Finding Your Dharma

Jess Rose Yoga Lifestyle, Yoga Philosophy

Our purpose in life, our true calling, our destiny

A guest post by Serena Wehsling

The Bhagavad Gita is a story about the dialogue of a warrior prince and his charioteer. Arjuna, the warrior prince, has to go into battle to get his kingdom back. As he realizes going into this battle would mean he would also be killing family and friends he is starting to doubt that this is the right thing to do. He discusses his dilemma with his charioteer, Lord Krishna. Krishna explains to Arjuna the importance of following one’s dharma and for him, being a warrior, his purpose in life is to fight and for that go into the battle and fight for what is rightfully his. To reject his dharma would be like committing a sin. 

Your dharma is your purpose in life, your true calling.

And if you want to reach enlightenment and find peace, you also have to follow your dharma.Not following your dharma might not feel exactly like committing a sin, but you might feel out of balance, irritible, or like something is missing in your life. You may feel like you are not always being truly authentic, and maybe sometimes more unhappy than happy.

Your dharma – your purpose – might not always be cool or perfect

Your dharma – your purpose – might not always be cool or perfect, let alone easy to achieve or to put into practice. It might not be as fancy or as amazing as you thought it would or should be. Or you might not know or are not sure what your dharma actually is. But this might be what it is all about; finding it and doing your best to fulfill it by tackling all the inner and outer challenges that come up along the way.  

To choose not to search for your dharma or to choose not to follow it might sometimes be the easier path, even if it brings more stress, unhappiness or even harm to you and others. But when you ignore your calling – your deep inner voice – and always stay where you are, that might be like committing a sin.


Sometimes what you are most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free

Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is a saying, “Sometimes what you are most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free,” and another quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson “Always do what you are afraid to do”.

I think to find and follow our dharma we have to learn to hear our intuition again, listen to our inner voice. We have to face our fears, face our emotions and our challenges, face the hurdles in our life, no matter how big or small they are.

Often, though, we are afraid to face the challenges life throws at us when we pursue our dharma. Fear of the unknown, fear of how others might react or what they might think of us, and no control over the outcome are all reasons we don’t follow our true calling in life.  

We also might think following our true dharma is not worth the effort, or not worth our time nor our energy. Or it might be in complete conflict with our current goals that we would then not achieve by starting over on our path. Or we have a fear of upsetting or disappointing someone dear to us – quite possibly even ourselves. 

The funny thing is, this is how it most likely is for everybody. Even the warrior Arjuna, training and preparing his whole life for battle and then at the last minute, doubts creep up and overwhelm him. We are all going through these motions, trying to overcome fear and shame, finding the courage to do what feels right and to show up for ourselves. Doing the thing we know we have to do (in order) to follow our calling – our dharma.

We are not, at least I assume most of us are not, going into an epic battle about a kingdom but we all have our battles in some sort of way, no matter how big or small. It might just be to get the kids ready for school or ourselves ready for the day or for work, keep up with our practice or take 5 minutes to listen to someone truly, to tell someone your truth or start a new job, buy a house, get married or not get married, say no to that block of chocolate and yes to that carrot, say no to that relationship or say yes to it, share your ideas, stand up for your dreams, move to another country, explore the world or just your backyard.

When we do follow our path, we gather all our courage and do or say this particular thing and we know it was the right thing to do – no matter the outcome.

And instantly we feel some sort of relief – our heart lightens, our eyes begin to smile, and we are in this special moment. This is the special moment we need to treasure and remember the next time there is a stair to climb, and then take it with a bit more ease, a little uncertain smile, and trust that everything will be fine. 

Another common quote, “Do what you love”, you could also say as “Live your dharma,” although sometimes it is not easy to realize our dharma might not be what we love, but rather what we are good at, which in return will make us love it in time. Sometimes it is the most obvious, something that was always there, something we have been doing all along. Sometimes we have to search for it. But we all have natural gifts, we might be aware of them, or we need to rediscover them. 

It is also said that dharma protects when it is protected. Now Arjuna, he overcame his fears and worries and fought the epic battle against some of his family and friends, putting thoughts and worries about any possible outcome aside. He then won the battle and therefore his family got their kingdom back. So, Arjuna followed his calling and got what was rightfully his. 

Even when sometimes others might not understand our behavior or actions, we know when we act in line with our purpose we stay true to ourselves and follow our path. We know we took this action for the action itself and not for the result. Our dharma therefore is protected. 

Following or searching for our dharma is a brave way of living our lives. And it is totally fine to be braver on some days than on other days. Even great warriors like Arjuna have days where they question their path, but in the end, great warriors do what great warriors are good at – they fight. And so, when we don´t lose sight of our dharma, we will come back to our path sooner or later and do what we are good at and what makes us happy.

So, choose what makes your heart sing and your eyes shine, what you know will excite you. Choose what will let you walk your path and live your dharma. It might not always be easy, you might be losing things or even part ways with people along your way, but it will be worth it in the end. And don’t be too hard on yourself when occasionally you choose a piece of chocolate instead of a carrot.

Serena Wehsling

I am a very happy brand new yoga teacher thanks to Jess and her amazing training! Next to my part time job in an HR department I am an Infant Massage Instructor and most of all I am a mum of twins. I love to write, read, do yoga, travel and spend time with my family and loved ones.

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