Dharma: A sanskrit word from the verbal root √dhr, which means “to make firm” and “to nurture and sustain”

“Do your dharma.”  This phrase is repeated incessantly throughout the great Indian epic, the Bhagavad Gita.  Dharma is often translated to mean “duty” and in the case of the Gita’s beloved protagonist, the great warrior Arjuna, Krishna’s directive to him: “do your dharma,” clearly means, go and fight.  Go do your job, Arjuna.

And then we are to apply this to modern life…

Students frequently have a tough time making the concept of dharma relevant and relatable (with good reason).  The text is being plucked out of a time where your duty toward society was predisposed from birth.  (Arjuna was born into the kshatriya [warrior] caste so his dharma was decided for him.)  If only it were so easy, right?  For most of us, the whole challenge in the first place is figuring out our calling, our life’s purpose, our job, our dharma.

Like this all to common pickle:

Is it my dharma to leave my job and x (e.g. be a life coach, be yoga teacher, feed the hungry) ?

Or is it my dharma to do my current job and leave my fantasies behind?

The answers aren’t always so easily identifiable.

So how do we identify our own unique, personal dharma so that we can then, “just do it”?

First, don’t think of your dharma as being limited to just your occupation.  (In fact, last weeks post was on this. if you missed it, check it out "You don't want freedom")  In summation, the big question is always: what do you really truly value?  Get crystal clear on that.  Make it so solid.  And commit to it.  (Again, if it’s tripping you up, then think outside the realm of job-stuff.)  Think ethics.  Think about what people you value.  Think about how you actually like to feel.  And then nurture all of those things in your life as if they were precious million-dollar-money-tree seeds.

  • For instance,

  • if you really value honesty, commit to being impeccable with your word and that will make you unshakably authentic, even when there is temptation to speak dishonestly.

  • if you value a friendship or a relative, reach out and make the time to see that person.  Nurture the relationship.

  • do you have a significant other or a child or anyone in your life that deep down in your core, in your heart, in your soul, you love?  Tell, show, and express that.  Make it your priority to allow that person to feel heard, understood and appreciated.

  • If you feel best when your body feels cared for, wake up early to do that oil pulling thing or to have some healthy breakfast before you leave in the morning. Whatever it is, once you commit, you’ll get out of bed if thats what it takes.

  • or maybe you really value SLEEP.  Honor that by turning your sleeping quarters into a damn-near bat cave with the darkest blinds you can find and turning off all lights & sounds that could even cause 3% disruption of your ever most sacred slumber.  You just may find yourself falling asleep less on the couch and eagerly tucking into bed instead, signing off for the night with a sweet little smile.

Committing to ourselves by way of what we value, is a sacred vow we make to/with our own hearts.  It says, my soul comes first and in the things that light it up, I am unwavering.  This tenacity makes our path and our choices clear.  Everything in our lives, even choosing an outfit for the day is definitive and precise when our path is clear.  We move with ease… and exponentially greater ease as we accumulate more definitive YES’s to ourselves, our path and our worth.  And doesn’t that ease feel so good?  So much better?

I leave you with this food for thought until I see (some of) you tonight:

“But even without conviction in the eternity of our deepest human Self, birth and death present simple matters of fact: what is worth living and dying for? What really counts is Dharma.” – Poised for Grace: Annotations on the Bhagavad Gita from a Tantric View

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