Can I ask you to be delightfully honest with yourself for just a moment?
Imagine you’re writing a script for a movie that represents your ideal life, your dream life. Would that movie enchant you and reflect exactly the life you are actually living now?
Let me explain why I am asking you that.
I wanted you to at least for a moment focus on what life you would like to live. Because, knowing what you want is the first step to be able to move closer to getting what you actually want. Not only that …
Once you have asked yourself what you want, you can ask yourself the question who you would need to be to have that. This is fundamental in setting yourself up for success in living a fulfilled life. Questions like ‘who do I want to be?’ and ‘how do I want to express myself?’ are valuable questions to ask yourself on a regular basis. They help reveal the values which drive you and give direction to your life. Why is this important?
In my work with my clients I have found that these foundational questions and their answers are at the root of successfully igniting their dreams and tapping into the power to live the life they desire.
They all aspire to be a better version of themselves and live their highest potential. Don’t you long to manifest the life of your dreams?
Perhaps it seems utopian to think in those terms. Dream life. Like, really? What does it even mean to live a ‘life of your dreams’? To me it means living a life aligned with your deepest driving aspirations and desires. Living aligned with your soul’s pursuit of its unique expression in life.
It is helpful then to know what that pursuit actually is. Fortunately the Vedic sages of old have left us some pointers.
They point to four seed desires we all have, the so called ‘purusharthas’.
The word purusharthas is made up of the sanskrit terms purusha and artha. Purusha means soul and artha can be translated as ‘for the purpose of’. Hence the popular transliteration of purusharthas as ‘for the desire of the soul’.
These four goals or desires, which all people knowingly or unknowingly strive for, are considered by the Vedas to be inspired by the very essence of your being and are a foundation of living a satisfying and fulfilled life.
The first purushartha is Dharma – virtuous acts
I like to describe dharma as living according to the laws of the universe and the desire to fully become who you were meant to be.
One way of understanding dharma is relating to it as living according the laws of nature. The more we live according to the rules of the universe the more we thrive. It is very much about respecting nature and living in tune with it.
A second way of relating to dharma is about fulfilling one’s own dharma by embodying who you are meant to be, your unique purpose or your most elevated expression of who you are.
When you align yourself with the laws of the universe and you fulfil your highest expression of who you are you create an ideal disposition which facilitates attainment of the other purusharthas.
Leading a dharmic life maintains and creates integration and harmony within your being. Going against dharma creates inner conflict and disharmony with your being.
In other words, aligning yourself with dharma is a wise approach to contribute to your overall health and wellbeing – which makes it easier to live a life you love.
The second purushartha is Artha – acquirement of wealth
The desire for artha is the desire for the means to fulfil your dharma. Mostly linked to the acquirement of money or wealth, at its foundation the root driving force behind artha is the desire or need for security.
We all appear to be insecure at our base and feel uncomfortable with that. As money is perceived as the most important resource to provide us with some sense of security it is money we generally seek after most.
Even though money won’t fully address our apparent inherent sense of insecurity, in our world there is a need for acquiring money.
Good health of course is also essential to fulfil your dharma. Therefore the means associated most with artha are security, money and health.
The third purushartha is Kama – gratification of desire
Kama is the longing for pleasure in any and all forms. It is really the desire for fulfilment, enjoyment and bliss.
Generally we regard sensual enjoyments as the experience that provides that. So that is why we are so drawn to sensual enjoyment. However, kama goes beyond this. It is very much about the original desire and the fulfilment of that desire.
We hardly ever enjoy objects for the sake of the objects themselves. We are after the experience of joy that we expect objects to provide for us. In this context objects are means to and end and not the end itself.
Think about traveling for example. We don’t travel so much for travel’s sake as for the experiences it provides us.
The fourth purushartha is Moksha – final emancipation
The fourth purushartha is moksha, the desire to be free from the burdens of the world, even as you participate fully in it. Moksha is the longing to realise a state beyond the reach of the other three desires.
It is our longing to experience spirit, essence or God and to abide in lasting peace.
These four desires are inherent aspects of your soul or essence. Your soul uses them for the purpose of fulfilling its unique potential.
So, now back to that script of a life your love. When you attune yourself to nature and go beyond your ‘human’ needs and focus on the transcendental qualities of your soul you’ll find yourself plugged in to the very source of love and joy. How is that?
The Vedic sages not only described the four purusharthas and their relationship with the soul. They also described the very nature of the soul. They used the term satchitananda which means eternal, pure undiluted consciousness and bliss. How cool is that?
The ultimate sense of security we can only find in our own essential nature. That eternal, ever existing aspect of us. The ultimate joy we seek for is found in our own blissful nature. The ultimate freedom is found in this very realisation. Our ultimate purpose is to realise the truth of these principles.
However, in my personal take on it, there is one other additional aspect to our purpose. It is to also help others in their journey towards the realisation of who they really are.
I’m a strong proponent of having a big vision for your life. And envisioning requires you to ask yourself questions like … what if?
What if I am living the most effulgent life possible? What if I am fully expressing who I am? What if I am living a life feeling fulfilled and content? How would my life look like then?
How about you keep the four root desires and the nature of your soul in mind when asking yourself these kind of questions?
How often do you take the time and reflect on what your dream life would be? I don’t just mean the cliché of a bigger house, an awesome job, a dream lover, and all that – not that there is anything wrong with that. I mean, have you ever probed deeper and gone beyond that? Have you gone to the core of who you are and how you want to express your deepest essence in life?
Have you ever considered how much of your dreams are in their essence based on finding meaning and fulfilment in your every day life? What about contribution, having a strong sense of purpose and self actualisation? These things are key to living a beautiful life.
If you are experiencing any sense of discontent, overwhelm, frustration or feeling stuck with any part of your life, perhaps reflecting on who you really are might be useful. Throughout the ages wise men and women have graced our earth and they left sign posts for us tellings us how to live an impeccable and beautiful life. One of their main messages has always been to look within.
This point is wonderfully illustrated through the story of the Himalayan musk deer. This deer produces an aroma of musk which is so alluring that when it begins to smell the musk, it roams the forest day and night in pursuit of the source of this exquisite aroma. It is totally mesmerised, exhausting itself in a fruitless quest. It looks in every possible location, hypnotised and entranced, its whole life searching yet never able to find it because it doesn’t realise the sweet fragrance it chases resides nowhere but within its own navel. What it spends its whole life seeking is lying within itself.
Knowing this, what would need to change for you to live a life of your dreams? To live a life you love? What script would you write in which you design your life such that you wake up in the mornings with enthusiasm, with energy and raring to go and engage with life in your own unique expression?
Need some support getting started? Let me help you …