sva-dharma: 'do what you love, know your own bone...'

Recently I have been observing a friend who is endeavoring determinedly to do something big, something meaningful. As hard as they try, things are not moving forward. Progress is slow and success is starting to look like it depends on a miracle.

Seeing the same friend engaged in other activities, activities unrelated to their present mission in life, they act with ease and genius. The benefit and contribution made to others at such times is more than tangible.

In that my thoughts are drawn to the Gita verse 18.47:

It is better to engage in one's own occupation, even though one may perform it imperfectly, than to accept another's occupation and perform it perfectly. Duties prescribed according to one's nature are never affected by sinful reactions.

Knowing where we fit in, where our most effective contribution can be made, is the place in which results show and are appreciated by others. Getting to that place comes from the collaboration of introspection, feedback and observable achievement. Getting locked down to a plan and purpose in isolation, a plan in competition or conflict with the advice of others is a fruitless paradigm.

To be fixed on a big deliverable with neither the aptitude nor capacity is a waste; and in that sense it is portrayed in the Gita as ‘papam’ or sinful. It is just not in our interest. Thus Krishna instructs us: ‘do what you do best’...‘do what you’re cut out for’ and in that experience your own personal worth and success rather than simply imitating others. 

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