Once upon a time I visited an Astrocartographer - an astrologist who is adept at determining what part of the world is favorable for you. There were a few surprises of where I could live (Santa Fe, anyone?) but the concept that stuck with me most is the House of Hidden Talents. In Astrology, identity is determined by what planets are in the "First House" of the natal chart. However, some aspects or talents can become hidden in another house, not to manifest until we move.
We know that Ayurveda is a paradigm of context. What is good to eat or do or practice will change and evolve through time and space. Astrology concurs that the manifest personality can be altered according to time and place as well. We are not as fixed as we may have thought – we have Free Will and discernment with which to ride the tides of life, possibly appearing on another shore.
Dharma, one’s righteous path, is the primary purpose of life according to Ayurveda. Dharma can also be translated as “truth.” Living in your truth is not a free-for-all to act out base impulses, though they may be truthful. A person exists within the larger laws of this universe, including the law of karma. The results of our actions are the cost of Free Will.
Thus, the Dharmic path must often be carved out of the rugged internal terrain of messy thoughts and impulses. In this time and age, we are so lucky to have opportunities to take any number of paths. As an American, I have an abundance of options not available to my immigrant ancestors. As a woman, my options have expanded exponentially in my generation alone.
So…What’s a girl to do? What course do our lives take when the onus is on us to choose?
I have learned a great deal about dharma in the course of yoga therapy trainings. The student appears in training - sometimes with a clear intention – and sometimes simply following their instinct. There is period of confusion as they learn the yogic paradigm of a personal righteous path. For once, their path is not determined by the assumptions of societal conventions, parental opinion, or advertising. Some may have never stopped to listen to what the heart wanted. The Cambellian call of “Follow Your Bliss” has yet to be heard, or has yet to be heeded.
But then, they listen. They are asked to share what the heart has to say. And when they do, it is overwhelming.
These days, I find myself needing to listen daily to what the heart has to say. In the past, I knew my first life path of "artist" when I acted. I felt the second path of "yoga teacher" when my heart broke open. Now that I have the skill to meditate and rediscover the internal terrain, I find that it can be very rough and vast.
This confusion is due to the time of life I’m in, but also to the time of the world. The rivers of East and West have joined, and the flow of time has become very muddy. It’s a time in which the average American is said to change career paths six times. The world is in an ecological crisis, there is suffering as always, and there are plenty of places to serve.
My suggestion is – should you feel a little lost – to develop your yogic skills as tools with which to carve out your Dharmic path. The worst that can happen is that you see a little more of yourself. You get to see the view from a new place – at a new job, a new home, or in a new phase of relating to another. Be sure to sit – to “wait upon the Lord” as the Hebraic traditions suggested – in prayer or journaling or meditation. Even a good road trip with the talk radio off can clear the internal clouds so you can see the signposts of realization.
For six years, I have sat in a circle with students and guided them to ask what their heart really wanted. And almost every time – in a matter of minutes - the answer appeared. Their talents might have been hidden, but showing up in training and practice shifted hidden talents into manifest identity.
Dharma is the path that always lies under your confusion. You need not be distracted by this or that practice or wedding or social media “life event.” You only have to live your own Dharma. Isn’t that a relief?! Keep listening, keep using your tools, and trust in the heart to let the truth out.
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