13: All Work and No Play

living your dharmaAs the year draws to an end it is a good time to spend in contemplation about how things are going in your life. Do you feel balanced and at ease or is there some nagging concern that there is not enough or too much of something in your life? Yoga offers four categories to question your life about, directing you to examine what it is that you need more of and what it is you need to pull back on. The perusharthas  mean ‘for the purpose of the soul’. These concepts help you manage your day to day life in such a way that you can support your spiritual practice and feel an intrinsic balance from the inside out.

1) Dharma: Duty. This is our calling in life, our purpose for being on the planet. Dharma refers to the actions or roles you engage in.  Some people have a clear calling as to what their life purpose it, some never find it. Regardless the key to happiness is to do your dharma well whether you are a poet or wash dishes.

What is my role in the world? Am I enjoying it and doing the best I can to serve the world, my obligations to myself and family?

2) Artha: Prosperity. Artha is the material comforts you need in this world to survive and help you with your purpose in life. It is money, a home to live in and maybe a flash car if you are in real estate. A yoga mat if you are a yogi.

Do I have enough to succeed in my dharma? Where do I place my values when it comes to money and spending? What would be the best use of what I have to help me achieve more balance?

3)Kama: Pleasure. Pleasure are the things that bring delight into our life. They make us feel good about ourselves. When out of balance it can lead to greed, addiction and laziness. We can find pleasure on our yoga mat or when we are eating pizza.

What am I most passionate about, what do I desire? Are my pleasures leading me away or to my purpose in life?

4) Moksha: Liberation. We all want freedom from things in life and freedom to do things.

In what ways do I extinguish my own inherent freedom in my life? Do the things I choose to do bind me or set me free?

We may feel times when these categories are not in balance. Too much work and we can’t serve our family. Too much lying around on a yoga mat and we can’t earn a living. Too much time spent trying to earn money and we can’t meditate.

Practice for today: The key to balance is to look at the four areas and see where you are lacking or where you are putting in too much effort. Consider which categories you need to turn up so you can find freedom in your life’s purpose, comfort and pleasure.





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