July 16, 2017
I am writing this post on the airplane as I head home to Chicago. To say that I am excited is an understatement. First stop, Lou Malinati’s for some Chicago deep dish pizza!
Its funny going back to the place you grew up. Nostalgic childhood memories, cringe worthy teen recollections, remembrances of a different time and a different you. I can’t help but get retrospective and trace the choices or the circumstances that led me from my childhood home to the present moment. Some call it fate or destiny but in yoga theses choices and life paths are related to the concept of dharma.
Dharama is a Sanskrit word that can be interpreted in a multitude of ways. It can be understood as a ‘vocation’ or a ‘sacred duty’. The yogic text on Dharma is the Bhagavad Gita, a story that recounts a conversation with a young warrior Arjuna and his divine mentor Krishna. The tale unfolds with Arjuna at a crossroads in life being forced to choose between two difficult paths. Undone in indecision Arjuna states “If I can’t figure out how to act, I’ll do nothing at all’. To which Krishna replies ‘Arjuna, look to your dharma…. there is a certain kind of action that leads to freedom and fulfilment. A certain kind of action that is always aligned with our true nature.” This authentic dharma-action path is called Naishkarmya-karman of which there are four central pillars: 1) Finding your dharma 2) doing your dharama 3) letting go of rewards, success or failures of your dharma 4) dedicating your dharama to a divine concept or god.
Dharama is a big concept. Complex, multi-layered, challenging. Its hard to even begin to conceptualise let alone determine if you are living in accordance with your dharama or, if you are like me, feel that you are still searching for your true purpose. For the Jane Goodall or the David Attenborough of us, following your calling can come seamlessly and your circumstances have kindled your fires. All I know is that on this magical, confounding journey that is life all we can do is try and live our authentic life in pursuit of our dharma….and maybe eat a slice of pizza while you contemplate it all! 🍕