When I was asked the question: “What is your Dharma?” before discussion in class recently, I wrote down a few words that came to mind. Dharma is basically your path, your predisposed journey, those laymen explanations that put a description on big ideas that are a bit more Karmic and Cosmic in origin. I wrote down: Supporting natures inflection on life, Empath, Guide and Lover.
We were then asked what our Svadharma was. Svadharma is basically the self part of the two. The part we can create and develop in hopes to support or possibly alter our Dharma or that of others. I jotted down: Duty, vision, laughter, questioning, studentship, creator, and my ability to intuitively work with physical Dharma.
Throughout the discussion as Adam spoke my language by sharing a physical perspective (the knee joint) as an example of the relationship of Dharma and Svadharma. The dharma of the knee is that it was created in a distinct way by DNA, it is designed to be fluent in 2 directions for efficiency and strength, but has the vulnerability in other directions where it’s design is the restrictive quality, not to mention that the DNA may have some other odd traits that create even more complications. As he spoke of the path and possible journey of this knee through life, it represents the physical part of the whole. The other parts being the mind and heart, which also have their own Dharma. The concept as a whole can be confusing as well as gigantic and trying to find words that can describe growing, learning, failing, learning, evolving, learning, achieving, learning can be difficult… see the pattern here? As the physical, mental and emotional wholeness of us expands and evolves, the crucial piece is learning. Using the knowledge that we gain to effect our Svadharma and Dharma by our actions and decisions to create our piece, our duty and responsibility in the community and the whole of life.
Without getting into Hinduism or any religion at this moment, and the creation of such, and by just by looking at Dharma and Svadharma as the guidance of self, to accept what we cannot change, change what we can and the wisdom,willingness and heart to know the difference. This may sound familiar to some or to all as a common way to approach recovery. But Dharma and Svadharma are words traditional in yoga to describe the existence of what is and what can be when it comes to choices and passions, so I will continue to use them. Plus, they are fun to type and even more enjoyable to say out loud.
This brings to my attention, that towards the end of the discussion, we were asked again “What is your Dharma, What is your Svadharma? The truth for me, not for every one, is that I’ve been on this path of discovery long enough to now, instinctively but also with cognizance, to understand my place. My answers did not change. I added a few words such as humility, kindness, laughter and vision to both sides of the page but as a whole, I experienced my Dharma. I identified my place on my journey map.
What I haven’t mentioned about Dharma and Svadharma yet is the suffering. They are set up to explain that within our path, our place, our classes in society, there is always suffering. Life is suffering. Accept your place and expand mentally, physically and emotionally to accept this. This is true. True in the sense that wherever you are in your journey or your Dharma, there will be suffering, but maybe not in the literal sense that it was originally created to explain. Regardless of the reasons for creation, it is true. Without suffering, without failure, we cannot expand and learn, we can’t react and rebound. Suffering could be that you were born with nothing, you serve others, lead a miserable life and you die. Or could it be, as with the example of the knee joint, that you were born with a jacked up femur or a crooked tibia. That is suffering. Especially if your Svadharma is running or hiking. Without using 1000 to 5000 more words to describe my perspective of this, you can do some research of your own, or comment below and we can connect if you want more of my crazy ginger insights, but I’m skipping that for now.
My point is that, in this moment, during this class, as I chose to leave class early or not, I left. I chose my Dharma, I chose to follow my designated path and meet up with my family to welcome a newcomer to our fold. Someone who is looking for a reason, a reason for everything, a reason to live even. I chose to use and develop my Svadharma to directly effect that of another. Regardless of my desire to stay and listen to a teacher that is assisting me in my Dharma. I used the joy I felt to expand and learn.
I awoke this morning to what is to be my suffering. I looked again at the lists of words scribbled on the paper under Dharma and Svadharma. Grateful for the duty I feel towards my self and the work I do with my Svadharma, but at the same time, accepting my role in Dharma. It does bring a tinge of sadness (my suffering), knowing that I was designed to serve others. The sadness that might be attached to loneliness despite the fact that I love and I am loved by so many beautiful people also on their journeys, creating their own Svadharma. I am at a point in my life to recognize the connect and disconnect that live together within me. Regardless of the joy it brings my heart and the fulfillment it brings to my mind, it’s more the realization that it is my calling, my Dharma. The loss of self for another. Ahh, but not for Svadharma where I can expand, collapse, negate, breakdown and build up again in my own fulfillment. I have this moment to find my translation from this to my Svadharma. I have this moment to feel that pain does not equal suffering. I have this moment to connect to my happiness. I have the opportunity to liberate myself from this form of suffering and arrive at fulfillment. I am sure I will still be open to suffering today, most likely from a thought or action that I still cannot seem to let go of, but beyond that, I will be content knowing that it may not be wrong, it may not be right, but either way, it just is. I will do that today. I hope that you can connect to yourself today and find fulfillment and happiness in whatever it is. Just any one thing, or who knows maybe more. Be open to YOUR grace today and experience the lesson you learn. I wish you some majorly awesome happiness today.
Love and Namaste,