"What am I supposed to do with my life?"Aug 15, 2022
I was introduced to the Bhagavad Gita in the 7th grade by my English teacher.
Both the book and teacher remain important to my life to this day and my adventures in midlife.
Although the Gita is one of the world's oldest spiritual and philosophical texts (written well over 2000 years ago) it remains one of the most relevant regarding humanity's central questions.
"What am I supposed to do with my life?"
Through a beautiful tale about the great warrior Arjuna and his friend and advisor Krishna (a divine in disguise) the Gita reveals that the answer lies within every individual's dharma.
What is dharma?
Like most words whose etymology begins with Sanskrit roots, dharma defies a singular or absolute definition.
It translates variously as path, teaching, or law.
Expanded definitions include sacred duty and vocation
I like to think of dharma as your soul's true calling or the difference only you can make.
But how do you, or I, or anyone else find and live into the purpose you're meant to live now (in midlife or any other time of life?
The Gita shares a process based on embracing four ideas.
- "Look to your dharma." You must accept that you have a unique gift, a difference only you can make, and dial it in.
- "You should not vacillate." You must embrace, engage, and enact your life's true calling fully.
- "Let go of the fruits." Grasping at results or rewards only brings suffering. Do the work you are meant to do now with passion and detachment. Aspire without attachment and equanimity is achieved.
- "Thou art that." You are a spiritual creature having a human experience. Surrender to the divine,—the divine within you, the divine in all beings, and the divine that permeates the entire cosmos.
Obviously there is much more to be unpacked in each of these steps. But what happens if you begin to contemplate your sacred calling and live into your soul's purpose today?
If you want to go further with the Bhagavad Gita, I recommend the Stephen Mitchell translation and Stephen Cope's wonderful guide to the Bhagavad Gita, The Great Work of Your Life.
Would you like to explore the approach to vocation in the Bhagavad Gita with me? Send me an email and let me know. If I get 20 responses, I'll create a 30-minute workshop and invite you to attend!
Scott Perry, Encore Life Coach at The Art of Encore Living
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