Happiness. We all seek it. Everything we aspire to and each and every endeavor is about finding happiness. Each of us longs for pleasure, beauty, wisdom, friendship and accomplishment. We all seek lasting peace and freedom.
One area of the sacred and ancient vedic teachings is Yoga. Yoga has become a widespread industry in America and the reason for it’s popularity is simple – it works! Despite it’s popularity in the classroom on rubber mats, what most of us are experiencing is only the tip of the iceberg of what is yoga. Very few Americans are actually aware of the full scope and power of it’s teachings.
Did you know that you can practice yoga and never unroll a sticky mat?
“The term yoga has two meanings. The first is something you do like postures and breath work. In this context it is a means to an end. It’s other meaning refers to the end. In this context, yoga describes a state, a heightened way of being. This is what all the practices of yoga are ultimately meant to lead you to, an experience in which you recognize both the fullest, most essential part of yourself and the grandeur and magnificence to the life around you” Rod Stryker
So how do we get there?
According to the ancient scriptures our soul has four desires inherent in us all. Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha
1. Dharma: this is the first and most overriding of the four desires. We all long for purpose. We all have a drive to fully express who we are meant to be, to fulfill our potential. It is about discovering your souls’ unique destination and mission in this lifetime. Watch a seedling grow with just the right nourishment into what it was meant to be, whether it is a tree or a flower – it just knows. As humans, we need assistance with the right nourishment as well, in order for our unique expression to shine forth.
2. Artha: this is the means by which we accomplish our dharma. This may mean food and shelter, without which we cannot fulfill our dharma. It doesn’t always mean materialism but it can also include persistence, a strong will or immense confidence to step into our lives and letting go of doubt and fear.
3. Kama: the desire for pleasure. We often think of lust or sensuality here but the deeper understanding of it that comes from these ancient teachings is the desire for pleasure of all kinds. Beautiful and powerful art, friendship, soft clothing and/or sexual pleasure. The truth remains that the desire for pleasure is the motivation behind all actions
4. Moksha: the longing for freedom and lasting peace. This is the desire to be free from all limiting boundaries, including the first three desires! It is the impulse that has us seeking meditation, prayer, contemplation and even surrender.
“It is critical to understand that learning to honor all four desires is key to achieving both kinds of fulfillment. While dharma is preeminent in that it shapes the particulars of your other three desires, no one of the four is greater or more important that the other.” Rod Stryker
Are you clear as to what your dharma is in this life?
Do you have the means to live that dharma?
Are you seeking pleasure and is it in alignment with your dharma?
What sort of spiritual practice do you have to achieve Moksha?
Although I still unroll my mat everyday it’s “the rest of yoga” that has most of my attention these days. I know that part of my dharma in this life time is to empower and inspire you. I hope you have found the above interesting information to contemplate.
If you would like more information about the Four Desires you can check out Rod Stryker’s book The Four Desires.