In troubled times the chaos around you need not be reflected inside you—and nowhere is that more evident than today. One of the strongest ways to remain on course when recovering from loss or other hardships is to find and know your purpose. There are many ways to combat stress, but the most powerful are associated with feeling secure about who you are and why you were put here. Likewise, feeling that you are on course with your purpose is effective in keeping away anxiety and depression.
Have you been able to find your life’s purpose yet? If so, do you feel that you are on track with your purpose? Of all the things that make human beings unique, needing purpose and meaning in our lives is one of the most prominent.
In the tradition of Yoga, your purpose is already waiting for you. It exists at a deeper level of awareness than the mental activity that fills the mind constantly. If it sounds alien and exotic to imagine that your purpose already exists, there is a famous Western equivalent. In the ’80s, the great scholar of mythology, Joseph Campbell, invented the phrase “Follow your bliss,” which almost instantly entered into popular usage.
When it comes to finding purpose in your work, the notion that you should find work that brings you bliss and joy is appealing, but Campbell, who had a deep understanding of Eastern spiritual traditions, meant something more. By following your bliss, he contended, “…the life you ought to be living is the one you are living.” This holds out a vision that is radically different from the notion that hard work, persistence, and keeping your shoulder to the wheel are the keys to success. As Campbell explained, “Follow your bliss, don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”
In this, Campbell was aligning himself with the Indian concept of Dharma. The word derives from a Sanskrit verb that means “to uphold.” Your dharma is the way of life supported by the power of pure or cosmic consciousness.
You don’t need to read a crystal ball into the future to get closer to your life’s purpose—you just need to find the things that give you purpose today. Dharma is a path that unfolds in consciousness. By walking it, you discover more and more about yourself, and this brings you closer to a purpose that has evolved with you—even, and especially, while dealing with challenges.
Thriving isn’t measured by your bank account, the size of your house, or how many people work under you. It is measured by your level of well-being. This message is starting to sink in already in many people’s lives, particularly in these unsettled times. Campbell was a harbinger of the future, but his advice also echoes centuries past.
At this moment many people want suggestions about returning to their purpose after a time of sustained collective disruption over the past year. Here are some tips.
Don’t try to regain lost progress all at once. Begin with activities that are part of your purpose. A good beginning is to find ways to be of service in small ways with people who are in need.
The key is to feel confident about what you have to give to the world. You can sit down and make a list of your talents and strengths. Then write down one or two ways to use each one in the coming days.
Remember that your purpose isn’t the same as your career. Keep your sight fixed on that powerful phrase, “the life you ought to be living.” Expand this to include everything that brings you closer to your ideal, and if your career hasn’t returned to its previous levels—maybe you’re looking for a new position or in the process of changing careers—you can still give of your time, effort, and emotional support to those around you.
Keep your ideals before you. Believe in a higher vision of life and live accordingly. Raise your expectations as high as your ideals. These have been the hallmarks of dharma for millennia, and they hold true today as much, if not more, than ever.
As with all skills, meditation is a learned habit that’s most effective when practiced consistently, so treat it like you would an exercise routine. Want more tips like these—and insight on how to start and maintain a mindfulness practice—from Deepak? Check out Deepak Chopra’s Mindful Method for Fitbit, an exclusive new wellness collection featuring content across mindfulness, sleep, stress management, mental wellness, and the mind-body connection, available to Fitbit Premium members. Sign up for a 90-day free trial here. Not available in all markets where Premium is available; and available in English only.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.