Take the Dharma Challenge

Life is full of difficult decisions. Get some practice making them by contemplating the following scenarios.


It’s the morning of a workshop your company is putting on. You’re in charge of logistics, and in an hour 45 people will be showing up to register. As you’re stepping out of the shower, your daughter comes in with flushed cheeks and a 101-degree fever. Your husband is out of town, and you can’t get the babysitter on the phone. Asking the questions, Given that I want to fulfill both responsibilities, what will best serve the situation? and, How would someone I admire handle this? contemplate and decide what would be the best way to deal with this dilemma.

You’re a popular and gifted professor and have just been offered the
position of dean of your college. You don’t see eye to eye with the university’s administration and dread having to work closely with them, but your colleagues are begging you to take the job and improve things for them—and the job offers a major salary increase. Apply the dharmic yardsticks of, What would be of most help in this situation? and, What feels personally right, given my preferences and skills? Then make your choice.

You’re in a committed relationship, but you run into an old lover and start an email correspondence. All of a sudden you’re spending hours on the computer exchanging emails, and you’re fantasizing about restarting the relationship with your ex-lover. Use the following questions as your criteria: What would the wisdom of the Golden Rule—Do unto others as you would have them do unto you—suggest I do here? What would someone I admire do? What would serve the highest good in this situation? Then decide what you would do.

Sally Kempton, also known as Durgananda, is an author, a meditation teacher, and the founder of the Dharana Institute. For more information, visit