"It is better to live your own Dharma imperfectly, than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection."
Dharma is a cosmic law, governing your righteous living and giving purpose to not only your soul but the entirety of the universe. Dharma is your true nature, authenticity, fullest potential and purpose. Discovering yours requires conscious attention and care.
It's something that is seemingly lost upon a great deal of people today, as we are faced with a great number of contradicting forces within society that try to distract us from our Dharmic path. Your gut says that you are a talented artist but your parents tell you that you have to go to college and study something that doesn't necessarily excite you, others beg you to make a good living so you can buy their products and peers encourage you sip the kool aid because it'll fulfill you socially. Each of these things guiding you away from your dharma of creating art.
Those who are going after things that don't align with their true nature often feel unfulfilled. Take my friend who is a brilliant, natural philosopher and can argue anything with the grace of a dove. She has expressed how she'd love to go to law school to pursue a career in helping fight the fight for those who can't. But right now she is doing a totally different job. Her dharma is to be a lawyer but external and internal pressures have led her to where she is.
And while it is easy to say, "I want to follow my dharma," it begs the question how?
If you're unsure about how to lean into your own power of dharma here are a few things to get you started down the road of fulfilling purpose.
1. What makes you tick? Write a list of all the things that make you happy in a given week and the things that make you stress. Does your community volleyball league make you feel on top of the world, or maybe long debates over dinner, or perhaps cooking a really delicious creative meal.
Then get clear on how doing whatever it is makes you feel. How can integrate more joyful tasks and less of what guides you in the opposite direction?
2. Take approachable steps. Add one thing per day or week to your calendar that contributes toward your dharmic quest. Maybe it's adding another day of volleyball practice or reading for an hour per day about a political topic or cooking for a friend once a week.
Slowly add more and more time dedicated to your passion, taking on side projects and consistent nurturing of it.
3. Quiet the noise. Meditation helps you tune into your inner voice without distraction.
Sit down in a quiet area of your house or take a walk in nature.Once you are tuned into your breath, visualize yourself on your dharmic path. Where are you? What is the temperature? What sounds do you hear? How does it feel to strut down the road of purpose?
Through this you gain the power in specificity to manifest an authentic and desirable outcome.
4. Journey down the unheard of route. Try different ways to approach your cause. An unconventional path requires unconventional tactics. When I wanted to pursue my Yoga Teacher Training I had to ask for 1 month off of work. This was an unheard of request for such a thing, but with conviction in my case an exception was made. Don't be afraid of someone telling you 'no,' in these cases.
5. Take a leap of faith. Let go of the outcome of your work. Do not fear the perception of peers or financial prosperity. When you renounce yourself of the outcome you give yourself an opportunity to receive joy in whatever version happens. Doing your dharma is a path of authenticity, you are a natural in what you're doing. And that will always yield prosperous joy.
And remember this...
Where there is dharma, there will be victory.
-The Bhagavad Gita