What is my "Dharma?" What is my Purpose?
I had every intention of waking up on my birthday early to practice gratitude and meditate. However, as it turns out, I had a restless night, then opened my eyes early in the am, only to find myself face down, planted in my pillow and my back screaming at me. A very subtle reminder from the Universe that every day is perfectly imperfect. So I embraced the message.
If you've read my recent posts, you know that I view my birthday as an opportunity of growth. I "train" for my birthday, Truth be told, this year I was not referring to workouts, but an exploration into a deeper understanding of my health and how it effects my lifestyle, or vice a versa.
In August, I will complete 500 hours of Yoga Training. I stepped into Yoga a few years back, to enhance my flexibility, and, to destress from work before heading home.
When the Yoga door opened, my curiosity about my journey peaked. I began to recognize that Yoga is not only the physical Asanas, but it's a path into your deeper Self. So, I decided my birthday milestone of better health and fitness, would now include the element of Spirit.
It was the perfect storm for me - Yoga, my increasing age and the Pandemic. The trifecta of "greater awareness."
I was never afraid of the Pandemic. I found I was open to the sudden pause it placed on my frenetic lifestyle. During that time, my awareness and curiosity about life grew larger. I stumbled upon the concept of "life's purpose." In Yoga the Sanskrit term is “Dharma.”
In the "yoga" world, and, in many ancient spiritual practices, there is a belief that we are all part of a divine energy that is in every living form that inhabits the earth. We are all truly connected - the birds, the trees, our dogs, our partners, etc. Each living creature is here on a journey. Each living soul has a purpose to fulfill - Their Dharma
Dharma/Purpose isn't necessarily a job. Dharma comes from Sanskrit and means many things but all of them are related to the path and duty of man. Some specialists translate Dharma as a "goal in life" or "moral principles."
Sahara Rose defines Dharma beautifully- “The word Dharma is an ancient Sanskrit word that refers to your soul’s purpose—the big reason why you are here,” Sahara says. “And it’s not just what you do, but how you do it, and why you do it. Your dharma is not a career, or a project, or a certain role you play. It’s the unique vibration that your soul carries to everything that you do and every way that you are.” For instance, someone’s Dharma can be to bring beauty to the world, and how they do it can look in so many different ways, such as through being an artist, an interior designer, or a hairstylist.
How you live your Dharma, or not, is up to you. As Yoga teachers, we are taught the "Yamas and Niyamas," the ethical codes to living.
In following the "Yamas and Niyamas" we place ourselves on a path of truth - truth that resonates with our physical being as well as our divine awareness. For example, we can chose to live our life with anger in our heart and soul projecting it at all that we touch through our interaction. Or, we can seek to live a life in harmony with all souls - albeit a bird, a tree, a dog, your neighbor.
Identifying your Dharma is only the first step. Living your purpose and respecting all life, knowing that each soul is living their own Dharma, without judgement is the second and the more challenging.
When you see a homeless person on the street, you may not chose to give them money, but you can smile at them. We can chose compassion over judgement, love over hate, silence over gossip.
This year, my spiritual challenge is following my Dharma. I believe I have identified my purpose, now my goal is to perfect how I live it. I hope to love more deeply, for example, knowing that the sad soul sitting on the park bench with their life's belongings in a small bag seated next to them, only needs a knowing loving smile instead of being ignored.
What’s your Dharma?