Dharma is a Sanskrit word that is often translated as righteous living, but the word has a far deeper connotation than its everyday translation. The ancient wisdom texts from India, known as The Vedas describe dharma as the mainstay and pillar that support all life. Dharma is sustained by an inner wisdom and cosmic guidance that governs not only the individual, but the universe itself.
To follow your dharma, you need to follow your inner guidance. What makes this difficult is when there are many other voices vying for your attention, and drowing out you listening to this inner voice. These could be the voice of your own mind, of the people around you, the culture ingrained through generations, the voice of your conscience, the voices of beliefs and expectations and a whole cacophony of others.
To find the path to your true dharma is outlined in the Bhagavad Gita. You can adopt one or all of the yogas to take your first steps on your path of purpose. When you consciously take each step, the path itself will start to pull you forward, in the right direction for your part in the universe's story. Thus, walking this path is not about conventional success, but about authenticity. This arises when you cultivate harmony with yourself, your thoughts, your words and in your actions.
Start by looking for your path of joy
This will be the easiest path to your purpose. Think about what makes you feel excited, alive, awake. Books? Food? Travel? Wherever your joy is, that’s where your purpose lies. Your soul is so alive in your emotions, so listen to them. When you are faced with a choice between fear and joy, always follow your joy. Find those things that fill you with joy and your purpose will find you.
Synchronicity is a sign that the universe uses to show you that you’re on the right path, the one that is aligned with your dharma. You are always guided through your next step, you just need to follow those guiding lights. Synchronistic coincidences are guiding lights along the path to your purpose.
Letting go is most essential to your purpose. Let go of what you think you are, to be what you really are. The more your life is cluttered with things, people, events, habits and routines that no longer serve you, the more you will not have room to let in those people, things and events that show up to actually serve your true purpose. Each day, make a conscious choice to let go of something unessential, so that your life will open up to receive, recharge and realign with your purpose.
The daily practice of Meditation and Yoga
Meditation and yoga may be a good daily practice to incorporate into your life. These practices not only help you maintain a healthy mind-body, but also align you with the deeper aspects of the union of human consciousness with that of the universe. Or, practice anything else you’re drawn to, whether it's walking a labyrinth, gratitude journaling, or playing the piano. It is important to work it into your schedule so it becomes a centring and grounding ritual.
The busier you are watching the clock, the more important it is for you to find time to do nothing and just be. But the quality of your “nothing” matters - watching television doesn’t count. Playing games on your phone doesn’t count. And checking email or Facebook certainly doesn’t count.
Shut off everything and simply walk away. Go to the beach for a day, take a hike, or go on retreat. Slowly learn to build these pockets of “nothing” into your every day, to invite more “being” into your life. This will provide you you with opportunities to align with the cycles of nature, the energy of the universe, and the Presence that is present.
By using your talents and gifts to express yourself in the highest way possible, fulfills your potential and purpose, and if everybody dos this, a community and society full of dharmic beings is created, who will then create a more conscious society, planet and universe.
Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.
Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography
Travel with Shanti & Peter Gowans this November for a trip of a lifetime.