WHAT IS DHARMA? THE JOY OF SERVICE AS LIFE PURPOSE

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How will you fulfil your Dharma in 2015? First, says Naomi Costantino, ask how you can use your talents to be of service. Illustration: Erin Petson (Main homepage image: Ambika Boutique)

Dharma illustration by Erin Petson for TheNuminous.net

“You have made very deep promises between your Soul and your Self. Now is the time to carve your place into the memory of this planet earth and serve this promise. May your journey complete its way to your destiny. And may you understand the preciousness of your own life.” – Yogi Bhajan

What is Dharma? There are plenty of explanations and interpretations out there about the concept of Dharma and how it plays out in this divine and equally elusive Universe of ours. But it is commonly thought of as our “life purpose”, and at it’s roots the word speaks to duties, conduct and virtues.

Master yogi BKS Iyengar describes this well in his book Light On Life, explaining: “Dharma is the righteous duty that upholds, sustains, and supports our humanity.”

In our modern western world, with so much emphasis on duty and achievement, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of life purpose and Dharma being something we are meant to accomplish, and how we set about getting it.

But the way I look at it, we all come here with a role to play. I believe we incarnate with a purpose to fulfil, a preordained destiny that is ultimately about our soul moving through the veils of illusion, veils that distort our view of the place we came from – pure consciousness – lifetime after lifetime.

How do we move through those veils? With our ability to give and receive love. Whatever form that takes – which will always be situation, illusion, and life lesson dependent!

There have been two times in my life when my path has become illuminated, my clarity about my purpose in this life has been fierce, and I felt I understood what my Dharma was or what it meant to me. Both times were after a rock bottom, followed by a dark night leading to a major life shift in gears.

I came out of both steady in the knowledge that I’m here to work with the body. To teach what I have learnt over years and years of working energetically with my own body in order to allow myself to heal – physically, emotionally and mentally.

Originally training as a dancer and actress, I spent years running around in circles banging my head into various walls while I tried to carve a career. At some point I decided to surrender to the fact I was better at teaching other people what I had learnt about working with the body through yoga. As soon as I surrendered to that – my life clicked in and began to flow.

I’d finally found that contented calm place that comes with connecting to your Dharma. Like the steady, strong beam of light energy that runs along my spine, I found my purpose supporting me – giving a whole new meaning to backbone.

Each crisis I found myself in pushed me to acquire a new level of understanding and perspective, with this awareness permeating through everything I do until the next challenge or illusion creeps up and the process repeats itself all over again. The pattern seems to go: build, destroy, elevate, repeat.

Through embracing this, I’ve learned that I’m here to guide others on how to release the mind through the vehicle of the physical body. My work is to loosen up, line up, and open. Nothing gives me more joy than seeing someone’s body click into that potential, that stream, that flow.

So, what are you here to do? When considering your Dharma in this life…

Know that we all have a purpose in life, our own special gift, a unique talent to share with others. It’s the sharing of this gift with others that ignites the fire in the soul and lights up the spirit. What lights you up? What stirs your passion? What comes naturally?

Know that Dharma is about service. It’s about asking yourself daily: “how can my unique talents serve and help others? How can my love be expressed through my daily work? How can I contribute? How can I give back?”

Know that being in the understanding of what your unique talents are and how they can be of service opens you up to the divine order of your life. You’re present, inspired, and life flows in ways you couldn’t even imagine. The love and abundance you create in the lives of others is equal to the amount of love and abundance you receive in your life.

Know that the ego trips us up all the time! It’s our constant companion. Our practice is to cultivate the trust in our higher truth, inner wisdom and let that voice become our more dominant friend. If you find yourself thinking, speaking and behaving from a place of: “What’s in it for me?” “How can I get more?” or “I need this!”, know that your ego is riding high and you must think again about moving into a space of service. Begin with: “How can I help?”

“If you want to feel connected to your own purpose, know this for certain: Your purpose will only be found in service to others, and in being connected to the something far greater than your mind/body/ego.” – Wayne Dyer

Naomi Costantino is a London based yoga teacher and the co-founder and creative director of East of Eden yoga studio and lifestyle hub.

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