I have been reading books by Stephen Cope: Yoga and the quest for the true self and the Great work of your life. My main take away from both these books is, “Find your Dharma(purpose) which is for the greater good of the world and throw yourself completely into it”. That is to dedicate my passion, my energy, my gifts, to something bigger than myself. By doing just that without any attachment to the outcome, I will live my dharma.
In his book, “The great work of your life”, he writes about several exemplars of people who lived their dharma either after reading Bhagavad Gita or naturally. Some of them include Jane Goodall, Robert Forst, Henry Thoreau, Beethoven, Harriet Tubman and Mahatma Gandhi.
His chapter on Mahatma Gandhi shook me. In it, he says, “If you don’t find your work in the world and throw yourself wholeheartedly into it, you will inevitably make yourself your work. There is no way around it. You will take you self as your primary project. You will in the very best case, dedicate your life to the perfection of yourself. To the perfection of your health,intelligence,beauty,home, or even spiritual prowess. And the problem is simply this: This self-dedication is too small a work. It inevitably becomes a prison. No matter how well-perfected we are, our self is never going to be enough. We have to struggle with her aging body, our aging mind, and the increasingly limited accomplishments of our day-day life. We would never be enough”.
It shook me because I have been focussing on myself too much this year. I also remember a time when I selflessly worked for my cause, climate change. I was totally living my dharma then and felt alive. I am now trying to find if my Dharma is still the same or has it changed? So that I can get back to living my dharma.