish each other when they are weak. A good example of the power of these principles is Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement, which was explicitly based on truth and respect. He was guided by both in all his choices, which is what gave him the power to secure Indian independence from the greatest empire of the time.”

“And purity… that one seems abstract to me.”

Purity comes from the Sanskrit word for ‘cleanliness or refinement.’ It relates to the values and ideals we live by. It symbolises our highest ideals and the ‘best we can be’. Its function is to eliminate what stops us living our truth and realising happy relationships through respect.”

“OK, so it is more abstract.”

“Only in the sense that it relates to how we think and feel. So, it’s subtle. Otherwise, it tangibly defines our quality of life.”

“What about effort. Is that about work?”

“In a nutshell, effort is the passion we have for our life. Effort is the engine that energises the other three principles and ties them together. It’s the means for realising all of them fully in our life. It symbolises the energy, discipline and self-control we need to live well in the world.”

“There is a lot in all that. I think it’s going to take some time for me to understand fully how to use these to craft a Dharma framework for myself.”

“My job is to show you how to do that,” I said.

“And will that framework help me eventually achieve self-mastery?”

“Yes. In time and with patience your framework will guide your actions and choices, and will help you achieve the best results possible in your life.”

“And for the rest of my generation?”

“Yes. Why not? The four are facets of everyone’s life. Consciously working to increase their strength in our lives will benefit anyone and help them live a full and happy life.”

“Shall we get to work then? I am keen to build my framework.”

How do you then define your essential truth?”



Feel like sharing?


  1. Rasangi

    Thank you for posting how to help people practically apply the Dharma principles to their lives!
    It always start with us doesn’t it. I have my work clearly cut out for me if I observe myself, my thoughts and my life all the time! I can use the principles of Dharma to set my barometer and to take my temperature at any time. What are the qualities of my thoughts, am I feeling magnanimous toward others and myself or not? Then I can take action to adjust and redirect my thinking to more uplifting and energizing thoughts. Just one example of how useful I am finding the Dharma Diamond as you call it, to be in my own life and with clients!

    • Michael Geary

      You are right Rasangi. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. You can sum up the purpose of Dharma as a catalyst for reflection. It is meant to help us hone the quality of our thinking and our actions. Hope to see you on my blog from time to time Rasangi.


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