Dharma is a very difficult word to define. Roughly translated as our purpose, human pursue, order of happenings in nature, and the law of nature. It is your duty, or individual purpose of life. No one’s Dharma is exactly the same, everyone has their own unique Dharma, and is impossible to copy anyone else’s.
The tricky part in life is finding our Dharma, or how to find our dharma. For some it happens early on in life, for others it can be a full life pursuit. The way to find your Dharma, is to internalize your awareness. The more your turn the awareness inwards, the more your true personality will unfold, and you will begin to see your own true beauty, which is unique, versus following someone else’s footsteps. When you try and become someone else, it is impossible. You cannot be anyone else, and you lose your own internal growth. This is very dangerous. Instead try and do what YOU can do.
For example, our teacher Yogi Kamal Singh Ji’s Dharma is adjustments, or working with the human body during asana practice. When you watch him do adjustments, you want to be just like him, but it is impossible. That is his Dharma. That does not mean you can’t try, and learn adjustments, but you can’t copy him exactly and do just that. What it is that you want to do, no one can tell you. Your Sva Dharma must flower inside you. This will happen only when we focus on ourselves, turn the awareness inwards and forget about trying to be anyone else. It is better to die searching for your Dharma, then replicating someone else.
This process can be difficult because we are very poor experientially these days. We want everything handed to us, we want the answers right away, versus experimenting, practicing, succeeding, failing and trying again. Yoga is the practice of experimentation. Every Asana, every breath we are experimenting. Every time we adjust a student into a position, we work with a new unique body and experiment. This is the process we must go through and become aware of the success and failures. Each time we are experimenting, we are gaining experience in it. Each time, this is more helpful when finding our own Sva Dharma.
There are so many misconceptions about Dharma. Religions specifically have made large mistakes. Instead of allowing people to find their own Dharmas they are telling people what to do. Now many people are killing, hurting themselves in the name of their religion and what they believe their “dharma” to be. Sva Dharma is about finding yourself, in your own true context, how you will behave in life…when you learn this, you will transform this whole thing from religion to Dharma, and then it will align with the laws of nature.
Nature is compassionate toward us. Nature wants us to stay alive. It does not give up on us so quickly. It is nurturing and has its own laws. Nature understands there are so many intangible needs in internal work, which can’t be satisfied by external things.
We must also learn to take responsibility for our actions. Too often, we do something and run away from the consequence. For instance, you have unprotected sex with a stranger, and a child is born. That is the consequence of your actions that you must be accountable for. We must go through the consequences of our actions. Another example, we are depressed and decide to take our own lives. This will not end the suffering, you will be born again. There is no running from this. Once this becomes clear, the journey becomes internal.
One must take action. Through this, we can liberate and degrade ourselves, we can become our own friend and foe. We love to blame others for our sorrow. We blame every outside influence except ourselves. Sva Dharma is about centering all these scattered energies, and turning this scattered energy inwards. The problem and the solution all lie within
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