Why are you here … and what should you do about it?
“Why am I here . . . and what should I do about it?”
These are two of life’s fundamental questions! Sooner or later in life, these questions will come up for most of us, especially if we are spiritually inclined – because we are looking for meaning in our life!
The question may take a form something like: “What is my purpose?” or: “How do I find my purpose?” And perhaps: “Why is fulfilling my purpose so hard?” or even “Why is my life like this?”
The key to understanding that you have a purpose is in the bigger picture – in understanding that major feature of human life – reincarnation. Once we understand that this life is not our only one – and that our soul has many incarnations in personality, one after the other, or even several at the same time . . . then we have a framework for understanding both dharma and karma – our purpose in this life, along with our limitations and lessons in this life.
“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it. “
– Gautama Buddha
Dharma and karma are key Laws of Life that govern the process of reincarnation and allow it to achieve its goal. When I say that dharma and karma are Laws of Life, I mean they are laws that are like the laws of physics [eg, gravity, or thermodynamics], in that they apply invariably – whether you know them or not. They are not like human laws of the land, passed by parliament, which you can choose to follow of not . . . and take the consequences.
However, knowing about the Laws of Dharma and Karma, and working with them [like with gravity, and the laws of the land] certainly makes life a better experience in so many ways. In fact, ignoring them may mean harder consequences, more difficulty and slower progress to your ultimate goals – in this life and in your future incarnations.
The Good News
The good news is: everybody has a purpose! Everybody has a dharma in this life. You may know or believe this already! Surveys show most people do believe it – even when they do not know what that purpose or dharma is.
“The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
– Samuel Clements [Mark Twain]
Our life’s purpose is determined by our soul, prior to each incarnation. Our soul chooses a purpose which moves its incarnations forward, along the path of its development. If there were not a reason, a purpose, a dharma, we would not incarnate!
By incarnating, we are each fulfilling a small part of the purpose of human life itself, because we are all part of the one incarnating life stream called ‘humanity’. Our individual part in these larger processes has been chosen by our soul before incarnating . . . and we are given all that is needed to fulfill it.
We are given the necessary skills, interests, traits, attitudes, wishes, etc. You might say we are designed to fulfil our purpose in any given life.
“The purpose of life is to find your gift and to give it away!”
– David Viscott
Our life’s purpose is how we need to grow in this life. So that, eventually, after many incarnations, we are able to fully express in the physical world the particular energy and role of our soul, through an aligned and awakened personality – one that is cooperating consciously with and is pervaded by soul consciousness – and that works consciously for all, for the divine unfoldment of the plan on Earth.
Of course, in each life, we are also given the circumstances, the parameters in life, where lessons are to be learned – our karma! If we have behaved, felt or thought badly in previous lives, we are given circumstances that provide us the opportunity to learn how not to do this, or to learn its consequences, to learn to handle the situation differently. We may be given the opportunity for insight by suffering what we have previously done to others! Karma has many forms!
Your dharma is your soul’s purpose in this life – your karma is your personality’s lessons in this life.
What will knowing my purpose do for me?
What’s worth noting, as an everyday fact, is that knowing your dharma, your purpose, makes your life better – perhaps even easier! And it makes it much better, if you follow your dharma and live it!
Because you are expressing the soul, the light of your soul shines light on your whole life. This light neutralizes your karma, clearing away the path for you to walk. In the light of soul, karma in the personality is burnt off, as it surrenders to the soul’s influence, perspective, energy!
In 30 years of healing and spiritual counseling with people, I have found how closely dharma and karma are connected. Almost invariably, I have found that people carry a lot of karma around their dharma – closely intertwined at what I call the ‘karma-dharma growth point’. Looking at and drawing into awareness the focus of personal karma can often give a person some very specific clues as to their dharma.
People resist their dharma because it is difficult. Yes, it may be made difficult by this cluster of karma around it – a cluster of attitudes and lessons unlearnt in past lives. Sometimes the personality is stuck in those karmic attitudes or energies for many lives. In these lives, little spiritual progress is made – growth and development do not occur. Too often, people accept their karma as fixed, not understanding the key transformative benefit of opening to their soul, and to their soul’s purpose – of accepting and fulfilling their dharma!
These attitudes and energies are mostly unconscious – they are not in the person’s awareness and hence remain unquestioned by the person. A person’s unconsious tends to reign supreme, as the person tries to fulfil its demands, most likely repeating old patterns from the past, not growing, not progressing in consciousness. While the personality has its wants, needs, likes and dislikes too, and the soul has its purpose, the two are not incompatible. For the personality can work out how to do what is purposeful and how to express it – through what it wants and needs for itself. It’s a matter of balance.
If the personality does just what it wants, ignoring the soul’s dharma, the soul will arrange a path in life that confronts it, challenges it and steers it, in order to pressure the personality to fulfill its purpose. This can be quite unpleasant!
This is where karma really begins to bite, as progress is not being made towards the soul’s goals! This is a major problem for humanity – which has so many stuck karmic programs of cruelty, mistreatment, murder and mayhem in many countries, in many cultures and belief systems around the world.
On the other hand, when the personality follows its life purpose, ignoring all else, then it risks being sabotaged by its un-redeemed parts – the karma that lies as patterns in its unconscious. Over the past 2000 years of the Piscean Age, this has lead people to lead singular lives, ignoring deeper feelings and considerations. Some people still live this way, and will move out of it in future lives, as their soul wishes, and as the pervasive cosmic energies change our surrounding conditions.
These unconscious parts have often been developed early in life to protect the young, vulnerable personality from the anxiety of uncertainty, from taking risks or from repeating some previously experienced pain, or even from looking or feeling foolish. They invariably reflect karmic issues to be dealt with this life.
So, in both cases, karma is encountered. What is most important is making it conscious, bringing to it the light of soul, of super-consciousness. Following a path of purpose, of fulfilling dharma, is a balance of personality and higher self. It requires you to be aware of your karma and work with it and on it.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
– Carl Gustav Jung
It is a cooperative venture which takes place in the heart, where the soul and personality meet, and where they can come to a working relationship on how to move forward. Knowing your dharma is a path to your heart, leading you onto the path of heart. It is a path of renewal – of breaking consciously the old patterns of many lives.
You may recognise that this is the path of humanity as a whole as we move into the Age of the Heart! For humanity to progress in the Age of the Heart, it now faces the crisis of opening to its flow of heart consciousness – to its soul. And hence to its purpose, its dharma on this planet.
Holding a personal intent to find and follow dharma is a mighty step in this direction – and will occur naturally when our heart is opened and love flows.
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.”
It is a journey into your heart – since that is where contact with your soul and all it knows can be made. Heart attunement, meditation and reflection are the best methods for going inwards. At times this journey can be frustrating or even a little scary. You will become aware of your deep attitudes and feelings you have developed about life, and which may give guiding parameters to your life, how you live it and any limits you have imposed on making progress or fulfilling of your needs.
Around your heart, you will find pain and suffering from the past – attitudes and and patterns of self protection from experiences when younger or in past lives – these are karma – karma that can be cleared, cleaned out by your increasing heart light, soul light. By increasing your flow of heart consciousness.
To discover your purpose, you need to get comfortable with your non-logical mind – with your unconscious mind, and all it holds – emotion, intuition, impulses, and sensitivities.
“Learn the alchemy true human beings know. The moment you accept what troubles you’ve been given, the door will open.”
Invariably, becoming aware of your karma will help remove roadblocks to finding your dharma and likely show you in what area it lies.
Conversely, the more you seek and orient to your dharma, to your soul light, the more you will feel your karma – both good and bad – and the more you will redeem your karma and grow in consciousness.
However, in this journey, you must become accustomed to not having the answers. You must tolerate ambiguity and get okay with struggling, as you become more aware, more conscious of your purpose and its constraining conditions.
“Most of your suffering is self-created. It is created out of resistance to what is. Suffering is a wonderful teacher — suffering is most people’s only spiritual teacher.”
– Eckhart Tolle
You must allow yourself to feel – to deeply sense. Thinking your way to your purpose or dharma and to your karma will never work. Be gentle and be forgiving with yourself.
I’m not outlining an easy path here. But for people wanting to become more spiritual, to improve the quality of their lives, to grow in consciousness, becoming more conscious of your dharma and karma is your only real option.
The alternative is stuckness and stagnation.
Surrounded by his disciples and followers, the last words of the dying Gautama Buddha are said to have been: “Work out your salvation with diligence.”