Your Dharma

Only recently have I come to understand what this, my own challenge, is all about. The mystics and sages of the East have understood it for centuries and even have a word for it: “DHARMA.”

According to the ancients, everything in the cosmos – – an electron, a galaxy, a plant, an animal, a seashell, a grain of sand and a human being – – has a DHARMA: its own natural order of being, the expression of its own highest purpose in life. The Dharma is like a tiny ray of energy that points each being to its own true magnetic north. That thing, that quality is inseparable from what they are.

YOU have a dharma that is inseparable from you; it’s your essential nature and your eternal quality. It is the deep calling of your soul. It’s your special contribution to the forward progress of humanity. Yogic healing states that emotional and physical distress result when one is not in dharma. Seen in this light, how important it is not to “miss the mark.”

“Would you be made whole?” asked Jesus “To be or not to be, that is the question,” said Shakespeare.

Dharma, according to Eastern Philosophy, is the law that upholds, supports and maintains the regulatory order of the universe. Pretty important, huh?

So how do you know when you’re in your dharma? Here are some hints as explained by Deepak Chopra:

*When you don’t think about what you’d rather be doing.
*When you lose track of time.
*When time stands still.
*When you are experiencing true joy and ecstasy meeting the needs of others.
*When you are discovering your inner reservoir of creativity to share your unique gifts with the world.

[Are traditional schools places where people are apt to discover or experience their dharma?]

How do you make money living out of your dharma? 1.) Through service: becoming expansive and wealthy by acting in service of others. 2.) By making conscious choices in choosing a career, job or partnership so that it aligns with your dharma. Ironically, service is the eternal religion of the living entity – – service to the complete whole.

Here is a quick quiz you can take that will reveal if you are living in your dharma:

“Go to your bosom: Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know.”

Find your own tiny beam embedded within your magical double helix and relax into who you really are.

Why You Were Born

As you saw in the July 10th blog, “The Day the Vision Came,” I’m all about unlocking human potential. That day was the second most important one of my life, according to Mark Twain who said:

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

I found out why I was born that day, and have been on a rugged path of astonished amazement, determined non-conformity and dogged persistence ever since. While on this decades long journey, I have come to have the highest regard for each human being on the planet, realizing that each little baby, busy child, teenager, grown-up and every single crusty old person is a one-time, unrepeatable, never before seen, never to be repeated event in the universe.

Similar to those jewel-like bits of sand (see July 18th blog), each person is an exquisitely beautiful, unique, complex, strand of DNA, brimming with possibility.

That is my outlook on life. It fires me with enormous inspired energy and sometimes simply absorbs everything I’ve got, so challenging is it. The vision of the kind of learning center needed for such magnificence has created a lifetime quest that simply will not leave me alone.

And why were you born? Stay tuned!

Attention Beach Lovers

Once in awhile something comes along that stretches my mind into new territory.

The human race has been walking on beaches for centuries, never giving the sand itself much thought until Dr. Gary Greenberg came along.

Oh, my goodness, who would have ever imagined? Trust me, you must see this.

As our perceptions of both microcosm and macrocosm expand, I believe it requires a new expansion of our hearts as well: a new respect for the glories of creation and the forces that produce them.

I wonder what else I am oblivious to that is right under my nose (or toes).

The Hardwiring of Humanity

“The child is the model the adult must imitate in order to change himself” said the famous, early childhood educator, Maria Montessori.

Observing babies we can discover just exactly how we ARE wired.

* We are wired to survive.
* We are wired to explore the environment actively and interactively using all senses.
* We are wired to move the whole body – – to MOVE. (Not just sit still.)
* We are wired for joy: great joy and comfort in the process of learning.
* We are wired to experience failure and learn from it.
* We are wired to never tire of trying.

Hmmm – – what happens to this drive, curiosity, and joy as we grow up? Just guess. Yep, – – we adults take over and try to tame it: put it in a box called a classroom with a control person called a teacher, using a tactic called “fear of failure.” Then, by golly, we can just about snuff it out entirely.

The Day The Vision Came

Please pardon the length of this blog today, and most especially if you are a visitor who has already read it. This chapter from my book, BREAKTHROUGH TO BRILLIANCE, is a true story about the most amazing day of my life. (It is just that I am trying to lay some groundwork as a later reference.)


One cold January, many years ago, I had a terrible, feverish case of the flu, two small babies, under age two, and no help. It was on this day that I looked at something “everybody else had seen, and thought something that no one else had ever thought.” (The essence of discovery, according to Albert Szent-Gyorgyi!)

Trying to figure out some way to make it through the day with my two babies, ages 9 months and 18 months (who were used to crawling all over the house) was no small matter. I was truly sicker that I’d ever been in my entire life. My throat felt full of coarse sandpaper and razor blades, my head was pounding, and I was dizzy and nauseated every time I lifted my head from the pillow. Every muscle felt bound with iron cables. It was clear that I certainly couldn’t leave those babies in their beds all day and listen to them cry. Neither could I give them the run of the house. They could easily choke on something or pull something over on top of themselves. Putting them in bed with me was not an option. I was one weak pup.

I finally hit on a scheme. I would confine them to my carpeted bedroom, pile my bed full of every sort of article I could find that was new to them, put those babies on the floor, and see how long I could keep them entertained. Dragging my weak, sick self from room to room with two large laundry baskets, I finally managed to round up all sorts of objects – – everything I could find with smooth edges, interesting shapes, colors, textures and safe moving parts or things that fit together. I searched cupboards, closets, and drawers — everyplace. I finally came up with scores of intriguing things, mostly just common, real, daily life objects and even a few toys (new to them since Christmas).

As I lay on the bed, alternately sweating and chilling, I would select two items, toss one to each and hope for the best. It worked like a magic trick! They quieted right down and went “to work.” After a time, I became mesmerized with drowsy fascination watching them, and tried to predict which object would give me the most time. Things with moving parts won. They also liked taking things apart; then trying to put them back together.

If they had worn glasses and lab coats, I could have been convinced that my babies had become little scientists. Chubby fingers touched every square inch, as big wide eyes examined each object. Sooner or later the thing would be tasted, gnawed, and sniffed. Then it would be squeezed, punched, smacked, and scrunched. Next it would be shaken, listened to, rolled and banged against something else. After that it would be lifted, scrutinized and examined from every angle. If they discovered something interesting along the way, such as a noise it could make, they would shake it over and over again. At last, they would try to take it apart, tear it, or reconfigure it. How hard they were working! How thorough they were in their investigations! How quiet and busy they were! And if they discovered a moveable part, they might spend a long time trying to figure out how to use it. (Yea!) And if they got it figured out, they would just sit there and do it over and over again. Then suddenly, one would be done with an object, throw it aside and start to act restless again. Plop! Down would go another object from my stash and the process would start over.

By sheer coincidence (or divine providence?) the afternoon mail delivered the book EDUCATION AND ECSTASY by George B. Leonard. It was the book club selection of the month.

Never in a thousand years would I have thought there might be a way to connect education (my own had been pretty dismal) with ecstasy. But there, right in the bedroom floor was evidence that ecstasy connected with learning actually existed. Never had my own babies spent such a totally joyous, fulfilling day! They were happy! They were good! They were calm! What a tip-off for future reference! I now realized how many times before they had just been crying to signal mere boredom.

By mid-afternoon, I was wishing I had about another thousand items to throw from the bed. In my feverish state, I imagined my little ones crawling right through the walls and taking up the exploration of the whole world, so they could be happy forever!

One thing I now knew for certain: my babies’ drive to learn was unstoppable, and the key to their deepest happiness. Did you get that? THE DRIVE TO LEARN IS UNSTOPPABLE AND THE KEY TO THE DEEPEST HAPPINESS. Hold that holy thought, for on it hangs the rest of my tale. I now saw them with new eyes. I realized that their chief motivation, drive, fulfillment and happiness in life was to learn and discover. It was natural, normal, totally built in and ready to propel them forward. All they needed was freedom in an environment that supported such exploration to the ends of the earth (or universe).

Was it just a thing in babies I wondered? Did it apply to adults as well? Meanwhile, reading Leonard’s book, between my “toss-overs,” I was becoming more convinced by the minute that true learning was indeed meant to be an experience of ecstasy. His words were falling on wide, alert eyes and a hungry heart. I deeply took in every word I read, agreeing with it passionately. It stirred huge, fresh thoughts in me. I felt like a new part of my brain had been activated.

Around sunset, I stood looking out my bedroom window, thinking how grand it would be to have a perfect place for my children to keep on safely exploring everything on the planet. The thought of this incredible drive to learn ever being squelched now seemed Tragic with a capital ‘T.’ Knowing that within a few years they would be confined to desks in a classroom left me incredulous. I had seen something so amazing, so precious, and so hard to believe that I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.

Not only that, but after observing them, I realized that all babies have the same miraculous and glorious potential, the same beautiful drive to learn. Suddenly something seemed terribly wrong, like a Christmas tree with all its twinkle lights disabled. My babies were in a world that didn’t recognize or accommodate this glorious power. The realization of this piercing fact left me shaken to the core.

“Oh dear God,” I prayed, as I stood looking out across the cold, grey landscape, “what IS the answer?”

Was it the sudden shaft of misty, golden light in a darkening winter sky, or was it an effect of my feverish brain (and thus my over-stimulated imagination) that made me think I was receiving a divine revelation? I don’t know. But at any rate, I saw, as clearly as I have ever seen anything, an amazing place, perfectly prepared, and open for all to learn about everything in the world. There, before my eyes, was the perfect learning environment. I stood transfixed at what I gazed upon, noticing every detail. What a beautiful place it was! It was a bit like a shopping mall: there were people strolling, seeking, exploring, and learning as they went. They were not shopping for merchandise, but instead, they seemed to be seeking experiences that helped them discover and understand new things. All ages were there, from babies to senior citizens. Everything was very orderly. It seemed both intricate and simple. It was a magnetic place, compelling to the senses. There were no teachers, no classrooms, and no textbooks and yet it was obvious that true and deep learning was going on everywhere. Everyone seemed totally free, extremely happy and intensely motivated. I wanted to see more and more, even go there myself, but soon the vision faded, darkness came and the realities of my life came back with a thud.

The vision left me dumbstruck. It was so “beyond words” that I literally couldn’t talk about it for years. There didn’t seem to be any adequate vocabulary pertaining to “education” that expressed how it made me feel in my heart to see people of all ages so happy, so absorbed, so transformed.

Friends and relatives wondered why I wanted to talk about “education” all the time. It was the only word I knew that seemed related to the visionary learning place. After all, hadn’t Mr. Leonard connected this word with ecstasy? (Oh, if he had only known how he, by using the word “education,” was throwing me off the track and would cause me to wander in the wilderness for decades!) I felt propelled to do something so I decided to try to change “education.” For many years, I basically went about doing all manner of foolish and useless things. I earned a masters’ degree in School Administration and Supervision, driving ninety-five miles round trip every day, until I finished with a 4.0 average. I then undertook an extensive door-to-door canvas to assure myself, with documents and questionnaires, that the community heartily endorsed my plan. Soon after, I became the first woman ever elected to public office in my small southern county. I served on the school board and managed to convince the town to build a new “open space” learning facility.

Working hand-in-hand with the supervisor of instruction, I proposed a hands-on learning scenario, which became tagged as “The Practical Arts Program.” This actually won national awards, causing people from Washington D.C. and around the country to visit it. I fervently worked in all sorts of capacities at the local, regional and state levels. Some people actually thought I was making progress and doing a good job. I received awards, accolades, publicity and congratulations.

But I knew the truth. Something was wrong, terribly wrong. There was a monstrous gap between my vision and what was actually going on, and I couldn’t figure out how on earth to fix it. I didn’t run for re-election to the school board after my six-year term, but instead turned away from trying to reform “the system.” I focused on enriching my own children’s learning, but I also began to go up all sorts of blind alleys looking for venture capitalists, “angels,” and philanthropists to help me make my dream come true. Most of those people and organizations, however, were still thinking “inside the box.” But several of those who “got it” actually tried to “appropriate” the ideas you’re about to read, and so I was encouraged that perhaps I really was “onto something.” I learned to keep most of it “under wraps.” Frankly, nothing I did truly advanced the cause. After my children were grown, I decided to explore my own learning potential and discovered that, just as I suspected, I actually had plenty of it (just as we all do). I taught myself to play a musical instrument, traveled and hiked all over Europe, learned to paint, researched human capabilities, studied ancient history and biophysics, read extensively and joined mind-stretching discussion groups.

Since then, countless brief incidents and divine glimpses into the learning power of children would cause my heart to skip a beat. Again, I felt the keen sense of tragedy about how their potential would be ignored. Finally, urged by friends and relatives to write a book, I decided to just throw it all “out there.”

Strangely enough, it was only in doing so that the real truth finally became crystal clear to me: Traditional education has a fatal flaw. The harm it is doing is inestimable, and much to blame for many of the planet’s ills. The bad news is that all efforts to fix it have been, and will continue to be, in vain. The good news is that we can simply side-step it. We no longer have to believe that it can reform itself, nor wait for this to happen.

The Power of a Vision

If you have already explored the website of Hamilton Learning Foundation (, then you have some clues about my central theme. If you haven’t fully explored it, I urge you to do so. It has been very carefully conceived and created over a period of two years in an attempt to convey a new way to look at humanity.

By the way, kudos to my wonderful web master, Paul Klein of Knoxville, TN, whose technical genius is surpassed only by his creative brilliance.

As you will learn, my message is radical and my vision is a provocative one. It has nothing whatsoever to do with politics or religion. I am not out to persuade, to start a movement or to gather a following. I’m not a “front-woman” for any other organization. I’m not interested in either fame or fortune. (I’m a person who cherishes quiet solitude and happen to have just the right amount of money to last me to a ripe old age if I live simply, which I prefer to do.)

So what motivates me? It is the pure white burning passion of mine that started over four decades ago, changed my life profoundly and became a watershed event from which everything since has been referenced.

“A possibility is a hint from God. One must follow it.” Soren Kierkegaard

Independence Day

Maybe it’s my mountain heritage and the fact that I was descended from some mighty hardy men and women that I so cherish the notion of independence. It goes hand-in-hand with the words “freedom” and “self-reliance.” Just hearing these words spoken puts steel in my spine.

“Daddy Bull,” my maternal grandfather, is a case in point. Tall, strong and handsome, with dark hair and black, bushy eyebrows, he became known for his plainspoken way of coming right out with what he really thought. He was the silent type, but when he said something, it was worth hearing. Often it was deeply wise. Sometimes it was quite colorful. Mostly it was just his own truth, wrested out of these old hills and his very challenging, self-reliant life. Even as a child, I recognized his strength in not cringing or “making nice.” I liked it. It made me feel secure.

Our freedoms are to be deeply cherished, especially the freedom to say what we really think. In fact our very freedom often depends upon doing so.

The Divine Template

So there you have it, I am a mountain woman and a world traveler, but I am also in my deepest soul a mother, a grandmother, and a nurturer with three adult children and six young grandchildren. I especially adore very young children because I see in them the original pattern for humanity, the way we were intended to be before the imperfections of our world twist and scar us: so delightfully alive to each new moment, each new person, each new thought, each new day and each new possibility of the turning seasons.

I love a little child’s naturalness, bold frankness and unbounded curiosity. This aliveness and joy combined with an almost manic drive to discover are among the sweetest and most wonderful things on earth, and yet are almost universally ignored and deliberately destroyed. I am swept off my feet by a sense of the raw wonder of the human potential. But I am aghast at the ways we waste it, thus totally missing the very thing that can evolve our species and help us join the larger cosmic community.