Finding Your Dharma…"You are the artist of your life."
As a Hindu I have been spending my life trying to find my dharma. For those not familiar with the concept, read the following description. Keep in mind that dharma is a complex concept that is hard to sum up into a single definition. Through the practice and understanding of spirituality, one can start to understand dharma in full detail:
"Dharma is one of the most important themes within Hinduism. One often sees dharma translated as religion, duty, or even righteousness, but in fact, there is no single direct translation for dharma. Religion, duty and righteousness are not wrong; they are simply included within the idea of dharma. The word "dharma" comes from the Sanskrit root dhri, meaning to "uphold" or to "sustain." From this perspective, the best way to think of dharma is to say, "that which upholds or sustains the positive order of things: the nation, the community, the family and ultimately even the universe." At a social level, every individual has a particular dharma according to their place in life."
Dharma can be understood as one’s purpose in life at this moment of their existence. Dharma is that which fulfills one’s soul and fulfills their duty in the universe. Other spiritual practices such as Christianity describe this concept as a “vocational calling.” Whatever way it is described, we can all relate to the idea of trying to find what we are meant to do on this earth. One of the reasons I started blogging was to find my purpose, hence my blog’s name. And through blogging, writing poetry, and journaling, I have come closer to discovering it. My lifelong relationship with my spirituality has been another pivotal source of guidance. Through prayer and meditation I search my soul to find what will fulfill me.
Being a person who has many interests, I sometimes struggle to know which path I am truly meant to take. But under all my goals and dreams, there has always been something calling deep inside. This force has led me to have a constant passion for changing the world. As long as I can remember, I always wanted to be an activist (even before I knew what the word meant). I realized this was not a path to monetary riches, but there was another type of richness I gained from helping. It is a joy that is activated when I feel as if I have added to the positive of the world. It’s a high that is essential to my self-preservation. Because I realize that my desire to be a humanitarian, an activist, a voice of change gives me so much. Yet people think I am completely selfless in my choice to help. But I realize I am not. It is what I am meant to do, and therefore if I don’t, I will not be fulfilled. So part of my reason to help is “selfish” so to say. It is a need I have…my dharma. It is what “upholds” and “sustains” me as a person. My need to help is not just to be a good person. I realized that is not enough of a reason alone. Because when things get hard, it will be tough to stay on my path if it’s not my passion and purpose. I will also be doing a disservice to others by not being true to what makes me happy. Because finding our purpose has less to do with being “good” and more to do with being “true.” I understand more now than ever that we cannot fight who we are, and we cannot judge ourselves based on what others are doing.
Accepting this has been a lifelong struggle. At times it’s hard to filter out the other influencers aside from my spirituality. Loved ones, society, media, culture, and beyond pull me in different directions, making it hard to know how I am best meant to live out my existence. But I see now we all serve a certain need in the universe. The need of the painter is just as important as the need for the president. All paths have the same value because they serve a unique purpose. Whether our purpose is to be the best entrepreneur, artist, activist, spiritual leader, parent, or beyond we must believe in our purpose and not let anything stand in our way. We also must accept that our purpose is fluid and can change over the course of our life. Spending time in deep reflection has helped me to tune out the noise and listen to the call of my dharma.
I’ll leave you with this link to a great piece of writing on the topic of dharma. Take a moment to read it, and I think you’ll find a deeper understanding of the concept. Spend some time reflecting on your life and what path has been calling you. Try to push away the distractions and find peace so you can hear the message the universe is sending you. Please share your personal journey in the comments section.