Dharma is a Sanskrit word with no direct literal translation into English. Etymologically it means that which sustains, upholds and supports. It should be understood as the most evolutionary impulse in Nature as she expresses herself in her infinite creativity diversity abundance and continued emergence into new forms and phenomenon. In its highest expression, dharma is therefore the harmonious interaction of all the elements and forces in the universe as it continues to evolve. When we apply dharma to an individual human expression of the universe it can mean several things. It is our duty to do the highest good, but it is also the expression of our unique skills and talents and our impulse to join the forces of nature and participate consciously in the evolution of the universe. When we are expressing our dharma we are also expressing our uniqueness as well as serving the needs of the ecosystem of which we are a part.
The great myths and stories of Vedanta all speak eloquently about dharma. The avatars of divinity such as Rama and Krishna and numerous other heroes of the Mahabharata and Ramayana are archetypal expressions of dharma. Dharma aligns itself with the ecstatic evolutionary flow and counters the forces of entropy and inertia. It is the triumph of good over evil.

Insofar as dharma has found its way into modern thought, it is typically used to convey one’s spiritual purpose. In this way, dharma has become a way of identifying the career that best expresses one’s creativity and service to others. It is that activity that allows you to harmoniously support the whole of which you are a part, as well as the activity by which your individual action and intention is upheld by that universal intelligence. Finding one’s dharma becomes the way to find one’s purpose. What is often overlooked in this view however is that one’s true dharma springs naturally from knowing your essence and Being—which is beyond action and analysis. By fully realizing your true Being, your actions will automatically be supported and aligned with the force that upholds all of creation.

A practice that gives you the experience of your core self is the most important factor in living your dharma. In conjunction with a meditation program, it can also be helpful to ask yourself what are those characteristics that you possess that allow you to express the specialness of your being, your creativity, and value to those around you. As a mental exercise, imagine if you had all the money and time in the world, how would you express your unique gifts and talents and how would it serve the world? The answers to those questions will give you the clues to your dharma.

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