What’s your Dharma? And why is it worth knowing?
If you google the meaning of Dharma, you’ll find it means ‘to uphold and support’, ‘to follow ones deep spiritual path’.
The ancient text – the Bhagavad Gita – speaks a lot about ones Dharma and if you follow it, or know your own Dharma, you can be assured you’re following the path you’re meant to be on.
On the other hand it’s very common to be following another’s Dharma and when we do it never feels right. For example, employees who hate their job are certainly not anywhere near their Dharma. Throughout our life we can have different paths and therefore Dharmas as we grow. The first as a child our Dharma would be ‘to learn well, grow into a worthwhile human being and please our parents’. As a young parent maybe our Dharma is ‘to raise healthy well adjusted children’ or if there are no children maybe it’s ‘to find your purpose and the work that makes a difference to others’.
The spiritual teachings of Buddha also say that sometimes finding your Dharma isn’t easy.
For example, I spent many years in the corporate sector in Sales, Human Resources and Finance. They were great jobs with great companies and I felt I did my work well. However, I never felt as though I was doing my soul’s work.
A colleague asked me once ‘so when are you going to do your next level of study and move up in the ranks?’.
Internally I recoiled. It was the last thing I wanted. I could see the stress levels of many around me and watched the negative effects of striving for advancement in that field. I felt my own level of stress, insecurity about my job and knew my future employment was certainly not guaranteed. So without ever knowing about the meaning of Dharma way back then, I felt I knew what it was not!
Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, “It’s better to strive in one’s own Dharma than to succeed in the Dharma of another. Nothing is ever lost in following one’s own Dharma, but competition in another’s Dharma breeds fear and insecurity.”
In 1997 I walked away from the corporate life and straight into my own business. On one hand I was happier that I wasn’t answering to a boss and fulfilling someone else’s Dharma, but I still didn’t feel like I was doing what I was meant to do. I worked in the Network Marketing field – which may I add everyone should, at some point in their life, have a shot at. It taught me a lot, so maybe at that time my Dharma was to learn to step out of my comfort zone and learn about people and customer service.
However now, at the age of 60, with every cell of my body, I’ve found what I’ve been placed here to do. For me, as a Yoga Instructor, Meditation Teacher and Nutrition Coach it feels like I’ve come home. There’s no longer fear or insecurity. There is no longer a need to search nor is there a fear of ‘losing my job’. I’m not sure if I found my Dharma or whether it found me, but it certainly feels like we’ve come together beautifully in body and spirit.
This is not someone else’s Dharma in which to feel insecure – it’s mine, in which to thrive.
So my idea of finding your Dharma is that feeling of knowing you’re doing what you’ve been placed here to do.