What is Dharma? And the Three Paths to Dharma

Understanding the Three Paths to Dharma will help us find our best choice, and discover the different paths and how they relate to your own journey.

If you Google the word “Dharma” you’ll soon discover that it is a Sanskrit term with several different meanings.   In this case, I invite you to think about “your soul’s purpose” when I use the word dharma.  “Your dharma is your big “WHY?”, the reason you’re here with all these thoughts, needs, and desires. 

We were each born with a unique purpose and this human experience is about remembering ours.” stated in Discover your Dharma by Sahara Rose, co-founder of the Dharma Coaching Institute. 

Have you ever wondered “what is the meaning of life” or wondered what is the point of life?  Determining the meaning of life and asking what our soul’s purpose can be one of the hardest questions that we as humans try to answer. 

Sahara Rose continues to say “Your dharma is the role you play in this life that combines all of your strengths, your passion and your aptitude into one.  Imagine your dharma as your mission statement and your career as an offering you provide.”  

Coaching clients through The Great Resignation has provided me with the insight that so many individuals are questioning who they are, why they are here and evaluating what brings them joy.  They have come to the conclusions that life is too short to live in a culture where burnout, stress, and hating your job is the norm.  Burnout only happens when we don’t listen to our truth. 

When you are tapped into your dharma you are tapped into limitless energy, creativity and inspiration.  

This blissful state can also be referred to as “in the flow” or “flow state”; it’s the state of mind when we are fully immersed into an activity.  I find my flow state and lose myself when I am hula hooping, engrossed in creating strategic planning with clients and assisting them in plotting their course to living in alignment with their dharma.

So how do you find your dharma?  First you must understand that there is no straight path to finding your dharma.  There are three paths to living your dharma, four types of dharma and five stages of dharma.   

Let’s explore the three paths to dharma using my journey in creating my coaching practice.  The three paths are “The Leap”, “The Transition” and “The  Accidental Dharma”.   In creating my coaching practice I have been on all three paths to my dharma and they all started with the hula hoop. Seriously, the hula hoop.  I discovered hula hooping or hoop dance in 2007 at an Earth Day Festival.  I absolutely fell in love watching the women dance effortlessly as this circular spinning object moved with them and circled around them highlighting every inch of their feminine forms.  The women were grounded, present and fully embodied.  The hula hoop was my “Accidental Dharma”.  I created Hoop-O-Lution, as my side-hustle, and provided group hoop dance classes.  Hoop dance became a moving meditation and taught me about embodiment (more about this in future blogs).

Next came “The Transition”, for several years I was a bookkeeping, hula hooping, hypnotherapist all the while hating my day  job working for the family business.  As a single mother I had to create multiple income streams and when I wasn’t running my father’s construction business I was doing the accounting for several different businesses, seeing hypnotherapy clients on Saturdays and teaching hoop dance class on Sundays.  I really started to notice my energy wane doing bookkeeping and accounting.  I started getting sick, really sick.  First came adrenal fatigue and I could barely stay awake driving home after a day at the office.  I drastically and abruptly reduced my client load to focus on my health crisis.  With so many possible diagnoses of what could be “wrong with me” and in effort of discovering “why I’m broken”, I dove into research.

After a while my symptoms were getting worse no matter what I did or did not do, no matter how well I ate, no matter how perfect my digestion… I still had hives and rashes everyday.  The truth was, I wasn’t listening to my truth and manifested a stress related illness for over a decade.  My truth is that I was in a dead end career where I was highly competent, undervalued and under appreciated, not only by my father but by myself.  I didn’t see my worth, I wasn’t doing anything meaningful for income and I definitely wasn’t tapped into my dharma.  All of these revelations became apparent after a huge fight with my father and I about his business, which resulted in my immediate resignation.  Within three weeks all of my autoimmune/stress related illnesses went away as if I had a magic wand. This was my “Leap”, 2020 was my year to make an impact and use everything I learned navigating my own health crisis, integrate my passion for all things business and to coach, support and educate people who have that unanswered call to be better and do more with the life they were given. 

Understanding the Three Paths to Dharma will help us find our best choice, and discover the different paths and how they relate to your own journey.
  1.   The Leap – involves more risk then the other two paths. This is for those who are “all in” and requires taking a big leap towards your dharma without looking back. For example: Quitting your job or moving to another country. This path is fully stepping into the unknown and answering your calling because staying where you are is far more energy-draining than what it’s worth.
  2.  The Transition – think side hustle. This path is where you begin to take steps into living your dharma, with small and well thought-out steps. An example would be: You keep your day job, and start working toward your dharma on the side. This path is for people who have life responsibilities that wouldn’t allow too much risk in their everyday life. And perhaps they are not 100% confident in what their dharma is quite yet, and want to safely test out their options.
  3.   The Accidental Discovery – This path is when your dharma finds you and there’s no denying it. For example: That new hobby that you become utterly obsessed with and make more time for this passion over your regular 9 to 5.
If you’re still unsure about which path is for you, I invite you to ask yourself: “How would I complete a huge project?” 
  1. Would you quit everything and jump right in?
  2. Would you take small strategic steps forward until you reach your end goal?
  3. Would you wait for creative inspiration to strike and see where it leads?
If your answer is 1, your path to dharma is probably The Leap. 
If your answer is 2, your path to dharma is probably The Transition. 
If your answer is 3, your path to dharma is probably The Accidental Discovery.
You are the only person who can validate your purpose. If you seek outside validation, you won’t find it, or the validation will just be someone else’s opinion – not your truth.

Ask yourself these questions:
  • Do you see where your life is headed and know that something needs to change? 
  • Do you crave a more meaningful and fulfilling life? 
  • Or if you’re ready to live in alignment with your purpose and don’t know where to start?
If you can relate to any part of my story and/or are suffering from a health crisis, then you are not listening to what your body really is telling you. You’re on the wrong track. Trying to resolve an inner conflict by pushing harder or controlling things externally will not work.

You may be working out of alignment with your values in a career that brings no joy or fulfillment, even though it might bring money.
I invite you to read the next blog where I will discuss the four types of dharma.


Leave a Comment