Rod Stryker, a prominent American yoga teacher and author, sheds some light on our understanding of dharma:
“This desire to live with purpose and meaning and to contribute to the world is dharma.”
“…dharma, the desire to become who you were meant to be”
“Dharma, in simple terms, is the drive to fulfill your potential; it is the inherent drive of every being to thrive. Dharma is also the impulse toward altruism, the inner longing, known or unknown, of every individual to add his or her unique luster to the gem of creation.”
yoga teacher and author, Rod Stryker
“…I was lucky. Your career and your passion don’t always match up. Plenty of talented people don’t have the careers they want. Plenty of untalented people make millions and make movies. There’s a difference between determination and talent. Hard work doesn’t always matter.”
“Creativity is connected to your passion, the light inside
of you that drives you, that joy that comes when you do something you love. That small voice that tells you “I like this. Do this again. You are good at it. Keep going.” THIS is the juicy stuff that lubricates our lives and helps us feel less alone in the world. Your creativity is not a bad boyfriend. It’s a really warm, older Hispanic lady, who has a beautiful laugh and loves to hug; and if you are even a little bit nice to her, she will make you feel great and maybe cook you delicious food. Career is different. Career is the stringing together of opportunities and jobs, mix in public opinion and past regrets, add a dash of future panic and a whole lot of financial uncertainty. Career is something that fools you into thinking you are in control, and then takes pleasure in reminding that you are not. Career is the thing that will not fill you up and make you feel whole.”
actress Amy Poehler, from her book, “Yes Please”
We approached this issue’s theme by asking people in the illumine community to share their insights on what it feels like to be living their dharma and suggestions for readers to discover what that is for themselves.
DHARMA FEELS LIKE…We feel an underlying sense of fulfillment and ease. Rather than feeling dread and anxiety, we cannot wait to take on the day and chase our dreams. This shift has helped us live passionately in the present moment, rather than holding out for an end result in the future. It’s very settling.
Our desire to discover our dharma was very intentional, but now that we’ve cultivated it, we feel that it is just a part of us. It’s not some separate entity that we plug into here and there; it’s more of life.
WISDOM TO FIND YOUR DHARMA: Baby steps. Find small ways to do the things you love and feel passionate about more often. This might be doing yoga twice week, signing up for an art class or starting a blog on a topic you feel strongly about. Having these outlets are so important, regardless if they can realistically provide a lucrative job opportunity or not.
We also recommend journaling. We tend to focus on the world around us and how others react to us that we forget to look inward and seek our own opinions. By writing a few words down each day and reflecting on your own life experiences, you might discover personal tendencies that are very meaningful and telling. Remain open-minded and continue to pay attention to yourself…what makes your heart beat a little faster?
Hilary Schlesinger + Lindsey Cavanaugh
co-founders of Vibe Tribe Creative
DHARMA FEELS LIKE…It’s more of an abstract energetic feeling than something concrete. It’s a sense of understanding the course that should be taken. When living your dharma, actions require less decision. Having a job is a requirement to get by, earn a living and make ends meet. Living your dharma is about fulfilling your purpose.
Living my dharma was not a sudden revelation; it slowly developed over time and continues to develop.
WISDOM TO FIND YOUR DHARMA: Set a daily sankalpa or intention to live your dharma. Don’t be too hard on yourself or expect an immediate revelation. With consistent time, dedication and devotion, you will find yourself exactly where you need to be. Over time you will slowly start to understand how to live a life with fulfillment and purpose.
CEO & co-founder of Sankalpa Yoga Community
DHARMA FEELS LIKE…It weaves into my life, improves my life. It’s not as if everything flows and there are no worries or troubles, but it gives me space to realize that things are going to work out as they are meant to. There are struggles, but following your dharma will make your life flow better than it ever has.
WISDOM TO FIND YOUR DHARMA: Aligning yourself with your true principles and passions will fulfill you. Best of all, there’s nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by exploring it.
DHARMA FEELS LIKE… Practicing real estate allows me to integrate being my best self in offering my services. Rod Stryker’s book “The Four Desires” taught me how to “yoke” my spirituality, intentions, actions and dharma in a creative mode of manifestation. Many people require me to do my best for them and make meaningful things happen in their lives. In turn, my dharma transforms my service into positive energy that is of benefit to all. Honoring the home is dear to my heart, so the work that I do resonates with me. Essentially, my dharma is to serve with an open heart. Living my dharma means embodying my higher self while working and understanding that the universe is always “on” and listening to me.
WISDOM TO FIND YOUR DHARMA: If you seek to align with a new vibration, you must understand that is your higher, “future” self calling to you. Answer the call. The universe supports you and will meet you on the path. Seek a source that understands positive energy and manifestation. There are many great teachers, writers, coaches, therapists, etc., out there promoting these principles and practices. Look for one that resonates with you. Then apply yourself with faith.
Real Estate Broker/Home Manifestation Guide
DHARMA IS NOT…It is not something that you can turn on and off. So, “living your dharma” is not different or separate from “having a job,” or sleeping or even breathing!
DHARMA IS…Here’s a description: when the yogini is immersed in dharma, which arises from Svadhyaya, self-study; practicing yoga, it illuminates the divinity not only in herself, but also those who come in contact with her.
Patricia Hyland Bowman
A practitioner, yoga teacher, spouse, mother, daughter, and sister.
DHARMA IS…My dharma in this lifetime is to awaken people with music. My first inkling of this came when I was a teenager playing guitar and piano. I went along my path doing other things that seemed random and unrelated, but I eventually was led back here. With the help of probably hundreds of workshops, classes and a deep commitment to my spiritual path and knowing myself, I have re-discovered my internal gold mine. I am convinced that Divine creativity is the fuel, the journey and the fruit of my life’s purpose.
It feels like there is great meaning behind everything I am a part of—even the “little” things. I am not saying I have it all figured out. With the creative path there is still great mystery around how things will turn out. The fact that I live in trust rather than fear makes it flow in every situation.
Working together with other self-empowered individuals makes for effective teamwork, collaboration and co-creativity. In a way I feel the “Divine Plan” is this giant orchestral piece where so many things merge to make that unique sound. Without each of the parts it wouldn’t be that unique work of art. I personally feel it is inspiring, comforting and ultimately critical to have mentors and support systems on this unique path. It’s a solo journey—only we will walk through our own lives—but we can find teachers and collaborators to keep the dharma alive!
WISDOM TO FIND YOUR DHARMA: Taking time out of our busy lives to relax and reflect on what is going on within can really create the space for our dharma to start communicating with us. From my experience our dharma is not just something we do, it is a living power within us, and through us it is a force in this world of form.
Musician, DJ, Event Producer
DHARMA FEELS LIKE…It feels like a calling. And it’s easy. It flows. I feel like it was forever unfolding. Every job I had, every workshop I went to, every certification or degree I earned led to this. You feel very fulfilled and bubbling up inside. It might feel like a leap, but it’s the healthiest happiest leap you will ever take. And you’ll never look back.
WISDOM TO FIND YOUR DHARMA: Focus on what you love, what you really love. Always choose in favor of what you’re passionate about.
Happiness Coach/Director of Happiness