What does it mean to live with purpose? Do words like prosperity and wealth come to mind when you consider your life’s purpose? If not, it may be because you think prosperity is not a spiritual matter.
In her book, “The Jewel of Abundance: Finding Prosperity through the Ancient Wisdom of Yoga,” Yogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian explains that wealth and spiritual wisdom are not only compatible but natural and necessary when we understand the
the deeper meaning of the word prosperity.
Before we unravel the true meaning of prosperity, it is of paramount importance to
discover what our purpose in life is – our dharma. What is dharma?
According to the teachings of ancient Vedic yoga that Yogacharya draws upon when we live our dharma, we prosper in the most meaningful way. According to the teachings, the goal of our lives is artha, which means wealth. But it is not wealth measured by the amount of money in our bank accounts or the number of luxury items we own. Artha is measured by how much we are able to give of ourselves.
Joining Purpose and Prosperity
We all have a divine purpose, and when we carry that out, true wealth follows. Wealth associated with living our dharma can be material, but it is also an expanded idea of what it means to be wealthy.
It’s not always easy to zero in on what we are meant to do in this life. We often let outside forces influence what we choose to do for a living, for instance. Sometimes we put wealth before purpose, and even when that results in material success or recognition, we may still feel something is missing.
Living with a purpose that allows us to prosper is known as svadharma. “Svadharma is the unique expression of our spiritual purpose which does not follow any outer
standard but is guided toward our obligation toward our own nature,” Yogacharya says in “The Jewel of Abundance.” This is our goal.
How Yogic Wisdom Cultivates Our Ability To Live With Purpose
According to yogic wisdom, to live with purpose means to cultivate equanimity, meet and manage obstacles, and use our understanding of our true selves and connection with each other to do what we are here to do. As Yogacharya says, if we want to live with purpose, what we do matters.
We each have the power to not only prosper personally but also to make a difference to those around us and to the planet as a whole. But we can only do this when we feel whole ourselves, and that’s where the tools of yoga come into play. For example, we can practice meditation to cultivate a sense of wholeness. Then instead of looking outside of ourselves for guidance, we can live a spiritually fulfilled and awakened life.
Yogacharya explains that it’s only when we equate the word “prosperity” with material wealth attained for its own sake that the idea of prospering loses its deep meaning and becomes at odds with spiritual growth. The tools of yoga help us recognize the wealth and abundance that has always been available.
Explore more in-depth answers to the common – yet essential – questions like, ‘what does dharma mean?’by checking Yogacharya’s yearlong online course, Dharma 365!