There is an ancient set of ideas from Hindu India that I find very compelling. They are called The Four Aims of Human Life: Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Dharma in this case, means one’s deepest purpose, duty or calling. The is the essence of one’s own life, which may or may not involve your job. Artha is money, equipment and material resources. Kama is beauty, pleasure, bliss and sexuality and finally moksha is spiritual liberation or freedom. What is so appealing here is the balance that these four dimensions require. Too often our lives become slanted towards one or two of them. Very simplistically, many of us in the West have become dominated by working for money and then spending it on material consumption i.e. artha and low grade kama, or we become spiritual to the exclusion of an pleasurable and resource filled life.
Rod Stryker, a yoga teacher of over thirty years, has recently written a wonderful book called The Four Desires that explores this territory. The author takes us through a series of carefully crafted exercises that help us figure out what our personal relationship to each of these domains are. It is a great power to know clearly for yourself what your dharma is.
Strongly recommended to anyone in a big life transition and especially to yogis and yoginis.