Dharma – Choosing the Right Path
Have you ever wondered is there something you think you should have done with your life that you didn’t or was there something that maybe you shouldn’t have done that you did?
Recently when I gave an author talk, I noticed in their promotional spiel they had described my talk as “Ever wonder what life is about? What your purpose is on this earth?” I was surprised to read this as that wasn’t how I had described my talk. It got me thinking though that it was rather thought-provoking and a reasonable question to ask.
Being in Tune with the Cosmic Plan
Hindus have a concept known as dharma which gets you thinking about your purpose in life. You will find many definitions for dharma but here are some of its meanings:
- your personal duty
- your life path
- your conscience
- your inner truth,
- right action
- living a truth-based life
- being in tune with the Cosmic Plan
It means acting according to your highest self and never doing anything that is contrary to this true self within. Failing to do the right thing when required, is worse than doing the wrong thing.
It is far better to do your own Dharma, even if you do it imperfectly than to try to master the work of another. One must do one’s duty. No matter how devoid of merit your responsibilities and commitments may seem, they are preferable to the responsibilities of another, no matter how well you may perform them.
How do you Know if you are on the Right Path?
If you read the Bhagavad Gita or similar ancient texts, it will tell you that the way to win this great war over whether or not you are on the right path is to react in the same way to both pleasure and pain, profit and loss, victory and defeat.
Those who perform the duties called for by their obligation, are able to do them with less effort and this releases consciousness.
Your very nature dictates that you perform the duties attuned to your disposition. Don’t try to restrain your nature but instead work towards progressively improving it.
Understanding Your Nature
When I was studying to be a yoga teacher, I had to study the culture and history from which yoga originated. While I learned a lot in theory about Hindu culture and yogic philosophy, I had never been to India and never seen any of this in practice until recently.
Over the years, I did lots of yoga, meditation and went on many yoga retreats. I also had my own guru and I used to ask her questions like “How do I know if I am on the right path?”, “How do I know if what I’m doing is my obligation or someone else’s?” She would say, “you will know, when the time is right”.
Over the years I have learned many things about myself and my nature. One is that I ask lots of questions and I take things that I read or hear literally. I like answers immediately or I can’t make sense of my thoughts and move onto something else. The other thing I learned is that dharma, like enlightenment, is not something you can learn from a text. No matter how hard you study, you have no guarantees of gaining enlightenment. Read more Nor can you understand dharma simply by analyzing it. These principles need to be lived – not intellectualized.
Having recently visited India and gained so much from my journey there, I was saddened to see how the Indian people were suffering as a result of COVID. I wondered how I could do something to help them.
I am fortunate to be living in a city that has not been greatly affected by COVID and I have been able to get out and present author talks to small crowds in public. I decided that I would donate the proceeds from the sale of my books, as well as my presenting fees to an Indian charity I have selected. www.ASHA-India.org
When I presented my most recent talk, I was delighted to find that the morning talk was booked out to capacity. There were also as many people on the waiting list, so I was asked to do a second talk that day, thus doubling my fee and giving me a wonderful opportunity to donate lots more to my charity.
The irony of the topic I had chosen was not lost on me and I asked myself the question, ‘Am I on the right path?’ I certainly hope so.
The form you have selected does not exist.
very thought provoking Moira, I am sure your talks were a great success.
Thanks for you reply. It was very humbling to get so much positive feedback from my talks. It is also interesting that so much of this ancient wisdom is so relevant today.
I don’t think you need to ask that question Moira. You are definitely treading the right path. Bringing such joy to others two-time…. your author talks and donating profits. It’s a no brainer. Very inspiring. Xx
Thanks for your support. People like you with such positive energy bring joy to my life.