I have just been leading a teacher training in India, sharing yogic techniques to cultivate greater awareness, and balance in all aspects of life. We covered many of the main topics shared in the Bhagavad Gita, including the concept of dharma.
In the West there is much misconception around this concept of dharma. Many believe it relates simply to finding our purpose. So we fall into the trap of thinking that unless we are running a global NGO or involved with underserved populations, that we are somehow not living our dharma.
We can obsess and fantasize so much about this idea that we lose connection with ourself, we feel depressed because we decide that for some reason we are not worthy of our mystical dharma because we have not found it yet.
So, what is dharma? Dharma is in essence simply to be yourself fully, to be true to your inner voice, to allow the highest expression of you to flow through you in each moment. If we are doing this, then we are living our dharma.
Sitting in satsang with master teacher Anand Mehrotra, I asked him to to expand on the following concept shared in the Bhagavad Gita “Better to do ones own dharma imperfectly than the dharma of another well performed.” Without missing a beat he turned to me and said in a strong and clear voice “Mind your own Business!” We all laughed! Then he said, “ I am not joking. That is what this sutra means.”
He then clarified with the following “Stop focusing so much on other people; what they are doing, thinking, and saying. Drop the comparison game and set yourselves free from others, and set them free from your meddling, and control. Any time you feel bothered by another person, just mind your own business totally! This is the full value of yoga.
We begin by taking full responsibility for the experience we are having. This requires an incredible level of courage and radical self honesty, so that we can start to correct our perception of self and others and gain access to clarity, intuition and awareness. Spontaneous right action, dharma, then arises from this.
Krishna says “Better to do your dharma imperfectly.” Meaning that when you are with yourself, the full value of yourself, then even if you are not perfect it is OK. Then the practice is simply to stay fully true to what is coming through you at any given moment.