"Along the way, I have looked, too, at what we might call 'ordinary lives.' You and me. And what a bonfire of inspiration came from this study of ordinary lives. It turns out that among so-called ordinary lives, there are many, many great ones. Indeed, for me there is no longer really any distinction at all between great lives and ordinary lives.

"I must admit that this surprised me at first. If it surprises you as well, I suggest that you look carefully about your own neighborhood. There are people all around you right now living out their vocations — strange vocations you never even imagined. It is not so easy to tell from the outside whether someone is fully engaged in his dharma. This is because dharma draws forth an ardency so deep — and sometimes so secret — that it often cannot be detected by ordinary eyes. Perhaps the neighbor who you think is profoundly strange because he stays inside and collects stamps and sometimes forgets to put out his garbage and doesn't come to the annual block party — perhaps he is utterly involved in his sacred calling. Perhaps his single-minded efforts have lifted stamp collecting to an entirely new level of genius. Perhaps he has penetrated the mystery of stamps, or is about to do so. Inside he glows, but you cannot see it. But I tell you this: You are more likely to have X-ray eyes for such things if you are also pursuing your own dharma with the same ardency.

"And this brings us to you: Do you fear that you may have missed the boat? That you've become unmoored from your true calling and are drifting aimlessly out to sea?

"Here is another surprise that may buoy you up. Most of the ordinary people whom I have studied, when first confronted with the notion of dharma, imagined that for them to claim their dharma probably meant inventing an entirely new life. Giving up their job selling insurance and moving to Paris to paint. Quitting their job as a hospice nurse and sailing around the world solo. Not so. As it turns out, most people are already living very close to their dharma. Really. Within spitting range. What is the problem, then? These same people, close as they are to the deepest mystery of dharma, know very little about it. They don't name it. They don't own it. They don't live it intentionally. Their own sacred calling is hiding in plain sight. They keep just missing it. And, as we will see, when it comes to dharma, missing by an inch is as good as missing by a mile. Aim is everything.

"Come with me, then, and with my fellow students of fulfillment as we tell the story of Krishna and Arjuna, and as we tell stories of great lives that vividly reflect the principles of living as they are laid out in the Bhagavad Gita. Bring your fears and neuroses and doubts; do not leave that excellent fodder behind. Bring your desperation and your most ardent wishes for a full life. Gather 'round the fire with the rest of us ordinary human beings, as we investigate the not-so-far-fetched possibility of becoming fully alive."