Years ago, the mere thought of the word purpose or Dharma sent me into a spin. I barely understood what I enjoyed in life, let alone what my purpose was. But that is it. That, right there, is it. Finding out what you enjoy. Ask yourself: What lights that flame within you? What fuels you? When we find our passion for life we can connect with our purpose. If it lights us up, it gets our attention and we inevitably spend more of our time indulging in and gaining fulfillment from that passion. For me, when I think of fulfillment I think of success. Gone are the days where we measure success by how much money we have in the bank. This is the era of success measured by how full our Love Tank is!
Fill up your Love Tank
Love Tank is a term I use a lot in my teachings to help my clients understand how full or depleted they are, and how to fill themselves back up without accompanying feelings of guilt.
Love Tank Quiz (rate out of 5 – 5 being a lot, and 0 being not at all)
– Home: How much do you love being in your home?
– Health and fitness: How content are you with the amount of time you allocate to fitness?
– Business / Careers: How content are you with your career/business right now?
– Relationships: How content are you with the current time you make for connection with family and friends?
– Personal development: How well do you deal with challenging situations?
– Contribution / Community: How content are you with your contribution to your community?
– Spirituality: How connected to yourself do you feel?
How did you score? What areas of your life did you score less than three in? What does this tell you about yourself and the parts of your life where you may be lacking passion and enthusiasm.
Discovering your dharma through understanding passions
Ask yourself these questions:
If money wasn’t an issue, what would I be doing differently right now?
When was the last time time I stood still? What was I doing?
Unveiling your Dharma
So, how do you know? Well, you can start with yoga. I truly believe that the power of yoga practice assists every person to connect with his or her true sense of purpose. How do you connect to what you should be doing while you’re in a Downward Dog perspiring and wondering what’s for dinner, you ask? Well, treating your yoga practice as it has been designed (as a self-study tool) can help you to tune into your true passions. You notice those ‘dinner’ thoughts, then notice the very fact you are having the thought. Insert mindfulness here and, over time, you are able to steer the thoughts, control them, and ultimately choose them. Then the juicy bit follows — you begin to ask yourself what thoughts serve you — and that’s where the learning takes place.
When we learn to simply observe and tame the busy, monkey mind, we start to operate differently. No longer do we play the victim in our own story, but we start to connect to a higher source and unveil what fills up our love tank. We begin to love and appreciate ourselves so much that we emanate positive energy, in turn attracting positivity. We attract abundance, like-minded friends, and begin to see that nothing happens by chance – the universe is delivering based on what you are putting out there. When we understand this, we attract more of this abundance into our lives, giving us more energy and zest for life.
Step one: Practice yoga with intention. Step two: Discover within your practice, beneath the layers of thought, what you are truly passionate about. Step three: Do more of that. It’s as simple as that. The rest will flow effortlessly.
Connecting with purpose
I remember exactly where I was when I connected with mine. I was in the middle of filming my first yoga DVD and it just hit me — I was completely present. I felt whole, and although I’d been teaching yoga for over five years, the thought of sharing the practice with viewers around the world filled me with immense joy and emotion.
If you haven’t discovered your dharma yet, don’t despair. Firstly remember that dharma comes in many forms, and while you may not feel completely fulfilled in one area of your life, it’s possible to express your dharma in other areas. Perhaps you don’t feel thrilled about your day job, but you have a creative outlet that fills you with joy. Be patient, have gratitude and continue your yoga. It’s just like K. Pattabhi Jois said, “Do your practice and all is coming.
Meditation to discover your Dharma
Find a comfortable seat and close your eyes. Begin to concentrate on your breath. If the monkey mind wanders, gently encourage it back to the present moment — keeping your attention on the rise and fall of your belly, or the sensation of air at your nostrils. Visualise yourself 10 years from today. Imagine the scenery around you. Tune into the sounds. Are you eating something? See if you can tune into the taste. Take in the smells around you. Where are you and what are you doing? Is it day or night? Are you engaged in an activity? Imagine what plans you might have for the rest of the day, or what you have been doing earlier. Imagine feeling whole. How does that feel in your physical body? What is it about your life that creates that feeling of completeness? Now, slowly take your mind back through the past 10 years. What are the steps that you’ve taken to land here? What have you needed to let go of? Take as long as you like in this meditation (a minimum of 15 minutes is recommended). To complete, come back to the present moment, maintaining a gentle awareness of your breath. Once you have opened your eyes, allow yourself to marinate in the feeling of whole-ness. Remember, you are what you feel. You are complete in this moment and everything is exactly as it should be. Remember to enjoy the journey.