Discover and Live Your Dharma

Enjoy this Sounds True podcast of an interview with Stephen Cope as they discuss the wisdom found in the Bhagavad Gita and the many ways this ancient parable can be applied to modern life.

They speak about discovering and living out your dharma—the true purpose of your life. They discuss the wisdom found in the Bhagavad Gita and the many ways this ancient parable can be applied to modern life. Stephen explains why “missing by an inch is the same as missing by a mile,” as well as why we need to decide what not to do in order to bring our gifts to life. Finally, Tami and Stephen talk about the concept of being a warrior and what this means as we bring our unique skills to bear in a world that needs them more than ever.

Stephen Cope is the scholar emeritus at Kripalu Yoga Center and the director of the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living, as well as the bestselling author of The Wisdom of Yoga and The Great Work of Your Life. With Sounds True, Stephen has produced an eight-week online course titled Your True Calling: Essential Teachings of Yoga to Find Your Path in the World.

The Great Work Of Your Life

Stephen’s excellent book The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling brings the Bhagavad-Gita, a classic Hindu spiritual text, to life. The Bhagavad-Gita, the cornerstone of the yogic tradition, has Arjuna the greatest warrior of his era being counseled by Krishna his divine charioteer.

Arjuna is struggling and is prone laying down on his chariot can’t get himself to go to war. Lots of drama going on in the scene and Krishna advises him on how to live his Dharma.

The Four Pillars of Dharma

Dharma is what Krishna is advising Arjuna about in the Bhagavad-Gita and Stephen helps us bring that to life in our modern lives and many shares stories of extraordinary people who have discovered and most fully lived their Dharma. Everyone from Walt Whitman and Henry David Thoreau to Susan B. Anthony and Ghandi. An extraordinary array of individuals whose stories he uses to help us understand how we can discover and live our sacred calling.

The Sanskrit word Dharma is impossible to translate into one English word. The basic idea in terms of this book is basically your vocation, your sacred duty, your calling, what are you here to do. It also means the essence of who you are, the truth of your being, that part of you that makes you, you.

The book is about understanding the four pillars of Dharma.

The First Pillar: Look to your Dharma (Discover)

You need to discover your Dharma, know your unique gift/vocation. We all have a seed of potential, a gift that we’ve been giving, our duty is to bring that to life. We need to discover, not create, what that is.

You have gifts and possibilities that no one else has. What’s the special offering that you can make in the current difficulty that no one else can make.

Here are actions you can do to help discover and live your Dharma:

  1. List what is in your life right now that is most lighting you up. (prioritize your list and keep the top three)
  2. List what you think your deepest duty in your life, what is it that if you do not do it that you will feel a profound sense of self betrayal. (prioritize your list and keep the top three)
  3. List the challenges and difficulties that you are facing in your life. (prioritize your list and keep the top three)
  4. Take the prioritized list from the first three steps and write down the five words that best describe your Dharma.
  5. Write down the things/actions that support you which you want to enhance moving forward.
  6. Write down the things/actions that are unnecessary, that may work against your Dharma, that you want to stop doing and let go.

The Second Pillar: Do It Full Out (All In)

Once you discover your Dharma, what your ultimate calling, your sacred duty, you need to go all-in. You need to dedicate your entire life to your Dharma.

When you decide to go all-in on anything in your life, you cut off other options. Now that’s really challenging to do because that requires a level of courage. You can’t hedge your bets, which means you say no to a lot of other things.

On a macro level you need to decide what you’re going to commit your life force, your soul force as Steven describes it. On a micro level we need to say no to all the distractions that get in the way.

Structured all the conditions of your life so that you can most fully give yourself. Created the conditions for your life to flourish.

Our job is to cultivate and create the conditions through which our gift can reach its potential. Have you created the conditions of your life in such a manner that you can flourish?

Know when your energy is at its best. How can you optimize your conditions?

The Third Pillar: Let Go of the Fruits

Focus on the process over results. Let go of outcomes and focus on doing your best, day in and day out. Let go of the fruits of your labor is how Krishna puts it.

Look for the open doors instead of spending your efforts trying to open ones that are not open.

The Fourth Pillar Turn it Over To God (You to Zero)

Turn your entire life over to God. Gandhi described it as reducing himself to zero.

Free Your Emotions through Yoga Breathing, Body Awareness, and Energetic Release – Audio Download $13.10.

Something magical happens when you’re able to get out of the way and let God take over and shine through. Releasing the God within, reducing ourselves to zero such that God can be fully present.

Develop your fundamentals, develop your core practices that allow you to be a healthy human being such that you can actualize and then move beyond your ego and transcend yourself.

Abraham Maslow describes in the hierarchy of needs start at the basic level and moved up to self-actualization. But that wasn’t the end. After you self actualized, you self transcended. You reduced yourself to zero and you gave your life to something bigger than yourself.

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Discover the deeper messages in the Christian lineage

If there was ever a time to honor the transcendent truth in every faith tradition and find within it the transformative power to move us towards global unity… NOW is that time!

And, what if one of the most important steps you could take to achieve that end was to discover the deeper messages hidden within the Christian lineage?

I truly believe these hidden messages can help you open your heart wide and walk a path of sacred action in profound connection with the Divine, while also embracing and honoring all global spiritual traditions.

And, that’s why I’m excited to share with you a FREE virtual workshop produced by The Shift Network and featuring renowned, mystic-scholar Andrew Harvey titled, Rediscovering the Christ Path: How to Embody Sacred Love in Action.

Discover the deeper messages in the Christian lineage

During this powerful and illuminating workshop, Andrew will pull back the veil on the radical truths from the heart of the Christian tradition… truths that have been hidden from us for hundreds of years! He will shine the light on the path forward for each of us to more fully embody Christ consciousness, marry sacred masculine and feminine and nourish the divine child in each of us.

As a celebrated scholar of world mystic traditions, Andrew will reveal the deeper, esoteric understandings previously hidden within the Christ lineage that will help you to:

  • See the teachings of Jesus with fresh eyes, as a way-shower, a friend and an ally.
  • Embody more of your innate divinity, and see that divinity embodied in others.
  • Reclaim the sacred feminine that is at the heart of the lineage.
  • And more!

Andrew is passionate about calling us into a real, tangible, action-inducing relationship with the Divine; one that is built on sacred service and ministering to the suffering of the world.

Be prepared for brilliance, provocative insights and passionate words that speak straight into your soul!
Marianne Williamson says about Andrew:

“Every age has its teachers, who keep the eternal truths alive for all of us. And when a generation is very, very lucky, it encounters a teacher so illumined that the words he delivers must be illumined, as well. In the case of Andrew Harvey, the light he sheds is like a meteor burst across the inner sky.”

Choose your time here!

Other Available Virtual Courses

The New Human Story

Human potential pioneer Gregg Braden will share the new science that exposes the limiting beliefs we’ve held about who we are and where we come from when he presents, The New Human Story: Awakening Your Evolutionary Potential for Self-healing, Longevity & Super-perception.

In this mind-expanding mini-workshop with Gregg, you’ll find out how these new scientific discoveries have the potential to change the way you think about yourself, your relationship to your body, to others, to the earth, and even to God.

The Ayurvedic Use of Essential Oils for Healing

The simple daily use of these oils can have a profoundly positive effect, bringing you more balance, harmony and vibrant health. 

That’s why I’m excited to invite you to a complimentary virtual workshop with botanical medicine pioneer David Crow.

David is a brilliant teacher and one of the most respected botanical medicine pioneers in the world. There is perhaps no better guide for working with essential oils, as David unifies wisdom from many streams of healing practices.

Medicinal Plants & Spiritual Evolution

We’re used to thinking of plants as “things” rather than living, sentient beings that are connected in profound ways to the health of our bodies, minds and souls.

Plants affect our life force and connect us physically with the raw energy of the sun. The fascinating and powerful relationship between plants and spiritual evolution is the passion of Floracopeia founder David Crow, who is brilliant on this subject.

Goddesses in Everywoman with Jean Shinoda Bolen

When we unveil the archetypal energies present within us, we gain profound insights into how we can live more meaningful, authentic and joyous lives. We access more power, depth, and wisdom.

And now, you can go beyond the book and experience Jean’s revolutionary teachings during a complimentary virtual event: Goddesses in Everywoman: How Discovering Your Natural Archetype Can Liberate Your Full Expression.

Authentic Awakening with Thomas Huebl

Thomas’ teachings gently yet profoundly guide us to awaken to our enlightened awareness while simultaneously showing us how to live from this expanded presence in our everyday life.

That’s the kind of shift that has the power to heal, uplift and transform our world.

Thomas delivers presence, insight, transmission, innovative practices, transparent communication, awakened relationships and love.

Shamanic Journeying for Guidance & Healing

Through a practice called shamanic journeying, you can seek and receive this type of guidance and healing for yourself and others.

Sandra has been teaching shamanic journeying to seekers and practitioners for more than 30 years. Learning this powerful practice helps you gain greater clarity and insight into any number of life challenges, from medical issues to difficult family dynamics to imbalanced relationships –– even business and work struggles

Dreaming the Soul Back Home

Around the world, shamans have pioneered a more powerful, valuable and fascinating way to approach dreaming: seeing it as a time for transformation, healing and getting guidance from higher levels of reality.

These ancient practices have increasingly been validated by modern science, which has recognized the ability for us to gain full lucidity and self-awareness in the Dreamtime — opening the possibility for new adventures in consciousness.

Supercharge Your Chakras

You’ve probably heard a fair amount about chakra energy centers from yogis, healers and alternative health practitioners.

After nearly 40 years of study, personal practice and teaching, Anodea knows exactlywhat works (and what doesn’t). You won’t want to miss this opportunity to discover her practices for aligning and activating your chakras so you can use them to energize and power every area of your life.

The Christ Path

If there was ever a time to honor the transcendent truth in every faith tradition and find within it the transformative power to move us towards global unity… NOW is that time!

During this powerful and illuminating workshop, Andrew will pull back the veil on the radical truths from the heart of the Christian tradition… truths that have been hidden from us for hundreds of years! He will shine the light on the path forward for each of us to more fully embody Christ consciousness, marry sacred masculine and feminine and nourish the divine child in each of us.

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Do Less, Experience More

Learn how the path to effortless change is not only possible, it’s been achieved by many. Michael Neill, Hay House best-selling author and radio host who is international known as a transformative coach, brings you to the truth about lasting change in your life – it requires you to do nothing. In this video he’ll share what’s contained in his online course that has helped thousands of people break long-standing habits, instill mental peace and ignite creativity. Michael will help guide you toward your own insight and stopping the cycle of the need to fix yourself. If you been seeking spiritual awakening, striving for enlightenment or just want to experience the joys (and benefits) of meditation without meditating, check out his online video course now Path of Effortless Change


Do Less, Experience More – Transcript

First off you made it this far which is pretty impressive.

So I want to share something a little bit more personal in this video. Up until now I’ve been talking about things that you can kind of begin to apply to your own life that will make your life better.

For me, those of you have watched probably the thing most people know me for is a TED talk called why aren’t we more awesomer. And in the TED talk I share a bit of my story. How I was a depressed suicidal teenager and I had a sort of an epiphany in the midst of a psychotic break from reality. Where I felt as always being sucked out of a window and I sort of managed to get out of there.

And I woke up the next morning and I realized oh I don’t want to kill myself, I don’t want to die. Because if I had, I could have just let myself be sucked out that window.

It was one of those moments that I don’t think at the time I knew was significant. It was just like huh, I’ve always thought that that all those thoughts were real. But it was the moment where I began to recognize that no matter how real a thought looks it’s still just a thought and thoughts come and they go.

In underneath thoughts coming and going is a space of quiet it a space of peace it’s a space of meditation.

Now I would love to have seen that then because it would have saved me about 20 years of seeking, but that’s not how it went for me. So I dove into the seeking and I read every book I could get my hands on about the mind and how the mind worked and I tried anything that was out there. In fact I wound up working at a couple of bookshops just to get discounts on the book. So I could read even more books about how to improve my life and how to make things better and what else I could try that would help me stay ahead of what I thought, was my depressive nature.

What I thought was my natural inclination towards morbidity, and it kind of worked. I did stay ahead of the curve. In fact I became such a high functioning depressive that I was in demand as a speaker and as a coach.

I traveled the world and I spoke at seminars with thousands of attendees sharing what I called behavioral Prozac. The things that you could do that would keep you ahead of the Black Dog of depression. That would keep you out of the anxiety that seemed to me to come with being alive and sane in our world.

And then one day, I was watching a video and it’s just a guy talking about the mind. In this video he said every human being is sitting in the midst of mental health, they just don’t know it.

I realized it was true. I realized that included me that no matter how hard I had found life up until that point, no matter how much effort I put into being okay and then maybe a little better than okay and then maybe a little better than better than okay. It had never dawned on me that babies don’t need therapy.

It had never dawned on me that I was born okay. In fact, I was born happy and that that essential nature of happiness of peace and well-being of connected upness to the whole universe. That feeling that you get when you are with a baby.
That was my true nature and that began to change everything without even trying. Because once I saw that at core, I wasn’t broken, nobody’s broken. We just learned some really unhelpful ways of thinking about life. That make life seem much harder than it actually is.

What I began to see was that there were principles underlying what I’d seen. That without all the noise of all the things I was trying to do to have a better life there was a way that life already worked. There was a way that it worked before I got into this game and there was a way that it will continue to work long after I’m gone.
If you can start to understand, well that just makes life easier.

So what’s a principle, well think of gravity. Gravity is just one of the pre-existing forces that were born into when we’re born here on earth. Gravity doesn’t care if we believe in it. No need to affirm gravity for it to work, it just is.

Electricity, it’s a pre-existing power. Nobody can show you electricity but we know it’s there by what it does and electricity is neutral it can be used for anything including lighting up New York City or lighting up an electric chair. Electricity doesn’t mind, it’s just doing what it does. It is a principle, it is a fundamental force.

Magnetism, nobody really understands magnetism. Even the physicists don’t really understand magnetism, but you can see it. There are places you can go on the earth where the natural magnetism will cause objects to move uphill, seemingly all by themselves.

Well in the same way as there are underlying principles in the physical world, it turns out there are underlying principles in the mental world too. When you understand those principles, you see how they work, you can begin to work with them. They begin to help you.

When it comes to us human beings one of the fundamental principles is life itself. We are alive where made of this electricity, we are filled with it. We don’t need to get that from out of ourselves, we don’t need to find places to plug in.
We’re a part of this ever-present energy, this animating force. It brings not only us to life but it brings our ideas to life. It brings our thoughts to life in a way that makes them seem so real we can think that we’re experiencing absolute heaven on earth or absolute hell without anything in our circumstances changing at all.

Thought itself is a principle it’s the creative principle it’s the magical paintbrush that we use to create our lives. We created on the canvas of consciousness, on the canvas of our own nature.

In one of the videos I talked about the sky and clouds. Well in a way, the sky is like consciousness. It’s who we are not our personalities but who we would be regardless of where we’ve grown up and regardless of what life experience we’ve had.
The clouds are like the very thoughts and feelings that go through our mind for a moment to moment and sometimes there’s a lot of us a lot of them going on it’s like a thought storm. Other times there’s just a few kind of Simpsons like clouds in the sky like big fluffy cartoon clouds.

Of course there is the Sun, always present in the sky. The source of light, the energy of life that’s always present. Well those are the principles that we are born into. That is the world we are born into, a world of infinite possibility. A world of continual and effortless change, and a world where the more you see how it actually works the less work you have to do for things to start working out well.

So in the online program by take you through not only these principles but I kind of give you the shortcut that I would have loved to have had 20 to 25 years ago if I could have. To show that you can experience all the benefits of meditation, without having to engage in a lifelong practice of meditating. Now if you love meditating keep meditating, but if you found it hard to keep it up. If you feel like you’ve lacked the discipline if you feel like next year I’m going to develop a meditation practice. I can tell you for a fact you can begin to experience the peace of mind, the creativity, the sense of connection with all life without ever getting good at meditating.

Maybe you don’t really care about meditation maybe you just want a better relationship with your spouse or a better relationship with your kids or a better relationship with your parents. Well when you see how much of your experience of the people you love is made up of your own thinking and nothing to do with them. And that thinking starts to quiet down and you start to experience them as they are, directly, heart to heart, soul to soul your relationships will take on an ease and a depth that most people think it’s a once in a lifetime thing. It only happens when you’re first together, when you’re in love and then you just have to learn to deal with it or put up with each other.

That doesn’t have to be the way it is. In fact for thousands of people who’ve learned about the path of effortless change the principles behind the human experience that isn’t how it is. In fact that experience of love and connection gets simpler and deeper day by day so that the longer together the more deeply connected you are.

Maybe what drew you to this was the habit thing, maybe you’ve got some habits that I’ve got to get over this, maybe it’s not as far down the line as an addiction but maybe it is.

What you’ll start to see as you see more of this for yourself is that what you’re looking for is already inside you. What you think you need your habit for to cope with to do better with it’ll fall away as you relax more into the well-being that’s your nature, the happiness that you were born with, the space of meditation that is natural to us.

Maybe you like me struggled with anxiety or depression and by the way if you’ve never thought about it, anxiety and depression at the same thing. Depression actually is the safety switch for anxiety. Sort of like, this may seemed like an odd analogy, you’re feeling kind of depressed or anxious right now but stay with me. If you’ve ever been in a hotel and you’ve used the hairdryer and it overheats and switches off until it cools down enough that it won’t burn out well that’s depression.
Depression is actually your innate health protecting you from the over-revving of your thinking that you experiences anxiety. And if you are able to just be with it, if you see it for what it is, if you put the hair dryer down for a bit, it goes back to working perfectly without your having to do anything to fix it.

Maybe what you’re interested in is success. You want to be more successful and you think you’ve got psychological blocks to success and you need to change those psychological blocks so you can be more successful. You need to be more disciplined you need to be more motivated you need to be more like somebody else than like you.

Well I can tell you as somebody who’s worked as a success coach for over 25 years the people who are really successful and I mean happily successful not the people who’ve almost killed themselves to get somewhere. They’re more of themselves than any of us who strive to be successful. They’re more willing to just show up and be human than those of us who think we need to be superhuman to have a super life.

And it actually turns out like all of this stuff to be natural. The creative potential is already in you. The creative force already wants to and at times is able to work through you.

When you actually go with what you really want and not what you think you should want or not what you think you can get away with or not what you think you have to want, you’ll find you tap into an energy that is way beyond what most of us are able to tap into when we think we have to do it as an act of will. When you think we have to make ourselves succeed.
I’ve been a coach imagine for over 25 years and the number one reason people initially come to me and want to hire me is to get them to do what they don’t want to do.

That’s crazy. Why would you do what you don’t want to do? What if there was a way of getting what you actually want by doing what you actually want. To do by tuning into this deeper mind that we all have access to. By the tuning into a deeper guidance that we all have access to.

What if life could be as simple as showing up with a quiet mind and a beautiful feeling and following your guidance day by day step by step? What if it turned out that was enough? Not only was that enough that’s the shortcut that’s the fastest way to the life of your dreams.

Well that’s what we’re going to be talking about during this course. I’m going to be your guide. I’ve been guiding people along this path for the past 10 years now and it has not yet cease to amaze me how quickly change can happen when you stop trying so hard to make it happen. How much more ease is available to you how much more grace you can bring to the difficult times and how much more fun you can have across the board.

When Hay House asked me if I would put together an online course teaching the thing that have been teaching my private clients over the last 25 years I was excited about doing it but I had one request. It was that I wanted to record it in front of a live audience. The reason was that when you see real people going through the types of experience that I described in the program having the insights that we talked about having the visible changes that that otherwise might just sound like stories they might sound remote to you. When you see that it can happen to anyone you start to realize that it can happen to you. So over the course of the program you’re not only going to hear me present various ideas you’re going to you’re going to get to do little experiments and try exercises not that are designed to change you but that are designed to facilitate your insights so that you can begin to change from the inside out.

I hope you’ll join me and if you do I can promise you that I will be there with you. I will hold your hand I will take you on this path and you will walk together and what you’re going to find isn’t so much a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You’re going to find that the path itself is made of gold. That the journey itself is so full of rewards you’re not ever going to want to get to the end of it.

Over the years I’ve tried a number of different ways of sharing this material with people. I do it one on one in coaching sessions, I go into companies and I share it people come to me. I do large public seminars, I travel around and I give talks.

In the last five to ten years we’ve begun to play with sharing it through online programs and what I’ve seen is that it’s remarkable how much people can get when they’re able to take the program at their own pace. When they’re able to go back and re-watch or re-listen. When they’re able to make go all the way through one time and then go back and do the exercises when they revisit it. So maybe they’ve gone through the program and they experience the changes and then a year later it occurs from oh I could do with a sort of another dose. They go back through and they see all these things that they think oh have you updated the program I’m sure that bit wasn’t there the first time I watched it.

So learning this through an online program is not just incredibly user-friendly it’s also one of the best ways of being able to go deeper and deeper each time you watch it.

I hope you’ll join me and I look forward to hearing your experiences along the way. Have fun, learn heaps and I’ll talk to you soon.

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