Do you know what the four greatest goals of human life are, and do you live according to them? If your health or life energy are ailing, read on!
Regardless of our imbalance, Ayurveda guides us lovingly to begin by looking at our inner feelings and thoughts. All well-being and health start in the mind. Conversely, all disease on the physical level begins with an imbalance in the mind and emotions – it could be negative beliefs, streams of thought, relationships, or simply living in a way that is out of integrity with who we really are … Having a happy and peaceful mind requires living according to our inner values and using ourselves for the higher benefit of the world. It may sound lofty, but it is a day-to-day practice. Parenting is a great example. When we take on the role of parent, we accept duties and activities that benefit more than ourselves. We help to create a safe and loving foundation for our children, so that one day they can go out into the world and be something for other people.
According to Ayurveda, we can only achieve a deeper happiness and sense of meaning with our lives if we live according to the 4 greatest goals for human life, called Purushartha. The most important place to start is with what is called Dharma, which I most often translate as life path. When we live a dharmic life, we live in deep inner harmony with who we are and what we have been put here on Earth for. Again, it’s not some lofty goal in the future, but something that happens in every single decision we make:
Should I eat x or y today?
Should I say yes to x or stay home and go to bed early?
Should I stay at work or resign even though that would be financially uncertain?
Should I stay with x even though we keep falling out?
When through self-reflection, meditation and time in silence, we get to know ourselves better and can begin to distinguish the insignificant from the essential, we live a dharmic life that involves applying our energy and extending beyond ourselves and our own immediate needs. It is the first goal that automatically leads on to both Artha and Kama.
Artha is about our goals in life. If our goals are superficial, such as quickly gaining a nice title, making a lot of money or living somewhere exclusive, it only brings short-lived happiness. If, however, the goals are an extension of our life path, so we can, for example, reach even further with our offerings, messages and love, then inner success and satisfaction follow automatically. This ALSO brings financial and worldly success, but it is a side effect. In India, we have Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, success and abundance. It is said that if you chase her, she will run away from you. But – she will be pulled toward and follow a person if they turn their back to her and use their awareness where it makes the greatest difference. When we reach our goal based on our Dharma, we can begin to enjoy life here on Earth in earnest, and that is what Kama is about.
Kama is about enjoying the fruits of life and living with optimal quality of life during our time on Earth. As children, we naturally get lost in play, happiness and enjoyment. But it is not the childish lack of responsibility we should hold on to, but rather the ability to celebrate and enjoy life and what we create in everyday life. The human mind is programmed to always seek the next challenge, the next goal, the next thing we want to buy, etc. But the third life goal is about enjoying the here and now!
Moksha is the ultimate goal in life that most of us only reach when we get older and death approaches. Moksha is spiritual liberation in which we recognize that what we fundamentally are can never die. For us to connect with our soul and achieve liberation from the fear of death, we need to be unconnected to all that is physical here on Earth including our body and close relationships.
Finish by sitting still and asking yourself the following questions. Write your answers in your journal:
Which of the 4 greatest goals for life is my awareness focused on now?
Which goal might need my awareness so that I can become more whole and happier from the inside out?