Dharma means service. A person's dharma is how that person is going to contribute to society. We all have a contribution to make. Together, when everyone is performing their service the world functions well. Like the links in a chain, when all are present and connected, the chain is strong. When someone is missing or not performing their duty, the entire chain becomes less effective.
The term dharma, as it is commonly used, implies a spiritual purpose, a higher purpose beyond one's desires. This is the purpose assigned to you by the divine. It is a purpose that matches your unique gifts and abilities. While it may make you stretch, it also helps you to reach beyond your self-perceived limitations and manifest a greater amount of your potential.
The dharma of the Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist (CAS) is to bring the knowledge and light of Ayurveda to one's community. Through educational programs and one on one consulting, the CAS practices as a one part teacher, one part healer, one part doctor and one part coach on each person's journey toward optimal health and well being. Exactly how each CAS accomplishes this depends upon their own dharma, gifts, abilities and inspiration.
Ayurvedic knowledge is the cornerstone of harmonious living. This information is more important today than ever. As elements of our society have moved further and further away from nature, Ayurveda serves as a reminder of our connection to all of creation. Ayurveda has the potential to reconnect each person back to source. Ayurveda, and its sister science yoga, help each human being to recall their connection to nature and spirit and in doing so, reestablish harmony, health and well-being.
Of course, knowledge itself is useless unless there is a practical application that benefits humanity. The CAS must take this knowledge and move it from their head to their heart and out through their hands. This is the work that all students begin at internship and continues with as they go into practice.
The practice of Ayurveda means touching the hearts of your clients and patients, while stimulating a transformation of consciousness within them. The more hearts that are touched, the more consciousness that is healed, the more peace and harmony there is the world. Yes, the Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist has a dharma that is not only interpersonal but also global. As the consciousness of each individual heals, so too does the consciousness of a community, a city, a state, a country and a planet.
It is gift to know one's dharma. It is as if God has spoken and you have heard. At that time, all that is left is to surrender and serve. These two tasks are not as easy as they sound. Surrendering is perhaps the most difficult action any human being can take. It means putting aside one's personal desires and goals in favor of service to the divine. It takes tremendous faith and courage to act in a selfless manner. Selflessness is by nature very scary. Our self, or ahamkara, struggles to maintain its current existence. It does not like change or growth. A new way of being threatens the very existence of self. As a result, we usually sabotage our growth as the self fights back to maintain the status quo. One way this appears as higher "Self" doubt. Is my perception of my dharma my imagination or is it a truly divine offering? If it is my imagination, am I giving up my pursuit of personal gain for no real reason? This type of higher Self doubt troubles many people whose faith is not secure. As a result, most higher pursuits fall short as the person eventually gives up, going back to a "self" existence. Some never gain the clarity to see the door of dharma. Of those who do, few walk through. It takes great courage and faith.
Success in life has many measuring sticks. Most measure it based on money and power. Few measure it based on service and accomplishment. Surrendering to dharma assures a balanced success based upon all parameters. The universe supports those who align with its divine intention.
It is possible to become overly attached to one's dharma. When this occurs, a person struggles to fulfill their dharma at all cost. Perceiving themselves as on a mission from God, they feel justified destroying all who stand in their way. History is filled with such individuals spreading hate and violence in the name of God. Such fanatical behavior is not true service to ones dharma but rather a mixing of self and Self. The ego takes on responsibility for fulfilling the dharma. Rather than surrendering and allowing the divine to flow through one's self, this individual blocks the flow of the divine, harnessing instead the power of the will. Dharma can never be fulfilled in this manner.
The harmonious fulfillment of dharma is a gentle, loving process built upon steady hard work and devotion to higher principles. As human beings, we easily fall back into the dark shadow of the ego. But, within each of us is the light of the divine. As we open to the loving light, the darkness is dispersed. As the Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist serves their community with love and respect, consciousness is healed and dharma is fulfilled.
May we all work with through our own gifts and talents to bring the knowledge of Ayurveda to light in this modern age. May we all fulfill our dharma.
Dr. Marc Halpern is the founder and President of the California College of Ayurveda. An internationally respected expert in the fields of Ayurveda and Yoga, Dr. Halpern received the award for Best Ayurvedic Physician from the Indian Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. A. Ramdas. He is a co-founder of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association and the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine. He is on the advisory board of Light on Ayurveda Journal in the United States and the Journal of Research and Education in Indian Medicine in Varansi, India. Dr. Halpern has published articles in popular journals and magazines of Ayurveda and Yoga including Yoga Journal. He is also a contributing writer in several popular books on Ayurveda and has written two textbooks. Dr. Halpern is a regular speaker at Ayurvedic and Yoga conferences and teaches regularly at the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers where he received his Yoga Teacher certification. Read more...