Recently I was meeting with someone who came to me with many questions. Some of them went like this:
When will I be in a relationship?
How do I develop my career so that I am getting the recognition I deserve?
Why can’t I look after my health better – I’m always feeling rundown?
As I listened to these queries I noticed they all began with a similar theme – How? Why? When?
However there was one very important question that was missing…
WHAT is it I am meant to be doing in my life? WHAT is my purpose in life?
This is the most important question you have to answer. As always it is an issue of sequence. Get this right and everything else will flow. Forget how, forget why, forget when. Actually those bits are not your responsibility. Those questions come later. First and foremost, work on the What.
In the ancient language of Sanskrit there is a beautiful word that encapsulates this whole question. Dharma. What is my dharma?
Dharma means: What is my way of having functional contact in the world?
Dharma means: What is it I do to be available in order to have the most positive impact?
Dharma means: What is my role in the evolutionary flow of life?
Dharma means: What is it that brings my individuality to meet the needs of the time?
Very often people misinterpret dharma to simply mean your job, your trade or the way you make a living. In fact dharma is much broader than that. It may be linked to how you fund your life or it may not be.
Time and again I see people investing most of their time and mental energy in trying to work out how things are going to play out rather than paying attention to whether they are investing their resources in that which matters most. Rather than putting attention on finding the most productive outlet for their unique talents and skills, they try to control the details of how things play out.
Leave the details of how and when and why up to the universe, for they are secondary to the what. Get the what right and everything will flow from there. When we know what we are doing all the mechanics of how it happens fall into place because nature will always support you in doing that which is most evolutionary for you in the moment. The more we do the right thing, the less we have to worry about the details of how it will happen. Always.
So, how do you determine the What?
By answering three key What’s!
#1 What do you like doing?
What feels charming to you? What brings you enjoyment?
Generally when we are engaged in activity that we enjoy, it will not feel like hard work. Time will pass quickly and we will feel a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment when the job is done. We may be applying a lot of effort, however there is a frictionless flow to what we are doing. Someone looking in from the outside might see you working hard and yet to you it all feels smooth and easy.
#2 What are your unique talents and skills?
What is it that you are good at? What are your strengths?
Everyone has a unique package of skills that they can do in their particular way better than anyone else. When we know what these are, then we are in a position of strength because we can bring these skills out in a way that makes a difference and stands out from the crowd. People who have a particular need for what it is you have to offer will be drawn to you in a meaningful way.
#3 What is the need of the time?
What needs can you serve? In what way can you help others?
By serving others and bringing the best of who we are to any situation we ultimately serve ourselves. Give your best and you will be rewarded many times over. Rather than being a net-taker be a net-giver of that which is valuable and in this way everyone benefits and every situation is upgraded. This is the need of the time.
Finding our dharma is a process – like any process it takes time and it changes over time. However when you make this your starting point you keep your ‘dharma development’ lively and relevant. Everything you have ever done has relevance to what you are meant to be doing today. So work from where you are now and pay attention to the What.