Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dharma in Real Life

I'm going to begin a post category called "Dharma in Real Life" that will explore situational applications of the Dharma in day-to-day American experience.  This will draw from both my family's experience and the activity of others (incidentally, if you have a story of this nature that you'd like to tell, you can either comment on specific posts or email me at SouthHoustonSangha@gmail.com and I'll post it for you either anonymously or as a credited source, whichever you'd prefer). 

My husband and I are blended-family parents of a teenage daughter who is growing up as a religious and racial minority here in the Deep South, and whose life largely revolves around current American consumer culture and our local public school system.  Does this reality present daily (often hourly) challenges to my mindfulness?  You better believe it.  Does our social environment require me to consciously revisit the Dharma as a means of coping?  To an extent that I can scarcely believe.  Am I regarded by others with misunderstanding, suspicion, and sometimes outright hostility because my activities reflect interpretations that draw from the unfamiliar (to most Americans) wisdom of the Dharma instead of a more culturally-accepted wisdom tradition such as Christianity?  Just about every freakin' day.  There's much to be learned and shared within this arena of awareness, and none of it is remotely philosophical, lofty, or theoretical - it's nitty-gritty everyday practical stuff.

Those of you who grew up in the 1960's and 1970's may recognize that the phrase "Dharma in Real Life" is a transpositional pun, a play-on-words of "Drama in Real Life", a popular Readers' Digest magazine column.
This is a random example of a published compilation of "Drama in Real Life" stories presumably selected from the magazine.  This popular and long-running pop literature series has been described as "gripping and hard to put down".  Here's a a link to a relatively recent example from the Canadian edition of Reader's Digest.  Screengrab above from
When I first decided to apply this punny reference to this blog category, I thought to myself, "I better go online and apologize to whichever Dharma practitioner was the first to make the explicit association between these two."  But to my surprise, there apparently hasn't been any other cross-cultural word play of this type.
It doesn't seem to matter which search string I use - I can't find any relevant associative references.  Plenty of people use the generic phrase 'dharma in real life', but I could not locate any specific titular usages, nor any reference to Reader's Digest.
At any rate, stay tuned for what hopefully will be gripping and suspenseful Dharma stories.

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