In Jyotish astrology we calculate the birthchart for the “personal self” who comes alive during physical birth, for the personal identity who awakens to meet the world and investigate itself in physical form. From birthchart we can derive another chart which examines this life from the perspective of the soul who incarnates into this physical form. During the first years of our lives, we encounter the environment primarily from this soul perspective, we observe life and ourself by identifying with who we are as soul and spirit. By adulthood, the development process of individuality turns our focus outside of ourselves, we learn to identify with who we are as an individual personality, we grow accustomed to observing life based on what happens to us externally. The more subtle soul awareness get buried underneath the demands and stress of maintaining and developing this external focus and role.
My own experience is this: the purpose of taking birth into this life will realize itself, regardless of how we understand it or not. We as doers and actors in life do not get to claim credit for it, that purpose will resolve itself regardless of our doing. With everything we do when we identify with the needs and desires of the external personality, we can either live along in how life manifests itself through us, or with a willful effort we can command our attention into other matters and aspire to accomplish what we believe should happen. In spite of all of this, life’s purpose for manifesting itself resolves itself in its own way, at its own pace, by its own weight. Would it have an essential impact on our quality of life, if we learn to understand what our life is really aiming at, at a deeper level?
Dharma is sometimes understood to mean “purpose of life”, but as a western term that is too goal-oriented. A more appropriate way to translate dharma would be “that which upholds and sustains” life. It is sometimes thought that the realization of life’s purpose relies on our effort. Actually dharma is the “purpose” which life itself manifests through us – regardless of whether we act according to it, or attempt to divert our focus elsewhere, or live totally ignorant of it. We have the freedom of will to do whatever we choose, but if we direct effort into something else than what life is aspiring to manifest through us, we need to personally generate all the energy required to do that – and at the same time we are usurping space and time from that which will realize itself anyway in the end, we just slow it down and make it more difficult. Thus we can say: to live according to one’s own dharma means that we do not use our own expectations to make life more difficult than it needs to be; that we do not cause unnecessary and self-inflicted suffering to ourselves with our own expectations. Dharma is embracing life as it comes in each moment, surrendering to live life as it offers itself through us, to be lived.
The soul has its own development agenda, which might not necessarily align with what the personality is trying to cook up. The ultimate satisfaction in life can be found where we can feel how soul’s purpose and personality aspirations support each other. This is something that comes about as direct personal experience, not as intellectual effort. Life keeps offering beneficial experiences all the time anyway, but we have learned to bypass them in a clever manner. Thus it is essential to embrace life experiences with a presence of accepting praise – not just run through them by fastforwarding over the frustrating bits. To be present with a deliberate choice of awareness, in whatever is happening … as if awakening, again and repeatedly, in each passing moment, to what life truly is.
Blind spot and the adventure into the unknown
What life aspires toward on a more profound level of consciousness, what is the ultimate aim of this life, comes with a blind spot attached to it. It is a medley of unfinished expectations about what we would prefer life to be. Resistance and suffering is not brought about by what things are, but by being ignorant – we cannot yet understand how our expectations are unrealistic and immature. The blind spots function like a trail of breadcrumbs, guiding us through our path in life, to embrace and face up to the unrealistic expectations which activate in us according our individual spiritual timetable.
We are not meant to get stuck or attached onto them. The evolutionary agenda of our soul entices us to wade through these expectations, so we will awaken and recognize dharma in our life. These activations have been slumbering as seed ideas in our manuscript of life, implanted before we were even born. On the level of soul awareness, you have known before birth how the opportunity to examine deeper truth in life will offer itself to you through such encounters. How life drives itself toward it, that is what manifests itself regardless, in one form or another. Precisely in what manner and how you take advantage of that to create wellbeing and abundance in your life – demonstrates your personal freedom of choice.
The physical personality is a tool that the soul uses to examine life, and soul must guide and compel this “servant” to participate in those activities, which provide the events and experiences that the soul requires. The soul entices and provokes and inspires the physical persona toward these things, by arousing a feeling or sensation of something that attracting you or calling to you – a sensation which is called “vocation” that we can follow up in practical activity. This vocation functions like a lighthouse beacon or a magnet, getting us to engage with people and issues the soul wants to observe.
When we identify with the “doer” in us, we also identify with the expectations that come with our efforts – expectations of how our actions should produce results and success, expectations of how we should benefit from our effort. This brings up a rather limited view of what life at its best could be. What we can imagine about it, rarely matches where the soul wants events to lead, and not likely what the soul can really “achieve” from its own, more elevated perspective.
Recognizing dharma is a process, where we learn to let go of expectations regarding the consequences actions. We learn to do whatever comes by us naturally, because doing it feels good and we don’t even think about what the results should be. You are the one who acts because you are in a cosmic sense uniquely favorably disposed to allow the action to unfold through you. Evaluations about whether you achieved success, mostly measure whether your own expectations where fulfilled or not, and that might have very little to do with what the consequences are from the universal perspective. Our actions are automatically beneficial when we act according to dharma; but if our expectations are unrealistic then our assessment of “success” (or lack of it) is illusionary. Not worth even thinking about., so just let go and let dharma with a relaxed, unattached attitude, without attachment to outcome.
Soul is saying: “take hold of these issues, attach yourself to them and weave them into your life, so I get an opportunity to to investigate my tendencies and biases and my need for development.” as the soul awareness of its own evolution evolves, what motivates your forward in life evolves also. Confusing aspect here is that the soul is “you”, but not who you regard yourself to be when you identify with the external worldly persona. The soul is “you” when you identify with yourself as you where before taking physical birth into this life; who you are when you observe your life through this individual personality but sort of outside of it, as if observing a another people going about their life. The more this equation is weighed down by immature expectations concerning how “success” should appear, the more your sense of reality is distorted ja you are likely to interpret events as “lack of success” – even though your soul has a totally different take on things. This can be talked about as the observed viewpoint, and we can benefit by asking ourselves: who is really observing who?
Evolution of soul consciousness gains great benefit if we maintain “proper posture” in life. “Asana” is a sanskrit term which refers to postures in hatha yoga practice, it is one part of the “eight-limbed” process which helps awareness to expand. Acquiring and maintaining proper physical posture helps energy to flow in an optimal fashion, through our physical, energetic, mental and emotional bodies. We experience this as an increased sense of feelgood, as attunement to our source of wellbeing – or dharma. But in addition to external posture, “asana” also refers to an internal attitude; by applying proper posture of physical body we facilitate the acquisition and cultivation of proper attitude toward life. As our body discovers the proper posture, our soul learns to hold proper attitude for dharma to flow unobstructed through our whole being, on all levels. Rolf Sovik, who is the President and Spiritual Director of Himalayan Institute, expresses it thus: “The interior life of poses is the true nature of asana, and any sequence of postures can help awaken an experience of being with ourselves.” This flow of dharma motivates us to act in a holistic, integrative and mutually beneficial manner. In Jyotish astrology this is called “inhabiting your skyhouse”.
The soul tempts and entices you into life situations and events, whereby you learn to understand what it means to acquire and maintain proper posture and attitude. Whatever occurs on the practical level, whatever the outcome of your actions, on the ultimate level it is meant to produce mastery of awareness regarding the proper attitude.
Be responsible for your own happiness
Finally, herre I offer an interesting question to ponder. If life was dependent on our rational understanding, then we could be in pretty dire straits – thus the evolution of human life is not left at the mercy of what we do or do not comprehend. The purpose of life, or dharma, is something that utilizes our lives to realize itself one way or another, regardless of whether we act supporting it or against it or live blissfully ignorant of the whole thing. Can you recognize, to what degree your own life has followed this dynamic?