The Law of Dharma (or Purpose in Life)
The seventh spiritual law is the Law of Dharma, which states that every sentient being has a purpose in life. You have unique abilities and your own way of expressing them. There are needs in this world for which your specific talents are ideally suited, and when the world’s needs are matched with the creative expression of your talents, your purpose—your dharma—is realized.
To be in dharma, your life force must flow effortlessly without interference. The practice of yoga provides a direct mechanism to release energy blockages in your body. When obstacles to the flow of your vital energy are removed, you become capable of expressing more expanded aspects of your self. Increasing compassion,wisdom, and playfulness are evidence that your life is flowing in accordance with the Law of Dharma.
There are three major components to the Law of Dharma.
1. The first is that your ultimate purpose is to discover your higher Self. Pursue the god or goddess inside you that wants to express the sacred purpose for which you were born. Awaken to the unbounded, eternal witnessing awareness that is the essence of who you are and know yourself as a timeless, eternal Being in the midst of time-bound experience.
2. The second component of the Law of Dharma is to acknowledge and express your unique talents. Take the time to honor your innate gifts by making a list of those things that you do well. One way to connect with your dharma is to consider those things that you really love to do. Make a list of the things that bring joy to you and to others while you are doing them. It might be singing, playing the piano, teaching gymnastics, or cooking. You may be naturally good at deep listening or caring for those in need. Whatever your unique talents may be,expressing them brings happiness and satisfaction to you and to others. When you are in the flow of your dharma,expressing your unique talents, time loses its hold on you and you enter into timeless awareness.
3.The third component of dharma is serving others.True dharmic actions naturally bring benefit both to you and to those affected by your actions. The inner dialogue of a person in his or her dharma is,“How can I serve?” and “How can I help?” The answers to these questions will allow you to serve your fellow human beings with love and compassion. Expressing your gifts in service to others is the highest expression of the Law of Dharma. When your creative expressions match the needs of your fellow humans, abundance flows into your life.
Yoga is action in accordance with dharma. Moving your body with awareness and impeccability is the essence of a life in harmony with the laws of nature.Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body has its dharma,which is to perform its unique function while supporting the wholeness of the body. The digestive tract performs its job of secreting gastric juices, moving food along itspathway, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating toxins.
The endocrine system secretes its vital hormones that regulate metabolism, reproduction, growth, and repair. The circulatory system regulates blood pressure and cardiac output. While each of these systems has its specific role to perform, the essential purpose of their existence is to support the whole physiology.
Your practice of yoga supports the dharma of your body. When life energy is flowing effortlessly through every cell, tissue, and organ, the dharma of each is being fulfilled. When as a result of the flexibility, balance, and strength gained during your yoga practice you are effortlessly able to express your talents in the world, you are aligned with the Law of Dharma. When you allow the intelligence and vital energy of nature to flow through you, you are reminded of your highest purpose—serving the world and supporting the evolutionary flow of life.
Put the Law of Dharma into effect in your yoga practice and in your life by commiting to the following three steps:
1. Pay attention to the quiet stillness within you that animates your body and mind. During your yoga practice and during the day, bring your attention to the silent witness that observes your thoughts and actions.
2. Become aware of your unique talents and those things you love to do while expressing your unique talents. In your practice of yoga, notice the postures that you enter into easily and use this information to become more intimate with your nature. Some people are naturally flexible, some have inherently good muscle strength, while others have innately good balance. Celebrate your natural talents even as you strive to develop other ones in yoga and in your life.
3. Cultivate an inner conversation of helping and serving. When your intentions behind every action are to align with dharma, your actions will be effortless and successful. By asking the questions, How can I help? and How can I serve? you will fulfill your deeper purpose in life. Use the mantra that resonates with the Law of Dharma is to remind you of the Law of Dharma, particularly when you are experiencing struggle and strife. Using the mantra will help shift your inner conversation from What’s in it for me? to How can I help?
Implement Your Insights
So far we have explored the theory and philosophy of yoga. Yoga is as much a science of action as it is a way of thinking about life. In the next chapters, we will present the essential technologies that when practiced spontaneously implement the theory of yoga into the experience of life. Meditation, regulating the life force, learning to hold and circulate energy, and moving with awareness are the fundamental technologies that need to be mastered for you to gain the full benefits of yoga on the level of your body, your mind, and your soul.