What is your dharma and why can’t you find it?


From time to time I receive e-mails from readers of this blog. I think that is a beautiful thing and I am humbled that you would share such intimate and beautiful aspects of your life with me. With that, I have noticed that there a couple of questions that resides in the hearts of many people!

One commonly asked question is about love and relationships. Should you stay or should you leave? Is it “spiritually okay” to leave? How do you generate the internal strength to stay and persevere in love?

The other commonly asked question is in regards to your dharma in life and how to discover it. I have gotten e-mails from so many people who are worried that they are talentless and without a calling in life. And that is what I want to talk about today.

You are not alone. I think many people feel this way. I think that even people who are talented in a particular field sometimes question their own dharma too.

I have written a post on Dharma before and if you haven’t already, I think you should read it first: Your life’s work: A Discourse on Dharma.

Here are some of my thoughts on finding your dharma when you feel like you have none.

Dharma does not mean talent

Dharma means work. So uncovering your dharma does not mean being talented at something. It means spending your life working at something. A lifetime of work generates improvement, and perhaps even perfection. You can become talented by working on something for a period of time, but the goal of dharma is not to become talented, it is about being dedicated.

Some people don’t feel they have any of the “classical talents” of musical ability, artistic ability etc. But if you live your life believing that dharma is only lived through these classical talents you will seriously limit yourself.

Your greatest dharma is to work on your inner life.

Do you experience sweetness in your inner life daily? Do you feel peaceful and unstirred every day? Do you feel open hearted and compassion for all living beings? Can you forgive and love the one who has hurt you the most?

As talentless as you may feel, can you live beautifully? Can you look at ways to make your life more fluid, more smooth? Can you look at ways to live with ease?

If not, then your work is not done. If not, then your work begins here.

If you are dedicated to perfecting your inner world, then you will start to blossom naturally.

Dharma is not here to dazzle

Most people want someone to tell them that their dharma is to do something extraordinary and dazzling. Some people think that if you are successful at pursuing your dharma then you should achieve fame. I don’t believe these things are necessarily true.

We hear about well-known, “famous” people who are widely quoted, their legacies echoing through years, and we believe “Wow, that person really followed their true dharma and that is why they became famous.”

It just so happens that some famous people have been working within the center of their dharma. But that doesn’t mean that all people who work their dharma will be famous. Fame is not an indicator that you have accomplished your dharma.

You can live a quiet and beautiful life that is completely fulfilling and enriching and this is your dharma.

Whether you achieve fame for this or not is out of your hands, and quite frankly, not really your problem.

Many people have even said to me “A psychic told me that my life purpose is to write a book that will change the world.” So my question is this – what is your book about? The content of your book is your life’s work, your dharma. The more powerfully you live in your dharma, the juicier the content of your book. But the book itself is superfluous and it may or may not happen. Do you see how sometimes it is easy to get stuck on the wrong part, because being an author of a book is more dazzling than deeply living the content of your book?

So instead of waiting for a calling that says “Your life purpose is to transform the world!” instead hear the calling that has forever been within you that says “Your life purpose is to transform yourself.” And do just that.

Start off by making the ordinary extraordinary

As Mother Teresa said “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” 

People think things like going to school, going to work, waking up in the morning, cleaning your home, doing the laundry, being a good husband or wife, being a parent, cooking dinner – are all very ordinary things. And while this might be true, these are also HUGE things! If we can accomplish these ordinary duties in extraordinary ways, then we will create magic in our life.

So ask yourself, how can I bring more heart, more magic, more care and attention to the ordinary things in my life?

When you start doing this, your life will start to change.

What is required of you right now?

If you are still feeling a little bit lost in life and unsure of where to go next, spend a few minutes in meditation to center yourself. And then ask yourself:

In my life right now, what is required of me?

Look at what you need to do in different areas of your life; work, family life, spiritual development, hobbies and passions. What are your obligations? What are you expected to do? Begin there. It may not be fun or exciting, but it is your dharma none the less. Only once you take the next step, can you get anywhere. By beginning where you are, with what you have, and doing what you need to do RIGHT NOW, you start setting up the foundation of your life. You begin reorienting yourself in the direction of your dharma. And as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you will get there.

What roles do you play in your life?

You may be a student, a professional, a yogi, a mother, a father, a child to someone, a a spouse to someone. We should first know that we transcend all these roles, that we are much more than these roles and identifying them can only limit us. But the trick to life is to understand that we are just playing these roles, and we can choose to play them to whatever extent we want.

Realizing this, knowing which roles we play give us an indicator of our commitments and responsibilities. Fulfilling these helps strengthen our dharma.

So look at the roles you play in life and ask yourself how you can play them better.

Where does your heart go?

What is your hearts desire? It might a very small and specific calling – something weird and wonderful. Or it might be vast and all encompassing. You might feel a longing to plant trees, to better humanity, to protect the sanctity of animals, to build schools – to educate, to make women feel beautiful, to invent, to create with your hands, to build homes, to grow food.

Or you might have just one giant calling – to love. There is no right and wrong. There is no too big or no too small, but there is a calling and you will eventually come to know it and become it. You might not even be able to put it into words. It might just be a certain feeling, and it might take some deep reflection, meditation, soul searching and perhaps some trial and error before you understand what it is.

“But Malavika! What if there’s nothing! What if there is nothing for me? I have asked myself this question for years and I have absolutely no pull in any direction?!”

I hear you, I hear you. First of all, there is no need to feel panicked by this, and there is certainly no need to feel disheartened by this.

When this happens, I believe you need look back on some of the points mentioned earlier this post. For the time being, focus on making yourself a clear, un-kinked, and pure vessel, ready for the universe and it’s magic to come pouring through you.

What have been your struggles?

Take a look back at this intense and wonderful journey you have been on to get you to where you are. What have you struggled with? What was heartbreak for you? What was challenging? What pushed you? Who hurt you and why did they hurt you? Who do you have a hard time forgiving?

You see, all the challenges and villains in your story are crucial to your dharma, and until you one day come face to face with them then you stand in the way of your dharma. They give you great clues as to what your journey is all about.

You can’t compare your struggles with another person. What is devastation for one is just a bad day for another. We all have our own personal contracts with God.

Just take a good hard look at your own life, and look at the dark parts that you have hidden in the shadowy parts of your heart. What were those things pushing you into?

Where does life want you to go? Who do you need to be to live a life of love and passion and deep, deep peace? Who do you need to become in order to be joyful in the face of adversity, heartbreak, and disappointment? That is who you are in truth. And becoming that person is your dharma.




  1. The tone of acceptance and encouragement that it is within you to do the work, to feel your purpose and to let go of the ideas that might hold you back are what makes this a wonderful blog. I have heard so many state their outlook as if they know so much more that the reader and this provokes a defensive reaction and fails in its purpose.

    1. Hello Jeremy,

      I am happy to hear that you are still reading and enjoying this little blog of mine. It’s good to hear from you.

      I guess that as life goes on the more I realize that I am in no place to judge a person – I have no reason to think of myself as better than anyone. And I am relieved to know that my writing reflects that.

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