The Call of Your Dharma
The oldest wisdom in the world tells us we can consciously unite with the divine while in this body; for this man is really born. If he misses his destiny, Nature’s not in a hurry; she will catch him up someday, and compel him to fulfill her secret purpose.
– Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (president of India, 1962Â -Â 67)
Why am I here? What is my real purpose? What should I be doing with my life?
Have you ever muttered those words as you pressed the sleep button on your alarm, awoke with a gentle groan as you faced the beginning of another week in the disguise of Monday?
They say that without self-understanding, without aim it can be challenging to see the ‘bigger picture’ in life, especially when things go wrong, and we are left in a whirlwind of confusion; both about ourselves and how we respond to others.
I have a friend, Margaret, who is in the middle of a separation with her husband. The reason for the separation stems from a deep discontentment within her and a feeling of her husband ‘not appreciating me’. This sounds like a fairly common cry from women, but the second part to this story show’s us Margaret, who for years has been pining to complete her nursing degree, yet has never taken a step towards this due to other commitments getting in the way. Now I ask you, if she was filling her own dharma. If she was to take the plunge and enter into an experience that would offer fulfillment to an internal longing, would there be less pressure on her husband to fulfill her needs that she seems to not want to do for herself?
Kind of confronting questions for the beginning of an article, hey? But my point is, when we hear the hearts calling from deep within, and do everything we can to silence or muffle it, we are bound to begin projecting this unmet need onto those that we love and cause external chaos rather then creating the path towards our Dharma.
But what is this thing called Dharma, you ask with your hands flailing and your heart pumping. If we look towards the classical Indian text Bhagavad Gita, we learn that Dharma means ‘right action’. We could even see the word Dharma as a condensed version of “Given my nature, my skills and talents, and my personal preferences, what’s the best way for me to support the greater good now?”
Hmmm, what’s the greater good? It seems that there is an epidemic of people flailing to find their inner compass, and the consequence is an absence of spiritual and emotional orientation. This turns into a global concer
If we want to take this a step further, for your own health (without a green smoothie recipe) and if our biography becomes our biology, then the further we stray from our true mission in life, the more frustrated we will become, and the more out of sync our energy will be resulting in sickness and health crisis!! It seems when you are working well with your energy you are also making the best expression of your personal power.n as we then ask ‘What good is it to the universe to have a planet filled with souls who have no idea whatsoever why they are here and what they are supposed to be doing?’
Okay, so what are some steps we can take to being the process of finding our Dharma?
Time to Get your Meditation on
Okay, so first things first is we need to go inwards, stop the madness and mute the volume on our ever persistent thought machine, the intellect. You need to tiptoe your way around this intellect so it doesn’t get a chance to catch you and convince you that you should be doing anything other then meditating at that moment. Through simple breath awareness, you draw all of your senses into a big group, and pull them into your body, rather then letting them be entertained outside your body. Then you ask the question you have been dying to know the answer to, “What is my purpose” or something like that. Then, you have to wait and play a game of patience.
Ensure to have a notebook beside you so when you come out of your meditation (I would say anything less then 15mins and you may as well do the shopping list), you can write down all the images, thoughts, emotions that came to you. Don’t censor anything. It is all useful!
Lists lists and more lists
Okay, now you need to get busy with writing down every single thing that you were passionate about as a kid, and yes, that means that astronaut dream, you just never know what that initial interest might reveal. What did you love to do at school, which subjects did you love the most? What sports or after school activities did you participate in? None of it is irrelevant, the innocence of childhood meant that we didn’t think things through when we made a decision to play badminton or become a library monitor. Unless it had something to do with detention or pushy parents, there are clues waiting to be discovered here.
Create a Dharma Code
Rod Stryker has a brilliant book, The Four Desires, and the following exercise is a shorthand version of one from his book:
Step 1: Imagine yourself celebrating a significant birthday.
Step 2: Think of 4 individuals who know you well. Think of the way in which they might describe how you lived your best possible life â€“ life lessons, philosophy, patterns, relationships, and accomplishments. Write the thoughts in the voice of the 4 different people you envisioned.
Step 3: Read through comments, and highlight words and phrases that are compelling.
Step 4: Compose a list from the compelling words as a draft of your dharma code.
From the yogic perspective, achieving a rich and fulfilling life, a life of meaning and true fulfillment, is all but impossible without first becoming clear about your soul’s unique reason for being. Once you start to get a glimpse of it though, you will be surely enthralled by the way things begin to fall into place.
No work stains a man who is pure, who is in harmony, who is master of his life, whose soul is one with the soul of all
-Â Bhagavad Gita